1/72 Hasegawa Panavia Tornado IDS

Desert Storm / Operazione Locusta

by Davide Turati



This is my AMI (Aeronautica Militare Italiana - Italian Air Force) Tornado IDS, built in 1991. Although I am not inclined to build models on the wave of current war events, in this case I built it for a good reason: it was a welcome back present for a friend who flew several missions over Iraq as a Tornado Weapon System Operator. Operazione Locusta was the name of  the Italian participation to Desert Storm from the airport of Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates.

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The model was built mostly out of the box, except for a Verlinden update set (resin seats, avionic bays, photoetched details and boarding ladder), and for a couple of Airwaves resin BOZ-107 underwing chaff and flare dispensers, plus a couple of scratchbuilt antennas. The decals were from Tauro, with just a few changes to correct some inaccuracies.

The photographs were taken with a reflex camera mounted on a tripod and those with a simulated background were made with a double exposure technique I read of on an old issue of the Finescale Modeler Magazine. It consisted in a first exposure, in a completely dark room, of the background (a photograph taken on a real airfield, or in the desert), which was projected with a slide projector. Then, without changing the focus of the objective, and putting a black cloth as a background, the second exposure was made with aid of a flash, held high to simulate the sunlight. The opening photo of the article was done without the second exposure, the reddish color coming from the light of the background. We (myself and my cousin Stefano, who was the "director of photography") liked the sunset-like appearance of the photo and left it that way.

This is what you had to resort to in times when digital photo editing was still a dream.

Thanks to Gilberto Sabattini for scanning the original color slides.


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Photos and text by Davide Turati