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Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
F-14A Tomcat

by Hubert Ortinger


Grumman F-14A Tomcat


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-14A Tomcat is available online from Squadron




The development of the F-14 as "Fleet Defenders" began end of the 1960s as replacement for the F-4 Phantom. The Tomcat now represents the oldest combat aircraft of the armed forces of the USA. All samples possess a wing unit on variable-sweep technology, which should optimize the flight behavior in different speed ranges. All versions are two seaters, whereby the pilot sit in front and the "radar intercepting officer” in the back . The mostly carrier supported employment as air superiority fighters with large range serves primarily the spacious air isolation for which the airplane is equipped with a highly developed fire control system.

The superiority of the F-14 is based less on their agility than on their ability owing to their high performance radar to already seize and fight with long-range air-to-air guided missiles airborne targets at large distance. The development potential of the F-14 was limited, so the different versions were only limited to detail improvements, in particular stronger drive and more modern radar.


Since to the fleet introduction in 1972, the Tomcat lead the role of air defense of the American fleet and is being replaced in service right now, primarily by the newest F/A-18 F Super Hornet.





This Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-14A Tomcat. Like the original the kit also has already some years on the market, however it gives no abort to the quality. The weaknesses of the kit lie in the detail, which can be avoid by Aires (cockpit, wheel pits, engine discharge opening) without too major expense. For my project I ordered still Cutting Edge (wheels), Verlinden (weapon pit, avionics, ascent leader), Aeromaster (Decals, Stencils) and CMK (figures).

The fun begins...

I began with the wings, and decided to represent these spread – witch means slat and landing flaps driven out. Hasegawa plans this option, however very simplified so the five triangular linking for the flaps had to be carved from plastic card. The mechanism, which moves the flaps should naturally also suggested. The position of the anchorages and the situation of the spoilers on the top sides does not agree afterwards and one are forced to be primed these to a large extent and then engraved again. The slats however fit perfectly. The wings themselves, are put in only later at the flanks.


With many models one often sees a protective cover over the air intakes of the engines, and I checked fast firmly why: The complicated mechanism, which regulates the air flow into the engines, is not loved by everyone to represent in detail. Original in each case two guide plates direct the necessary amount of air to the engines or to an opening in the pit upward by the trunk back in the free. I placed myself to the challenge which required much improvisation in view of the Aires landing gear wells, which were appropriate directly beside it . The drying adaptation of the glued constructions from sheet did not want to take an end, because the air ducts had to agree with the upper trunk half were the output flaps was saw out and replaced from brass ones. Still at the same time also the Intakes should be fit in.

Because for injection moulding-technically these are naturally two-pieces and when sticking together a difficult accessible seam develops. After complex sanding and a sumptuous color order I polished the channels with lapping compound and car polish on high gloss.

For this I stuck foam material bits on toothpicks.

After joining the upper and lower intake trunk you can see now downward from above by the risers in the free. As conclusion still the hydraulic cylinders are fit in. For me the design of the body did not promise sufficient stability so I glued suitable columns between them which I fumbled from the rear and in front in the inside.

For finishing this section, only the engine discharge openings were missing. The resin part of Aires is perfect, because smoothly and can immediately painted after cleaning. To paint a formed pipe is not straight easily! With well diluted white, shining color I brushed first and then airbrushed to imitate the ceramic structure. A difficult washing represents soot deposits. The engine shovels and the discharge opening are painted and/or dry-brushed in different metal shades on black undercoat. Quickly assigned the etched parts for the afterburner, everything glued together and bonded into the tail.


That the nose part is separate from the trunk turns out for the forthcoming work as large advantage. The resin parts for the installation are from different manufacturers, so they are not co-ordinated and I had to work with mini milling cutter and the saw to granted each detail its necessary place. Also here again some drying adaptation and provisional building of the forward fuselage bowls up. In particular with Verlinden the weapon pit needs a new rear wall and top side had to be designed, since for this normally the Hasegawa forward wheel well and/or the lower surface of the cockpit tub would have hold. Finally everything joined itself and also the complexity of the ammunition belt of the MK volcano was to manage with plastic profile bits into the grasp.

The cockpit of Aires is top, only the hand grip of the "Rio" was lifted out and set in easily modified with a new handlebar again. For the cockpit framework I shifted new air supply pipes, which I bent from plastic round bars over a source of fire after intensive detailed studies. For the flanges I warmed up the ends and flatted them on a knife blade. The bolting device mechanism also was partly refined scratch and with help of the Eduard etchedset. I had a good idea with the rear view mirrors with the etched pulpit struts, I take thin strips of double-sided tape and fixed them to the transparent part so I did not risk to crab the transparent parts!

Before painting, I stuck the ascending steps provisional on and began to change and adapt the floats of the figures.

From the beginning I had a clear conception like it should look afterwards because in the Squadron "Walk Around" were sufficient suggestions. I amputated the legs and feet, and/or cut at the joints so far with the saw, until they could be bent according to my desire without changing the proportions too much. In my "figure remainder crate" I still found enough useful arms and hands of different manufacturers which I carved up and built up again form a natural body attitude in accordance with my desire. Any columns and gaps were locked generously with Milliput compound and after drying I carved dress folds and missing details in again.


Especially the copilot's design was complicated and had to be developed and modelled from milliput very trcky! Owing to its position some remains hidden for the viewer. Head and helmet are optimal and must only be painted. In addition I used oil and Enamel colors which I mixed also among themselves.

At the same time I dedicated myself painting the cockpit (SM grey), the ejection seats and avionics pits (SM black, zinc chromate) as well as the wheel wells and weapon chamber (SM light-grey). After a unobtrusive wash all components received a spraying veil again with lightened basic colour, and/or with light-grey on white gloss. Here and there, to a large extent naturally to the electronics still some cables with thinnest wire were supplemented, the belts at the seats were completed and the automatic cannon were rigged. The detail painting of the whole one is not difficult actually, you only needs time, a calm hand and a solvent that the color drying retarded. For gluing the nose part to the trunk section I would have already wished myself a few taps, for better embodying and aligning.

To the details...

The cast-on stowing rings at the chassis legs were cleared away and exchanged against home-made out of rod. I have tried to represent the tangle of the hydraulic and brake hoses with stretched sprue and fishing line. The device for hanging up into the catapult carriage were carved away and designed again more explicit completely from profiles - the same act to the joint of the landing hook.

The embarking ladder from Verlinden looks pretty good, primarily if you break through the plastic stages like the original. All maintenance openings from brass (lime trees) shall bent realistically, the solid buckles will better exchanged against punched.

Which was noticeable to me more frequent with F-14 models , were unpleasant columns at the transition, where the wings are slid into the trunk. I took in the wings and lined the columns with normal paper. Into the gaps on the exterior I strewed baking powder and trickled superglue on it. Wing fast out and after drying everything sanded smooth. So I achieved a perfect transition. To saw out the rudders now it depended not more . It provoked me to represent the small flap on the right side bent. Fixing the tail units themselves should wait until the lacquer finish up, but before the Decals take place to be able to accomplish possible repairs better.

To laminate the columns near the engines, the Beaver Tail had to widened a minimum with sheet and putty. The airbrakes themselves became new hinges and hydraulic pistons.

External Stores

If deciding for the combination of short distance (Sparrow, Sidewinder) with long distace (AIM 54), and you still had nothing accumulated, you are forced to buy all two weapon set's from Hasegawa . For the “A”-version only tanks are attached to the kit. The rockets stucks quickly and were placed aside on toothpicks to be painted. For the later optical revaluation enough Decals are attached.


I did not want the weapons to stick flat on the Pylons so I tinkered suitable Sway Braces and/or held her on distance with thin wire. That looks substantially better!



Painting and Markings


On the search for an obliging/pleasing marking I found it by "Aeromaster". The F-14 A of the Vf-142 Ghost Riders of the aircraft carrier USS America with it´s yellow strips and lightnings can really call "High Visibility". For the lacquer finish first complex and extensive pre-working were necessary. The open cockpit, all pits, the engine in and discharge openings as well as the wheel housings were already painted and had to be masked and taken off now, this was very time-consuming.


Since I did not choose a too dark grey for the preshading , I wanted to bring out strongly the engravings with Vandikbraun wash. Everything, commenced with the chassis, over the lower surface up to the external loads including Pylons ,that later should be white was primed with a thin layer Revell light-grey semigloss. The top side in the same manner in Revell grey semigloss. For the wavy dividing line I used a shape-cut foam material fleece. After I airbrushed the "nose" in radome Tan, masked it and the flexible trunk back segments for the bearing areas , I lightened up the individual surface with the main colors Light Gull Grey and white. For the white I set still traces from blue to intensify the signal effect - in addition it should prevent yellowing. I advise against a purely black glare shield. Anthracite coal, lightened with tank-grey is better suitable for a realistic rendition in 1:48 scale. When I installed the rudders I muffed the De-icer-edges so I provided her with bare metal foil "flat aluminum", also the edges of the slats.

That worked out well, so that I directly disguised to do the edges of the air intake thereby. The absorber pistons of the undercarriage anyway! Off course in "chrome". The quality of the kits decals quality are as good as those from Aeromaster so I foraged it and looked out the best for my purposes. For the optimal processing I used SET and SOL from Micro-Products. A renewed partial whash with artist oils imitated the contamination of a Jet's in the employment.


Still a few manual repairs with basic colour and some engravings of pasted oints with a needle , as well as a locking over loops with finest Micro Mesh prepares all components for the final sealing. Trying to underline a realistic appearance, I sprayed the tanks and rockets shining, the lower surface semi gloss and the top side not too flat, as I could present it to me also in reality. Since naturally the dust does not stop before the finish I finally polished again everything with finest sharpening fleece. That breaks the all too shining places and lends to the flat ranges a silk- glow. After installing all components I still brought the formation light/strips to shine with Humbrol “crystal clear”.




Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-14A Tomcat is still an awesome kit of an awesome aircraft, which can impress even built out of the box.

However, finally everyone must decide, how much time, expenditure and money he invest into its projects. I wanted to draw all registers and receive few compromises. Another one builds three, four or still more models in the same time, which possibly diminishes the purse at least exactly the same.

The main thing is to have fun like the slogan: The journey is the reward!



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Hubert Ortinger
Page Created 29 Sepetmber, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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