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Richard Bungay
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USN F-14A Tomcat VF-84 Jolly Rogers USS Nimitz

August 27, 2020 · in Aviation · · 14 Comments

Tamiya 1/48 F-14A (61114)

Quick Boost resin seats (QB48223)
AMM Alfa Probe and AOA probe (AM-48-007)
NOS resin wheels (NS48121-a)

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Helicon Focus (focus stacking)

Another amazing kit by Tamiya. The build was quite straightforward due to the engineering of the kit. I will say though that it is not perfect (nor should it be). Here are a few problem areas and areas for improvement:

  • Alignment tabs within the fuselage assembly actually cause fit issues - I had to remove them for improved fit.
  • The windscreen is slightly too narrow causing a gap on the left side.
  • The canopy sill is either too narrow or the canopy opening is too wide. I had to clamp the assembly together to close the gap.
  • The inboard leading edge formation lights - they are an irregular shape that is difficult to mask and paint. A paint mask or decal would have been appreciated.
  • The wing folding mechanism works flawlessly but I’d rather have had to choose a wing position and had separate control surfaces.
  • The decals are in perfect register and the colors are vibrant. Unfortunately, they are a bit brittle and do not adhere well. I’d suggest adding a touch of white glue to your water to help them stick.
  • Slight fit issues on external panels enclosing the engine as well as the exhaust cans.
  • The panel lines are sharp. I would have preferred them to be a bit deeper though. I painted the exterior with flat Tamiya paints so when I applied the gloss coat, I had to use a lot to get a good sheen for the decals and a wash since Tamiya flats soak up gloss coats like a sponge. As a result, the panel lines lost some of their depth and my wash results were underwhelming. In hind sight I would have used AK paints which dry semi gloss ready for decals and a wash.

This sounds like a lot of problems but I’m really nit picking. Its an awesome kit which modellers of a wide range of skills should be able to build to good effect. The fit issues are likely the result of the complexity of the airframe and I’m comparing to other newer Tamiya kits like their 1/32 Corsairs and Spitfires which fit nearly flawlessly (except for the cowls.) Of course, all these issues could all be due to me rather than the kit so I’d still give this kit a 9/10.

Enjoy and comments welcome.

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. This is a fantastic Tomcat, Richard.
    This is my favorite scheme too!

    • Yeah, I love the Jolly Rogers schemes. It looks great on the shelf by my F-18F Super Hornet. I've also got an F-4J in the same scheme in my stash.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  2. Great one Richard! Best F-14 issue ever!

  3. Great results on your Tomcat, Richard.

  4. Beautiful Tomcat. Well done!

  5. Great results and an excellent kit! Classic scheme too! If you don't mind telling, which tabs gave you issue with the fuselage?

    • I first noticed the problem when assembling the forward fuselage. There is a tab just ahead of the windscreen. I didn't test fit because some of the other newer Tamiya kits I've built didn't need any so I assumed the same would be true here. Unfortunately, after joining the halves I noticed a step in the upper joint. Normally this isn't much of an issue but here I had to obliterate a round panel line which was extremely difficult to rescribe. So, in other areas of the fuselage when I was constructing and had fit issues, invariably, removal of tabs was the solution. There are not many of them so removing them is not a big deal. To be clear, I'm taking about rectangular tabs, not locater pins. If I were building this again, I'd likely spend more time test fitting and perhaps sanding down the tabs a bit rather than removing them. Hope this helps!

  6. Nice clean build, and a great-looking Tomcat. Nicely done.

  7. Terrific Tomcat, Richard! The real star of Top Gun.

  8. A lot of thanks for shared this post on public .

  9. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    That Tomcat model is a good clean and sharp build Richard.
    The photography is a joy to see and well taken.

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