Panavia Tornado F3 ADV (Air Defense)
1/32 scale conversion 
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Tornado ADV model in 1/32 scale
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Panavia Tornado ADV (Air Defense Variant) conversion

The Tornado ADV has a longer fuselage than the Tornado IDS / Gr.mk1, so a separate plug, a new radar nose, wing root gloves and the jet pipe area extension are needed. Other details vary as well.

It was decided to cast a number of resin parts for use with the Revell Tornado 1 or IDS kit. This is not easy. Cutting, trimming on both resin parts and kit parts is needed in addition to the usual filling and sanding work in conversions. The conversion was be done in a logical sequence using the Revell kit instructions. 

What were my home made conversions parts?

- longer pointier radar ADV nose
- mid-fuselage extension plug
- jet pipe area fuselage extension
- new bottom panel forward fuselage with missile recesses
- two small wing leading edge extensions
- longer tail fairing

and "nice to haves" as there are also alternatives:
- two types of mid CRT screen layouts (F3 trainer and F3) (alternative: buy resin cockpit sets)
- one pilot instrument panel (alternative: buy resin cockpit sets)
- aft navigator panel (alternative: buy resin cockpit sets)
- two detailed seat head rests (alternative: buy resin after market seats)
- bulkheads (alternative: buy resin cockpit sets)
- two outboard Sidewinder missile pylons (alternative: do not fit)
- two chaff/flare dispensers aft fuselage  (not initially fitted on the F3)
- larger radar disk (only needed for opened up radar nose)

For the F.mk2 (F2) the rear jet pipe area extension is not needed. Total weight of resin parts was 120 grammes. 


So some 20 parts in total. 


I believe that many years later "HERITAGE" of the U.K issued a 1/32 scale conversion set.

Some parts casted needed more work than others like filling gaps, sanding and merging it in the Revell kit components. Some cutting and trimming on both resin parts and kit parts is needed. Here some of the silicone rubber moulds can be seen:

For resin glueing, Cyano Acrylate Superglue and 5-minute Epoxy for large joins is used as is a fine modelling razor saw. Putty/filler, superglue gell is also used to fill gaps and pin holes. To fill tiny pin holes in the small resin parts, putty is also needed and to get a good result in the entire assembly in fitting the resin to the plastic kit parts. 
  warninggloves mask
SAFETY first: when cutting and sanding resin parts, use hand nitrile gloves (not silicon gloves!) to avoid skin irritation and allergy. Sand and saw under water in a bowl and wear a face mask to avoid inhaling resin dust.


A. The forward fuselage of the Tornado ADV has a refuelling probe is on the port side. Inscribe the refuelling doors with a scriber, refer to drawing. 

B. Remove the small inside stubs at the rear of the forward fuselage halves #18 + 18a to ease plug fitting later on. 

C. In both fuselage halves #18 + 18a some plastic portions need to be removed. Use a razor saw to get straight cuts.  Start sawing off the rear section of both halves #18+18a along the engraved kit vertical panelline and up to the two tiny holes. Than make a horizontal saw cut directly above the tiny intake locating holes. Cut on the outsides, so to have some margin left to sand for a perfect fit. 


D. Tornado ADV variants have recesses for the two forward  Skyflash missiles. A single bottom resin bottom panel for the forward fuselage is provided. It is moulded with quite some thickness to add strength and if the part is not perfectly flat, use hot water to get it flat. 

Clean up missile recesses, but if you intend to fit Skyflash missiles only minor clean up is needed. 

To fit resin bottom panel, remove of a large area on both lower fuselage halves. The cutting line from rear to front is indicated on both kit halves' bottom areas through a tiny panelline. The forward cutting line is aft of the forward nose bay gear well. 

Note: the fitting of the bottom resin panel is tricky and also moulding this resin part is very difficult; 
an alternative is not to remove the lower fuselage section but to use a thick piece of plastic cart (46 x 40 mm) to fit below the fuselage plug. Forget about the missile recesses and put two sanded flat "missiles" in place (see missile suggestions later). 

The forward gear bay # 17 should fit and the resin part has moulded strips to get a stronger joint. 


E. The large resin mid-fuselage plug is a complex part but in the end you get a strong joint. Clean up carefully the connecting edges of the resin part. It will fit to a modified forward fuselage and on the aft fuselage parts #48+54. Don't bother to clean up the insides of the plug, nothing can be seen of it.

Glue together the resin fuselage plug and the resin bottom part. Smoothen the glued edges. 

Do not fit it yet to the prepared kit fuselage!

F. The aft resin jetpipe extension and resin fin base are needed only for the Fit as needed.
You may need to fill up some gaps in the parts.


Starting the Build

Assembled were the kit seats as per instructions. However, the seat head rests #7 were replaced with finer resin parts, do not use #5 in that case. 
Detailed a bit further with straps and belts as desired.

(NOTE: Full resin ejection seats can also be found on the market for the 1/32 Tornado).

The front ADV instrument panel is only slightly different, but a resin replacement is provided. (you can also use part #200 in the ECR kit).  (The RAF kit 04705 does not have part #200). 

Remove a small portion of the instrument cover (where the HUD is) to fit the front resin panel. Fill any gaps with white glue. 


The rear instrument panel is quite different on the ADV, a resin part is provided. Two new resin bulkheads are also provided with some more details which may be used as replacements for parts #16 and 13. 

NOTE: On a real Tornado, there is no actual "full" bulkhead between the two pilots, so you can also leave out this mid bulkhead and add various details from scratch. 

The gaps between any sidewalls and bulkheads can be filled using white glue.

Use the foot controls #10 and control stick #12 as supplied in the kit.  Cut off the small stick on kit part #15 and glue it on the pedestal of the rear resin part. (for a "twin stick" trainer, probably extra foot controls should be fitted in the rear cockpit; make from card). 

Two aft CRT screen layouts are seen on the ADV. Two resin parts with the CRT's are provided, so decide which one you want to use. The most common one seen is symmetrical with two CRT's and it has two handling bars, add these from rod. The non-symmetrical one is for the ADV trainer 'twin stick" variant. 

Some pictures of the real Tornado F3 rear cockpit area:
small upper scope                                          ......................                         view looking aft the rear bulkhead
 upper instruments with a small scope on the left
 here can be seen that the upper instruments are positioned more forward on top of the CRT screens

rear cockpit instruments, right CRT screen 
  looking forward from rear seat to the right                and ladder... note mirrors in canopy

    sketch     with two alternatives for the rear CRT screen layouts


Fill tiny gaps in these parts with white glue. Note also that many electric wires run aft of the CRT's. 

Do not fit the CRT's yet at this point but much later as one of the last finishing steps. 

Also put the ejection seats later into your cockpit.

Fit the gear well kit part #17 into one of the lower inside fuselage halves and do not fix it to the cockpit tub. (This will ease fitting the resin belly bottom later on). 

No need to drill open any holes on the fuselage parts, the ADV has a quite different in-flight refuelling installation. So do not use. 
So regarding STEPS 57 - 59 (RAF kit 04705 steps 56-58):
Do not install the refuelling probe on the ADV. 

Some new panellines of the fuselage refuelling doors can be inscribed as seen on the drawing left of the windscreen (see preparation A). 

This step is a bit tricky as you need to combine the resin bottom panel, the fuselage resin plug and the cockpit assembly in the forward fuselage. 
An alternative is not to remove the lower fuselage section but to use a thick piece of plastic cart (46 x 40 mm) to fit below the fuselage plug. Forget about the missile recesses and put two sanded flat "missiles" in place (see missile suggestions later). 

NOTE: the rear Skyflash missiles on a real Tornado are not recessed. They are attached straight on the rear fuselage. 
Next to these missiles, long fairings can be seen. These can be made from plastic strip, plastic card and rod sanded in shape
(they are too small to mould in resin). 

Do not bother with kit steps 10,11 and 13 at this stage. Do not trim the parts with your X-acto knife before you make sure parts needs trimming. 

Start with taping together the prepared fuselage parts and resin parts with Scotch tape to check their fit. Snug in also the cockpit tub assembled. Make sure everythings fits but in any case some putty will be needed. 

In the inner sides of the kit fuselage sections, you may need to reduce the thickness on the insides at the connecting edges to get a flush fit of the resin plug.

After the different parts dry fit, assemble the forward fuselage. Use plenty of tape and assemble in stages. It is recommended to let dry for 24 hours.

The canopy-fuselage sides were made a bit thicker with plastic rod (painted grey above).

After that, putty, strip and plastic card was used to close all gaps. All wat let to dry 24 hours and sanded flush before moving to next assembly stages. Rescribed than the panel lines. 

As noted before: 
the fitting of the bottom resin panel was tricky and also moulding this resin part is tricky; 
an alternative is not to remove the lower fuselage section but to use a thick piece of plastic cart (46 x 40 mm) to fit below the fuselage plug. Forget about the missile recesses and put two sanded flat "missiles" in place (see missile suggestions later). 

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Created this page:
July 25,  2008