Continuing my reviews of what I call Revell of Germany
ís Big is Beautiful series I get to look at their Tornado GR Mk 1 RAF. Now this model was originally released 20 years ago, but this is the latest version of that model to hit the market and see how the moulds are standing up, and how the model itself has aged.
The following is the introduction provided by Revell of Germany
A powerful and divesting force which for three European NATO nations (UK, Germany and Italy) in the late 1970s was to become reality as the supersonic swing-wing Panavia Multi Role Combat Aircraft, named Tornado, it has formed the backbone of air power for three countries from the early 1980s. The main version is the IDS (Interdictor Strike) for ground attack and reconnaissance, with the ADV (Air Defence Version) mainly for Royal Air Force service. The German Air Force also operates the ECR ( Wild Weasel ) version. Combat debut came during the 1991 Gulf War when RAF and Italian Tornados carried out many dangerous missions against heavily defended Iraqi targets. Although such actions were not without losses, the concept of this low flying, rugged multi-role aircraft, with its sophisticated terrain-following radar and advanced avionics and defence system, was well proven. The tri-national programme has a proved a major success for the European defence industries and during the coming years many more airframe and weapons updates will ensure that Tornado remains one of the world's most formidable combat aircraft.
Thankfully inside a traditional tray with separate lid as opposed the more usual end opening box from Revell of Germany
, you will find;
- 7 grey sprues
- 2 clear sprues
- A huge decal sheet
- An advisory sheet
- A loose leafed instruction booklet
This recent limited edition release from Revell of Germany
of the Tornado GR Mk1 is embossed with the company logo and a 1996 date stamp, so how does this model hold up in todayís market. The moulding are in surprisingly good shape for the age of the moulds, with the only issues I have found moulding wise being some sink marks, one of which will be a pain to correct, and some very minor flash which is to be expected. There are a number of cooling lines visible on most of the larger structures; however none of these feel to have caused a deformity. For the most part pieces for specific areas of the build can be found on one or at most two sprues. The gates between the mouldings and the sprues are minimal in number, well laid out and easy to get a side cutter to them.
Revell of Germany
has captured the cockpit detail of the Tornado reasonably well. The pilots control panel is well laid out with the bottom dial on the left hand side nearest the centre not being present in any of my reference. The navigators control panel is also a good match for my reference detail wise, with plus points for tackling the various angles of the various parts of the control panel being well replicated; the panel on the bottom right of the centre does not match my reference again. While these control panels do not match my reference, the Tornado has been in service some time and so these could replicate control panels I do not have reference on.
The Martin Baker ejector seats Mk10 have some nice detail on them and consist of a surprising number of parts. The cloth portion of the seats has nice subtle detail on them. The seat harness detail is very well detailed on the cloth portion of the seats and the headrests; while I suspect some will want to use photo etched harness detail I feel this aspect will be acceptable to a large proportion of modellers.
The rest of the cockpit also has fair detail especially considering the age of the moulds. I know that the cockpit can be improved with the use of some after-market products, however I still feel the cockpit area will be acceptable to a large number of modellers, and for those who wish to hit the after-market providers can pick and choose without having had to pay a kingís ransom for the model in the first place.
The undercarriage on this model is a mixed bag as regards construction and good news just about everywhere else. Revell of Germany
seems to insist on splitting the undercarriage legs on their models in this scale; now you may think why does that matter, well it is my opinion that hiding these joints and using any filler that may be needed will be a pain to clean up. On the plus side the undercarriage legs are very nicely detailed and from my reference appears accurate, that however raises a concern for me that is not the fault of Revell of Germany
. The detail that Revell of Germany
has faithfully reproduced means that the legs are not as strong as most undercarriages would normally be and this causes me some concern about breakages due to the weight of the model. There are metal struts available from the after-market companies which may be worth looking into if my concerns prove accurate. I should add that Revell of Germany
has made the area as strong as they were able so far as I can see.
The wheels for the model are weighted, which is a plus but be careful of wheel orientation so that the flat area is on the ground. The wheel bays have quite good structural detail but no real cable detail and so itís time to hit your reference or the modellers friend Google; there is a lot of available reference online due to how long the Tornado has been in service and this makes it easy for you to add the missing cable detail with fuse wire or similar.
The internal intake pipes for the engine have not been supplied with the model and while the adjustable vent hides a good amount of this area it may be worth considering adding some scratch worked tubing behind, or like me and think about cloth covers over the intakes. Before closings up the fuselage make sure you open up any holes you may want such as for the in-flight refuelling probe. Revell of Germany
has done a good job of nudging you at the right time when it comes to opening up these holes but I mention it as I know some of us like to bounce around instruction booklets rather than following them to the letter. One area of concern here is the area where the trailing edge of the wings enter the fuselage when the wings are swept back; Revell of Germany
has supplied a shaped plastic fillet for this area, however I would suggest looking at applying polythene of similar to the area. Another solution I am considering is teddy bear fur, this is used by armour modellers to represent grass and the like on dioramas but if laid out and secured it could provide a pleasing result I feel. For those that want to display the nose open and have the radar on show I found a sink mark in the radome which will be very hard to correct.
The wings have no workable control surfaces and so assemble should be straightforward; Revell of Germany
has however made the weapons pylons workable in order that you do not have to decide if you want the wings swept or not. The recessed panel lines are very fine and very shallow and this will require careful painting I feel not to obscure the detail. The panel lines do match reference with the exception of some missing detail around the pylons pivot point.
Vertical and horizontal stabilizers
The huge vertical stabilizer on the Tornado is very well replicated and as far as I can tell accurate; the rudder on the tail is not a workable surface but this does make life easier. The horizontal stabilizers are also nicely done and again have accurate recessed panel lines; the horizontal stabilizers are designed to be workable but I again recommend they are secured in place. The tail does have some very nicely replicated detail despite the age of the model and this area should look very nice, this is perhaps just as well being a very identifiable area of the real aircraft and having had some great artistry applied to it over the years the Tornado has been in service.
The fuselage shares the same attributes as the rest of the exterior as regards the panel lines, and so you are again warned about taking care with the painting to avoid flooding/obscuring the detail. What I suspect will surprise you is how quickly the main parts all come together and you have a very large model to move about while continuing assembly. The reverse thrust braking system is an area that I would have liked to see better detailed, however you do get the airbrakes supplied with the ability to show them deployed or retracted. Due to the Tornado being a swing wing aircraft the portion behind the cockpit is split down the sides and the front fuselage is split the traditional top and bottom, depending on how good the joints are this may cause some issues when cleaning up any filled joints.
The main canopy moulding is very well done with good clarity. The explosive used to blow the canopy when the aircrew need to eject is moulded proud on the inner face and so I am going to have to give painting some thought, the pattern of the cord is well replicated. It is regarding the clear moulding where I may have to see how good Revell of Germany
ís aftercare is due to a deformity on the front portion of the canopy, the front portion of the canopy has a cooling line on it across a glazed panel and so impossible to hide; I suspect some are thinking polish it out but as I believe it is a flow mark as opposed to a scratch it will be full thickness.
I contacted Revell of Germany
reference the moulding fault on the canopy on March 29th, a replacement sprue arrived on the 12th April. I feel this is a fair turn of speed when it comes to replacement parts.
Have you ever purchased a model and then been confronted with a limited or poor selection of military hardware, well that is not an accusation you can lay at Revell of Germany
ís door with this release. There are two very large sprues of weapons which are;
- 2 x 2250 litre fuel tanks
- 2 x 1500 litre fuel tanks
- 1 x BOZ-107 chaff/flare pod
- 1 x ECM pod Sky Shadow
- 4 x 1000ib iron bombs
- 2 x 1000ib laser guided bomb
- 2 x AIM-9L/M sidewinder missiles
The missiles look to be reasonable representations of the various pieces of hardware. The AIM-9L/M sidewinder missiles do give me one concern and one observation. The concern is that the front fins seem to not quite be the correct shape but then again I may have misidentified the exact sidewinder missile type. The observation is that the instructions covering assembly of the sidewinder shows the tail fins being installed backwards.
Instructions and decals
The instruction booklet is a loose leafed offering that guides you through construction using black and white line drawings. I like the fact that Revell of Germany
call out detail painting instructions as the build progresses as some companies do not.
The decal sheet for this model is nearly the size of the box, and that is over A3 size. The decals look far to me and I have to date not had any issues with their decals. A look through the decals shows a very thorough generic decals and three good finishing options. The three finishing options included in the product are;
No31 Squadron RAF, Bruggen, Germany 1995
No617 Squadron RAF, Lossiemnouth, UK 1992
Tornado detachment, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, Operation Desert Storm 1991
I cannot be anything but very impressed with what Revell of Germany
provides you with from the box for the price and that is despite the age of the model. I am pleased with the weapon selection but I would have liked the JP233 included with the model with it being a Tornado specific weapon. The glazing issue is a pity but in fairness I had a lot more time to inspect the mouldings than staff at the factory would have, and I do not believe this would be a regular occurrence or the larger portion of the canopy would suffer. One of the beauties of this kit being a new release of an older product is that the after-market manufacturers already have a huge selection of offerings for those that want to add further detail. And that includes finishing options.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell
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