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Minicraft's 1/72 scale
F-14A Tomcat

by David W. Aungst

 

F-14A Tomcat

 


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Introduction


 

Lets take a trip on the "way back machine". This is one of the oldest models still existing in my completed models collection. I finished this model back in August of 1982, 22 years ago and long before I developed many of the modeling techniques I regularly use today. It is only the second model that I ever built with an air brush.

This is the original Hasegawa F-14 Tomcat in 1/72nd scale, raised panel lines and all. Back when this kit was relatively new (it's only a collector's item now), two US Navy Tomcats from VF-41 "Black Aces" downed a pair of Libyan Su 22 "Fitters". This was "first blood" for the Tomcat, which at that time had already been in Naval service for nearly a decade.

 



When SuperScale released decals for building the two Tomcats that made this historic event, a friend and I decided to each built one of the Tomcats. We had tried on several occasions (to no avail) to build complimentary models that we could display together. We thought this time it might actually happen. In the end, it did not. My friend ended up working an F-18 (that he never finished) and I changed the unit markings of my Tomcat to be VF-51 "Screamin' Eagles".

 

 

Construction


Improvements

Even at this early stage in my model building, I recognized the potential for some extra detailing to this otherwise ordinary kit. Having just learned of Detail & Scale books and purchased the original F-14 volume, I found the kit was quite lacking in some details - mainly in the cockpit. I decided to fix the problems. I did the following to the kit:

  • I scratch built a new cockpit interior, including scratch building two ejection seats. The instrument panels were then decaled using the kit decals (I was ambitious, not masochistic).

  • I did not like the Hasegawa canopy as it was shaped funny (in my opinion) and had the center framing member too far forward. So, I replaced the Hasegawa canopy with one stolen from an MPC kit. I maintained the Hasegawa windscreen, though, as the MPC windscreen did not fit the Hasegawa kit fuselage very well.

  • A added latching hooks and rear view mirrors into the MPC canopy.

  • I cut and repositioned the wing flaps in the lowered position. This "locked" the wings in the fully un-swept position and forced me to build up the wing glove bladders to fill the slot that the kit's moving wings slid into and out of.

  • Likewise, I cut and repositioned the wing slats in the lowered position.

 

 

  • I modified the wing glove weapons pylons from the kit provided style used on AIM-54 Phoenix missiles to the style that is used for AIM-7 Sparrow missiles.

  • I further modified the wing glove pylons to incorporate the shoulder mounted AIM-9 Sidewinder missile rails.
    I substituted replacement weapons taken from the (at that time) new Hasegawa weapons sets. These included:

  • 3 AIM-7F Sparrow missiles

  • 2 AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles

  • 2 AIM-54A Phoenix missiles

Several years after I did all the work to detail out this Tomcat model, Hasegawa issued a new kit of the Tomcat in 1/72nd scale using all new molds that provided every one of these details right in the box. I guess I was just a little ahead of my time.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

I used Polly-S acrylic and Testor's "Little Bottle" enamel paints to finish the model. The camouflage is the overall Light Gull Gray (F.S.36440) scheme. This was the standard camouflage for the Tomcat in the period just before low-vis markings became vogue. For all the natural metal areas, I applied common household aluminum foil using foil adhesive from MicroScale (now SuperScale). This includes the engine exhaust areas as well as all the wing and tail leading edges.

The decals come from two MicroScale decal sheets, 72-296 for the unit markings of VF-51 "Screamin' Eagles" and 72-248 for the aircraft data markings. Some are also the kit decals (printed by Scale Master), like for the national insignia and NAVY titles. The kit decals have not faired too well over the years with the clear film and decal adhesive starting to turn a medium brown-ish color. The MicroScale decals have faired much better with very little yellowing.

 

 

I had yet to develop any of the now standard weathering techniques that I use today. I weathered the model mostly using children's watercolor paints. I would swipe a wet finger over the watercolor brick, then rub the model with my dirty finger. The process worked rather well for being so low-tech. I also experimented with diluted enamel paint washes. Since the base color was an acrylic, I felt safe applying the enamel wash over it. I applied the washes over the flat paint and they ran everywhere. I learned much later that gloss finishes are much easier to control the washes. I completed the weathering with a little silver dry-brushing to pop out the kit's detailing.
 

 

Additional Images and Project Summary

 

Click the thumbnails below to view images full-sized.
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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

August, 1982

Total Building Time:

46

Research:

2.0

Construction:

12.0

Painting (includes creation and printing of custom decals):

15.0

Decals / Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):

5.0

Extra Detailing / Conversion:

12.0
 


Model, Description and Images Copyright 2004 by David Aungst

Page Created 23 July, 2004
Last Updated 23 July, 2004

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