In-Box Review
Buccaneer, Operation Granby.
Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.Mk,2B, “Operation Granby” - 1991 Gulf War [20th Anniversary].
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by: Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]


After the loss of several Tornado GR.1's while flying low level airfield denial missions during the early part of “Operation Granby”. It was decided to fly the GR.1's at much higher altitudes so that they could deliver Paveway II laser guided 1000lb bombs [LGB's]. The only problem was that the Tornado was unable to spike or designate targets with lasers. So after being deemed not suitable for operations in the conflict, the Buccaneer's were quickly readied for combat. The reason for the change of mind was that the Buccaneer was the only RAF aircraft that could carry the AN/AVQ 23E 'Pave Spike' pod. The detachment of 12 Buccaneers that flew out to Kuwait would illuminate targets for the GR.1's. The first interdiction mission on the 2nd February, 1991, was by a pair of Buccaneers, XW547/R and XX899/P accompanied by 4 Gr1's destroying a bridge over the Euphrates River at As Samawah. Ironically this cold war bomber designed to fly extremely low at 100ft or less would be finally used in action at heights of 28-29,000ft.
As the operation progressed, Tornado Gr1's were eventually fitted with TIALD [Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designators] thus enabling some Tornadoes to self designate targets. From the 21st February it was decided that the Coalition had complete Air Superiority so that the Buccaneer could stop carrying a single AIM-9L and carry a additional Paveway II LGB's. With it's superior range and cruising speed, the Buccaneers were able to loiter over target much longer than the GR1's. 27th February saw two Buccaneers destroy aircraft on the ground at Shayka Mazhar Airfield. XX901/N flown by Flt. Lt Glenn Mason and Sqn. Ldr. Norman Browne hitting a captured C-130 Hercules with two LGB's, both of which failed to detonate. The force of the impacts never the less broke the back of the C-130. XX894/O flown by Wg. Cdr. Bill Cope [Detachment Commander] and Flt. Lt Carl Wilson destroyed a Antanov An-12 Cub with two LGB's this time the bombs detonated resulting in a spectacular explosion as the Cub was full of fuel. Interestingly as a result of the demanding workload of operations the wrong aircraft had the distinctive red silhouettes signifying a destroyed aircraft painted on it. XX885/L was parked in the dedicated hangar of XX849/O and the ground crew in their excitement painted the wrong aircraft. Off course XX849/O should have been marked.
Source: Andy White.

The Kit.

This kit from CMR comes in a very strong box that has a top opening lid. All the resin parts are in two bags with eight plastic cells, the two fuselage halves are packed separately. For added safety there are lots of foam peanuts stopping things from rattling and moving around. The resin is a rather interesting green colour and unlike some resin models I have had in the past, the resin has no smell. The water slide decals, vac formed parts, PE parts and masks are individually wrapped.

  • A number of resin parts.

  • 2 x sheets of PE parts.

  • 2 x vac formed canopies.

  • 2 x vac formed blast screens.

  • 3 x decal sheets.

  • 1 x sheet of paint mask for the canopy.

  • 23 pages of instructions and paint guides.

  • 7 page walkaround including black and white photographic references.

  • 2 pages of information of the Buccaneer detachment on “Operation Granby”.

This kit from CMR gives you several options to display your Buccaneer:

  • Folded wings.

  • Open or closed air brakes.

  • Hinged nose.

  • Optional flap positions.

  • Extended or retracted tail hook and skid.

  • Bomb bay door fuel tank.

  • Canopy open or closed.

Cockpit has a one piece tub for both pilot and navigator. There are low relief details on the side consoles and likewise on the pilots instrument panel. I particularly like the monitors in the navigators position, the monitor for the Martel missiles sits between the navigators legs. If you don't fancy highlighting the raised detail there is a lovely set of pre-coloured PE parts for the instruments by Eduard. If you go for this option it will be necessary for you to sand down the raised detail. There are two resin MB Mk6 ejection seats that are livened up with PE pre-coloured parts including seat harnesses. CMR have accurately depicted the way the seats are located slightly either side of the centre line. This was to allow the navigator a better view forward. The one piece canopy will need to be cut if you want to depict the canopy open. Fear not there are two vac formed canopies included. There are also a couple of vac formed blast screens for the navigator. There is a resin frame to fit to the canopy between the two crews positions. There is also a couple of PE parts to glue to the canopy that represent the distinctive looking detonating cords.
Fuselage is split horizontally, with the inner wing integrally part of the fuselage. The beautifully curvaceous body, with cross sections designed in accordance with the area rule, looks very, very good. The mating surfaces will need a little attention with wet and dry to ensure a good fit. The one piece vertical tail is separate. There are some very fine and sharp panel lines on the whole of the aircraft. The nose wheel bay is cast integrally with the lower fuselage. Unfortunately there is a lack of detail in there. A pity as the photo by Andy Robinson showing this area reveals a good amount of detail. The separate main undercarriage bays need to be fixed in place before joining the fuselage halves. There is some nice detailing in there, but not quite as much as seen in the photo included in the walkaround. The two jet exhaust pipes are beautifully thin and are blanked off giving about a 1 cm depth to the pipes. These need to be installed before joining the fuselage halves. The two one piece air intakes are very nicely done. They are also blanked off and the primary compressor is fitted onto the blanking plate. The open areas, such as the area where the main landing gear and the cockpit are is covered by a thin film of resin. Should be no trouble at all removing it. There is a little flash here and there on some items, but nothing that can't be easily cleaned up. The Buccaneers featured in this release have the integral fuel tank fitted to the bomb day doors, that gives the distinctive bulged look underneath the aircraft.
This being an aircraft designed for the Royal Navy, there are plenty of bits that fold to allow the aircraft to be as compact as possible. Folding or hinged parts include:

  • The wings.

  • Nose cone, which hinged back.

  • Open or closed rear air brakes.

The separate nose cone shape is superbly captured by CMR. I do like the inclusion of resin and PE parts for both sides of the open nose cone. The one piece outer wings with the revised wing tips looks very accurate, and has the wing fold details integrally cast. As do the inner wings, the hinge mechanism is cast on the upper wing. The parts that represent the folding mechanism look as if they will provide a positive fit. CMR provide two types of airbrake depending on which aircraft you model. If you want the brakes closed then there are four components. If you want the brakes open, then the component count goes up to seven. I like the detail on the inner faces of the airbrakes and also the detail for the airbrake mechanism.
Tail surfacesThe tail is nicely shaped, with some very fine engraved panel lines and access panels. The inlet part way up the leading edge of the fin is hollow with very thin walls. There is a good sized stub for locating the horizontal tail on top of the fin. The horizontal tail surface is in one piece with generous slot to place the stub on top of the fin into. The horizontal tail surface has the correct slightly angled down look of the real thing.
UndercarriageThe rather robust undercarriage is very nicely represented. The main legs are made up of two parts that fit around the wheels. The same goes for the front undercarriage but there is an extra part that represents the hydraulic ram. The landing light is cast onto the front leg. The gear doors look very convincing, particularly the main wheel doors. The wheels are very well done with low relief spokes and nuts. While on the subject of things that retract, there is a tail skid that can be displayed up or down and the same for the arrestor hook. I like the representation of the spring on the arrestor hook, good attention to detail.
Payload CMR supply all the things that would have hung below the Buccaneer's during their detachment in Bahrain and also for the ferry flight to and from the UK. They include:

  • 2 x Paveway II LGB 1000lb bombs, fully cast with fins and guidance warhead.

  • 1 x AIM-9G, with PE fins.

  • 1 x AIM-9L, with PE fins.

  • 1 x AIM-9G/9L launcher rail and adapter.

  • 1 x AN/AVQ-23E Pave Spike laser designation pod and pylon adapter.

  • 1 x AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod.

  • 2 x AN/ALE-40 Chaff dispensers and flare dispensers.

  • 2 x 250 gallon slipper tanks, cast as one piece.
  • >

Also included are universal and dedicated weapon pylons. Included with the PE parts are jigs to aid the location of the PE fins for the Sidewinder. The inclusion in the instructions of the payload configuration guide is very useful. The payload for the transit flights to and from Bahrain are included and presents the chance to display your Buccaneer with just one slipper tank and a AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod on the starboard wing and the AN/AVQ-23E Pave Spike designation pod and a AIM-9G/L Sidewinder on the port wing. Other combinations include:

AN/ALQ-101 / AN/AVQ-23E / AIM-9L
AN/ALQ-101 / AN/AVQ-23E / Paveway II LGB
AN/ALQ-101 / AN/AVQ-23E / Paveway II LGB x 2

Markings: for all twelve aircraft based at Muharraq Air Base, Bahrain. Buccaneers included are:
XV352 U, “Tamdhu”, 10/02/91 – 17/03/91.
XV863 S, “Sea Witch / Tamnavoulin”, 07/02/91 – 17/03/91.
XW530 E, “Glenmorangie”, 28/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XW533 A, “Miss Jolly / Fiona / Glenfarclas”, 27/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XW547 R, “Guiness Girl / Pauline / The Macallan”, 27/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XX885 L, “Hello Sailor / Caroline / Famous Grouse”, 07/02/91 – 17/03/91.
XX889 T, “Longmorn”, 28/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XX892 I , “Glen Lossie”, 26/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XX894 O, “Aberlour”, 07/02/03 – 17/03/91.
XX895 G, “Jaws / Lynn / Glenfiddich”, 10/02/91 – 17/03/91.
XX899 P, “Laser Lips Laura / Linkwood”, 26/01/91 – 17/03/91.
XX901 N, “The Flying Mermaid / Kathryn / Glen Elgin”, 10/02/91 – 17/03/91.

All aircraft were painted desert pink. The desert pink colour was a removable temporary alkali based finish that quickly displayed wear and tear. The photographic images supplied show the very interesting weathering on the aircraft. Of special note is the distinctive streaks from the vortex generators close to the leading edges of the upper wing. Each of the aircraft featured have twelve side profiles, six full view of the starboard side and the six profiles of the front of the port side. The twelve profiles are of the aircraft at different dates starting from the transit date out to Bahrain. The final scheme is of the aircraft on it's return to RAF Lossiemouth, resplendent with nose art and “Jolly Rogers” flags. I have to say the paint and decal guides are excellent. FS numbers are provided for the colours.
Decals are on three small sheets. Roundels are low visibility in pink and pale blue There are stencils supplied as well as nose art for the various aircraft. Mission markings include Spike targets [for the Tornadoes], self designated targets and the destruction of aircraft. The inclusion of the “Jolly Roger” flags in various stages of painting is a nice touch and exemplifies the level of research by Andy White of this release. There are also decals for the LGB's with some messages from the ground crews for Saddam Hussein. The quality of the decals look very good with good colour depth and all decals are numbered, which makes finding them a much simpler task.
Instruction: The graphics by Andy White are excellent. The diagrams are exploded black line with very helpful written details. They include the names of and the use of certain parts such as the 'violet picture' radio homing aerials, rain clearance duct, etc. Great stuff. The instruction provide the dimensions to place the weapon pylons accurately if you choose to use them, and with the weapons choice provided, you would have to be slightly mad not too. The twelve schemes provided are according to CMR historically accurate and are sequenced. This is important as these schemes are linked to the payload each individual aircraft carried on a particular date. I really like the guide for applying the smoke stains from the engines along the rear fuselage, nice touch. For each scheme CMR provide port and starboard views of the aircraft and also a upper and lower plan view. I particularly enjoyed the historical overview of the Buccaneer S Mk 2B during “Operation Granby” by Andy [Mr Buccaneer]White.


This is a quality release from CMR and a look at the number of versions of the Buccaneer released by them suggest a massive appreciation of the type. I am hugely impressed with the components, the instructions and information. This has to be one of the best 1/72 scale Buccaneers I have ever seen. I have made the Airfix and Matchbox kits and this is light years ahead. I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail in the wheel bays, but that in no way detracts from this superb release. The historical research that goes with the kit is exceptional and the possibility of modeling a Buccaneer on a particular date with the correct marking and weapon load is hugely appreciated. Nice one CMR.

Highs: Too many to mention.
Lows: Lack of detail in the front wheel bay.
Verdict: As I say the best Buccaneer kits in 1/72 scale. Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: CMR No 209
  Suggested Retail: £81.60
  Related Link: CMR Buccaneer Mod
  PUBLISHED: Apr 26, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Tim Hatton (litespeed)

Aircraft are my primary interest from WWll to present day.

Copyright ©2021 text by Tim Hatton [ LITESPEED ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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