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npirnia's Achievements


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  1. Really magnificent work Jon! Your 1/72 Tomcats are consistently the finest I have seen, really impressive stuff! Best, Nick
  2. Beautifully done! I especially like the exhaust area, capturing that look is very difficult and you pulled it off. I also like the overall finish and subtly of the weathering. Best, Nick
  3. Hello, The fairings that Jon removed were for the ALQ-126 upgraded ECM that was first fitted to manufactured Tomcats around 1981 (~Block 120 or 125) and later airframes. In the 90s, most remaining F-14As received these as well by 1995 and all F-14Bs were built with them. The fairing at the joint of the glove vane is for the ALR-67 and not the ALR-45. The ALR-67 was a new RWR first fitted to the F-14B (initially designated the F-14A+) and then retrofitted to some F-14As in the late 90s that were expected to serve into the early 2000s (mostly aircraft from VF-154 and VF-211). The ALR-45 was the original RWR fitted to the F-14A (a few really early blocks had the similar ALR-25) and it was only upgraded for a small number of the total F-14As produced. The “lumps and bumps” on F-14s can be pretty confusing since the F-14 was very heterogeneous during its service life and the fleet was upgraded inconsistently. Best, Nick
  4. This really looks excellent so far! Bringing life to the Vandy-1 black Tomcats can be tough, but you are nailing it. -Nick
  5. The F-14s of VF-124 and VF-101 typically flew in a totally clean configuration for the vast majority of training flights. No tanks or Phoenix pallets and the glove stations were usually set up with 4 LAU-7s (2 per side). Often a CATM-9 was mounted on the upper LAU-7s, but that would be all. For ACM hops, they might carry an ACMI pod, but not always since many ACM hops were not on the instrumented range. Mounting CATM-7s on the glove stations reduced yaw stability a little as did tanks (and to a lesser degree the Phoenix pallets) so the majority of training flights were done clean to maximize the safety margin and fuel endurance. Plus, mountable hardware was not available in excess and the fleet squadrons always had priority. If you mount the TARPS pod, you also need to mount forward ballast to keep the Cg in parameters. The FRS squadrons used 1000 lb ballast in a CATM-7 body mounted in the forward AIM-7 recesses. Fleet squadrons sometimes used these when ashore, but usually mounted the Phoenix pallets when on cruise. Best, Nick
  6. I really do hope they do cover all version - I just don't expect them to. And I wouldn't want people thinking that it is likely given Tamiya's prior release strategies. Another factor is that Tamiya still sells the F-4C/D and F-4J in 1/32. Those kits are 25 years old, but still pretty nice. As an example, the presence of the 1/32 F-14A (currently sold in early 2000s configuration) is probably the reason that Tamiya released their 1/48 F-14A as an early model and then chose the D as the follow-on model. Anyway, all conjecture and unpredictable. -Nick
  7. I totally agree. Tamiya consistently lays the ground work for multiple versions, but commonly does just 0-2 follow on kits. The F-14 is a prime example: the first F-14A kit has clear provisions to do either a later block F-14A or F-14B. For a later F-14A, they would only need to replace 1-2 F-14A sprues with those from their F-14D and add in one other tiny new sprue (TCS and bumps for the ALQ-126). Despite this relative ease (imho) and the fact that the clear majority of aftermarket decals are for later F-14As (suggesting a clear market); Tamiya has chosen not to do this kit 5 years after their F-14A release. They did a beautiful F-14D, which was not quite expected after looking at the F-14A kit and seeing that the F-14D was actually more work. Their recent P-38 took the opposite approach. Started with P-38F, then G with new markings, and finally the H with one tiny new sprue for this version. Similarly, their recent 1/72 F-16CJ has clear provisions for multiple variants, but no follow-up has been released 7 years after the first. Seems like a follow-up is unlikely. The take away is that you can't accurately predict what Tamiya will release since their designs are generally engineered to accommodate multiple versions, but often choose not to make use of those accommodations. Given that the ZM kit is genuinely excellent, I'm guessing that Tamiya will choose to skip versions kitted by ZM (F-4J, F-4S, F-4C, F-4D, and F-4E with more to come). So a follow-up kit is more likely to be a F-4N or perhaps a very early F-4B; or nothing at all..... I wouldn't make plans for their "planned next release" until it is officially announced given their historical approach. -Nick
  8. As for versions, it is not surprising since there is a hole in the market for the F-4B since ZM is doing an exceptional job on their Phantoms, but has not committed to the B model (seemingly the only highly produced model that they won’t release). Tamiya seems to be very predictable in terms of their work quality and chosen subjects: -Highly accurate in shape and needed small details. It is very rare that a modern Tamiya kit has a real shape inaccuracy and detail out of the box tends to be excellent - except for cockpits which are simply very good. Their F-14 kit is still the most accurate in shape by a wide margin as a Tomcat fanatic. -Engineering is exceptional and they have a real QA process that catches problems and ensures that you will have a very pleasant experience building. Highly unlikely that you will need to address any kit shortcomings or oversights during a build. They often develop novel and clever solutions to long-standing problems present in other legacy kits of the same subject -They only release subjects that have a big market that ensures high sales volumes. All that engineering and QA has a price and Tamiya seems to only do subjects where they can ensure big sales numbers. Nothing obscure or niche - just mainstream, popular subjects. They are also confident enough in their superior engineering and quality that they will release a subject that has been done by other companies. Seems like these gambles have paid off for them. But it also means that novel subjects won’t be part their repertoire. -Nick
  9. Looks like it is a separate part though, based on slightly inconsistent panel lines for it and the appearance of the pivot arm. -Nick
  10. I agree about your assessment of 162603's antennae configuration. Also true about the GPS antennae - though all the As that served past 1997 or so had them. So it is more about time frame than which model. Most of the major F-14 upgrades (LANTIRN, PTID, GPS, DFCS, ECM/RWR) were applied to all models of the F-14 fleet still in service (F-14A served till 2005, F-14B till 2005, and F-14D was 2006). There were a few things that didn't extend to the whole fleet (JDAMs and Rover), but they were the exception. -Nick
  11. PS - I forgot to mention that I LOVE your canopy detailing! I’m taking notes for my next 1/72 F-14A build (likely Gypsy 202 from 1988-89). -Nick
  12. Hi Jon, My point is that it is clear if you have the right view. The relationship with the glove vanes means that these bumps were less common on F-14As - only F-14As had glove vanes. The F-14A+/B and D were built without them and were also built with the ALR-67. I have seen these bumps present on F-14As with glove vanes in the late-90s, but by then the glove vanes were not functional at that point (though still present). This is an F-14A from VF-154: The glove vanes are a good reference for whether an aircraft is an updated F-14A or a B (when you only have a pic of the front of the aircraft) since it was a unique feature of that model. The vanes were never totally removed from F-14As, just deactivated. If you see a Tomcat without them, it is a F-14A+/B or D. For much of the F-14's career they weren't functional since their maintenance was thought to be more trouble then they were worth - they only deployed at very high speeds (>Mach 1.5 or so) and served to add a little bit of lift forward of the center of pressure. This meant reducing the degree of deflection of the huge elevons/stabilators and reducing drag a little. The stabilator deflection in "pitch up" due to mach tuck and the rearward migration of the center of pressure due to supersonic shockwaves. Because these speeds were so unusual outside of PMCF, squadrons began just capping the hydraulic lines to the vanes if they malfunctioned starting in the mid-1980s (squadron dependent practice). Then the decision was to deactivate the gloves across the entire F-14A fleet in the early 90s by capping the hydraulic lines and wiring them in the closed position, especially since the new F-14 models did not have them anyway. Best, Nick
  13. Looks great Jon! I don't think those bumps are for the AN/ALR-45/50 - it was the first RWR that equipped the F-14A so those bumps should have been present all along in that case. I originally thought that the bumps were part of the ALQ-126 ECM system that entered the fleet in 1981, but looking at pictures it seems that the first examples were on the F-14A+ (later renamed F-14B). The F-14A+ was the first Tomcat to receive the ALR-67 RWR so it must be for that. The ALR-67 was also retrofitted to some F-14As in the late-90s, but this was inconsistent across the fleet. That said, it is not easy to see those bumps in many reference photos (expect from above) since they were initially painted instead unpainted later in the Tomcat's career. But I can't find any aircraft where they are certainly present until 1990 with the F-14A+. Best, Nick
  14. I’m pretty sure the Quickboost set is intended for the new Academy F-14A. One side fits perfectly, but the other doesn’t because one edge is short. It looks more like a manufacturing defect, the resin equivalent of a “short shot”. Perhaps a master mold that is short? -Nick
  15. That's interesting! I hadn't thought about it too much, but that explains why VF-1 had so many light gull grey jets when other squadrons were sporting mostly TPS schemes. It seems that VF-1 managed to get the last production F-14As and pretty much all F-14As were delivered from Grumman in light gull grey. They would start delivering jets in TPS with the F-14A Plus (later redesignated F-14B). In fact, delivery in LGG is what led to the colorful CAG/CO jets in the 80s/early 90s. So all F-4 squadrons had transitioned to the F-14 by 1984 (VF-21 and VF-154 being the last) so the USN decided to spread the FY83 production aircraft (received by squadrons in late 84 and early 85) among the whole fleet with each squadron receiving at least 2 jets (and mostly 2 jets). Because these were delivered in LGG and most squadrons were transitioning to TPS schemes, the USN allowed each squadron to paint 2 aircraft in full color schemes. Most overall repaints took place at NARF, so the first repaint would lag delivery by at least a few years. It seems that VF-1 managed to receive a large number of the final block 135 production jets, so it makes sense that so many of their jets stayed LGG. This website contains some handy photos from Desert Storm: https://dstorm.eu/pages/en/usa/f-14.html It shows that all the block 135 jets in VF-1 are LGG, while the older jets are TPS (except NE110 - but I suspect the BuNo is wrong since it shows early gunvents and no bumps for the ALQ-126. It is probably a block 85 jet). Seems to be the same for VF-2 which also received a several block 135 jets. This is sort of surprising since VF-1 and VF-2 were set to be the first west coast squadrons to receive the F-14D. Seems like these squadrons must have good connections to get brand new F-14As shortly before being scheduled to receive F-14Ds. Sadly VF-1 was disestablished before this could happen, but VF-2 did transition in 1993-94 to the F-14D. Best, Nick
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