Rare Photographs Show Vulcan Bomber Mock-up from Bond Film Thunderball

(Image: Ship of Dreams, reproduced with permission)

James Bond fanatics will recall the memorable scenes in Thunderball when a British bomber aircraft was sabotaged and subjected to a (perfect) water landing, before sinking gracefully to the bottom of the ocean – finishing up on its undercarriage, of course! SPECTRE divers then removed two atomic bombs before concealing the aircraft beneath a camouflaged net. Plane enthusiasts, meanwhile, will know that the jet was an Avro Vulcan bomber, and filming those scenes meant building a convincing full size replica on location.

(Image: Ship of Dreams, reproduced with permission)

These rare photographs, courtesy of Ship of Dreams, show the Vulcan mock-up being constructed on a wharf in the Bahamas. It’s unclear whether this was the finished product, although it’s unlikely filming required a complete aircraft replica as miniatures were also employed (an email to Pinewood Studios requesting information received no response).

(Image: Ship of Dreams, reproduced with permission)

Nevertheless, it was an impressive set employed in one of the movie’s most demanding scenes – filming divers in 50 feet of water removing fake atomic bombs from a fake Vulcan B.1A bomber (albeit with a touch of artistic license) while pretending to kill each other with spear guns.

(Image: Andy Leitch, cc-sa-3.0 – shows later Vulcan B.2, same paint scheme as earlier B.1As)

But what of the set now, and the real Vulcans used in the film? Unfortunately, their fates were less prestigious. In a bid to prevent others using their creation, production crews blew-up the replica with dynamite. Its barely-recognizable remains are now a popular dive spot near Nassau. The real Vulcans were XA913 (used in ground sequences) and XH506 (flying sequences). Both were early B.1A models that were withdrawn from service and scrapped by 1968 – three years after Thunderball was released.

Meanwhile, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust continues to do an incredible job by keeping XH558, the last flying Vulcan, in the air – find out more here.

Keep reading – learn about the efforts to save, and unfortunate fate, of Vulcan XM652, and visit our sibling site Storm Climb for more full size replica aircraft used as movie props.


About the author: Tom


Website: https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com



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