|Grumman F-14 Tomcat
VF143 "Pukin Dogs"
|This kit has been around for many years and in some places it shows.
The detail on the few parts I've looked at so far pale in comparison to some of the newer releases but time will tell as I build this kit. It comes with six sprues in the standard academy blue/grey plastic plus separate upper and lower fuselage halves, and a small clear tree containing the windscreen and canopy.
This is planned as a straight out of the box build, with the classic Lt. Gull Grey over Gloss White camouflage, but I'm already getting the shakes from aftermarket part withdrawal.
Like almost every aircraft kit, this one starts with the cockpit. My instincts are screaming at me to go aftermarket on the cockpit.
A lot of the details are there, but not to the extent of some of the higher price kits. There are a lot of buttons, switches and knobs but missing are the individual access panels that would be removed for maintenance. Once installed it's barely noticeable thought a closed canopy
Halfway through assembling the seats, I was informed by a friend the seats that come with the kit were very incorrect, so I did break down and ended up using some Baker Martin resin seats from Verlinden a kit I had laying around.
The fuselage comes in two main pieces, upper and lower and a smaller top section housing the cockpit. The two main sections fit without issues, but there's a pretty good size gap where the lower nose section containing the nose gear attaches that will need a little bondo to close.
Prior to installing the wings, I primed and painted the lower section white and then the glove vane sealing plates at the wing roots with a light gray. Once dry, this was masked off and the rear section received a coat of Light Gull Gray.
Once assembled I masked off the canopy and the sprayed the aircraft's topside overall gull gray acrylic. After a couple days to dry, I masked off the exhausts and nose then painted the exhausts and anti glare panel.
At this point, disaster strikes...
|Wings & Tail Surfaces
not alot here, 2 pieces each, top and bottom, slightly warped but not a big deal once the glue dries
Tail surfaces are pretty straight forward. Painted and decaled prior to installation.
Detail and panel lines are reasonable well defined.
This kit comes with the standard F-14 weapons load out of the time, AIM 54C Phoenix, Aim 9 Sidewinders and AIM-7 Sparrows and and a TARPs Pod (Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod).
The Sparrows and Sidewinders are molded on the parts tree in such a way that they can be assembled, cleaned of mold lines and painted on the tree. the decal set for these two items is again, a little sparse, giving just stripes, but no other markings.
There are six of the Aim-54 Phoenix, four in the tunnel and two for the Wing pylons should you choose to use them.
There are markings for these missiles in the decal set.
This kit comes with only one choice of markings, the CAG of VF-143, Pukin' Dogs off the USS America
|On the underside of the fuselage in the tunnel, there's a "shaded" area for placement of the TARPs Pod. It's kind of odd but it's completely covered if you use the Phoenix Missile launch rails. On the other hand, you might want to clear this off if using Sparrows between the engine nacelles
This was my first attempt at panel lines so expectations are low as I experiment. I did find that some of the lines aren't a uniform depth, and the color fluctuated greatly in some areas, and were almost non existent in others
|Conclusions and opinion
At half the price of the Tamiya, Hobby Boss and Hasegawa kits, this is a pretty good bargain and a decent kit.
(And besides, what young modeler wouldn't love the name "Pukin' Dogs")
Although it lacks some of the detail and the fit of the more expensive kits, it still looks good on the shelf and represents this classic of American Naval Aviation well.
This kit goes together quickly with only a few fit issues so the frustration level is low for less experienced or casual builders. The biggest fit issue is at the forward part of the fuselage, where there are some serious gaps that need to be filled. I just covered them with the national insignia since this will be sitting on ny nephews shelf until he tries to fly it across the room.
As for Aftermarket Parts, there's not much available. Basically seats from Verlinden, a kit specific cockpit and a couple exhaust sets from Aires. One of the benefits of the relatively low price of this kit is the added cost of an Aries cockpit or a set of decals for another Squadron won't seem to take as big a bite out of the wallet should you choose to go that way
|F-14A Basic Color List|
|Wheel Wells||Gloss White||f/s 17875|
|Interior||Haze Gray||f/s 26270|
|Underside||Gloss White||f/s 17875|
|Topside Light||Light Gull Gray||f/s 36440|
Aftermarket Products being used in construction
MB GRU-7A F-14 Tomcat Ejection Seat
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