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Tiger331

Ridiculous Fitting Tamiya 1:48 F-14A Tomcat !

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Hi Folks,

 

Hopefully the title caught your attention ?!. I'm halfway through my first Tamiya 1:48 F-14A Tomcat build and I simply cannot believe how well this kit goes together. I have Brett Green's review from Military Illustrated Modeller and now know exactly what he meant when he commented that this kit had him grinning from ear to ear during the construction phase !. I have only ever built the Hasegawa F-14 Tomcat kit before and there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever. Yes, the Tamiya kit is expensive but boy it is worth it for the superior fit and weapons options for early variants. IMHO the word 'sublime' is oft overused in kit reviews but in the case of this kit it fits the bill perfectly. This is simply the best kit I have had the privilege to build in over 40+ years of kit building. Cannot wait to get my hands on the F-14D and (hopefully) F-14B in the future !.

 

Just had to make a comment, sorry.   

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Could not agree more! This is by far the best engineered kit I've ever had the pleasure to mess up. Mine will be the mount of a Mr Maverick and a Mr Goose thanks to the joy of the after market. Also agree about the seats. My remedy was the Eduard etch. The seats not look loads better as a result

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There was a build of the Tamiya Tomcat a while back. The member that built the kit painted the entire plane in sub sections then assembled it ! He knew he wouldn't need filler and such from the test fitting phase. 

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2 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

There was a build of the Tamiya Tomcat a while back. The member that built the kit painted the entire plane in sub sections then assembled it ! He knew he wouldn't need filler and such from the test fitting phase. 

 

I can quite believe that. The join between the front fuselage and main section on my kit needs some very gentle persuasion to establish a tight fit which may require a smidgen of filler but apart from that I can quite believe it could all be assembled and painted in separate sections before being brought together.....truly superb !

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Thanks for the positive review of your build so far, a refreshing change from the negative modelling press. 

 

Keep the up date of your build coming, may be a few pics?

 

I'm now yearning to break mine from its box and crack into it.

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I built one last year. An amazing kit, prefect combination of detail and build-ability. It was by far the best fitting kit I've ever built. 

 

Like Brett , I spent a fair bit of time grinning about how clever things were engineered. The front to rear fuselage join is fantastic and had me wondering why no one had ever done that for other kits (like the f-15) 

 

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2 hours ago, Calum said:

I built one last year. An amazing kit, prefect combination of detail and build-ability. It was by far the best fitting kit I've ever built. 

 

Like Brett , I spent a fair bit of time grinning about how clever things were engineered. The front to rear fuselage join is fantastic and had me wondering why no one had ever done that for other kits (like the f-15) 

 

 

I'm not sure if you have seen one, but the Great Wall Hobby F-15 Eagle kits have a 'plug' system to bring the forward fuselage and main section together. I found that it is not as positive as the fit between similar components of the Tamiya F-14 kit but it is still pretty good. IMHO the GWH kits are a bit of a reminder of the Dragon aircraft kits of old. The sprues look really good in the box but the overall fit leaves a lot to be desired, especially in comparison with Tamiya kits. Don't get me wrong - I love some of the GWH kits and will not be put off by the need to use a little more in the way of modeling skill but my build experiences with both their MiG-29 Fulcrum and F-15B/D do not mirror those outlined in some of the kit reviews I have read. Both kits have required substantial use of plasticard shims to seal up gaps and I am so pleased I did not follow the recommended build sequence for the MiG-29 or I would have shared the trials and tribulations of others on this website.     

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16 hours ago, Wafu said:

Thanks for the positive review of your build so far, a refreshing change from the negative modelling press. 

 

Keep the up date of your build coming, may be a few pics?

 

I'm now yearning to break mine from its box and crack into it.

I am quite a way into the build right now but I will see what I can do with some photos. I will also add a bit more text to explain what I have done.  

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I had built a Kinetic Mirage 2000D and then Revell Eurofighter in the last two years. Those two kits were a pain to build. So much fit issues, so many corrections. They were exhausting to build. Then I built a Tamiya P-47M this spring and it was such an awesome kit. Amazing fit, great engineering and a pleasure to build.

 

The point I m trying to make is unlike other manufacturers Tamiya's standards from kit to kit dont change. You get the same quality be it in their brand new F-14 or a kit released in 2005. :)

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1 hour ago, stalal said:

The point I m trying to make is unlike other manufacturers Tamiya's standards from kit to kit dont change. You get the same quality be it in their brand new F-14 or a kit released in 2005. :)

 Unless they've done a bit of reboxing 😨 but even then they often improve/add to things,odds on to our benefit.

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At Wafu's request, here are a few photos to illustrate what I was saying earlier about fit. Apologies for the quality....I have yet to get the hang of really sharp close-ups.

 

fullsizeoutput_dab

 

The forward fuselage to main assembly is actually much better than that shown. It has yet to be glued in place and resting on the sheet unsupported has resulted in some 'bowing'. Rest assured, when it is cemented in place it looks like a standard panel line.

 

fullsizeoutput_dac

 

fullsizeoutput_db2

 

These two shots hopefully illustrate the intake trunking. Quite often a weak part in the fit of any F-14 kit, these are sublime from front to back. No filling or shiming required whatsoever. BTW, the rather garish intake colour reveals that this model is going to be finished in the contemporary Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) two-tone blue scheme. 

 

fullsizeoutput_dad

 

I needed to put some filler along the seam of the upper fuselage. Not to fill any gaps but more to neaten up the edges.

 

fullsizeoutput_dae

 

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Two photos to illustrate the fit of the forward fuselage area. I had to put a very small plasticard shim in place to close the gap between the windscreen lower frame and the aperture for the IFR probe. This is necessary on the IRIAF jets that were modified to operate without the door. I dare say that if you model an early era USN Jet with the door fitted (and closed) the fit will be perfect. Note the 'drop in' clear windscreen part. It fits perfectly with absolutely no need for filler.

 

fullsizeoutput_db1

 

The forward undercarriage bay, suitably weathered (maybe a little heavy). Incidentally the rather complex gun bay panel and the panel forward of the undercarriage bay are drop fit pieces with absolutely no requirement for filler or fettling. The small amount of filler on the radome is entirely off my doing - lost some concentration sealing up the radome area and allowed a minute ridge to develop.

 

fullsizeoutput_db0

 

Apologies for the quality of photo. The cockpit contains no aftermarket....its all original (including the decals for the green instruments) with some judicious weathering/highlighting. I will, however, use a set of aftermarket GRU-7A ejection seats.

 

Anyway, hope these images provide some inspiration. More to follow as I progress (slowly). 

 

Mark 

 

 

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The fit is amazing on the kit, pre painting parts can cause problems....lol

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I've heard a lot of great comments about the Tamiya kit and the photos look to back all that up.

 

Duncan B

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Thanks for the pictures, they're a lot better than I normally put on here. 

 

Ever since the kit was pre-released, respected modellers have been taken aback by the build and design quality, a very good friend of mine was birated for telling the modelling world about how he thought this kit was a milestone in modelling, being accused of 'selling out to Tamiya' . Now time has passed and modellers have built this amazing kit, we are starting to see just how good Tamiya's cat is, so thanks to Tiger331 for showing us his build and taking the time to share his views, I personally find it reassuring to hear from a modeller who's not a reviewer of kits.

 

Oh and can I say, I do use online reviews and You Tube reviewers to get a peek on kits I'm interested in, even if it's just a laugh at how little general knowledge they have of the subject. So don't think this is a dig at them. Thanks Tiger331 for letting me air my views.

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I felt the same about the F-16C I'm about to finish.  Construction and detail wise, it is brilliant. Yes, pricey as you say, but worth it. Now, I cannot say the same about the decals, sadly.  My beginnner 1/72 Jet Provost T.4 decals were better, by quite a bit I have to say.  The 1/48 Viper decals are more in number and detail, but they're thick and silvery; I found it very hard to get them not to show, to the point that I'm thinking about sacking them off entirely on my aggressor that will be this Summer's job and going down the TwoBob route instead.

 

It may also be the set/soft neo that I use, as I'm led to believe it's not as good as the older stuff or the micro set/sol.  Regardless, I'm very much looking forward to my next Tamiya Viper :)

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I'm glad to see these comments on this kits, IMHO Tamiya have produced something that will be remembered for a good while.

As a Tomcat fanatic I do criticize the choice from Tamiya of offering a kit that only represents some Tomcats in a certain timeframe, at the same time this is a choice that makes perfect sense in achieving as a result a kit that can be built easily by most modellers while supplying great detail. If only Tamiya issued more aircraft kits...

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9 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

I'm glad to see these comments on this kits, IMHO Tamiya have produced something that will be remembered for a good while.

As a Tomcat fanatic I do criticize the choice from Tamiya of offering a kit that only represents some Tomcats in a certain timeframe, at the same time this is a choice that makes perfect sense in achieving as a result a kit that can be built easily by most modellers while supplying great detail. If only Tamiya issued more aircraft kits...

Yeah they seemed to make a great start with the various Viper blocks and you can see in their part trees where they're planning to go.  There hasn't been anything for a while so I do hope they continue to release more Viper versions.  

 

I really want to see a Tamiya 50+ with CFTs, so I don't need to buy a CJ and numerous aftermarket resin parts so I can build a HAF or Polish Viper.

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5 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

I'm glad to see these comments on this kits, IMHO Tamiya have produced something that will be remembered for a good while.

As a Tomcat fanatic I do criticize the choice from Tamiya of offering a kit that only represents some Tomcats in a certain timeframe, at the same time this is a choice that makes perfect sense in achieving as a result a kit that can be built easily by most modellers while supplying great detail. If only Tamiya issued more aircraft kits...

 

I feel sure we will see either a F-14A+ or a F-14B variant after the F-14D which will be out shortly. At first, and like you, I found it curious that Tamiya would do an early variant Tomcat rather than one of the later models with Japan based Squadron markings (VF-21, VF-154 etc) but the early VF-84 Jolly Roger scheme (any VF-84 Jolly Roger scheme !) is going to sell and they also seem to have a fascination with the IIAF/IRIAF Asia Minor schemes too. As I say, I would be very surprised if they miss out the other two principal variants/time periods.

 

As for the F-16, I could not agree more. If they could backdate to produce an early ADF and/or NATO MLU and then finish off with the newer Block 50/60 jets, Tamiya would literally corner and dominate the market for Vipers for years to come !      

 

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32 minutes ago, Tiger331 said:

I feel sure we will see either a F-14A+ or a F-14B variant after the F-14D which will be out shortly.

 

I am hoping to cross kit their A with the new D when it comes out to make an A plus / B. 

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20 hours ago, Tony Oliver said:

 

I am hoping to cross kit their A with the new D when it comes out to make an A plus / B. 

 

I was hoping to do the same but I think some of the 'lumps and bumps' will still be missing. The prominent fairings that are present on the under surfaces of the glove fairings are not present on the F-14D (or the early model F-14A) but are on the F-14A+ and F-14B. It makes good commercial sense since Tamiya can then market the F-14A+/B later but I am not sure why they are doing them in this order. The F-14A+ and B models were operated by far more Squadrons (including the majority of Japanese based Squadrons) than the F-14D....go figure.  

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3 minutes ago, Tiger331 said:

 

I was hoping to do the same but I think some of the 'lumps and bumps' will still be missing. The prominent fairings that are present on the under surfaces of the glove fairings are not present on the F-14D (or the early model F-14A) but are on the F-14A+ and F-14B. It makes good commercial sense since Tamiya can then market the F-14A+/B later but I am not sure why they are doing them in this order. The F-14A+ and B models were operated by far more Squadrons (including the majority of Japanese based Squadrons) than the F-14D....go figure.  

 

The lack of the various ECM parts is also one of the problems with building F-14As of later prodution blocks. The tails also got different reinforcements over time and the Tamiya kit does not include the various options. Of course aftermarket and some scratchbuilding can sort all these issues but at that point the great fit of the kit becomes less of an advantage. There are then a good number of other detail differences, some of which related to the production block and others introduced over the years. Building for example an F-14A from Enduring Freedom with the Tamiya kit requires quite a bit of work

Regarding the B and the D, all D equipped units were with the Pacific Fleet, so Japanese enthusiasts were more likely to see these than the A+/Bs, maybe this had an impact on Tamiya's decision. CVW -5 was based in Japan for many years but the Tomcat units serving with this wing never got the B or the D, staying with the A until the disbandment of VF-154 in 2003 (VF-21 had previously disbanded in early 1996).

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