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Mike

Panavia Tornado IDS 1:48

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Panavia Tornado IDS
1:48 Revell


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The Tornado came to be through the cooperation of a number of European nations, the make-up of which changed throughout the project, but finally settled on Great Britain, Germany and Italy, although early on France took their usual fleeting interest, then went their separate way seemingly unconvinced by variable geometry technology. Panavia was established specifically for the venture that became known as MRCA – Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, initially with the Netherlands involved until it pulled out to seek a simpler and less expensive solution of its own. Although the Germans preferred a single-seat arrangement, it was eventually agreed that a two-seat cockpit would be advantageous, and what became the Tornado finally began to take shape.

The first production aircraft reached RAF hands on the cusp of the 1980s, with the Italians receiving theirs in 1981. Because of its "jack of all trades" requirement, it could be argued that it is a master of none, however to a great extent it silenced its critics by becoming a very capable aircraft, although it was never intended to be a dog-fighter. The IDS is operated by the RAF, Italy and the Luftwaffe, and in RAF service it goes by the GR.1 or GR.4 moniker with the GR.1A taking on the reconnaissance role, while the GR.1B was the anti-shipping variant. The GR.4 was a Mid Life Upgrade using lessons learned from the Gulf War, with the GR.4A being an upgraded reconnaissance bird. The ECR is used by Germany and Italy, and is stuffed with electronic countermeasures and AGM-88 HARM missiles to suppress enemy defences. The ADV is the interceptor, with an extended fuselage and nose, with plenty of weapons for taking down aggressors but wouldn't fare well in a dog-fight, sadly.

The Tornado is slowing being replaced by Typhoons, with the F.3 (ADV variant) leading the exodus, and in fairness they are starting to wear out, with RAF fleet alone having clocked up over one million flying hours in many theatres, acting as both peacekeepers as well as taking part in plenty of conflicts over the years.

The Kit
For years we've had the Italeri kits in this scale, and then the Hobby Boss kits, onto which much hope was expended only to find disappointment in what was a bit of a Curate's egg that suffered from crippling shape issues from the serious modeller's point of view. It was a bit of a surprise to this modeller when Revell announced the new kit, given that the release of the Hobby Boss kit could well have diluted any interest from a market-share point of view. The kit has now started to arrive from Revell's warehouses, and we now have a third option for the IDS variant in 1:48, and it might just be the way to go! The kit arrives in one of Revell's end-opening boxes, and I won't rant on about how poor they are because no-one listens. Inside are twelve sprues of pale grey styrene, a sprue of clear parts, and a colourful decal sheet. The instruction manual is traditional Revell and is incredibly cluttered, because this is quite a complex kit with a lot of parts.

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First impressions are good, and there is plenty of detail just about everywhere. The surface detail is restrained, although I could see it disappearing under a thicker coat of brushed-on paint, as the panel lines and riveting is very fine and closer to scale than many. There are lots of options for deploying flaps, slats, air-brakes and reverse-thrust buckets out of the box, and happily you can also portray them closed, which is something that has been forgotten on a great many kits of late. Weapons are included in the box, and the wings are able to be left movable, which is interesting as it manages to include the rotating hard-points under the wings in the equation. Whether this appeals or makes you mutter "toy-like gimmick" under your breath is entirely up to you, but you have to admire the way it's done. I think what I'm trying to say is that this isn't one of Revell's B grade releases. There are no obvious parts of the kit that scream "corner/cost cutting", and that's a good thing because to a lot of 40ish modellers, the Tornado played a big part in airshows as well as defending us from various menaces, so deserves to be given some care and attention.

Wading past the seemingly endless pages of multi-language warnings, paint tables and so forth, you finally get to the meat of the matter. Construction diagrams. It's no surprise that we start with the cockpit, beginning with the seats, which are rather nicely moulded for kit parts, and have multiple parts making up the frame and the cushioning. The seat pads have basic belts moulded into them, which if you plan on replacing them with something a little less anodyne, could be easily scraped off before construction. The cockpit tub is well moulded, and has the roof of the nose gear bay moulded in, to which it mates on the fuselage tray, which builds into a fuselage later on. There is a separate rear bulkhead, plus moulded in consoles and well done rudder pedals, to which you add a control column for the pilot, and ejector seat riser behind his seat. The instrument panels are well done with full painting instructions, and decals for the instruments themselves, which I'm glad to see on a high profile kit like this. A clear HUD panel is added to a pair of brackets on the instrument panel and that's the cockpit done for now. Later on in the build, the rear-seater's bulky instruments that sit atop the space between the seats are added. They are each two-part assemblies forming three boxes that locate on pegs set into the top of the rear instrument panel. The pilot's instrument coaming is moulded into the nose halves described below. Overall, the cockpit looks quite nice with plenty of detail, and should please all but those that would probably get an aftermarket cockpit anyway.

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A note about the fuselage. There isn't one. Not in the usual sense anyway. The build starts off with a tray that is the underside of the fuselage, to which the nose, cockpit area, intakes and main planes are added, then fuselage sides, and finally top. It's an ingenious design, and will result in a good level of detail on all sides, but you have to beware of the joins and make continuous tests to ensure that the parts you just added are in the right place, and that the next part of the fuselage will fit around them. The join-lines have been well placed however, and parts like the wing gloves, nose cone and tail fin are all separate assemblies to simplify the job. Test fit throughout the build, and you'll have a happier time.

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Back to construction, and after drilling out a bunch of flashed over holes on the underside, the intake trunking is installed. The lack of trunking on a lot of Tornado kits has been the cause of much gnashing of teeth over the years, so those people (and the rest of us) will be pleased to hear that you get a full-length trunking on this kit, and it looks like it'll be a breeze to fit. It is split horizontally, and after adding the simplified main gear bay shells, the lower half is added to the lower fuselage. The engine faces are one figure-of-eight shaped part that fits at the rear of the part, and a pair of internal strakes are added on the outer wall of each intake, into little slots on the mating surface. The upper section is then dropped in place and glued, although I would imagine anyone serious about building their Tornado will probably glue, fill seams and then install the completed assembly, although who will see down that far is a relevant question before you expend all that energy. The trunking is well supplied with bracing, so will sit firmly within the fuselage when glued, but the downside is that on the inside of the trunking there are some shallow sink marks where they are.

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Next up is the forward fuselage and nose, which is split vertically and shrouds the cockpit area, but you'll need to drill a couple of holes in the halves before you attach them, as well as paint the interior. I was a little disappointed to find that no sidewall detail had been included on these parts, but a little research and scraps of styrene should improve the result. A gun trough and barrel of the Mauser BK-27 cannon is inserted into a recess on each side of the lower nose, but as usual, check the fit before you glue it, and adjust as necessary. The fuselage sides are added next, and Revell show a great big roll of tape to ensure you glue it up and set the sides well against the bulkheads moulded into the gear bays and intake trunking added earlier. The intake inners are added to the new sides next, and they are confusingly drawn to say the least. You might want to square away the ejector pin on the very rear of the internal face before you install them, as they might be seen when complete. The outer sections are added later along with the fuselage top.

Now for the fun/gimmicky part, depending on your point of view. The wings are of the variable geometry type, so rotate around a point within the wing glove, and this point takes quite a bit of strain even on a model, so it had better be strong. Thankfully, it looks like it is, as the chunky piece installs on a box-bracket made up of the fuselage wall, two cross-braces between the fuselage and intake trunks, and the outer wall of the intake trunks themselves. It also has a dog-leg inner end that slots into a recess in the cross-braces, to ensure it doesn't pull free of the fuselage. I'd let this part cure for a good while before subjecting it to any stresses though, just in case. The wings themselves are in two halves that split horizontally as you'd expect, but only the lower halves are installed initially, with their rounded "teeth" meshing together so that they will move in unison. The rotation point is a large diameter turret with a recess in the top, and the wings attach there, with a reinforced ring around the hole. Two figure-eight weapons mounting points are dropped into the lower wing, with the smaller circular part facing forward, and a connecting rod mounting onto the moulded in pins on each one, and connecting to a pin within the recess on the hinge-point. No glue is used for this part unless you want your Tonka to have and retain a certain wing position of course. The upper wings are added next to cover the workings and secure them in place… hopefully! A T-shaped part is then glued to a bulkhead and snaps into the sockets on the rotation point of the wings, to keep them in place until after the fuselage upper is added a few steps along.

The upper fuselage is made up from a flat panel to which the forward spine and intake upper skin is added, plus the bays for the large air-brakes at the rear. In order to fit it, you have to first install the inflatable bags that seal the gaps around the wing trailing edge, and here's where the movable wings starts to look like a gimmick in a way. The bags have to be cut to accommodate the swept wing, and left uncut for the unswept lower speed configuration, so if you want to be able to change the wing sweep, you have to cut the bags and hope no-one notices. You also can't deploy the flaps, as those will just get in the way. However, and it's a fairly important however – whichever option you choose, you know that all your weapons and wings will be pointing in the right direction, rather than having to set them yourself. After all that decision making and soul-searching, you can then install the upper fuselage, at which point it starts to look like a Tornado. So far the intakes have only their inner side installed, but Revell have thought the matter through and included the variable intake ramps that adjust the airflow to suit the engine's needs at different attitudes and speed. This ramp is a single part and has a fin that you can cut down to replicate an angle of 16o, 7o or 0o, depending on either your whim or if you're knowledgeable on the subject, the flight characteristics at the time you are depicting. There is another smaller section that fits forward of the main ramp, and finally you can install the outer edge of the intake, but you'll have a seam and a couple of sink marks to deal with on the lower lip. The wing gloves snap over the wing roots and form a butt-joint with the fuselage sides, so take care with the glue here.

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At the rear of the fuselage, and two-part shroud for the exhausts is added, trapping the mounts for the elevators in place, and two bump-stops within the fuselage sides stop them from deflecting too far in either direction, although you're not advised to leave them unglued. To the rear of the shroud is the end-cap and mounting points for the thrust-reverser buckets, which is a single part and nicely detailed. The twin exhaust trunking is linked and splits horizontally, having ribbing moulded inside its length, and the rear face of the engine is similarly linked to ensure correct alignment. A pair of separate afterburner rings are supplied, and these too are well detailed. The exhaust cans with their petals are also separate, and quite delicate given that they are one part with two layers of petals. Overall, this area is very well detailed out of the box, and can even be left off until after painting, as it simply slides into the rear of the fuselage. The thrust buckets are handled later in the build, but you are supplied with two sets of actuators, one for deployed, the other for stowed. They insert into the rear of the fuselage (and probably prevent leaving off the exhaust trunks until later, thinking about it), and you either place the buckets into their recesses on the fuselage, or attach all four on the ends of their rams, forming an open clam-shape behind the exhausts, which is why Tornados get such sooty fins.

One of the nicknames for the Tornado is "the Fin", and you can see why, because its fin is huge and covered in sensors and antennae. Cleverly, Revell have moulded the main sensors separately, the first set at the top of the fin are built up as a dumb-bell shaped assembly that is sandwiched between the tail halves, locking it in place. The rudder is separate and poseable, but can't be left to swing in the breeze. The tail fillet at the bottom is also separate, and two further sensor blisters fit on either side atop the rudder. This gives leeway for differing variants down the line, one would hope. The elevators are split horizontally and affix to the aforementioned tabs added earlier in the build. If you're careful with the glue, they can be left movable, but that's entirely up to you. The large fairings above their hinge points are added to a small recess in the top part of the elevator, which might be best done before they are added, if you want them to remain mobile.

For some reason the addition of the nose cone is left until this point, and you are incited to add 40g of nose weight to prevent it from sitting up and begging when you put it on the shelf. Is it me, or does that sound a lot to you? I fully intend to take note, and shove as much weight in as I can, being careful not to melt the nose with the heat generated by the curing of large quantities of super-glue (CA). There's been some talk on the forum about the nose area being a little long, with an extra panel line that needs filling, so have a look, make your own mind up and decide whether you want to correct it or live with it.

If you're leaving the flaps up, you can cut off the little (and highly breakable) screw-threads from the lower wings before you install them, installing only the assembly marked as 46a, which is quite hard to find in the confusing melée that are Revell instructions. Job done. If you are deploying the flaps, you the addition part that includes the flap-tracks that are hidden away when stowed. You have the same option on the slats, but the guides and screw-threads are separate parts that are added if you want to deploy them. You then add the slats to the ends and hope you get the angle right, as there's no scrap drawings included as a guide. The spoilers on the upper wings can be posed deployed or stowed too, but with no extra parts needed this time, as you simply stand the part up, or lay it down in the bay. The final in-or-out decision relates to the air-brakes, which are either laid on their bays, or have a strengthening rib added to the inside and an actuating ram holding them at the correct angle.

If you're modelling your Tornado wheels up, all you need to do is cut the hinge tabs off the bay doors and fit them to the airframe, but if you're posing her wheels down, you have a bit more cutting to do. The nose gear bay doors are supplied as a single part with engraved cut lines for posing them open, which makes an in-flight model much easier, while reducing the part-count and tooling costs. It's no real imposition to cut the bay doors, so it seems to me quite a good idea, as so many modern kits are being tools to have all their bays and wheels out, with no real option to do an in-flight model without a good deal of work. The gear legs are moulded in halves, split vertically, and have plenty of detail added in the form of retraction jacks, scissor-links on the oleo-struts, and a clear landing light on the nose gear strut and the main gear doors. The wheels are split with moulded in hubs, but the detail is quite good, although there is no flat-spot, so you'll have to sand your own in if the mood takes you. The main gear legs have a large moulded-in brace to the rear, and a sink mark has crept in between the two side-walls, so you'll need to break out a very narrow tool to smear in some putty in if you think it'll be seen on the finished model.

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The clear canopy on this kit is made from two parts, separated in the same manner as the real aircraft. The sharply angled windscreen attaches to the recess around the pilot's instrument panel and should be faired in to more closely represent the real thing. The canopy is a large single part with framing and det-cord to shatter the Perspex hood moulded in. Unlike most modern kits, there are inner sill detail parts to add to the sides of the canopy, which also act as the rams to hold the canopy open. By removing one of the legs on each side the canopy can also be posed closed if you wish too. A set of six rear-view mirrors are glued into recesses on the inside of the canopy frames too, which is also nice to see. A pair of clear navigation lights are supplied for the intake sides, and a number of aerials, blade antennae and sundry bumps and lumps finish off the main build.

Weapons are a major feature of any modern jet, and the Tornado can carry quite an arsenal of them into battle. Happily, there are some on the sprues, plus two large gas-tanks that are sometimes known as Hindenburger tanks around modelling forums. Without these, the Tornado would hardly look the same! A BOZ pod with a slightly curious looking rear end is included, as is a Cerebus jamming pod for the opposite wing station, with a Skyshadow pod lurking on the sprues, which is used by the RAF. Whilst talking RAF, there are also the LMRTS and FLIR pods for an RAF aircraft, but you'll need to make your own glazing, as it has been "switched off" on the clear sprue. The ubiquitous Sidewinders for the inner pylon spur are present, but they have slightly odd shaped and appear a little over-simplified, so would be better replaced with some from the spares box, or by aftermarket items. A centrally mounted recce pod and its single pylon is mentioned in the instructions, but you are advised not to fit it for the supplied decal option, which is a little obtuse. The alternative twin under-fuselage pylons are supplied, but with no stores to place on them. It's a shame that some of the other munitions that the Tornado carries weren't included, but the fact that this is an initial special edition with only one commemorative special scheme, coupled with the superb price makes it much more tolerable, even to those of us prone to churlishness.

Markings
The decals are colourful and printed on a medium sized sheet "in Italy" for Revell, so draw from that what you will. The scheme celebrates the 50 year anniversary of JaBoG 33 stationed at Büchel in 2008, wearing the codes 45+44. The airframe sports a three-tone graded scheme that fades from light grey through dark grey into black, and the two greys are called out as one of Revell's mixes, with no actual colour name, FS number or other clue given. The decals seem to be very well printed with a LOT of colour, especially in the tail areas, which are printed as one single decal, save for a section on the port side. Colour density, registration and sharpness are good, while the carrier film is thin and closely cropped around the decals.

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Conclusion
I think this qualifies as an accurate modern tooling of this fast jet that many of us in Europe have quite a fondness for. The detail is well done, engineering is sensible, although you need to take care when aligning the fuselage panels to avoid gaps, and the level of "extras" such as opening flaps, thrust reversers etc. is on a par with a much more expensive kit.

I have my reservations about the popularity of the supplied colour scheme being a little tricky for some modellers, especially those without an airbrush, but I think it will sell well because it is a brand new tooled injection moulded Tornado in 1:48, and no-one seems yet to have identified any massive flaws in the shape. It's difficult to comment on the outline with the parts in the box, because the fuselage is split into relatively flat sections, but there are already a few being built up on Britmodeller, and they seem to be going pretty well.

Extremely highly recommended.



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Thanks chap - good news is, it won't break the bank either ;)

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Mike your reviews are always a great , well done

Many thanks

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Not "my thing" at all as a subject but for those who do like the Tornado, for about 20 quid here in the UK, how can you go wrong !

Gary

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Great review Mike and I love the subtle reference to BritModeller now becoming WorldModeller!

I think this qualifies as an accurate modern tooling of this fast jet that many of us in Europe have quite a fondness for.

I've got two in the stash already! I'm no expert on the Tonka but the after market decals I have for the Italeri kit seem to look good for this release too.

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Nice and useful review, thanks.

Indeed, the sidewinders shape looks strange.

Can't even give the model.

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great review.

Is it possible to build a Gr1 with the provided kit parts? Have some Decals lurking around here to build a couple of gr1's...

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I currently have an Italeri 1/48 special boxing of their IDS tornado, which includes in the markings a 16 squadron anniversary from 1990, gloss black scheme with special squadron markings. As one of the previous posters has asked, can a GR1 be made from this kit?

If so, just wondering if it would be better to pick this kit up and use this and the Italeri kit markings?

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great review.

Is it possible to build a Gr1 with the provided kit parts? Have some Decals lurking around here to build a couple of gr1's...

Allan Bottoms describes how to build a GR.4 from this kit in the November 2014 issue of Model Airplane International. It seems most of the parts are there. I have to admit that I don't know what's different between a GR.4 and the GR.1, but I figured I would point this out since you may know the difference. Allan mentions that most of the parts are included for the GR.1 under-nose targeting gear.

Cheers,

Bill

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Just finished this build..although im far from a pro modeller,it's been a really good build..although the instructions are a bit confusing in places,the model goes together really well and looks great when complete..I can vouch for this kit

Daz

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