1/48 Hobby Boss Tornado F3 56 Sqn RAF

Gallery Article by Richard Spreckley on Dec 8 2015



I have had this kit for sometime and have finally gotten around to building it. This was actually a dual build with the 1:48 Italeri F3 kit as well. The only extra’s I purchased to enhance this kit was the Eduard BigEd PE set along with some spare RBF tags I had laying about.

No. 56 Squadron formed at Gosport on 9 June 1916 and flew a variety of aircraft before moving to France in April 1917 with SE 5s. For the remainder of the war the Squadron flew patrols over the Western Front and returned to England in December 1919. The Squadron was disbanded on 1 July 1992 as a result of the Options For Change defence review. Simultaneously it reformed as a shadow squadron when it moved to RAF Coningsby to become the Tornado F3 OCU as 56 (Reserve) Squadron. The Squadron then moved to RAF Leuchars in April 2003, where it was responsible for the training of Fighter Pilots and Navigators. The Tornado F3 is equipped with 4 AMRAAM missiles and 4 ASRAAM missiles along with a 27mm Mauser cannon. The Firebirds celebrated 90 glorious years in 2006. ZE735 was chosen to celebrate this illustrious Squadrons history with this striking scheme of a ‘Firebird’ streaking along the fuselage spine and tail fin.

Click on images below to see larger images

The build itself was quite straight forward. I was aware that the modelling purists have identified several mistakes with this kit, including the shape of the nose and rear aerlions. I have to say that to my eye it was not worth the effort in correcting them as it looks very much like an F3 to me! There were very few fit problems and the Eduard PE snuggled in nicely with the build. The wheel bays were a bit sparse so I scratch built a lot of ‘plumbing’ to make them more realistic.

I have found that Tamiya’s light grey primer cannot be beaten so used that as the foundation for the rest of the paint work, it lays down extremely level and so smooth hardly any sanding is required. As always my preferred paint is Vallejo Air, I used light grey for the main fuselage over a pre-shade of dark grey to pull through the panels. The underside of the aircraft I used the white grey, which in my opinion is a better representation of the actual colour used by the RAF. 

The decals are quite thick and needed a lot of persuasion with Micro Sol to settle enough to bring the superb detail through on the plastic. The tail fin ‘Firebird’ is a huge decal, but behaved beautifully and didn’t cause me any issues when I had to cut the plate out on the base of the fin.

After a coat of Vallejo clear gloss to seal the paint and decals A dark Vallejo wash was used to bring some depth and weathering to the aircraft. I had already decided to have this bird with intake covers and RBF tags, The covers were made from masking tape and given a glue wash to set before painting. The sidewinder nose covers were made and shaped from some spare plastic I had hanging around.

I am extremely pleased with this build. The photos have been edited with a filter which has deepened the weathering a tad too much, but overall I am pleased with the photos!

Richard Spreckley

Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text © by Richard Spreckley