PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

Testors Ad
 

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

luckymodel.com

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

MRC Ad
 

 

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

CultTVman Ad
 

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

zotz-decals.com

FOLLOW US

Facebook Facebook
Google+ Google+
Twitter Twitter
Flickr Flickr
Pinterest Pinterest
YouTube YouTube
RSS RSS

F-14

Project Tomcat
F-14 Tomcats Side-By-Side in 1/48th Scale

by Michael Benolkin

Last updated 02 Dec 11

 

 

Background

In the early days of the F-14 Tomcat, Monogram produced an outstanding kit in 1/48 of the F-14A that nicely captured the essence of the aircraft, those variable geometry wings. As I recall, this was the first kit produced that featured wing synchronization (move one wing, the other does too). What's more, this kit also extended the glove vanes when the wings moved to full sweep - another unique feature of the F-14A. The kits that followed usually provided a similar wing sweep synch feature. ESCI turned out a fair kit as did Fujimi.

The bar was significantly raised when Hasegawa entered the fight with their F-14A. This kit offered finely scribed surface details and was the first to offer the option to pose the aircraft with the nosegear in the kneeling position for catapult engagement as well as with the wing flaps and slats extended for take-off. The early Hasegawa kits were plagued with a design flaw in the intake trunks that made assembly a major problem (I remember giving up on my first Hasegawa Tomcat many years ago) but this flaw has long since been rectified. The Hasegawa kit settled into the best kit in any scale for several decades.

Academy produced their own Tomcat which filled a niche - a kit that was less complex (and cheaper) than the Hasegawa kit but offered nicely scribed details as a step up from the Monogram kit. This has been one of my favorite kits for many years as it is an easy build, not expensive, and provides an easy palette for all of those magnificent paint schemes available in the aftermarket decal world.

More recently, Hobbyboss released the Tomcat based upon the 1/32 designs previously released by Trumpeter. The kit is even more detailed than the Hasegawa kit and has more features/options. The jury is still out on buildability, but we'll see here soon enough.

F-14 Production Differences

Here is a quick matrix of differences between the different production models of the Tomcat.

F-14
A (Early)
A (Late)
B
D
Radar
AWG-9
AWG-9
AWG-9
APG-71
Cannon
20mm
20mm
20mm
20mm
Gun Door
Louvered
NACA
NACA
NACA
Engine
TF30
TF30
F110
F110
TARPS
No
Yes*
Yes*
Yes
Bombcat
No
Yes**
Yes**
Yes

* Selected F-14As and F-14Bs were modified to accommodate the TARPS pod whereas all F-14Ds were designed to support TARPS.

** While all Tomcats could carry unguided bombs, the F-14A and F-14B Bombcats had to be retrofitted with the MIL-STD 1553 data bus (and other mods) to integrate the LANTIRN pod. F-14Ds were equipped with the 1553 bus.

F-14 In-Box Reviews

F-14 Quick Builds

Comparisons

Here is a look at the similarities and differences between the different manufacturers. This table will be revised with each build or quick build as needed.

 
Academy
Hasegawa
Hobbyboss
Italeri
Revell
Scale
1/48
1/48
1/48
1/48
1/48
MSRP (USD)
$38.95
$76.95
$99.95
$37.95
$27.95
Street Price (USD)
$28.95
$61.95
$79.95
$28.95
$22.95
Source
Academy
Hasegawa
Trumpeter
ESCI
Monogram
Versions
A (Early)
A (Bombcat)
A (Early)
A (Late)
A (Bombcat)
B
B (Bombcat)
D
A (Early)
B
D
A (Early)
A (Early)
B
D
Detail
Scribed (Sharp)
Scribed (Sharp)
Scribed (Sharp)
Scribed (Soft)
Raised
Fit Issues
None
None *
None
None
None
Photo-Etched Parts
No
No
Yes
No
No
Flaps/Slats
Neutral
Positionable
Positionable
Neutral
Neutral
Wing Sweep
Movable
Positionable
Movable **
Movable
Movable
Nosegear
Normal
Normal and Kneel
Normal and Kneel
Normal
Normal

* Early Hasegawa Tomcats had a design flaw in their intake trunks that made the model very difficult to build. This has been fixed in later releases.

** The Hobbyboss wings will sweep, but if you pose the flaps and slats down, this is not a good combination.

Pros and Cons

Coming Soon

Summary

The Tomcat modeler has a nice selection of kits in 1/48 scale. Some are quite detailed though you'll pay a premium for all of those extra parts. The less expensive kits also build up into nice models. The comparison above will help you decide whether you need a more expensive kit so you can pose the aircraft with the flaps and slats extended or whether a given kit can render a Bombcat out of the box. Whatever your needs, there is a Tomcat here for you.

References

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

bnamodelworld.com

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

maketar.com

OUR SUPPORTERS:

hlj.com
furballaero-design.com
scaleaircraftconversions.com
fishermodels.com
jasmodel.com
ipmsphilippines.comElm City