by: Wiggus [ ]
The Tornado was developed jointly by Panavia, a tri-country consortium of Italy, Germany and the UK. It was first tested in 1974 but did not enter service until five years later. The variant in this boxing is the initial GR.1 built purposefully as an interdictor and strike aircraft (IDS). Later variants were designed to specifically target shipping, reconnaissance, air defenses and another as a long range interceptor.
This kit was originally released by F-Toys in 2009 packaged along with a Dassault Mirage. The box is side-opening and includes two complete Tornados that are separately bagged. I love the slick graphic design of the box top and the beautiful color renderings on the bottom. The packaging and printing is up to Platz’s usual shine and polish. Since the decal sheet only has the Platz logo on it, my wild guess is that Platz licensed the molds from F-Toys and printed new decals for this release.
IN THE BOX
5 small sprues in gray styrene
1 clear canopy
1 A4 sized instruction sheet
Full color marking and decal guide
The instruction sheet is a single A4 sized sheet depicting build steps on one side, and a color marking guide on the other. As with other Platz kits, the instructions are clear and concise. The color/decal guide is beautiful. There are only 28 parts to keep track of, but since there are no part numbers on the sprues, Platz gives you a sprue guide with the instructions. Paints are called out for Mr. Color and Model Master.
There are two complete Tornados in the box which you can build two of three ways. All three countries comprising Panavia are represented here; RAF 20 Squadron, German Navy MFG 1, or the two-tone Italian Air Force 36º Stormo. Unlike other recent Platz offerings, the decals do not say that they are printed by Cartograph, yet the printing is excellent. After examining them through a loupe, the detail is minute, the registration is perfect, and the carrier film looks thin.
The nosecone (with the pitot tube) is a separate part which is not attached to a sprue. It is packaged in cellophane with the clear canopy to protect it. The prodigious vertical stabilizer and wings are molded in one piece. It’s nice that you can build these birds with landing gear down, or if you choose, posed in-flight. Yet no stands are included to accommodate this. It is also nice that they use a toothed gear design so the swept wings can be posed open or closed.
However, the niceties begin to dry up when the parts are inspected. The plastic is rougher than the Platz manufactured Mustang and Thunderbolt I recently reviewed; it doesn’t have the luster of those other kits. The molds are certainly softer. Edges that should be sharp are rounded over and more vague. There is some flash present. The cockpit has a couple of blocky lumps that I think are seat, as there is no room for human legs in front of them. The landing gear is probably the low point; their soft blobs and flash have me seriously thinking about building these with the gear up.
Since my curiosity was piqued (and the servers at work were down) I decided to do some test fitting. Make sure you follow the part numbers in the instructions. When I first fit the wings between the fuselage halves I was met with huge gaps between those halves, but I later tried swapping the wings and the fit was much tighter but still not up to the quality of a modern kit.
Elsewhere this kit recalls all the glory of a Lindberg kit from the 1960s. You can see in the last photos the big gaps between parts (especially between the fore and aft fuselages) and the hole all the way through the fuselage behind the wings. Daylight can be seen under the vertical stabilizer and there is a big gap where it meets the hump atop the fuselage. The front edge of the nose where the cone attaches doesn’t line up – you will have to trim off all of the locating pins to get a tighter fit.
When compared to the recently reviewed Platz 1/144 scale P-47 and P-51, this kit was a big letdown. Judging by the low quality, my guess is that Platz bought up a previous run of F-Toys sprues and re-boxed them with new instructions and decals, both of which are the high points of the kit. Even if Platz had not set the bar so high with their other releases, I could not overlook the shortcomings of these Tornados. After the test fittings, it is impossible to recommend them.
I wish Platz would design their own tiny Tornado from the ground up. If you have your heart set on a 1/144 scale Tornado, there are other releases by other companies to consider first. But if you just want to dip your toe into this minute scale, I would highly recommend the astounding PlatzL Thunderbolt or Mustang kits over this one handily.