login   |    register

Book Review
Panavia Tornado
The Panavia Tornado a Comprehensive Guide IDS, ECR and ADV Versions
  • move

by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

Originally published on:


The Panavia Tornado is one of those aircraft that has made its mark despite the problems its birth put in the way. The Tornado had to meet the needs of Britain, Germany and Italy and be all things to all men. This publication from SAM Publications looks at the Tornado for the modeller, but just like the Tornado are there more strings to the bow? Let’s take a look.

The following portion of the Introduction text is provided by Sam Publication:
By Andy Evans
By today’s exacting military standards, the success of the Panavia Tornado is quite achievement, and one that made its tri-national programme one of the greatest feats of international military and political co-operation of the 20th century. Rather than being the proverbial ‘camel’ (otherwise known as a horse put together by a committee), the Tornado has proved itself to be a true thorough-bred, able to deliver ‘as advertised’ in all weathers. The latter has been the cornerstone of the Tornado’s performance, when at its peak, it was one the NATO that could function by night, by day, in fog, in rain or snow, and mount realistic offensive operations. Tornado was conferred with an excellent radar, powerful engines, the ability to carry a large war-load at both low-level and medium altitudes, had a superb short field ability, which offered a compromise between traditional runways and STOL performance. Many historians would doubtless say that the famous De Havilland Mosquito was the original Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, but the arrival of the jet age brought a plethora of new aircraft into the skies. Many designers clung to the ‘traditional’ one-aircraft-one mission thinking, and therefore air forces found themselves with numerous specialised fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. As budgets became tighter, many promising projects began to be discarded through financial or political pressures, and several countries began to see the sense in committing to bi-national or tri-national military projects, or alternatively were persuaded to ‘buy American’. In Europe, the growing Soviet threat post-War, led Britain, Germany and Italy to agree to produce a single aircraft type, that could fly a wide variety of combat missions, and yet still be tailored to meet the needs of the individual user nations. So was born the ‘MRCA’ - later Tornado - and a management company, Panavia Aviation, was created to oversee the project, which was for a swing-wing, low- level ‘bomb truck’, capable of defence suppression, stand-off laser designation, anti-shipping and reconnaissance tasks, with further consideration for a dedicated interceptor variant. The programme was a triumph of co-operation, which incredibly faced few hitches and produced perhaps the greatest aircraft of its type. Proven in battle from the deserts of Iraq to the skies of Europe, as well as in keeping the peace, the Panavia Tornado has a singular history, and up-date programs has kept it flying onto the 21st Century. Now in the last years of its service life, it perhaps a good time to look back on what is, and remains a very fine aircraft, and this new Datafile from SAM Publications brings the Tornado story to life!


This offering is authored by Andy Evans and judging by the contents it is a subject which he has a lot of personal interest in. This is the 29th book in the MDF series. The book is printed and presented in a portrait style with 200 pages not counting the scale plans included. This book is soft backed offering however the card cover should manage to protect the contents judging by the other titles in the series I have. The paper used inside is a good quality semi gloss stock that presents the contents to the reader very well.

The contents breakdown as below:
A Rising Storm
RAF IDS Tornadoes
The Tornado Air Defence Variant
Luftwaffe Tornadoes
Italian Air Force Tornadoes
Royal Saudi Air Force Tornadoes
Colour Side Views
Walk Arounds
Colourful Tornadoes
Modelling the Tornado in Popular Scales

The section ‘A Rising Storm’ provides a huge amount of information on the Tornado and this section should appeal most to those who are specifically interested in the aircraft; by this I mean that many modellers build models of subjects that appeal to them visually, this title or should I say section will satisfy someone wanting to read about the Tornado regardless of if they have an interest in models or not. I found this section a particularly interesting read.

The sections looking at the Tornado in use with RAF, Luftwaffe, Italian Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force take up a considerable amount of this title. I will say the RAF take up the lion’s share of the available space but it is all of interest. Of particular interest to me as a modeller is the large number of Tornado nose art images provided in the book. Again the written information provided in the section will interest anyone interested in the aircraft rather than being aimed at the modeller. The photographs are a mix of colour and black &white and these provide great reference and accompanied by captions that provide the needed information.

The colour side views of the Tornado provide some pleasing colour schemes. There are also two three way views of the Tornado and I particularly like the one covering the Saudi offering.

The walk around photographs provide excellent wide and close up images of a number of aircraft in most of the Air Forces using the Tornado. The aircraft covered here are:
GR.4 ZD744 RAF
Tornado ADV Italian Air Force
Tornado ECR Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Tornado
ECR Tornado Italian Air Force
German IDS Cockpit

The section covering colourful Tornadoes sees the Germans putting everyone else to shame, when it comes to colourful finishes the Luftwaffe really does have it licked and offers some excellent suggestions for those modellers who have the ability and like to see their painting skills challenged.

The last section of this title ‘Modelling the Tornado in Popular Scales’ is obviously where the modeller is given clear guidance to building and finishing various manufacturers kit offerings in a number of scales. The models covered are:
Revell 1/48th IDS Tornado 03987
Revell 1/72nd ECR Tornado 04847
HobbyBoss 1/48th IDS Tornado 80353
Italeri 1/48th F3 Tornado 836
Revell 1/72nd ECR Tornado 04847
Revell 1/48th IDS Tornado 03987
Revell 1/48th F3 ADV Tornado 03925
I know from my experience that the newish Revell 1/48th scale offerings of the Tornado are the way to go and I am not surprised that nearly all of the kits built here are Revell. At the end of this section you will find some line drawings that point out the features that determine which variant of the Tornado you may be looking at. The kits and after market items are also covered and not forgetting some technical drawings. Not included in the page count of this title is a four page fold out providing schematics of the Tornado variants in 1/48th scale.


This offering from SAM Publishing is an absolute must for anyone modelling the Tornado in any variant and for those who are just interested in the Tornado as an aircraft. I have looked very hard at this title and failed to see anything that I can knock the Title for as it is even a lot of book for the £19.99 price tag.
Highs: The text covering the aircraft which will be of interest to anyone with an interest in the Tornado not just the modeller.
Lows: None.
Verdict: A great title at a Great price that offers everything I want from reference title as a modeller and more.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Modellers Datafile
  Suggested Retail: £19.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 08, 2017

Our Thanks to SAM Publications!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2020 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move