Euro Decals | Operation Telic Tornados

Reviewed by Vernon Rabbetts & Brad Hagen

I’m not real up on modern jets so Vernon wrote up a short history which is a good primer on the latest Tornadoes.

Operation Telic Tornados 101

The Panavia MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft was born from the realisation by various European countries that they could not afford to have their airforces filled with specialist aircraft anymore. This is a situation now becoming a pressing issue even with the USAF and USN.

The first version to see service with the RAF was the Tornado GR.1 whose primary mission was the high speed low level deep penetration role. This was the initial function of the GR.1's in Operation Granby (Gulf War I), and used the JP223 Runway Denial Weapon. However, with the increased usage of Precision Guided Munitions, the RAF realised that the GR.1/1a needed an upgrade and soon the GR.4/4as started rolling off their production line.

The GR.4 differed visually from the GR.1 by having a different ejector seat for the pilot and WSO, the left cheek Mauser deleted and an additional chin mounted pod on the port side.

Any GR. Tornado with an "a" as a suffix is primarily a Reconnaissance bird and can be differentiated by having no cheek mounted Mauser cannons and two tall "windows" in front of the intakes which contain side scan recon equipment.

In Operation Granby, the Tornado was seen as having a primary low level role and was painted a desert sand colour in ARTF. In Operation Telic, (Gulf War II) the new GR.4/4a's were seen as having a medium altitude role and were painted a light grey ARTF. In addition, the pilots of Grandby had also complained mightily about having a black nose cone which seemed to act as a "here I am" flag. For Telic, the nose cones were a contrasting but complimentary grey also.

Telic from a Tornado perspective was almost a perfect success. The Paveway PGMs worked fabulously well as did the brand new (not fully operationally cleared) "Stormshadow" Stand-Off Weapon. In addition, the reconnaissance Tornados used the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod for the first time with great success. 617 Squadron had both its 60th anniversary and its position as the squadron to launch experimental bombs back in place as it pioneered the Stormshadow as they had Barnes Wallis's unholy trinity in WWII.

The only loss of a Tornado in TELIC was due to a Blu-on-Blue incident when a US Patriot battery shot down a Marham based Tornado on its way back from a mission.

Another feature of the Telic operation was that nose art was actively encouraged and some of the coolest markings seen on this very successful bomber were seen during this campaign.

To make a Telic GR.4/4a you will need to quite drastically change the GR.1 kit from Revell. The best manufacturer of a conversion set is Flightpath which is frankly ridiculously complete. Unfortunately, there is no manufacturer of a RAPTOR Pod or Stormshadow PGMs at this stage in 1/32nd.

The decals

My first impression of the decal sheet was that it was huge, it just fit in my scanner. There’s a reason it’s so huge, this sheet covers 18 different Tornadoes from Operation Telic with nose art for each. The nose art is for the following planes:

All of the decals are in perfect register, even the thin white outline around the sharks mouth. There are enough stencils for one jet. Their instructions say that due to security implications they weren’t able to find out whether the Tornadoes during Operation Telic carried the full complement of stencils. Also, when the jets were repainted the lighter shade of gray some of the stencils were taped over leaving a darker shade of gray so they include dark gray decals that can be placed down under the stencils to replicate this, a nice touch. The decals are numbered which will make finding them on the instructions much easier.

The instructions come on two double sided full color sheets. One side has three full profiles, two of the other side’s has the remaining fifteen noses, and the remaining page is a four view showing the stencil and marking placement. The instructions are very comprehensive and you’ll have no problem figuring out which decals goes where.

Fantasy Printshop was founded in 1997 specializing in water slide decals in various scales. Not only do they have decals for a variety of airplanes, they also have various specific decals such as, solid sheets, stars, stripes, checkers, maintenance markings, national insignia from countries rarely seen on sheets along with numerous other types of sheets. This will be a real gold mine for a modeler trying to do unique markings.

In conclusion, this is a very well done sheet for a historically significant plane that you rarely see markings for, not only that but the extensive markings included is a very pleasant added bonus and will help insure the chances of seeing the same markings on a contest table or on the internet are pretty small. This sheet is highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of Fantasy Printshop.

© Vernon Rabbetts & Brad Hagen 2005

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This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016