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1/72 - Grumman F-14A Tomcat by Academy - released - new Wolfpack Design & CMK upgrade sets


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The removal of the door covering the IFR probe is something not only the Iranians did, it was a feature often seen on USN Tomcats during the various actions over Iraq and Afghanistan, The reason is that the door caused vibrations that could cause problems when the aircraft was refuelled through baskets attached to rigid probes, as those used by USAF tankers and the converted B-707 bought by Iran.

For a modeller the option is to either buy one of those few kits that offer the door as separate part (Fine Molds or GWH) or modify the area by cutting the door and adding the relevant detail. Not a difficult job IMHO but I can understand how not everyone would want to do it.

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2 hours ago, Rudolf Korachkin said:

So many Tomcat models in the 1/72 scale, got a bit confused with the choice kit!

 

I would probably wait until this Academy kit hit the shelves and get reviewed. It will then be possible to understand if it's a valid contender and what position will fit in the market based on price Vs. quality. At that point it will be possible to understand what kit will best fit each modeller's needs.

At that point the choice will depend on what you want from a Tomcat kit in terms of detail, complexity, accuracy and cost. Today I feel that modellers who want lot of detail and don't mind a complicated and exoensive kit are quite covered with the GWH and Fine Mold kits, not forgetting the Hasegawa one. Modellers who want a cheaper and simpler option are not so well served, hopefully Academy will sort this

 

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28 minutes ago, Rudolf Korachkin said:

Thank you for the answer. I doubt that we ever get a cheap one. The modern kits are well over 30 euros.

 

Of course cheap is a relative word here.. as you say, modern Tomcat kits are usually quite expensive.

I am hoping that this kit will retail for around the price of Academy's Super Hornet, that can be bought in Korea for around €20-22 and in Europe for around €30. I doubt it will be cheaper unfortunately. It would be in any case cheaper than the "superkits" like Fine Molds and GWH.

Below that figure is't either the old tool Academy kit or the Revell one. I'm not a big fan of these but of course they are buildable. The Hobbyboss kit is also in that price range, it is a valid option although with some issues. Below the € 20 it's only the Italeri kit, that shows its age today.

Personally my favourite "cheap" Tomcat kit is... a second hand Hasegawa one ! The newer tool can be found relatively easily for around € 20-25 at model shows or online auction sites, it is a complicated kit to build, comes with no weaoons and the decals are not always of good quality, however it is IMHO miles ahead of the likes of Hobbyboss and Revell or the old Academy one. Second hand Hase kits represent the largest part of my Tomcat kits stash today

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1 hour ago, Giorgio N said:

Today I feel that modellers who want lot of detail and don't mind a complicated and exoensive kit are quite covered with the GWH and Fine Mold kits, not forgetting the Hasegawa one. Modellers who want a cheaper and simpler option are not so well served, hopefully Academy will sort this

 

Indeed - although the Hasegawa one is easily the cheapest of the bunch, going for about 1700 yen/ EUR 14/ GBP 12 on HLJ and other sites like 1999. And that's accounting for a relatively strong yen at the moment.

 

Jay

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It's a great question @Rudolf Korachkin, I like Tomcats but I don't know a great deal about them, and I do want to buy and build a nice one soon.  Fujimi used to be my go to kit.

 

This new Academy (and boxed by Doyusha) appears to tick the boxes for me, as it seems very nicely detailed, has many options in one box and has plenty of weapons options.

The Fine Molds is the same price as the Academy (£27) and is already known for its quality and accuracy, but few options in the box, so it is also in consideration.

 

But as you ask, where are we with the cheaper kits as there are many options, I think the older Academy and Hasegawa can be got for about £16?  This makes it far more attractive for multiple builds

 

I would love to see a thread on comparison with all the known quality F-14 kits by people that know a bit about them

 

Edited by 71chally
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Well, I can also give my 2 cents on the current offer that I consider worth building for 72nd tomcats. I have only built the Hasegawa so far, so my opinion on other kits comes from looking at sprues and builds on the net. No word on decals because that's a rabbit hole I don't want to get into. Prices are the cheapest I've observed/obtained online so far, shipped to Europe:

 

Legacy kits:

- Hasegawa "New mold" E14 Atlantic Fleet: around 23€. Accurate, finely engraved, tricky build, some mold damage requiring fixing. Dirty wings, no weapons.

- Hasegawa "New Mold" recent limited eds: around 30€, to 45€ with 3D printed exhausts. Same observations. No weapons.

- Hasegawa "New mold" 2nd hand boxes: anywhere from 15-30 to insane prices on auction sites. Kits start showing aforementioned damage around 2000, possibly earlier. See timeline here https://www.scalemates.com/kits/hasegawa-04037-grumman-f-14a-tomcat--174594. No weapons, only some kits have early tails, watch out for "old molds".

- Fujimi/KA models: around 28-30€, Builds to an OK model, easier than Hasegawa but slightly less detailed, lots of plastic inside the box, the KA boxings have nice goodies (wheels, metal pitot, colored PE, etc.). Dirty wings, decent AA weapons, radar, engines, good looking pilots, early tail included (at least in my KA B kit, unsure about others). Fujimi kits are easily found 2nd hand as well.

 

Modern kits:

- Finemolds: 40€ and up, easy build, finely engraved, poorly shaped wings. Some opened panels, radar, clean wings, no early tail, no weapons. Delta was a limited edition, still possible to find it on auction sites (I snagged one for 43€ a couple months ago).

- GWH: around 45€. Costly but good looking. Somewhat tricky build. Both current boxings have packing issues (D lacks LAU-138 launchers or Lantirn, A lacks early vertical tails/P&W engine shrouds, etc.). Clean/extra dirty wings with spoilers, AA weapons.

- Academy "New mold": around 30€. Looks like it could become the go to box, especially as it should start to show for cheaper than that once Korean sellers start offering it. Lets you build almost any cat, although it appears to lack the early tail (hard to understand given that it is the only kit with the front portside TOT probe present on very early cats). Build should be fairly easy. The engraving looks wonky in some places (riveting "spilling" plastic into neighbouring lines) but I have not seen the kit first hand yet to confirm this is a problem. Since we're in this kit's thread, I'll say the Cartograf decals look great, although the scheme isn't that interesting to me. Clean/dirty wings, AA weapons and GBU-12.

 

OLd Academy, Revell, Italeri I never bothered. I guess the Hobby Boss are ok if you can get them for (very) cheap, as was shown extensively on this forum.

Edited by gota
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1 hour ago, gota said:

Well, I can also give my 2 cents on the current offer that I consider worth building for 72nd tomcats.

Thanks very much for the info @gota.   In the link earlier the fine Mold kit is about £27

 

Would you mind starting this in a new thread in the Cold-war section of the forum?

I think there would be more input, and probably fairer away from the Academy thread.

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Prices I mentioned were including shipping, because it just seems more useful to me when shopping online and comparing to LHS/2nd hand. Remove 8-10€ for actual new kit prices from Asia.

 

Also, feel free to copy/paste my post if you want to elicit a discussion somewhere else. I don't really want to start a thread and pretend to be an expert, I'm just a random modeller with 12 Tomcat kits on his hands trying to rationalize before splurging for any more boxes:)

Edited by gota
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Very good info, thanks @gota

It may indeed be worth starting a thread discussing Tomcats, as while this is a subject discussed before, we've some new kits in the last few months.

Back to the Academy kit, I've finally seen it on sale, around £30 delivered.. to which in the UK the Royal Mail £8 charge is likely to be added.

Not as cheap as I hoped but overall not a bad price for a brand new kit with that number of parts delivered right on my doorsteps. And of course, prices will drop soon as the larger shops wil start their usual sales. I will sure get one and post a few comments here as soon as I receive it.

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Of course the Academy kit is subject to the same shipping costs at the moment.

Be interesting to see the price from UK retailers.

 

Thanks both, I will start a thread on the subject.

Edited by 71chally
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11 hours ago, richie894 said:

I see Black Dog have released some nice looking resin for this. Avionics bays and spine.

 

1.jpg

 

I believe this is for the old Academy kit - which quite a few consider of lesser quality compared to other kits from the same era, and was loosely based on the old Hasegawa kit only with engraved detail.

 

Jay 

Edited by Mountain goat
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20 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

Very good info, thanks @gota

It may indeed be worth starting a thread discussing Tomcats, as while this is a subject discussed before, we've some new kits in the last few months.

Back to the Academy kit, I've finally seen it on sale, around £30 delivered.. to which in the UK the Royal Mail £8 charge is likely to be added.

Not as cheap as I hoped but overall not a bad price for a brand new kit with that number of parts delivered right on my doorsteps. And of course, prices will drop soon as the larger shops wil start their usual sales. I will sure get one and post a few comments here as soon as I receive it.

Hmmmm quite pricey at first, but considering you can make pretty much every single kind of F-14s out there (probably, I haven't seen the full extent other than parts for late A/B/D cats), and you got choices of weapons, I think that's a fair price to pay.

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On 12/13/2019 at 9:25 AM, Mountain goat said:

I think there is a shortage actually. One example: I've been waiting ages for a 1980s VF-142 one (which was a often seen, sporting a grim reaper on its tailfins, at summer airshows around europe)  - but no such luck. But there's still loads of interesting schemes that haven't been covered yet by aftermarket producers.

 

 

 

Jay

 

Well, we have been blessed with tons of CAM and Superscale sheets over the years among others. Beggars can't be choosers! :P

 

That said, that VF-142 from your pic is pretty awesome and deserves a release!

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Well, it's retailing for around £28 from the Korean eBay sellers and these are often cheaper than the UK sellers so I suspect it'll go for about £30 here.

 

Doesn't help that the pound's pre-election boost is on the verge of evaporating (at least relative to the won) so there's that...

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The GWH retails for 50 - 55 € in France/Belgium. Still nothing about the Academy kit, but preorder in the Netherlands is possible for nearly 30 € (about 33 € normal price). So it's a bit more than the preorder price at Hannants (23.39 £)

Edited by PattheCat
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Just caught up with this thread after returning to civilisation and took the plunge with a korean ebay seller. Will let you know when it turns up. 
Really like that they included just about all the parts in the box for any tomcat so with AM decals you can build what you want from it, rather than having to find a version specific one with the required parts which can be frustrating when it comes to hasegawa ones for instance. 
 

Also don’t know why black dog went to the effort to make that update set for the old kit. They must have had it in development for a long time because this new kit has been known about for ages. 

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3 hours ago, Tony Oliver said:

Just caught up with this thread after returning to civilisation and took the plunge with a korean ebay seller. Will let you know when it turns up. 
Really like that they included just about all the parts in the box for any tomcat so with AM decals you can build what you want from it, rather than having to find a version specific one with the required parts which can be frustrating when it comes to hasegawa ones for instance. 
 

Also don’t know why black dog went to the effort to make that update set for the old kit. They must have had it in development for a long time because this new kit has been known about for ages. 

I buy from the Korean sellers all the time and never had a problem and on average get them about 2 weeks later :)

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Had another detailed look over the parts and instructions in the links. 
 

I like the way they have approached the bombracks/pallets with the separate front fairings too. Even the ‘conduits’ are there. 
Speaking of making this a bombcat - it looks like they have moulded the gps dome on the spine in situ however the instructions for this first A version supplied don’t show it being sanded off?
This is a better option than the insert part for the spine as provided by Finemolds and GWH which leaves a larger panel line around a delicate area. Also better than the separate tiny dome given by hboss with its big attachment gate and flat base to fit on the curved spine. 
Hase/Fuj/Rev/Ital missed the dome completely. 
 

However one trick academy has missed with this new kit is the RIO step plate. Only two kits so far have done this - hboss first moulded to the fuselage so one has to sand it off if not required (but make no mention of this for those not in the know) and then more recently by GWH using an insert for the fuselage side. Heck even finemolds missed this detail for their D & subsequent A...

 

When mine turns up I fancy building it as an A plus/early B  - from the early nineties so pre bombcat - with a normal 4/2/2 missile load out. A dirty tps line bird. 
Just need to tie some decals down. Either vf-74 or vf142, tail art provided by the old Italeri ‘A plus’ & ‘A’ kits I think. In fact will get some options together and make a poll perhaps. 

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On 12/19/2019 at 9:35 PM, PattheCat said:

So it's a bit more than the preorder price at Hannants (23.39 £)

£23.39 seems a really good price for a kit like this, certainly good enough to push it into multiple builds for me.

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23 minutes ago, 71chally said:

£23.39 seems a really good price for a kit like this, certainly good enough to push it into multiple builds for me.


Yeah great price! 
Plus furball is downsizing their sundowners anthology to 72nd so thats gone on back order too...

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