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Tornado GR.4 1:48


Mike
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Tornado GR.4
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
We reviewed the initial IDS boxing of this new tooling from Revell in June of last year here, and this new boxing adds new parts to depict a modern RAF complete with additional fuel tanks and a sizeable quantity of the weapons it will typically carry.

The box has a new painting on the front, and the rest of the artwork has been changed to the new more modern and glossy style that Revell have adopted in all their latest releases. The instructions booklet is also in the new style, but with the majority of the original drawings lifted and placed in a new background, however some aspects of the instructions have been re-done to improve clarity, which is nice to see. You will notice also that Revell have finally ditched that boring pale greeny-grey styrene in favour of a more standard mid grey, which meant I had to re-take all the photos! Into every life a little rain must fall, I suppose. The sprues are mostly the same, and you get fifteen sprues in grey, and one in clear. Now we have to address the clear parts, as there has been a lot of talk about this issue on the internet, because it appears that Revell have forgotten to switch-on the part of the sprue that contains the wedge-shaped glazing for the front of the LRMTS fairing under the nose. I understand that this is now in hand, but in the meantime the kit appears to have been withdrawn from sale until the new part is ready.

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Construction of the kit is almost identical to the IDS apart from a few areas, so I won't go through it from start to finish, but if you didn't read the IDS review, just open the link above in a new window, then report back here to hear about the differences.

The first difference is the inclusion of a new forward area of the spine behind the cockpit, which has a few additional access panels from its predecessor, and don't be fooled into gluing the old part in, as it is still included in the box. Cut it off the sprues and hide it down the back of the sofa, just in case. The huge fin that gives rise to one of the Tornado's nicknames is also different, as the sensor fit for the GR.4 results in a dissimilar shaped cowling forward and aft. This is now a single part, where the old kit had two parts that glued together to do the same job. The blade antennae on the fin sides fit into slots in the parts, and should stay in place once glued, but you must remember to open up their slots before gluing the tail halves together – the notification on the instructions is pretty small and gets lost amongst the other parts.

The GR.4 has twin sensor fairings under the nose, and these are provided, while the glazing for the LRMTS is missing at time of writing, as detailed above. The under-fuselage pylons are different, and one central pylon can be fitted, or two, depending on which holes you open up. The rest of the build carries on as previously until you get to the weapons fit, which is specific to British aircraft, with the 2250L "Hindenburger" fuel tanks, BOZ 107 pod and the Skyshadow pod, plus the usual smaller 1500L tanks, a pair of AIM-9L Sidewinders that are carried on the side of the inner pylon on the variable sweep wings.


Markings
Two decal options are included on the substantial sheet, which is printed in Italy and has the suffix C for Cartograf on the sheet code, which is a welcome sight, as the quality of some of Revell's recent decals has been lower than usual, sadly. From the box you can build one of the following options:

  • No.41 Squadron, RAF Coningsby, England July 2011 – all over grey with white tail, red squadron cross, Tornado and DH.2 silhouettes at the top and bottom.
  • No.617 Squadron RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, July 2008 – overall grey with black fin tip and red lightning flash.

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Colour density, registration and sharpness are excellent overall, however on my review sample there was a little ghosting beneath the black printing around the silhouettes, resembling fine fibres causing a bit of a drop-shadow, which I initially thought was intentional. Hopefully this was a one-off, but do check your sheet to make sure. These portions can be removed easily enough with a sharp scalpel if they bother you.


Conclusion
This is a newly tooled Tornado, which we have been waiting for in this scale for some time until last year. It's great to be able to model a GR.4 from the box, and due to the clever design of the kit the detail is excellent on the complex fuselage shape, the gear bays are well-detailed, and the wing-swing mechanism is just gravy.

Highly recommended once part 173 is reinstated.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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Good review Mike, been looking forward to this release. Any knowledge if the 20+ in stock at Hannants are the revised ones? Is there any process in place for ppl who bought the original I wonder.

Edited by Wezra
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Thanks Mike.

Where are the specific GR. weapons you talk about?

I mean, appart those noname AIM-9...

I think Mike is only referring to the BIG tanks as there are no weapons other than the Sidewinders in the kit.

Nice review Mike .... despite the box art and instruction improvements, I bet Revell are still persisting with those horrible end opening boxes :unsure:

BillyD

Yes they seem to be with all their new releases :(
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just picked one up today from Antics in Plymouth - Unfortunately, it's got the lens missing off the clear sprue! And the guys in the store advised that this was from the latest batch supplied to them.

Edited by treker_ed
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Just picked one up today from Antics in Plymouth - Unfortunately, it's got the lens missing off the clear sprue! And the guys in the store advised that this was from the latest batch supplied to them.

mine actually had 2 cleas spues in the box one with the lens, one without it!

so check again, maybe you are lucky!

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This was checked in the store, and all the sprues were taken out of the box. Only one clear sprue was present. If there had been two, I would not have made the comment in the first place.

But thank you for the suggestion.

Edited by treker_ed
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi,

A detail I noticed: the instrument panels/console decals are for the GR4, but the plastic parts are for the IDS.

The results are interesting.

Cheers,

Sebastien

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 years later...

Sort of late to the party, but can anyone tell me if all the parts for the GR.1 are also in this release?

 

Thank!

 

Michael

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