Italeri 1:48 Tornado F.3 ZE203/A Royal Air Force

The Story

In 1990, Panavia F3 Tornados were the first RAF aircraft to arrive in theatre as part of Operation Granby. Stationed in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, they soon began flying Combat Air Patrols along with USAF and Saudi fighters. The Tornado F3 force flew more than 2,500 operational combat air patrol sorties during the conflict, of which nearly 800 were flown during the period of hostilities. Although the Tornados did not achieve a single shoot down of an enemy aircraft, they nevertheless had successfully accomplished their mission.

The Kit

At the time of this build, the only options for a 1:48 ADV Tornado are the Airfix and Italeri kits. Of the two, Italeri is the better option but the kit can still be vastly improved by purchasing some aftermarket sets. Aftermarket sets I purchased for this build include: Eduard ADV Tornado Photo-etch Set, Paragon Martin Baker Mk10 ejection seats, Paragon pylon / missile rail / ECM dispenser set, Paragon engine exhausts, Paragon fin correction, Paragon wheels, and PJ Productions RAF pilot figures. The Italeri cockpit is rather sparse and there is at the moment no resin pit available for the Tornado ADV. That meant I had to use the Eduard photoetch set for the cockpit. Instead of the using the photoetch on the kit seats, I used the resin Mk10 seats from Paragon. The RAF crew figures are from PJ Productions; it is sold as a single figure which meant I had two RAF figures in the exact same pose. Therefore, I modified slightly modified one figure to have a different pose. The fuselage is pretty straight forward with the addition of resin parts and various photoetch parts. I wanted to have the wings shown in a partial sweep so I couldn't use the photoetch parts provided for the wing glove. Therefore I cut some paper to the required shape and painted them. Although Eduard does provide photoetch to make the air brakes a lot nicer, I kept the air brakes closed because nearly all my photos of FMk3 Tornados have them closed. Missiles are from the Hasegawa weapons set. The Skyflash missiles look very similar to Sparrow missiles so I just did some slight modifications to the missiles and painted them to look like the Skyflash. The 2250 litre "Hindenburger" fuel tanks are from an Airfix Gr4 Tornado kit I purchased for parts. Many of my reference pictures of Granby FMk3 Tornados show a Phimat chaff dispenser on the wing pylon where a Sidewinder missile would normally be placed. To represent this, I used a Phimat pod from the Heller Jaguar A kit. Painting was done with Tamiya and Gunze Sangyo acrylic paints. Smaller details are painted with various enamels. I did not make the exhaust stain on the fin from the thrust reverser very evident because I thought it would be too distracting to the overall look of the model. The decals are mostly from the Italeri kit and are not of the greatest quality. A few decals are from an Xtradecal sheet for RAF IDS Tornados. I had to do some work to get an "A" tail code and to make the serial number I wanted.