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mark73

The best 1/48 F-14

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Looking for some advice on the best 1/48 F14 kit, heard various reports for different kits but its very confusing, some say hasegawa, some say hobbyboss or is the revell kit any good

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Hasegawa....it can be a brute but with some tender loving care, it's a beauty.

The Revell kit is good shape wise, but has a poor fit in some areas and raised panel lines.

The Academy kit is an easy build and good details. However, the canopy and forward fuselage are incorrect with details missing.

The Hobbyboss kit has great details, great cockpit and weapons but has been overdone in terms of rivet detail and has some shape inaccuracies.

I stick to the Hasegawa kits. I'm currently building my 15th and have another 5 in the stash. I do plan to build a HB kit as an Iranian jet as the A boxing has the correct details for such a machine.

The aftermarket for the Hasegawa kit is brilliant. So much to add to make a great model.

Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with (i don't pretend to be an expert mind you!)

Dave

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Seconded for Hasegawa. Hobby Boss kit is nice, but just as pricey, not as accurate (yes, it does come with weapons galore). HB cockpit is deffo the best OOB, but as DaveJL says, let down by spurious/excessive rivet detail and the lower intake lips are just... Well, wrong tbh.

Make sure to invest in some A/M decals for either kit though, Fightertown Twobobs or Afterburner are recommended!

Edited by Parabat

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Make sure to invest in some A/M decals for either kit though, Fightertown or Afterburner are recommended!

Not forgetting some of the great TwoBobs sheets!

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I believe this is one of the few cases where the answer is clear without any doubt, and this has already been given: hasegawa 100% !

A small thing about the revell kit: the one easily available today is either the old monogram kit or a modification of the same old monogram kit. However revell did their own 1/48 tomcat many years ago. This is a kit that has only value as a curiosity (personally I'd quite like to find one just to have it) and is well below the level of the current reboxes of the monogram kit. That itself is well below the level of the hasegawa kit. If you can find an original monogram box it might be better than the newer revell ones, as the mould seem to have suffered from the extensive and intensive use. The original will still be a pig to put together, but at least it will not have the flash I've seen in some more recent revell boxes.

However the monogram decals will be useless...

Edited by Giorgio N

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Guys, thanks for the advice, it has cleared up any doubt in my mind, hasegawa it is, am surprised the revell is so bad given the great 1/144 example they have out at the moment. I believe revell do the best strike eagle though (if it can be found!)

Anyway thanks again, its back to the 1/40 scale fouga for the moment

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Guys, thanks for the advice, it has cleared up any doubt in my mind, hasegawa it is, am surprised the revell is so bad given the great 1/144 example they have out at the moment. I believe revell do the best strike eagle though (if it can be found!)

Anyway thanks again, its back to the 1/40 scale fouga for the moment

Revell's 1/48 Tomcats are 70's vintage molds (both the poor Revell and the currently available and better Monogram molding), the 1/144 mold is decades newer, as is the Strike Eagle.

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Good and bad are relative terms. Hasegawa I would say gets the "most accurate" label, but I would also say it is the "most fiddley" given all the complex sub-assemblies on it. If you prefer a relatively speedy build, unless you have a couple Hasegawa F-14 kits under your belt to understand all its little foibles and idisyncracies, it will NOT be a quick build. The cockpit also just about requires replacement with a resin one or a bit of work to deal with the gaps inside of it due to the bad fit of the console panels to the floor. Hasegawa does offer one unique bit NOBODY else does though. If you wish to build a pre block 70 jet with the original wide beaver tail, Hasegawa to date is the ONLY company to offer that option. But, you have to go looking for a kit with that feature and they do tend to command higher prices on the web since not many have been done. Steel Beach from Sprue Brothers has done a resin beaver tail option though and also has a seven hole gun gas vent (needed if you plan to build one of the two jets used to down a pair of MiG-23s over the gulf of Sidra in 1989).

Hobbyboss I admit I don't have as much experience with. Its biggest inaccuracy seems to center on its lower intake angles. It doesn't seem to require a fight to build like Hasegawa tends to. Both kits are very pricey, but at least in the HobbyBoss kit, you get weaponry (forget that in the Hasegawa kit). I'm not sure how well some of the resin bits designed for the Hasegawa kit fit the HB one.

Now on the subject of the old Monogram kit reissued by Revell, I wouldn't call it "bad" at all. Yes, it is a product of very late 1970s mold technology when Monogram first tooled it up (BTW, the old Revell Tomcat is best avoided unless you build it gear up as it just has shallow depressions for the gear bays). But, shape-wise the Monogram kit is accurate, has a decent amount of detail (albeit raised panel lines) and can be found for dirt cheap. The F-14D that Revell issued after the Monogram merger (circa 1987) is essentially the same kit but with the GE engines instead of the Pratts and different ejection seats.

Monogram's kit can be built relatively quick and looks pretty good out of the box. Inside intake seams tend to have many modelers acquiring a set of Steel Beach's vinyl intake covers (available from Sprue Brothers) to cover the problems over. Stock cockpit detail is pretty good, price is excellent and the model looks the part when done. Only issues I've found with the kits are some of the later standard Revell pressings of the A and the D have some sink mark and wear issues that make me think Revell was pressing these kits too fast. But the slightly revised F-14B and D Bombcat offerings fixed a few of those problems (such as a blunted nose). IMHO, if you want a good F-14A, look for one of the earlier Monogram boxings as opposed to the recent ones as the molds are cleaner. An F-14D Bombcat still has all the bits to do it up as an original F-14D.

Now, concerning Academy's kit, I give it some love myself. Price-wise, it won't break the bank and has a lot of value for the money. It started life essentially as a recessed panel line copy of the Monogram kit and the layout of both kits is VERY close to one another (cockpit area especially). So it has the same intake issues. The biggest area Tomcat fans do not like is the nose. The upper nose profile seems fine, but down low it looks like it suffers from a case of the mumps since it droops a bit in front of the nose gear bay. Behind the bay, everything else seems to line up fine with Monogram's kit.

To fix this issue, you can back fill the bulge on the inside the lower fuselage with Milliput (mainly to keep from opening a hole in it for the next step). A spare Monogram nose can be taped on temporarily to act as a guide for how much material to remove and you go at the bulge with a motor tool equipped with a sanding drum until the profile is nice and flat (amount of material removed is about 1/16 of an inch or so). Then, remove the Monogram nose, back fill the Academy nose with Milliput, tape it on and grind away on it until its profile matches the fuselage. Don't worry too much about rescribing any detail down there as the panel that got carved on is covered over by the lower nose sensor anyway. Time to do this (after the Milliput is dry) is about 20 minutes total. Steel Beach also makes a resin lower fuselage nose plug that can be used as a drop in fit as well.

There are some panel lines on the sides of the nose that will need filling and rescribing, but one doesn't need to do a full rescribe there. As for the canopy, shape-wise it is fine. The windscreen front end is admittedly a little wide and the detail a bit off, but it can be polished down and Futured, then resprayed with the proper appearance. Funny enough, Monogram's front windscreen, while not being quite as wide, has the same detail error to the front combing as well.

Overcoming these little bits improves the Academy kit by a lot and can be accomplished by any modeler who has done his share of minor kit modification. Best version to get IMHO is the Bombcat offering. Reason being is not only does it have a full LGB bomb load, NACA gun vent and some very good decals printed by Cartograf (the original issue F-14A kits have some pretty crappy decals), it also contains ALL the parts to build the model as an early F-14A with a Phoenix/Sparrow/Sidewinder loadout (and a TARPS pod). They also tweaked the molds in a couple spots, giving the tails the reinforcement plates introduced in the early 80s (original kit doesn't have that, but neither do Iranian Tomcats). You still get the two grille gun vent option as well while Hasegawa tends to stick you with EITHER a NACA gun vent OR the original vent, but not both depending on the kit.

Now if price is the issue, I think of it in relative terms. In the states, Hasgawa and HB kits both command near $100 US pricing levels unless I get very creative in how I shop for them. Cheap HB kits from Asia tend to get zinged by either long shipping time and/or high shipping prices. By comparison, the Revell/Monogram kits tend to sell for about $20 each new at the shops and plenty old F-14A boxings can be found at model shows for about $5 to $10 (again, all prices US dollars, but expect GBP or Euro prices to act accordingly). Academy Tomcats tend to price at about $30 for the original boxing (with rubbish decals) and about $50 for the Bombcat or VF-111 issues with the new Cartograf decals. So, for the price of one new Hasegawa or HB kit, I can get two Academy kits or four Revell/Monogram kits. If I were hoping to build just ONE Tomcat, I would go Hasegawa or HB. If I want to build a fleet... Academy or Revell.

And here is how my Academy kit (built from an original boxing) looked when I built it in 2006. I didn't do the nose fix on it because I hadn't discovered it yet. But, I did the light rescribing on the nose and altered the front windscreen details. A set of Eagle Strike decals designed for a Hasegaw kit also fit it pretty well. I only needed to shim the nose band on the very bottom by a little bit (which clued me in as to where the nose fix was needed). Otherwise, it was built out of the box.

124-8.jpg

124-11.jpg

124-9.jpg

Edited by JMChladek

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Monogram Tomcats are not as cheap in Europe and if I have to pay £25 for a Monogram kit or £45 for a second hand Hasegawa, the answer is clearly the latter even if I quite like the Monogram Cats. The difference between the two is such that IMHO even at twice the price the Japanese kit is still the better value.

The recently revised tools from Revell rarely make it to this part of the world unfortunately and when they do they are not that cheap.

Speaking of construction, the Hasegawa kit is more difficult, but building a Monogram kit without seams is almost as difficult as even the early Monogram pressings didn't really fit that well (I know it because I bought the kit immediately after it was released). The way the kit is moulded also means that the raised panel lines on the front fuselage will have a hard time surviving the sanding needed to sort this area.

The Academy kits can be quite cheap here, at least the original boxings. Different story for the latest boxes, these seem to be quite more expensive.

BTW; very nice bicentannial tomcat !!!

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Hello @Blackat ... Yes i agree that the Academy isnt 100% accurate. But some modelers, myself included don't really care either. Im of the mindset that if it quacks like 🦆. And walks like a 🦆. Then its a 🦆. So with either the price/diffulculty (i hate over fiddly and over engineered kits) of Hasegawa's. That or the cost of the new Tamiya Tomcats. I’ll live with it not being 100% accurate. Im not building so many that the size differences are noticeable in a lineup. It falls down to an equation. Cost vs. accuracy. How much will i spend vs how accurate does it need to be. 

 

Dennis

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle

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Nice looking Cat :thumbsup: ... Sorry it wasn't meant to be negative towards you. I hope you didn't recieve it as such ? Just making a point that some dont care. 

 

Dennis

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No problema, I know what you mean. The Hasegawa cat is really a pain in the neck, besides expensive (like the whimsical beautiful lady that it is). Tamiya´s Tomcat very simple, and even more expensive.

This is the Hasegawa kitty:

27369146_1423688794407805_57272491058580

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I'll cast my vote for the Monogram kit as well. I've also got the Hasegawa kit, but it's a different kind of build. The Monogram kit can benefit from the Steel Beach resin nose correction and tail fin sets (those which go under the fuselaje, I mean), and also, if you don't like the exhausts that come in the kit, you might as well graft the new Katran ones (those for the Hasegawa kit) onto the Monogram Tomcat.

If I go crazy enough, I'll next try to graft the KASL flap & slat set to my remaining Monogram cat. 

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I can understand the appeal of the Monogram kit for a quick build, however adding tons of aftermarket to this kit ? New nose, new exhausts as the kit ones are both in the open position, wheels are only the early type, main wheel wells are simplified, no ECM bumps for late production aircrafts, canopy could do with replacing, pylons under the wings are moulded with a Sparrow in place, no choice of undernose sensors, no reinforcements on the tails... It would end up as more expensive than the Hasegawa kit and still not a hassle-free build.

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Not quite, Giorgio; as the Monogram kits which I bought eons ago - like in the late '80s - cost me only 9 quid each. All the correction sets happened MUCH after that. Both of the sets by Steel Beach went for 10 quid or so, and the Katran exhaust are just under 20 quid.

I also recall having grafted the Verlinden Super Detailing set onto one of my old Monogram Cat kits, and the pylons under the wings can do without the Sparrow missiles with just a minimum of elbow grease.

On the other hand, my only Hasegawa Cat - the VF-1 Wolf Pack Sqn - cost almost 90 quid back in 1991, and that one was a difficult build by comparison. The Hasegawa kit needed the Aires cockpit addition, which cost me I don't want to remember how much more quid... :shutup:

Still waiting to see whether - and when - AMK is going to release an A variant of it. Or if not, then it's going to be the Tamiya kit + the KASL flap & slat set, again.  

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Guess that I'm lucky here as I can get Hasegawa Tomcats for around €60. A difficult build it sure is, but the Monogram Tomcat is also a frustrating build and while aftermarket is an improvement on the Hase Tomcat, this is almost a must for the Monogram Cat

I am also looking forward to what AMK will be able to offer and at what price, hopefully they will give us the best OOB solution for every Tomcat variation

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Hmm. I just glanced over to my Hasegawa F-14 and gave it a stern look. I have collected a few extra bits for it as I generally just trust Hasegawa to behave themselves.

Just how much work are they? Compared to say an Airfix Lightning, or a Kitty Hawk Jaguar or a Revelagawa Phantom? Surely not more hassle than a KP Su-25?

 

I think we need a Grief Rating System for models.

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2 hours ago, RMP2 said:

 

I think we need a Grief Rating System for models.

I second that after my last two Hasegawa jets. 

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17 minutes ago, Stealthman said:

As I understand it, the new 1/48 Tamiya Tomcat is the very best available!

In my opinion you understand correct. I've made the A model and have the D in the stash. I've never seen engineering quite like it. Little pricey but seriously worth it

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1 hour ago, Simon382 said:

In my opinion you understand correct. I've made the A model and have the D in the stash. I've never seen engineering quite like it. Little pricey but seriously worth it

A very good friend of mine has one, and was stunned by the engineering. The fit is as near to.perfect as it seems possible to get!

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Having done quite a bit of on line, book and magazine research, and as mentioned above the 1/48 Tamiya seems the best of the bunch currently available (all be it expensive). 

Here's my question to those in the know :- Can the Tamiya F-14D be back-dated to a B using available market items ?

I have the DACO Tomcat book en-route to assist, but any help, pointing in the right direction would be gratefully appreciated. 

With thanks,

RR (Chris).

Ps, Happy New Year one and all.  

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Roof Rat said:

Having done quite a bit of on line, book and magazine research, and as mentioned above the 1/48 Tamiya seems the best of the bunch currently available (all be it expensive). 

Here's my question to those in the know :- Can the Tamiya F-14D be back-dated to a B using available market items ?

I have the DACO Tomcat book en-route to assist, but any help, pointing in the right direction would be gratefully appreciated. 

With thanks,

RR (Chris).

Ps, Happy New Year one and all.  

 

Happy new year to you !

It sure is possible, although some care would be needed to identify the timeframe of your B, as a few features changed over time.

Now without having the Tamiya parts in front of me I may miss a thing or two, but basically you need:

1) New cockpit. A cockpit designed for an A will be very close to an early B, later Bs had several different features. There are a number of cockpits for all variants of the Tomcat, I don't know which one will fit the Tamiya kit better.. apart of course from any made for the Tamiya A, that could be used as a basis for other later modifications. Seats were also different but these should be in whatever cockpit set you choose

2) A set of ECM fairings to be installed under the fixed part of the wing, as the D had these located internally. Steel Beach has a set, designed for the Revell kit but can be adapted easily

3) A TCS pod to replace the dual IR/TV pod under the chin. Quickboost makes this specifically for the Tamiya F-14A.

4) Wheels, as the D used a different pattern. There are several around, IIRC Wolfpack has a set to update the Hasegawa kit to a late F-14A, and the wheels should be the same. Wheeliant also have wheels but I can't remember the pattern offered. Better check pictures here.

 

A late B would have the GPS antenna on the spine and I believe this is in the Tamiya D, early aircraft didn't have this. Some other antenna changed and some aircraft had reinforcements applied around the retractable steps, again check pictures. These can be easily done with thin plasticard.

Edited by Giorgio N

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