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Mike

F-14A Cockpit Set (648312) 1:48

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F-14A Cockpit Set (648312)

1:48 Eduard Brassin

 

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The F-14A was a much-loved carrier-based interceptor that is sadly missed now it is retired.  We've had some decent kits in 1:48, but Tamiya have recently finally released one that caused quite a stir in the hobby.  It is quite a well-detailed kit without going overboard with complexity, but while the cockpit is well enough detailed for many of us, there's no escaping the fact that detail is best done with resin, so along comes Eduard.  As usual with Eduard's larger resin sets, they arrive in the oblong Brassin box, with the resin parts safely cocooned on dark grey foam inserts, and the instructions sandwiched wrapped around, providing extra protection.

 

The set includes thirty one pieces of grey resin, one of clear, two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, one of which is pre-painted and nickel-plated, plus a small sheet of decals for stencils etc.  The instruction booklet covers three sheets of A4 on both sides, and is printed in colour to assist you in placement of parts.

 

The first thing to note is that Eduard don't just produce a set and let you loose with a sanding stick, scalpel and Dremel to make it fit.  They give careful consideration to how they can design the set with minimal interruption to the build of the kit, which shows in the later sections where the set is integrated with the kit fuselage.  Building commences with the seats though, which are models in themselves.  Each one is made from four highly detailed resin parts, plus a number of PE parts from a constructional point of view, and a further set of crew belts, which are all pre-painted so will take little work.  Each seat also has a number of stencils applied once painting is completed to give that extra boost to realism.  The work is duplicated for both seats of course, including the important ejection initiation pull-loops on the headbox and between the pilot's knees, as well as the anti-flail leg-restraints that pull taut moments before the rocket motor propels the crew member out of the cockpit on a column of flame and fury.

 

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The cockpit tubs are large and open, due to the need for room for equipment and good visibility from the large canopy, and here each one is built up separately in the same basic manner.  A rear bulkhead is added to the main tub along with sidewalls and equipment specific to the jobs of the pilot and RIO.  The detail on the bulkheads and instrument panels is mind-blowing, and scrap diagrams show how to paint them accurately, as always using Gunze colour codes.  More decals are used to provide instrument faces in this old-fashioned (compared to the MFD cockpits of today) instrumented cockpit.  Rudder pedals, control columns and stowage compartments are added to the assemblies, and once the pilot's instrument panel is painted and installed along with PE parts, the RIO's coaming with realistic material effect over the instrument backs is added before the two assemblies are brought together in the fuselage.

 

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Two kit parts are adapted to fit the cockpit, with only one raised section and a brace needing removal.  Two pieces of styrene strip 1x0.75x3mm are added under the rear of the pilot's cockpit and four on the RIO's to locate them correctly on the cockpit tray, and that should be about it.  Close up the nose, and add the adapted kit sill area, insert the seats you prepared earlier, and finally the pilot's coaming, with clear resin HUD lens.

 

 

Conclusion

The kit cockpit is good enough, but this resin replacement is just so much better in terms of crisply moulded insane level of detail that it has to be worthy of consideration for the detail hungry modeller.  3D printed Rapid Prototyping, we salute you!

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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