1/32 Revell Tornado

by Miguel I. Becerril

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I started this model while stationed in Panama with the US Marines in 1993. It was the first 1/32 scale version of the Tornado by Revell.  The model represented a German Navy Tornado, but I was interested in building a RAF Tornado GR-1A, the electronic combat version. Because of its size, I knew that the model would look awkward without a great amount of detail. Due to the lack of custom accessories and detail sets for this particular model, I decided to make it a long project and do everything myself.

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I collected as many reference documents as I could, but the Verlinden Tornado walk around book proved to be the best source of reference for all areas of the Tornado. I started with the heads-up-display and built it completely from scratch.

 

Next I worked on the instrument panels. For the CRT's, I used photo film because it best represented the reflective surface of the scopes. I scratch built the interior walls and the center console for the Navigator. I spent a considerable amount of time detailing the wiring for the Navigator's instruments.

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I wanted the flaps and slats out, which meant I had to build them from scratch also. Because the flaps have two layers, this took a long time and much patience to complete. Next I worked on the landing gear and everything that was in the reference photos, I put on the model's struts. The fluid lines were particularly tedious.

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To make the GR-1A, I had to modify a few things. First, this version doesn't carry the 20mm cannons found on the IDS version. I covered the openings, filled them with filler and sanded. The GR-1A has side looking reconnaissance equipment and there are windows on either side of the jet. I used camera film to represent these. This version has a laser designator and more reconnaissance equipment on the underside of the jet. All were scratch built using spare parts from my box of left-over parts.  Next I tackled the refueling probe, also completely scratch built.

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By now, I was about 6 months into the project and ready for painting. I used Gunze Sanyo Aqueous colors (Dk. Green and Dk. Sea Gray) and airbrushed the patterns free hand.  I started looking for decals in this size and that represented one of the two squadrons flying this version at the time. As I had suspected, I didn't find any decals, so I painted all the markings for Number 13 Squadron.

The model included ordnance used by the German Navy. The RAF Tornados fly around with a chaff dispenser on the right wing outer pylon and an electronic jamming pod on the left outer pylon. The chaff dispenser came with the model, but I had to scratch build the electronic pod.

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I finished the model by completing the details to the canopy and upgrading the ejection seats from scratch. This has been the most satisfying model I've built to date and I plan to stick to this scale because of the enormous amount of detailing it permits. I hope you've enjoyed my photos. 

Miguel

Photos and text by Miguel I. Becerril