1:72 EADS (Panavia) CA-182A "Tornado"; aircraft "(182)715” of the Canadian Air Force 433 (Porcupine) Fighter Bomber Squadron; 3 Wing, CFB Bagotville (Quebec/Canada), 2004 (Whif/Revell kit) - WiP
The kit and its assembly:
This whiffy Tornado is a submission to a spontaneous and rather informal "RAF Tornado Farewell" group build at whatifmodelers.com. I had a surplus Tornado kit in the stash from a lot purchase a while ago and used the opportunity to tackle it. The kit is Revell's own Tornado IDS mold from 1998 (the kit with the separate, vertically split cockpit section), in my case it’s a Tornado ECR which comes with some extra parts for the cockpit and HARM missiles.
Even though I considered the kit at first to be a good offering, with many detail improvements over the older Italeri kit (which has been reboxed many times, also under the labels of Tamiya, Revell, Bilek and Alanger), I have come to hate it because I found it – like other more recent Revell kits like the Me 262 – to be somewhat über-engineered, to a point that the potential progress or benefit becomes detrimental. Signs of decadence, I guess?
For instance, the construction for the stabilizers is very similar to the Italeri kit: the fins are connected with a bar, and moveable. And while Italeri’s construction was already not the most stable one (stabilizers would frequently break off), the Revell “solution” is even more flimsy! Why?
The same goes for the swiveling wing pylons: on the old Italeri kit you were ordered to heat a screwdriver and flatten the attachment pins from the wings’ inside – this sound a little outdated, but worked better than expected. The new Revell kit offers small, round clips that hold the pylons in place. And while mounting them is a fiddly affair, the arrangement works quite well …until you touch a pylon, because the pins are so thin that they easily break. I have lost two pylons during the building and painting process, and did not find it amusing... The clear parts are thin but brittle, and canopy and windscreen do not seem to belong to the same model. Their fit with the fuselage is also rather corny. The four part ejection seats did not go together, either, as if none of the parts was intended for any other. The instructions are also flawed: in areas like the air intakes the graphics do not clearly show well how parts are supposed to be mounted to each other. I am really not pleased with the kit, despite the good looks of the parts.
But back to the group build; I initially considered something more fictional than a Simple Tornado IDS, e. g. a mod with twin fins and in Russian markings, but, eventually, I settled upon a rather simple, mostly cosmetic whif build. Ideas included an Omani aircraft or a Greek maritime strike Tonka in the pretty "Ghost" scheme, but a Canadian strike aircraft finally made it.
In fact, the kit was built almost OOB, I just changed the jet nozzles (donors from an F-18), modified the base of the fin with a scratched brake parachute fairing and added details like the FLIR pod under the nose. From the Tornado ECR extra parts I used the ventral IIS fairing and the HARM launch rails.
The AGM-84s as well as the AN/ALQ-184 jamming pod (I know that Canada does not use the latter, but I wanted something different from the German Kerberos pod) came from Hasegawa aircraft weapon sets. The OOB drop tanks (which have IMHO a doubtful shape and come with anachronistic raised panel details!?), the BOZ-101 and the AIM-9s were retained from the original kit.
Painting and markings:
Well, there are not many realistic schemes to choose from. The most obvious option would have been an all-grey aircraft, in the CF-188 style (FS 35237 upper and FS 26375 lower surfaces with low-viz markings in grey). But for a low level attack aircraft I rather considered more classic colors to be appropriate.
The next real life option was the late CF-104G scheme for Europe in NATO standard RAF Dark Green/Dark Sea Grey with low-viz markings (w/o white, to be exact), or an all-green livery. Not convincing, at least to me, and the Tonka would be operated much later. Then I came across a late CT-133 trainer, in the so-called “FIS” scheme: a wraparound pattern in RAF Dark Green/Dark Sea Grey with all-black national markings and stencils, but the paint was quite faded and esp. the grey looked rather light, almost like USAF Neutral Grey, and the black markings stood out well. I found this look quite convincing and unique, and so I adapted the early RAF Tornado GR.1s wraparound scheme for my CAF Tonka and just used different colors, in order to emphasize the different continent – even though the effect is rather subtle. Instead of RAF Dark Green I used the very similar FS 34079 (it is a tad less reddish), and the Dark Sea Grey was replaced by FS 36176, “Dark Grey”, the tone that is used all-over on the USAF’s F-15Es.
The rest became pretty standard, with a shiny black radome, a matt black anti-glare panel in front of the windscreen, a white landing gear interior and a dark gull grey (FS 36231) cockpit.
Stencils and national markings come from a Leading Edge CF-116/CF-5A decal sheet, which features an aircraft in the right FIS livery; where possible/available I exchanged the original, colored Tornado markings (e.g. the walking area borders) with black decals, either from the scrap box or from generic material sheets. The tactical codes were improvised from Leading Egde material, too.