The Buccaneer was a British jet bomber produced during the golden age of British aviation design and development. Originally manufactured in the 1960s by the Blackburn Company and later absorbed into British Aerospace, the aircraft was designed to fly off Royal Navy carriers and carry a nuclear bomb in its rotating bomb bay. From 1970 it was also adopted by the RAF after the cancellation of both the TSR2 project and a subsequent order with the American General Dynamics company for the F111.
During the 1991 Gulf War (Desert Storm) the type finally saw action, being used in anger for laser target marking alongside the RAF’s Tornados GR3s. My first recollection of the Buccaneer however was very vivid and much earlier. As a young boy in the 60’s I clearly remember watching news of the stricken oil tanker Torry Canyon. It ran aground off the English coast and one of the solutions to stop the tanker’s cargo further polluting the environment was to blow it up and set the oil on fire. The Royal Navy’s Buccaneers were employed to do this although the strategy proved relatively ineffective.
The kit offered by Revell is actually a reissue of the old 1/72nd Matchbox product originally produced in three colour plastic. It faithfully reproduces the original aircraft’s beautiful shape and smooth lines although the purist view is that no kit manufacturer has ever managed to get the entire airframe totally correct. I can’t see this being an issue for wargamers however and the model does fit together nicely. The kit’s simplicity and limited number of parts also benefits the gamer as assembly and painting can be achieved quite quickly. The downside is the lack of any external wing pylons or weapons and equipment. This is an important omission as the included decals and artwork depict a Buccaneer during the 1991 Gulf War. As already mentioned, this mission was laser targeting and the aircraft achieved this by using a laser pod fixed on an external wing pylon balanced by a sidewinder air defence missile on the other wing.
In summary then, a nice straight forward model of the Buccaneer, well suited to gaming the Gulf War conflict provided you are happy with the basic airframe or you can dip into your spare bits box.
By Pete Harris