ManCave Modeler
Product Review & Build

The Kit
Originally released in 1977, and re-tooled in the late 80's, this is the 1/72 version of Hasegawa's 1/48th kit.
Upon opening the box, you find 6 sprues of gray plastic, a clear sprue with the canopy and decals for 2 aircraft.
At first I was surprised to find raised panel lines rather than engraved until I saw the age of the kit and remembered raised panels were the norm for kits of this scale back in the 70's . Wheel well detail was minimal and and cockpit detail was non-existent requiring decals, Again indicative of the age of the kit. There was a small amount of flash on a couple of parts, but aside from that they were very clean.
Unlike Hasebawa's 1/48th Tomcat, the wings are adjustable and geared to be sweepable after assembly.
The kit comes with two sets of markings, the obligatory Jolly Rogers of VF-84 and the Sundowners of VF-111.

The relatively low price of this kit and it's sisters with different markings, makes it ideal for the younger, less experienced hobbyist looking to move to the next level of difficulty or the Cat fan looking to fill the shelf with multiple squadrons. For the hard core guy, the raised panel lines will probably be a deal breaker.

The availability of an after market cockpit will take care of cockpit detail, but double the price of the kit if you should choose to go that route.


Available Aftermarket parts

F-14A Tomcat Cockpit Set, Aires 7163
F-14A Tomcat Exhaust Nozzles - Varied, Aires 7125

F-14A Interior Color Detail Set, Eduard 73405

Numerous decal sets for many squadrons.

Just my 2 cents worth
to be continued as I build this kit...

The Build
As with just about all aircraft kits, this starts with the cockpit. Once assembled with the decal control panels, it didn't take to long before I knew I was heading to to the local retailer and grabbing the resin. So much for the simple out of box build...


The Aires Interior for this kit is pretty much a scaled down version of the 1/48th kit.
It goes together in the same way and requires the same large amount of sanding, grinding and modification as it's big brother. The one problem I did find with the kit was the fragility of the parts. Several pieces of the tub were broken off and the RIO's joy stick was completely missing.
To fit this final subassembly into the nose section, the forward wheel well needs to be thinned considerably along with the modifications to the top of the cockpit.

The Fuselage aft of the cockpit tub was really the only issue I found in the kit albeit a very minor one. The wing pivots were on the lower half of the fuselage requiring the top half to be slid into place while holding the wings in place. A minor annoyance at most but could be frustrating to a less experienced modeler. The rest of the rear section went together without issue.



Squardron Markings
This is the third in my 1/72 "Sluggers" Trilogy. (Along with F-8 Crusader & F-4J Phantom shown above)
Most of the decals I'll be using are from the kit, but for Squadron Markings, since there are no sets available for VF103, I've reduced Afterburner's magnificent VF-103 Slugger set I'll be using on the 48th scale kit to 1/72nd.



Final Thoughts
The kit has gone together with only minor annoyances. In spite of the age of the kit, the parts required little trimming. I did have the forward section of the fuselage separate a little and no amount cement would defuse the two sections once they dried, so I will have to repair that annoyance. (the photo's make it look a lot worse than it is.)
The aftermarket resin part cockpit tub required a tremendous amount of modification resulting in a large amount of dust which needed to be cleaned off (as can be seen by the in the photos) I probably should have trimmed and cleaned before I painted and assembled them.(proof that hindsight is 20/20)
The decals I reduced worked well for the most part, but I had one somehow flip and the yellows in the squadron insignias were a little translucent. Again, something I'll remember in the future.


The final ship in my slugger trilogy
(at least in 1/72nd scale)

Products used in construction
F-14A Tomcat Cockpit Set, Aires 7163
Afterburner Decals, VF103 Sluggers, 48-071 (reduced to 1/72nd scale)

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Last Updated August 3, 2018