Dragon 1/144 RAF Tornado GR.4

KIT: Dragon 1/144 RAF Tornado GR.4
KIT #: 4606
DECALS: One option per aircraft
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Two complete kits.


As early as May 1984 the UK Ministry of Defence began studies for the first Tornado upgrade project, however the project stalled. In March 1993 a new Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) project was launched. On 29 May the first GR.4 development aircraft made its maiden flight. On 29 July 1994 the UK signed a contract for MLU of GR1/GR1A/GR1Bs to GR.4/GR.4A standard. The first flight of an upgraded GR4 was on 4 April 1997, with the first delivery to the RAF occurring on 31 October. The GR4 entered front line service on 28 April 1998. The Tornado GR4 made its operational debut in patrols during Operation Southern Watch. The aircraft flew from Ali Al Salem in Kuwait, and patrolled a large part of southern Iraq. Several times bombs were dropped when the aircraft were fired upon by Iraqi ground defences.

The GR4 version's full wartime debut came in Operation Telic, the British part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The aircraft, according to all indications in the public domain, performed well. The campaign in Iraq marked a number of firsts for the aircraft. No. 617 Squadron used the Storm Shadow Missile for the first time, and enhanced Paveway smart bombs were used to attack runways. On 23 March 2003 a Tornado GR4 was lost to friendly fire when it was engaged and shot down by a U.S. Patriot missile battery. Both crew members were killed. 


Dragon is undoubtedly the leader in producing 1/144 military aircraft from the modern period. They have a nice selection of various types and that includes the Tornado, a plane that is still front line equipment in a number of air forces.

Dragon's kit is quite typical of most of their kits with nicely engraved external detailing, a full cockpit and a goodly number of items to put under the wings. As with larger scale models of this aircraft, the fuselage is divided into a fore and aft section. The aft is split horizontally so that the moveable wings can easily be installed. The front portion with the cockpit is split vertically. A one-piece interior with crew figures molded in place will fill up the office and leave room for nose weight. This is covered with a very clear one-piece canopy.

The kit is also designed to have the aft speed brakes open if you so wish, though rarely was the plane parked with these deployed. Nicely done landing gear are included. The nose gear doors are molded in one piece in case you wish to display your model in flight and need to be cut to use in the 'ground' mode. For things under wings there are a pair of Storm Shadow cruise missiles for the center line as well as GBU 10/12 Paveway bombs. The wing pylons are for jammer/flare pods as well as the smaller 1500 liter wing tanks and Sidewinder missiles.

Instructions are basically two exploded views with several smaller detail drawings. Paints are offered in Gunze and Model Master references. Markings are for the two planes shown on the box art. Both are in the current grey livery with black fins and upper fuselage sections. The black will have to be painted. One is a 25 years of Tornado special from 9 Squadron and the other is the 95th Anniversary of II squadron. Both are nicely done and the decals should provide no surprises.


So there you have it. Another great Dragon 1/144 twin pack. I'm sure that you'll find this kit to be just as nice as their other recent releases. Now, if we could only get Dragon interested in doing some proper Phantoms.....



April 2008

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. You can get yours at your local shop or have them order it for you.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note toContributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page