The Tornado was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force, and RSAF during the Gulf War of 1991, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions. The Tornados of various services were also used in The Bosnian War, Kosovo War, Iraq War, in Libya during the 2011 Libyan civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. Including all variants, 990 aircraft were built.
The UK Ministry of Defence began studies for a GR1 Mid-Life Update (MLU) in 1984. The update to GR4 standard, approved in 1994, would improve capability in the medium-altitude role based on lessons learned from the GR1’s performance in the 1991 Gulf War. British Aerospace (later BAE Systems) upgraded 142 Tornado GR1s to GR4 standard, beginning in 1996 and finished in 2003.
This kit is a new tool kit. Only Italeri and Revell have made Tornado kits in this scale and this is the only GR.4 kit. Revell’s kits date back to a 1986 kit and all the others are reboxings of that kit.
The kit comes in a sturdy box made of cardboard. All the parts are bagged with the clear part sprue inside its own bag as well. In the box we have:
- 540 plastic parts approx. (About 89 are not used in this version of the Tornado though)
- 24 clear plastic parts
- 6 rubber parts
- 52 PE parts
- decal sheet
- black & white 56-page paper instruction sheet
- colour 12-page paint and decal guide
The level of detail is very nice and the main parts have fine recessed panel lines. The attachment points are small. There are colour call-outs throughout the build.
The kit is built in 60 steps. I’m not going to list all 60 steps but here are some highlights and things I noted.
- Seats have PE belts and details
- You have the choice of 2 parts weighted plastic wheels or one-part rubber ones but those aren’t weighted.
- 60 grammes of nose weight are needed and they show you where it needs to be placed.
- The instruments are mostly painted but they do give you decals for some of the instrument faces.
- Full engine intake trunking.
- Tailerons are moveable
- Nicely detailed engines with thrust reversers that can be fitted open or closed.
- You can alternatively put the 2 engines on engine stands, again with a choice of reverse thruster position.
- The wings can be moved back and forth and the pylons also move to keep the ordinance pointing forwards.
- Flaps open or closed
- Leading-edge slats open or closed.
- Air brakes open or closed.
- Moveable rudder.
- Different aerials and details depending on the decal option you choose.
- Sidewinder and fuel tanks are the default underwing option with Paveways under the fuselage. You get a choice of Skyshadow or BOZ-107 Chaff/Flare pod for the outer pylons. You also get quite a lot of munitions on the sprues that are not used. There are probably for the ADV version when it comes out.
- Refuelling boom open or closed.
- Nose cone open or closed. There’s a radar under there if it’s open.
- Cockpit steps but no figures.
- If you want to do a full wing sweep you can’t have the flaps down etc. Things will get in the way.
The painting guide gives you 4 RAF options. The colours are named and called out in the Italeri paint range and Federals Standard references. Colours are called out as needed throughout the instructions. Your 4 options are:
- GR4, ZA542, Operation Telic (Iraq) 2003, ‘Danger Mouse’
- GR4, ZA367, 617 Sqn, Operation Herrick (Afghanistan) 2010
- GR4, ZA542, 31 Sqn, Operation Ellamy (Libya) 2011
- GR4, ZG775, IXth (B) Sqn, Tornado Farewell, 2019
Conclusion: This is a very nice kit with lots of detail and a full weapons load included. It will take up a fair bit of space on the shelf but should look very nice indeed.
Many thanks to Italeri for the review sample.