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Panavia Tornado IDS

by Rick Cotton


Panavia Tornado


Revell's new 1/32 scale Tornado is available online at Squadron.com




Every once in awhile we outsmart ourselves. That was the case when I purchased a TAC Scale Dynamics superdetail set for Revell’s 1/32 scale Tornado.

Don’t get me wrong - the TAC Scale set is incredible, with beautiful resin parts, two big brass photoetch frets, and film instruments.



Unfortunately for me, the set was intended for the NEW Revell 1/32 Tornado issue, not my elderly one, but being dumb enough not to read the directions in the first place, I dove right in anyway.





The resin parts in the TAC Scale (now Custom Aeronautical Miniatures) set are little jewels, with greatly detailed seats, electronics bays, canopy sills, and more, and they paint up beautifully. My first clue that something was rotten in Denmark was when I noticed the part numbers in the TAC Scale instructions didn’t match the numbers in the elderly Revell kit. I had to shave back the rear part of the front cockpit to get things to fit, and even then, it was a tight squeeze. I actually relocated the instrument panel and cockpit coaming a fraction farther forward to make more room to get all the goodies in. Nearly every cockpit part in the set had to be shaved, sanded, or clipped to fit…….The old Revell kit is a bit off in its dimensions.

The real fun began when I discovered that the electronics bays were too deep to fit inside the old Revell fuselage, and butted up against the sides of the cockpit tub, while still projecting outside the fuselage by about a sixteenth of an inch. Taking some sandpaper and a deep breath, I carefully sanded the backs off of all the bays,and shaved a fraction off of the fronts as well. I also shaved a bit more off the sides of the cockpit tub, prayed earnestly, and then dry-fitted the assembly together……..it finally fit! Whew! The sides of the tub were painted gloss white, and the forward portion of the fuselage was put together.



Revell’s old Tornado does have decent recessed lines, but the real plane is covered with flush rivets, and there were none on my model yet. I used an old probe from my wife’s high school biology class frog dissecting kit (sans any frog residue), sharpened to a fine point, to replicate the rivets….. hundreds of them…..along the panel lines.

Most of the rest of the kit went pretty normally (fill and sand and cuss Revell’s fit) , however, having had one of these kits before, I decided to shore up the main landing gear, which are notoriously weak in the thin oleo section of the main struts. I cut and inserted brass rod inside the main gear strut halves and superglued the strut halves together.





I didn’t like the dark gray over light gray scheme on the box, so I opted for the wraparound scheme on the side panel. The paint instructions weren’t much help. They consisted of formulae of so much percent “dark gray” plus so much percent “olive” and so forth, so I mixed Testors Modelmasters to get an approximate match to the three grays in the photo, plus 10% white for scale effect. Accurate? Who the hell knows? I like it.



After airbrushing the scheme, the kit was sprayed with Future for decaling. I used the kit German Navy decals, which responded well to a mild setting solution, and when all was dry, overcoated with Testors Acrylic Clear Flat, which dries very flat - good stuff!



Finishing Touches


Weathering was a combination of a watercolor/liquid detergent wash, chalk pastels, silver chipping (not too much!) and black ink streaks blown back into the slipstream, which brings up an interesting question:



The Tornado is a swing-wing aircraft, with multiple wing positions, so which way do the streaks go on the outer wing panels? Here is where Verlinden’s excellent book, “Lock On – Panavia Tornado” came to the rescue. It appears to me from the photos that the majority of the streaking occurs when the wings are swept back.. That makes sense…….the wings will be back most of time, except for landings, takeoffs, and some of those wacky Tom Cruise maneuvers. So that’s what I did.

A final overcoat of Testors Acrylic Clear Flat and the “Fin” (RAF pilot slang) was done.



Additional Images


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Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2001 by Rick Cotton
Page Created 05 November, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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