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During the early 1970s the
Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) selected the Grumman F-14A Tomcat for an
air superiority fighter. The choice came close between the F-15 Eagle,
however the ability of the Tomcat to deliver the AIM-54 Phoenix AAM might
have been a chief factor in the decision.
A total of 80 aircraft
were ordered with 79 delivered and one remained in the United States for
further evaluation. This last Tomcat
was embargoed after the Islamic Revolution.
As of the
early 1990s, more than twenty aircraft were
still presumed serviceable despite the severe shortage of spare parts.
This is mainly attributed to the ingenuity of
the Iranian aerospace industries in reverse engineering and in the
production of indigenous aircraft supplies. The remaining F-14 Tomcats
are said to have gone under upgrades and are expected
to be in service with the Islamic Reformed Iranian Air
Force (IRIAF) for years to come.
This kit started
out life as Italeri's 1/72 scale F-14 Tomcat.
The project was initiated
and completed in the time frame of two and a half weeks, display base
included. The critical time limit was there since it was to be a gift for
a friend. The Italeri 1/72 F-14 Bombcat kit was selected for being the
most economical available at the time.
The kit was build
mostly out of box without any aftermarket enhancements.
However, a great number of changes were made. The panel lines on the kit
were raised, and were sanded off and rescribed. During the construction of
the model, much modification was needed to amend for the many shape errors
inherent of the Italeri kit. This included the complete restructuring of
the entire aft fuselage section, the spine and the aft engine shroud, and
ample amount of filler and CA to build up these areas. The nose of the
aircraft still looked slightly off in spite shape corrections to the kit
pieces. The model certainly looks like a half-decent tomcat afterwards.
Out of the box, however, I would pronounce the kit a complete failure to
capture the basic curves of the aircraft.
Quite a number of minor
modifications were also made. The cockpit was built mainly out of box,
though a back wall had to be built for the pilot as none was provided. Due
to time constrains, the kit seats were used with significant enhancements.
Two pilots from the Hasegawa 1/72 F-18 kit were added. The engine shroud
came as terrible outlines and jagged plastics on the surface. These were
filled accordingly, sanded and rescribed. The gear doors also did not fit
well, as inherent with all Italeri offerings. The fuel dump on the beaver
tail was cut off and rebuilt. The refuelling door was drilled off and the
boom scratch built. The spine antenna and nose pitot were fashioned out of
scrap plastics. The chin pod was taken from a Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A spares
and the missiles from the Hasegawa 1/72 US Missiles box.
The model was finished in
Tamiya and Gunze acrylics applied over a flat black primer coat. Future
was used to seal the model prior to decaling and Gunze flat was used to
dull the effects afterwards.
Additional weathering was
achieved with oil wash. Decals were taken from Fujimi’s 1/72 IIAF F-14A
With its many fallacies,
it is surprising how much may be accomplished to such a mediocre kit in
such a short time. However, I would also like say that, though the Italeri
kit provides a less costly alternative to the better Hasegawa and Fujumi
kits, it is by no means worth the savings.
I would also like to give
my sincere thanks to the folks at HS, ARC and MM for their prompt
assistances regarding inquiries, parts and decals. Without them, I would
never have been able to complete this model on time. Special thanks to the
following individuals for their help.
Gordon. W. Chastain
– 1/72 Aircrew figures
Thomas M. Lore
– 1/72 Modern USN Aircrew figures from Fujimi kit
– 1/72 IIAF F-14 decals and instructions from Fujimi kit
Lt.Cdr, C.A. V-Man
Villanueva, USNR(RET) – 1/72 GRU-7 seats
from Hasegawa kit
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Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2003 by John Chung
Page Created 23 July, 2003
17 March, 2004
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