Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C. No. 800 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Eagle, June, 1971. Airfix 1:72

Fleet Air Arm ‘Buc’ just landed!

Another one of my ventures into classic British post-war jets, this time the famous Blackburn Buccaneer which entered RN service in 1962 ‘to counter the significant threat of a massive Soviet naval expansion programme’ (Airfix).

This was quite a challenging kit as most jet models are and needed a bit of forethought before actual construction. There is an option for folded wings as it is a carrier aircraft but I decided to keep mine down as I like the lines of this aircraft so much. As you can see, I have also deployed the airbrake at the back of the aircraft although initially I had left it closed which required a bit of delicate surgery to remove it!

The model has been primed with grey primer. The pilots came with the kit. A lot of modellers leave the pilots out which I think is a pity as it adds a bit of interest. Besides, I like to get my money’s worth! A little filler was needed round the nose cone and engine air intakes but nothing too drastic!
The markings underneath had to be applied before the underwing stores and fuel tanks were added. Some careful masking was needed as well, as can be seen. The jet pipes can be seen in the undercarriage bays which I gave a burnished look to replicate heat. Have no idea if its realistic but it looks nice! The key to these modern complicated aircraft is patience!
The funny looking airbrake assembly
The fuel tanks and Matra rocket pods had to be assembled and painted separately
And here she is in all her glory sitting on the deck of HMS Eagle. The other option was an Ark Royal aircraft. The slight sheen of the satin dark sea grey comes through but not too much as I wanted an aircraft that looked slightly weather beaten and faded, perhaps having seen a few Atlantic gales!
I enhanced the panel lines slightly using a black wash and airbrushed Tamiya ‘smoke’, which is ideal for this type of weathering. It is very subtle and you can add or subtract with thinner as much as you like according to taste. There are a few stains towards the rear of the jet where the exhaust fumes would have exited.
The Buccaneer was a very rugged design for obvious reasons and has a curious ‘coke bottle’ shape which apparently enhances the aerodynamics, but don’t ask me why!
I left off quite a few of the tiny stencils underneath as I could barely see them and they were just too fiddly for this old dog to bother with! Unfortunately the code letters ‘silvered’ slightly, probably due to lack of gloss so good thing they are underneath and out of sight! One tiny detail was missing from sprue D, part D15, which I believe is an air intake device? I refashioned another one from scrap and am quite proud of the result. It is the elongated thing to the right of the starboard intake, which is the left one in the pic, oh heck, you know what I mean!
I went to a lot of trouble to get the canopy to close and then later decided to leave it open dohhh. Incidentally, I had to hand paint the desert yellow lines on the canopy frame, not the most pleasurable of jobs but had to be done as masking would have been virtually impossible in this scale. Overall I am pleased with the look and I shall never say grey jets are boring ever again!
The box cover depicting the Ark Royal version. Both are attractive schemes.


Just a note about the Buccaneer from James Hamilton-Paterson’s book ‘Empire of the Clouds’. Apparently, the Navy had been against the TSR.2 (the eventually aborted ‘Tactical Strike Reconnaissance’ aircraft ed. )because they had been promised a carrier-borne strike aircraft for their own use, the Blackburn Buccaneer, and they worried that the TSR.2 project would consume all available funds before the Buccaneer became airborne. The RAF wanted an aircraft which was to be supersonic, which the Buccaneer unfortunately was not, and after the Lightning anything else was considered a retrograde step. As he puts it, ‘Additional heat was supplied to this argument by the ancient inter-service rivalry in which the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm each pretended the other hardly existed, let alone was competent to fly an aeroplane’ (!).

In the end, Blackburn came up with a proposal for the P.150 supersonic version of the Buccaneer.

Airfix states:

British thinking at the time was to use their new strike jet to destroy the Soviet ships with a combination of conventional and nuclear weapons. Capable of extremely high speeds at low level, the Buccaneer proved to be ideal even though the performance of the first Buccaneers to enter service was affected by a lack of power from their two de Havilland Gyron junior engines. Addressing most of the issues which prevented the early aircraft from realizing their full potential, the Buccaneer S.2 was a much improved platform, boasting a modified wing, increased fuel capacity and a pair of powerful Rolls Royce Spey engines. This new variant provided the Fleet Air Arm with a truly exceptional strike aircraft, which excelled in the low-level environment. As the Royal Navy retired their larger carriers in 1978, their much-loved Buccaneers were transferred to the care of the Royal Air Force (along with their pilots I might add), who were already admirers of the many qualities possessed by the aircraft and grateful for this increase in their inventory. At its peak strength in the early 1970s, the Buccaneer equipped no fewer than six Royal Air Force squadrons.’


Max speed: 667 mph

Armament: various combinations of unguided bombs, laser-guided bombs and the Red Beard tactical nuclear bombs. 4 Matra rocket pods, 2 x AIM-9 sidewinder or 2 x AS-37 Martel missiles, or 4 x Sea Eagle missiles.

An interesting video showing how the Buccaneer used a feature called ‘boundary layer control’ to be able to fly at extremely low level. The Desert Storm version is one I hope to make one day!

2 thoughts on “Blackburn Buccaneer S.2C. No. 800 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Eagle, June, 1971. Airfix 1:72”

  1. Beautiful finish you have done on the Buccaneer, looks very realistic. Was a great British aircraft and always a joy to see.Thanks for sharing.

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