1/48 Airfix Tornado F-3

by Shaun Bowman-Davies 



This Model was built completely out of the box, from the recent release of the old Airfix Tornado F-3. 

Airfix have updated the kit, the new parts included a new top fuselage molding (more on this later!), a current selection of weapons- 4x Sky flash, 4x ASRAAM, 4x Sidewinder, 2x BOL rails,  2x 1500 litre fuel tanks, 2x 2250 litre fuel tanks, BOZ pod, PHIMAT pod,2 ALE-40 flare dispensers, 2x ALARM with launch rails.

The best part of this kit is the decal sheet; buy far the best from Airfix for a long time.

The decal options are- RAF EF-3 ZE902 “XI” 11 Sqn, RAF F-3 ZE734 “DA” (With Eagle nose art) 11 Sqn, RAF F-3 ZE161 “UU” 43 Sqn “Operation Telic”, and an Italian Air force F-3 from 53 Stormo in the 1998 Tiger meet scheme with a large Tiger on the forward fuselage. These Decals worked fine with no problems.

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I built the model with no aftermarket help, what you see is what you get in the kit.  Lets start at the cockpit-The cockpit is a bit simple and is taken from the Airfix Tornado GR1 kit, so it’s nothing like the cockpit of an F-3. To save time and money, I just used the supplied cockpit.  Airfix have molded a new top fuselage part with recessed panels lines, while the rest of the kit has the old raised panel lines, I don’t know  why they did not remold both, so both half’s match!!  To save time, I only resribed the fuselage sides and not the whole kit.

This kit has the problem that all horizontally split kits have, a bad fit and a large step along the side of the forward fuselage.  A fair bit of filling and sanding sorted this out, I did mind too much, as I was going rescribing the panel lines anyway.  Another bad fitting part was the intakes, which took a lot of filling and sanding to get to look O.K.  The rest of the kit goes together with no real problems.  The main under carriage legs are quite weak and put any side load on them, and they would probably break.  I painted the model with Extra colour paints and used the kit decals.  I chose the 11 Sqn Tornado F-3 with the Eagle nose art, as nose art is quite rare on RAF F-3’s. 

After researching, I found that the supplied nose art decal looks nothing like the painting on the real aircraft. The kit decal has got a patchwork look to it while the real painting is shades of brown. I modified the decal with artist’s paints, to resemble the real artwork..

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The model was weathered with chalk wash and I added a bit of exhaust staining to the fin to get that typical Tornado look.  To sum the kit up, I would say that is builds O.K and looks good with a bit of work..  The updated parts and decal sheet make the kit worth buying.  When will we get a good 1/48th Tornado?, come on Revell or Hasegawa it’s about time!


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Photos and text © by Shaun Bowman-Davies