Italeri 1:48 Tornado Gr.1 ZD790 Royal Air Force

The Story

The first RAF Tornado GR1s to deploy for Operation Granby were sent to Muharraq International Airport in Bahrain. Each Tornado squadron in theatre had approximately fifteen aircraft and twenty-four crews drawn from several squadrons. In Muharraq, the lead squadron was No XV Squadron with elements from Nos IX, 17, 27, 31, and 617 Squadrons. The early stages of Operation Granby saw the GR1s involved in low-level anti-airfield and Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) operations before moving to medium-level missions using 1,000lb bombs. Later in the war, Muharraq Tornados were the first to team with S2B Buccaneers to drop Paveway II laser-guided bombs against strategic targets. Four Tornado GR1s from Muharraq were lost in combat operations with three of the crew being killed in action and the other five captured.

The Kit

This build is the earliest Tornado build in my collection and itself one of my early in-flight builds. Resins sets utilized in this build include: Neomega cockpit, Paragon fin correction, Paragon exhausts, Paragon pylons. The crew figures are Hasegawa figures but are inappropriate for RAF crew as they do not have RAF gear. The kit was built with a partial wing sweep. To represent the wing glove I cut some printer paper which was painted after being glued into position. The load-out depicted includes: 2250 litre 'Hindenburger' fuel tanks represented in the Airfix Tornado kit, two Paveway bombs built from the kit bombs and the guidance and fin sections of a GBU-10, kit Shy Shadow and BOZ-107 ECM pods, and two AIM-9 missiles from the Hasegawa weapons set. Painting was done with Xtracrylix Desert Pink toned down with white. Decals are a combination of kit decals and from the Xtradecal X01148. This Tornado was built to represent ZD790 "Debbie", based at Muharraq and flown by Squadron Leader Pablo Mason and Squadron Leader Gary Stapelton.