Hobby Boss 1/48 Tornado IDS Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||December 2009||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||80353||Primary Media||Styrene/PE|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Novice||MSRP (USD)||$93.99|
In 1968, operators of the F-104 including West Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Canada put a group together to think about a replacement for the Starfighter. This would have to be a multi role aircraft, something the Starfighter never was. That group was also joined by Britain but in the end the deal to build the new Multi Role Combat Aircraft was signed between Britain (British Aerospace), West Germany (MBB) and Italy (Alenia Aeronautica). The partners formed Panavia Aircraft in 1969 and each partner would be responsible for completing different parts of the airframe.
The Tornado was originally designed to perform the role of a supersonic low level attack aircraft that would be able to take off and land in short distances. The swing wing solution was selected for the need to fly supersonic but also have good slow speed performance. The IDS variant first flew in 1974 and the first deliveries started in 1979 with a total of 322 IDS Tornado deliveries to Germany (including the Marineflieger variants), 99 to Italy, 228 to Britain and 96 deliveries to Saudi Arabia. The German Tornado saw action in Kosovo. The British GR.1 and Italian IDS Tornadoes saw action in the Gulf wars. Another Tornado customer is Saudi Arabia.
The Tornado has been done in 1:48th scale by Italeri and Airfix. Both kits had pluses and minuses and a significant number of aftermarket goodies have been created for them. The Hobby Boss kit is another pleasant surprise. Just like the other recent releases from Hobby Boss this model is finely engraved with discrete panel lines and petite rivet details.
The fuselage breakdown is similar to the other plastic Tornadoes with left/right forward fuselage and top/bottom main fuselage configuration.
A nicely detailed cockpit is provided with lots of raised detail but the kit also provides decals for the instrument panels and I just do not see how well they would conform to all that detail.
The wings are designed with an interlocking mechanism for swinging action which is great. Furthermore, the pylons can swivel to match the swept wing angle. The problem is that kit does not provide the option to pose the leading and trailing edge flaps or spoilers in the retracted position so all that is mute point. If you are happy to have all the goodies showing then you can use the photoetch parts provided for the leading edge flap guides and associated hardware.
The refueling probe is given in separate parts so the modeler can choose from the deployed or stowed away configuration.
A nice radar set up is provided too but the instructions do not show it with the nosecone open.
Another great detail is that the kit provides the exhaust thrust reversers and accompanying mechanisms. I just don't' see in the instructions any step that shows them in the retracted position. Same goes for the nicely detailed speed brakes which are also only shown extended.
Now having said all that, I cannot imagine that a modeler cannot adjust all these detail parts to be in the stowed position if they really wanted that to be so.
A plethora of weapons is provided in the kit including 2x AGM-88A, 4 x BSU-49, 2 x AIM-9, 6 x ALARM, BOZ-100, and other equipment ranging from ECM pods to refueling tanks to munitions dispenser (MW-1).
The clear parts are very nicely molded and it appears that the main canopy tool has been designed in such a way that we get the jagged canopy detonating chord instead of the usual seam we get with traditional molding. So no need to sand anything away here. The usual landing and position lights are provided as well.
The decals are provided in three big sheets. One is just for the various warnings and goes on the airframe, the other is just for the weapons and the biggest one is for the IDS and GR Mk.1 variants. One for a commemorative Bavarian machine from Jabo G-32 and one from RAF Honington, England.
We finally have a new-tool Tornado to update the Italeri and Airfix kits, which have been around for a long time. Both kits were simple kits of the aircraft and we AMS modelers had to invest in a fortune of aftermarket details and corrections to get the features that HobbyBoss is providing in this box.
I found this kit much cheaper at HobbyEasy.com than the current US distributor's retail price. I'm not sure why the awful mark-up by the US distributor, but the US retail price is $93.99. HobbyEasy is offering this kit at $45.55 and Lucky Model at $46.99!