Gordon Nichol’s Victor

The Victor design broke new ground by having the unusual wing feature of three decreasing degrees of sweepback. In adopting what was to become popularly known as the crescent wing, Reginald Stafford anticipated the advantages of a swept back wing with a low thickness/chord ratio and delta shape. The resulting reduction of drag produced a high critical mach number at a constant value across the span. The crescent wing also enabled an excellent range and extreme operational altitude to be achieved.

The crew of five were housed in a pressure cabin in the distinctive deep pointed nose. The weapons bay was much larger than the other relatively new Valiant and Vulcan with a capacity of 35 1000lb bombs being possible.

The prototype was first flown from Boscombe Down on 24th December 1952. Bomber command ordered the Victor and it went into operational service with No.10 squadron in April 1958. Over the years there were a few developments to the aircraft where it was made slightly bigger and used increasingly powerful engines. There was also a tanker version entering service in 1966.

The Victor had a long life and made a strong contribution in the Falklands and first Gulf War. It was taken out of service in 1993 after nearly 50 years of use. Two aircraft remain in the UK and can be seen in the museums at Elvington and Duxford.

Gordon’s Model


Landing at Cosford 2002.

It was the autumn of 2001 when Gordon decided that the victor would be his next project. Initial research was carried out with the assistance of Dave Boddington and Mike Jackson. Mike was able to produce considerable detail drawings of cross sections of the fuselage and wing. Gordon also visited the full-size aircraft. The basis for Gordon’s Victor was the superb scale drawings created by Arthur Bentley. Most of the outlines were simply drawn onto the building bench during construction.

A scale of 1/7 was decided upon resulting in a large structure with a wingspan of 17ft 4in and a wing area of 51 sq. ft. The sweep on the wings at 25% chord is 48 degrees on the inner third, 37 degrees on the centre third and 26 degrees on the outer third. Other details are given below.

Model Details


Despite the size, conventional construction is Gordon’s preferred technique using balsa wood, liteply, ply, spruce and pine.The total time to build the model was an astonishing five months. This is dedicated work, and yes he does have a full-time job as well.

The most complicated part of the construction was the wing. Scale wing sections were used requiring a mixture of anhedral and dihedral sections. The root section is almost 10″ deep and of a symmetrical section. The centre section was virtually symmetrical , but inverted ie the greatest curve was on the underside. The outer section changes to a semi-symmetrical section at the tip. To ensure adequate strength the root and centre sections were made using a combination of plywood, hardwood and balsa. The outer sections were constructed from foam with a 3/32″ balsa sheet covering.

The fuselage has three components with removable nose and tail sections. Most of the construction effort was expended creating the fuselage mid-section onto which was added the wing centre panels that incorporate the engine air intakes, the Jetcat engines, the main undercarriages and the exhaust effluxes. Scale flying surface incidences were used throughout the construction.

The pictures below illustrate the hard work that must have gone into completing this project.

There were a great many fuselage formers used, cut from ¼” plywood and stringers used around the circumference. The planked fuselage skin then only had to be done in 1/8” balsa. This picture shows the halves of the main fuselage sections joined on the workbench.


The nose and tail sections of the fuselage, nose cone is planked.

Root and end ribs for the stub wings were jigged up on the fuselage sides, the outer two ribs being jigged against the edges of the work benches. With these two critical incidences establishing and the master ribs in place, the remainder of the inner wing structure was added.

The nose wheel and the main legs incorporate brakes and were made by Gordon with the help of Tony Goodyear. The retract units were made by Neil Dare using commercial air cylinders. Gordon fabricated the main undercarriage four-wheel bogies. These swing through 90 degrees as the legs retract to sit horizontally in the undercarriage bay. The scale wheels are only 3″ diameter and were made by Len Gardiner. Four wheels were used on each main unit with two on the stearable noseleg.

A set of ply sub-formers were used to shape around the turbine motor installations and expanded polystyrene blocks in-filled between ribs at the leading edge air intakes. These were carved and sanded to achieve the final scale shape of the air intakes, which are a dominant feature of the Victor’s outline.

This picture shows the tailplane and fin unit. Initially, it was intended for this to be removable, but there was some flexing due to the nature of the tube connectors in the fin and so Gordon changed his mind to reduce the possibility of flutter.

After construction was complete the whole structure was covered with lightweight glass cloth using finishing resin. After sanded it was sprayed with gloss white cellulose paint. The colour scheme used was to simulate the active scheme used by the “N” Force in the 1960’s and early 1970’s to help cut down the radiation absorbed.


These are Jetcat P120’s from Germany. They were placed in the wing roots and used stainless steel exhausts. Operation is simplicity itself. Gordon just has to press two buttons on his transmitter (one for each engine), that’s it! The Graupner Jetcat 120 engines feature on-board starter motors, which spool up the turbines to the point of ignition. The starter motors are powered by two 2400mAh 7.2V batteries. The engines are run at 120000 rpm producing 29lb of thrust from each engine.


The on-board radio features a split system, with two Futaba 149 receivers, each linked to half of the main control functions. In this arrangement, each receiver controls one of the elevators and one of the ailerons, inner and outer flap sections etc. So if a servo, receiver, or a battery pack fails, there’s enough control to get the machine safely back on the ground. A Futaba Zap transmitter is used.

HiTech servos are used on the ailerons, flaps, engine control, brakes, rudder and elevators. Gordon says that he’s lost count of the actual number of servos installed, but there are at least 20. The wiring of this took Gordon almost a week to complete.

electronics victor-inside

Receivers, batteries and associated electronics are installed on a neatly accessible installation tray at the front of the fuselage centre section which is accessed by removing the nose cone.



Flying during Cosford 2002

The model was first flown in 2002. The take-off is rather long and scale-like, but the landings can be very short and are aided by the efficiency of the brakes on nose wheel and main legs. In the air, it is superbly smooth, with an air of realism that is truly majestic. The climb-out from a low pass is particularly impressive. It just has to be seen and heard to be appreciated. The light wing loading makes it easy to fly, but Gordon reports that it does need to be flown. The elevator needs constant attention and cannot be trimmed for a whole flight. The aileron response is poor, although the rudder is effective.

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