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I have been looking for a while for my next jet project and wanted to get started on something to possibly have ready for Model Expo next year in Melbourne. A few types were considered, being this one (although in its GR1 variant), a French Crusader and an F-15 E Strike Eagle. I decided on the Tornado F3 after a conversation with my last build subject pilot, being Sean Trestrail (TTAIL) who flew the Mirage that I had depicted. His close friend flew F3's during the Gulf war for the RAF as an Aussie exchange pilot. Knowing my interest in depicting military aircraft operated by the RAAF, or military aircraft in foreign service flown by an RAAF pilot, naturally I was drawn to the subject. After some research, I decided that it was almost going to be too hard, due to the fairly extensive nature of the conversion required to change a GR1 kit to an F3. There are no commercial conversion sets available, and the trail had gone cold on a few of the cottage industry conversions out there. Luckily, I was able to have sent to me an excellent conversion set, which will form the basis of this conversion. Details of the conversion, and also the pilot will come in due course.
First up, the parts! I have tried to get my hands on as much aftermarket as possible, although some of it is not suited to the F3, it will also be modified in due course. 
So far I have gathered: Aires Cockpit set, Aires exhausts, Master pitot tube, PHIMAT pod from an italeri Mirage IIIE, Zactomodels AIM-9L missiles and Eduard Brassin Sparrow's. 
I got straight into the conversion. First up was the nose. The parts that I have been supplied are 3D printed and are pretty well drop in. I have been quite pleased with how well the parts have been designed and made. The white nature of the parts means that the detail is a little hard to capture in the picture. The parts will need to be cleaned up to get rid of the layered surface but there is hardly any there such is the quality of the printer used. Compared to the GR1 nose the shape is a fair bit different.
The nose dry fitted to the forward fuselage, without modification. Fit is outstanding. I also filled the left side gun port as it was deleted on the F3.
There will be a little bit more work on the panels required here, but a small length of styrene rod glued in with superglue and sanded to fit made short work of the gun port.
The F3's were fitted with F/A-18 style stick grips before they went to the gulf, so I raided my Academy Hornet kit for one as they have 2 even in the single seat version.
Compared to the Aires joystick
Grafted on.
Parts of the forward fuselage plug. These parts virtually snap together and are very strong. I am still quite pleased with how well it all fits.

Once the two halves of the plug were glued together with superglue, the bulkhead was slid into place and also glued. The whole assembly is very rigid and will add considerable strength to the model.
The built up part next to the fuselage ready for the razor saw to begin its work. I have started to mark out where the plug will sit, which by design is where the panel line is on the model.

Edited by egalliers
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Is it the fantastic conversion set from Tim from Bristol??? B)

Looks fantastic! :worthy: It is good to see that it is now in some form ready! Is it?


Best regards


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Never knew this conversion was even possible! This will be a impressive one!

Don't you just love 3d printing?


I'll be on your six with this build!



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Impressive job! it is very interesting the use of the 3d printer to supply the missing of aftermarket on the F.3 in the bis scale! I'll follow with interest your next updates!

Kind regards


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Nice work, this is gonna be superb! Great choice of aircraft too, what squadron and markings are you going for?


I see you have a huge array of reference material but I can highly recommend the following book, a massive selection of images and info on all aspects of the F.3:-





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I'm in, this is going to be a cracker.:popcorn:


Those Sparrows will need converting to Skyflash. Minor work though, compared with the fuselage changes you're doing.

There will be some other additions, depending on what time during Op Granby the jet will be depicted. Several extra "bits" were hurriedly added, like flare dispensers under the engine doors.

I think Jabba worked on F3's during the Gulf war, he will be a mine of information.



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Thanks alot guys.


More work!

Time for the razor saw to make an entrance. This conversion requires some pretty careful cutting of the kit plastic and it can either be an easy process or a hard process. The key is not to over complicate things.

The GR.1 fuselage bottom, thinking it was going to have an easy life....




The conversion calls for the insert to be placed along a panel line that is quite prominent on the side of the fuselage, but doesn't extend around to the bottom. I placed some dymo tape, lined up with both sides of the fuselage panel line.
This was then lightly scribed with my Trumpeter scriber, before being deepend with the tape removed in preparation for the razor saw.




Some time was spent working out how to tackle the top cut over the spine as it is a compound curve and would not conform to conventional straight edges. I found that drawing a line with pencil held at the right height whilst the fuselage was rotated around it worked the best.




I then used the razor saw to carefully cut the deepend panel lines until the part separated.




The fuselage plug dry fitted to the kit part. Pretty bloody good.




The next part to be fitted was the large fuselage bottom with the all important missile wells.




I measured the rebate




I divided the first measurement by 2 (rounded up to the nearest .05mm) and marked out a line either side of the fuselage halves.




This was then scribed and deepend as per before, along with squaring up the edge of the wheel bay and extending it to the long lines.




Nice straight cuts of some pretty big pieces. I reckon a JLC razor say will be mandatory if you are going to be building this conversion.




Some small locating lugs needed to be removed to fit the part.




The reward for the precision measurements and cuts was that the new part virtually clicked into place. 




The modified forward fuselage. Some filler will be required here and there but overall, very pleased with the progress.



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This has been a grail item for a lot of folks for some time now. :Tasty: Are you going to keep us in suspenders over who created the kit, or can we inundate them with orders now please? ^_^

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Really good progress!!!

I started doing something like that a few years ago using a 1/48 IDS by Italeri and....an F3 by Airfix!!!! Of course the quality was much better!!!:D

Just joking, You're doing really well!!!

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More work. It was now time to cut the kit up for the major join in the fuselage. Upon first inspection, the join looked a little complicated, but it was relatively straight forward. Here is how I did it.


I drew a straight line on the centreline of the fuselage.




Using dymo tape I then scribed the panel line that exists at the front edge of the main gear bay across to the centreline. This was deepend as per previous methods.




I then marked out a line on the side of the fuselage ready for cutting




Once the part was cut out of the fuselage and some minor locating lugs inside it were removed, the new part was slid into place.






The topside, once again, a perfect fit. There is a large rebate engineered into this part, both top and bottom to allow for a large amount of strength in this join.




The new tail fillet. Notice that the rudder on the kit has a straight bottom edge, whereas the new part is kinked where it will meet the rudder.




The new part fitted, with a suitable modification made to the kit rudder. The small locating lug on the bottom of the rudder is accommodated in the new part which has a hole that locks into it. 




The tail fillet also requires some modification of the rear lip of the fuselage




Dry fitted.



Edited by egalliers
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seems that printed parts are a bit rough.

I guess it wil need some surfacer and sanding right?

And do they feature recessed lines? Or are you going to to scribe them?



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3 hours ago, rom1 said:



seems that printed parts are a bit rough.

I guess it wil need some surfacer and sanding right?

And do they feature recessed lines? Or are you going to to scribe them?




Hi Rom,


The parts are slightly rough, which is to be expected considering that they are 3D printed. Having said this, they are of extremely high quality and will not require to much effort. I have already cleaned up the nose and it looks terrific. There are no lines on the parts but I will scribe them once they are in place.


More work. It was now time for the final plug to be fitted to the tail. Once again this part has been nicely designed and is quite strong. The cut needed to be along the first panel line aft of the airbrake wells.




Once I worked out where the cut needed to be made, I was left with working out how to mark it out. the fuselage is slanted and also curved, so normal dymo tape or straight edge wasn't going to work. I found that by placing a shim under one half, I was able to make the fuselage perpendicular to my workbench.




This then allowed me to position a pencil at the correct height and rotate the pencil around the fuselage to give a line in the correct position.




I then very carefully cut along the pencil line and separated each part.




The front side of the part fits into the fuselage exactly, and accommodates the undersides of the air brake wells.




Now the major parts of the conversion are complete. There are still many more small things to address, including modifying the cockpit, extension of the leading edges of the wing roots, sidewinder rails etc etc.





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