1/48 Hobby Boss Tornado ADV

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on May 2 2012



For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my 1/48 scale HobbyBoss Tornado ADV. The Panavia Tornado Air Defense Variant (ADV) was the long-range, twin-engine interceptor version of the swing-wing Tornado. The ADV, often referred to as the F3, was designed to serve as an interceptor against the threat of Soviet bombers, rather than as an air superiority fighter. 

To perform the anti-bomber mission, it was equipped with long range Skyflash missiles, (later AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles) and four under wing AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The F3 entered service with the RAF in 1986 and was retired in 2011. Currently it is in service only with the Royal Saudi Air Force.


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This was an out of the box build, and a large box it was. The Tornado ADV kit comes in a large box that contains 12 sprues, a PE parts fret, a 10 step instruction document, and a marking and painting instruction sheet. The first thing to note is that some of the assembly illustrations are not very clear. I had to go to the web and look at photos of the real aircraft to build some of the assemblies.

As it turns out, you build this kit in sub-assemblies, then, connect the sub-assemblies together to get the complete model.  Overall, the parts fit for the individual sub-assemblies were pretty decent. However, when it came to attaching one sub-assembly to another, the fit was something to be desired—large gaps that required some serious filling and sanding. 

I started the build with the cockpit module and the ejection seats. The ejection seats were a bit difficult to put together but fit nicely into the cockpit tub, the rest of the cockpit module went together nicely. Hobby Boss provides decals for the instrument panels, but I didn’t like the looks of them. The instrument panels have raised switches and knobs, so with careful painting you get a cockpit that looks somewhat realistic. Note that the ejection seats have molded seat belts which is a nice touch. The completed cockpit module fit nicely into the right front fuselage section.

Building the wings was a little complicated because the illustrations are unclear. Note also that wing construction illustrations only show the leading edge slats and the flaps in the extended positions. If you build the leading edge slats un-extended as I did, don’t use the PE parts that are called out. I built the wings with the flaps extended. If you build the wings with the flaps extended, the travel of the wings is limited because of the extended flaps.

Tornados are swing wing aircraft that have articulating weapons pylons and fuel tanks. The weapon pylons and fuel tank assemblies for the kit are press fit into a hole in each wing. It’s kind of a kludge but it works—you can adjust the position of the fuel tanks and missiles according to the wing position.

Building the engine exhaust assembly was also a bit tricky. F3 Tornados were equipped with thrust reversers. The kit provides you with the option of having the thrust reversers engaged or closed. If you build the assembly with the thrust reverser closed as I did, you don’t need to use the PE parts the instructions call out. To complete the exhaust assembly the instructions call out attaching the horizontal stabilizers to the assembly. However, I found this arrangement was rather flimsy and mounted the stabilizers separately.

For the most part, paints used for my Tornado ADV were airbrushed with Model Masters and Floquil enamel paints. The fuselage, wings, and control surfaces were painted with Model Masters Medium Gray. The nose cone was painted with Model Masters Gunship Gray. Landing gears and wheel wells were painted with Floquil Reefer White. The exhaust system, which included the thrust reversers, was painted with Tamiya Metallic Gray. 

For my F3 decals I used the kit decals. They were on the thin side and had a tendency to silver. I used Solvaset to tighten the decals down to the model surface. Additionally some of the decals were rather long in length. To make them manageable, I cut them into two or three pieces.

The Hobby Boss Tornado ADV kit is a pretty decent kit, despite some unclear illustrations and some fit issues. The external detail is good and the decals went on without any major problems. It was a fairly complex build so I would not recommend the kit for beginning modelers. I was pleased with the finished model.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text © by Burt Gustafson