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KIT REVIEW


Revell Tornado Tigermeet -- 1:72 Scale



The Panavia Tornado is one of the most venerable Cold War combat aircraft.  While today in the twilight of its distinguished career, this swing-wing combat jet continues to enjoy widespread regard, including for its service with the German Air Force.  The ECR (Electronic Combat / Reconnaissance) variant was optimized for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role and has been operated by both Germany and Italy.  Revell has re-released their 1:72 scale kit of the German ECR with decals for the German entrant in the 2018 Tigermeet competition.  Let’s check it out.   

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In the late 1960s, the United Kingdom had cancelled TSR-2 and F-111K aircraft but still needed a replacement for the Avro Vulcan and Blackburn Buccaneer strike aircraft.  Simultaneously, West Germany and Italy, among others, needed a replacement for their F-104 Starfighter air defense platforms.  Britain and France initiated the AFVG (Anglo French Variable Geometry) program, and despite France’s withdrawal, work continued.  The British fused the AFVG with West Germany and Italy’s Multi Role Aircraft (MRA) program to become the Panavia consortium.  The resultant final design was a two-seat, twin engine, variable-geometry fighter-bomber.  In the 1960s, the variable sweep wing was the solution to create a highly maneuverable fighter at low airspeeds with an optimized low-drag configuration at higher airspeeds.  The first Tornado flew in August 1974 and achieved operational status in 1979.  Nearly 1,000 Tornados were built for the RAF, German Air Force and Navy, the Italian Air Force, and the Royal Saudi Air Force.

There were three primary Tornado variants: the Tornado IDS (interdiction/strike), the Tornado ECR (electronic warfare and reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defense).  The ECR was operated by Germany and Italy, with the first ECR being delivered in May 1990.  Its onboard sensors were optimized to detect enemy radar emissions and then send AGM-88 HARMs to their targets.  The Luftwaffe eventually received 35 ECRs.  They were also equipped with the slightly more powerful RB199 Mk.105 powerplants and did not carry an internal gun.  During the 1999 campaign over Kosovo, German Tornado ECRs flew SEAD missions along with other NATO forces.  In coalition actions over Afghanistan, they demonstrated their abilities to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) before they were withdrawn from that theater of operations in 2010. 

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Revell’s 1:72 Tornado Tigermeet 2018 kit is the latest in a long lineage of releases based tooling from 1998.  The kit contains 145 parts on five molded polystyrene sprues and another 10 parts come on one clear sprue.  The instructions guide the build over 63 steps.  The markings come on a single Zanchetti-printed decal sheet for the one German Tornado ECR:    

Strengths:  Revell’s 1:72 scale Tornado might be 20 years old, but it is still the best 1:72 scale Tornado that’s out there.  It is indeed superior in many ways to the Hasegawa Tornado.  Their parts breakdowns are similar, but the level detail in the Revell kit is far greater.  And - it’s a pretty straightforward build.
The kit features really awesome recessed panel, fastener, and rivet details.  The cockpit features a really impressive range of details on the instrument panels, side consoles, throttles, and other details.  The ejection seats are generally good and include really nice backpads and seat cushion details (though see below).  The landing gear include plumbing and brake lines.  The wings interlock and can be swung fore and aft.  The canopy can be positioned opened or closed and speed brakes can also be positioned retracted or deployed.  The separate horizontal stabilizers can also be positioned as desired.  The in-flight refueling probe can be built extended or retracted.       
The individual sprues are not designated in this kit, so the variant-specific Tornado ERC parts are on the sprue with parts # 122-134.  You get the parts for the ECR instrument panels (both front and back seats), the HARM targeting pod fairing, the recce systems fairing, and two AGM-88s.  There are also parts for the BOZ-100 chaff and flare dispenser pod, a ECM pod, two AIM-9L Sidewinders, and two drop tanks.  The afterburner assemblies are also nicely done, and the clear parts are quite good.  The canopy also features finely engraved det cord details. 
Your reviewer must be honest and admit that his interest is definitely piqued by Tigermeet paint schemes.  This one is no different.  The decals for this scheme look great.  They are all perfectly in register, colors look great, and carrier film is really tightly restrained.  The Tigermeet decals themselves look great.  One really nice touch is how the drop tank decals are printed – spit into four multiple sections each so that they line up just right on the compound curved surface of the tank.  Other markings offer really subtle touches, such as the “Hard to be Humble” and “Tiger Spirit” markings and even the legible (!) signatures of the crew on the nose gear door markings.  And, of course, the Tigermeet markings are accompanied by a sincerely excellent set of airframe and pylon data and stencil markings.  There are also alternate decals for the instrument panels and side consoles if detail painting is not your preference.
Weaknesses:  Just a few things to note:  the molds are getting a little old, and there’s some flash here and there.  The air intakes lack any trunking and open up into the inside of the kit’s fuselage.  A really unrealistic set of shoulder harnesses and lap belts are molded into the ejection seat backpads and seat cushions.  The shape of the AIM-9L nose sections seems a little odd.  Also, add about 10 grams of noseweight so this won’t be a tail-sitter.  

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Revell’s re-issue of their 1:72 scale German Tornado ECR with markings from the 2018 Tigermeet is an all-around winner.  It’s still a very solid kit and the decals really make a very appealing combination.  Modern Luftwaffe fans, jet modelers, and many others should enjoy this kit thoroughly.

Sincere thanks are owed to Revell for the review sample.  You can find them on the web at http://www.revell.com/germany.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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