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Tornado GR.4

Revell 1/48 Tornado GR.4 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2016 Manufacturer Revell
Subject Tornado GR.4 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4924 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best kit of the Tornado in any scale Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $46.95

First Look

Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4
Tornado GR.4

After the cancellation of the TSR-2 and F-111K programs, the RAF was still looking for a replacement for the Vulcan bomber and Buccaneer strike aircraft. The solution began under the Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) program in the mid-1960s but after the French withdrawal from the program, a new consortium was developed under the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) program consisting of Britain, Germany, and Italy with the resulting production done under the Panavia consortium of BAC (later BAE), MBB, and Aeritalia. The aircraft developed under the MRCA would become the Tornado and as a multi-role aircraft, Panavia would produce strike variants as Tornado IDS or Tornado GR.1 (RAF), interceptor variant as Tornado ADV, and SEAD variant as Tornado ECR.

The Tornado entered service in the late 1970s and remains in service though most will eventually be replaced by another product of an international consortium, the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Tornado serves in the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, Italian Air Force, and the Royal Saudi Air Force (the only non-consortium customer for the type). In RAF service, some GR.1s were modified into reconnaissance-capable aircraft replacing the cannon with the Tornado Infra-Red Reconnaissance System and designated GR.1A. Other GR.1s were modified to carry the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile and designated GR.1B. In the mid-1980s, the Tornado received a mid-life update (MLU) and these modified aircraft became GR.4 and GR.4A.

The Panavia Tornado has been an interesting subject for modelers with Revell's large 1/32 Tornado IDS, ECR and ADV kits. Italeri filled the void in 1/48 scale with their offerings until challenged by the HobbyBoss kits. A variety of offerings of the Tornado have been released in 1/72 scale with the Revell kit being noted as the best of the lot. So it only seems logical that with Revell ruling 1/32 and 1/72 scale in the Tornado category, they'd also jump into the 1/48 scale realm where nobody has a definite edge. Their first release in 1/48 was the IDS which seemed to sell out almost immediately.

Here is the second release of Revell's new 1/48 tooling of the Tornado, this time representing the GR.4. Molded in light gray styrene, thi skit is presented on 14 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed cockpits
  • Positionable canopy
  • Intake ducts to compressor faces
  • Positionable intake ramps
  • Positionable thrust reversers
  • Movable sweep wings
  • Inboard and outboard pylons maintain orientation at any sweep angle
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable leading edge and trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable spoilers
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable landing gear

Note that you'll want to make a decision about the wings before you start this project. If you want movable wings, you'll need to pose the leading and trailing edge flaps up and the spoilers closed. If you don't parts are going to break off the first time those wings sweep. If you want to pose the aircraft 'down and dirty' for take-off or landing, glue the wings full forward and you'll save some anguish later.

Given the wide variety of stores that can be carried by the Tornado, it isn't surprising to see that only the basics are included in this kit lest the model bear a much higher retail price. Among the external stores provided in this kit:

  • 1 x BOZ 108
  • 1 x Skyshadow
  • 2 x AIM-9L Sidewinders
  • 2 x 1500l external tanks
  • 2 x 2250l 'Hindenberg' tanks

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • Tornado GR.4, ZA600, 41 Sqn, RAF, EB-G, RAF Coningsby, 2011
  • Tornado GR.4, ZD714, 617 Sqn, RAF, AJ-W, RAF Lossiemouth, 2008

With the variety of options in this kit, it is no surprise that Revell rated this kit at Level 5 (Experienced modelers), so this won't be a weekend project but it will build into a beautiful Tornado. Given the rave reviews that were published when this kit was first released two years ago, it is safe to say that Revell has produced the best Tornado kit to date in any scale (less than 1:1) and wouldn't it be awesome if they scaled this tooling up and replaced their 1/32 kit with this design?