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My second 1/72 F-14A Tomcat - Academy this time


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7 hours ago, Jon020 said:

That's fascinating reading Nick. Thank you. I'll do some more digging. I wonder if the late factory delivered A models then had a different composition of light gull grey that faded differently in service. More to read up on 😉

Thank you

That's fair enough and I'd not appreciated that having not considered the earlier kit; I assumed (always a mistake) that these were new parts intended (and timed) for the new kit. 

Perhaps it would be useful if retailers made that a bit clearer (unless I missed it). But thanks for that point. So, the only seamless intake parts intended for the new tool academy kit are the AAP parts. Good to know. Thank you

Jonathan

 

Jonathan,

 

Agreed.....it happens with cockpit masking sets too.......As you say it would be helpful for AM manufacturers to more clearly specify which kit (Designed for original Academy mould, for example), referring to the F-14 seamless intakes.

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5 hours ago, Tiger331 said:

 

Jonathan,

 

Agreed.....it happens with cockpit masking sets too.......As you say it would be helpful for AM manufacturers to more clearly specify which kit (Designed for original Academy mould, for example), referring to the F-14 seamless intakes.

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

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19 hours ago, Tiger331 said:

 

Jonathan,

 

Agreed.....it happens with cockpit masking sets too.......As you say it would be helpful for AM manufacturers to more clearly specify which kit (Designed for original Academy mould, for example), referring to the F-14 seamless intakes.

 

13 hours ago, npirnia said:

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

 

Hi both... having taken a further look i think it's probably a good bet that the part IS intended for the new academy kit, it being the 6th most recent Quickboost by Aires product, if you search the Aires website filtered for Quickboost, 1/72, Academy.

Whilst I've not build or looked at the tooling of the old Academy kit, I am informed that in this area, the parts are different, and that these would not fit.

The fact that both I and Nick (I think it was your Nick?) had the same observation, I suspect that it's not a resin equivalent of a short shot but actually a tooling issue. But... does it matter? Once assembled (as my test fit showed) that gap isn't (or does look like it'll be) visible. So... the product can achieve it's intent to provide a seamless view down the intake, it's just that the fit is better on one side than the other. The part is useful and a good addition, it's just a shame that it isn't as good as it nearly could have been. The AAP part is more solid and a better fit, so I will be using this set instead.

I have contacted Aires to advise them of this finding and to see if they'd wish to check their tooling.

 

With my thanks to all

Jonathan

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well... first of all, I hope everyone had as happy a Christmas as they were able to, and that your new year’s eve celebrations were sufficiently enjoyable. Let’s hope for a better year this year and we’ll see how the next weeks and months pan out for us all in the next stage of our nations’ dealings with the current pandemic. Thank goodness for model kits eh!

Right, so having taken a bit of break during the holiday period, I thought I’d better complete a write up to bring this build up to date having been able to spend a little time on it over the last couple of weeks... I elected to use that time working on the model rather than writing it up... but let’s address that now.

Back before Christmas we were looking at the wing roots, and how the gap in the elbow of the wing might be visible when at the oversweep position. I assembled the wings, which went together quite well and needed just a little thickened tamiya thin to fill the flight gaps in the leading edge and underneath, and I added some slithers of plasticard into the corners of the forward aerodynamic fairing to bulk up the material there. You can’t add too much as it’ll interfere with the small “stopper” inside the fuselage halves... which I then had to cut back a bit, but it did the job nicely. Here, you’ll also see the two small tongues I made from plasticard. These are the same shape as the wing pivots and will be slotted into the wings so that there’s something to hold the wings with when I’m painting them separately from the aircraft.

50796247472_1661589357_h.jpgWing filler pieces by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And here seen inserted into the wings.

50796250797_fd62285e1c_h.jpgWing holders in place... to hold wings when they're being painted by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The wing sweep is governed by the sweep arm and a small bracket that attaches to the lower fuselage half, with a protruding nodule that interlocks with the sweep arm cut outs to give forward, intermediate, swept and overswept positions. As this is therefore an important item that will be pushed against, I reinforced its fitment with small triangular plasticard pieces on the inside edge (seen here in white)

50796134916_1a4cb6b98f_h.jpgNote reinforcement pieces to wing swing-stops bracket by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A few items here had had some paint applied, engine sections and fans have been black primed and treated to a coat of Alclad2 steel and then a little aluminium to waft over to lighten the finish on the fans; the intake ramp pieces, intakes and seamless intake trunking (and nose gear bay) have been primed white and painted white (all Mission Models paints); the upper and lower fuselage halves have been black primed and then gone over with some tyre black in the insides to hide what migt otherwise be visible through the wing seep recesses and the cockpit pieces have been primed and painted – more on these to follow.

50795388098_e4e79a7d52_h.jpgBits in paint by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The coamings seen here were painted with Mission Models black and then with a slight waft of tyre black to lift it a little (not much). The fabric was painted with a variation of a mix of humbrol dark green, dark earth, black and white (to give various tones to work with). It all looks a bit solid here, but it looks reasonable in the flesh. Some high lights made with a dark grey to simulate wear around the centre coming grab handle.

50796137801_85e887bfb9_h.jpgCockpit coamings by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The instrument panels, which, along with the cockpit tub and cockpit insides, I’d painted a light ghost grey and sealed with Alclad Aqua Gloss, had their transfers applied. The centre panels need painting black and these were hand done afterwards actually using a dark grey as black would have been too stark. At this stage, the decals are in place and settled using Daco strong decal setting solution... which worked rather well, conforming the decals to the texture. I managed to destroy one decal, that of the instruments in the lower centre panel of the front IP, but I painted these in carefully afterwards. There’s no instrument detail, but hopefully once in place it’ll look fine.

50796139401_e2e02f02b2_h.jpgInstrument panels decaled by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

One think I did not like was the brightness of the green representing the glass screens (old CRT), So I initially darkened these with a black wash (not enough) then went over and filled the panels with some gloss midnight blue. The end result looked better.

50795401943_745daea1e1_h.jpgInstrument panels toned down a bit by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

As a diversion, I went back to my colour investigations. I needed to find the right colour to use as I had the intake internals and ramps to paint... Having experimented with a range of colours including the two shades of Light Gull Grey (36440 and 16440) and then looking to use Light Grey (36495), whilst this last one gave what looked like the right luminosity, it lacked the warm tone of LGG (more of a cool grey) that was also evident in photos of VF1’s aircraft in their last years of service. The colour chart shows that I tried some combinations of LGG and LG, but none of these really worked for me. I tried some LGG mix with white, and I think this gave me a reasonable result, finally deciding on a 3:1 mix of LGG and white. It’s darker than Light Grey (36495) but lighter than Light Gull Grey (16440) and retains the colour warmth, so I think I’ll use this. Some colour variation will still appear on the final finish, as it would on the aircraft.

50796141746_1714818783_h.jpgShades of grey test card by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The ramp and intakes were painted white, masked and then painted with the 3:1 mix and these looked nice a warm tonally. Here, one of the intake ramp pieces sits atop “Miss Molly” so that the shade of Light Gull Grey and warmth can be compared. Remember that the aircraft is painted in LGG over a black primer and mottle/marbled undercoat, with various greys underneath, whereas the ramp was over white... but I think it shows enough.

50796144206_8fc6a06784_h.jpgLight(er) Gull Grey comparison by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Right, back to the cockpit. Seats. I’d used the GWH seats with a few additional details added. These were painted in that Mission Models black and then tyre black to soften the darkness a little, and then treated to various mixes of humbrol green/brown etc, some grey areas, and yellow and red as appropriate. The chute box straps are tamiya masking tape strips (about 0.3mm thick) cut and stuck on.. then painted a light grey; the box top cover being a slightly different grey shade.

The seat cushions probably should have been “greener” but I liked the additional colour added by using a more dark-earth based mix to give some variation.

50795398253_ca1ea23237_h.jpgSeats pre photo etch additions by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here, the tub is seen decaled (settled using the Daco strong as before) and a few touch ups with colours added to increase the variation inside. Note the rudder pedals are the only PE fitted at this point. The front cockpit rear bulkhead has had pipework represented by pencil. Not ideal, but hopefully enough to give an impression once it’s all together.

50796269642_75932a5cc1_h.jpgCockpit tub decaled and a little additional colour added by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here, the seats were just dropped in for a test fit to see what was evident. Note that the control sticks have not yet been looked at.

50795404263_2d718100c6_h.jpgSeats in tub first test fit. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Seats with Eduard PE attached. This might all want toning back a bit. It lacks the 3D feel that you get with some resin seats but I think it’s good enough. Note that there’s a red warning decal missing at the top of the head box – this is the only one that pinged off and fed the local carpet monster. I later added a very small piece of red PVC tape in its place – that needs a little white paint adding to blend it in.

50795406323_df65072d6c_h.jpgSeats with photo etch applied. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Instrument panels and coamings glued on, seats test dropped in – looks good enough I think. Note that I added a circular piece of foil to the front screen projector (not a HUD)... which will be coated clear green later on.

50795411128_478fddc740_h.jpgCompleted seats in tub. More details yet to add by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Some slight washing was used on the side panels to tone them back just a little... a little job with some paint, (old) white spirit whilst listening to scala radio and enjoying a cup of tea. No, I can’t see anything that could go wrong here.

(Fortunately it didn’t)

50796356141_dd81c20e6a_h.jpgWhat could possibly go wrong by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Cockpit tub in side view – and now with control sticks added. The rear stick is very small so I glued that in and painted it in situ. The forward one I drilled a small hole in its base (underneath) and inserted a piece on 0.4mm wire to hold it whilst I painted it... which made things easier.

50796531607_8a73f8ffbb_h.jpgCockpit tub by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

So, finally in this write up... onto the fuselage centre section. Here the intakes are painted and I did a test fit onto the lower fuselage half. Hopefully evident is the grey/white demarcation line that I hope is about right. The fans spinner was painted grey (and took several attempts to get right – not sure why this was a problem, but there we go – I think it’s good enough.

50796282377_638aec61a5_h.jpgIntakes test fit. Note internal colour demarkation by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here, the intakes are glued in. I added some further small tabs where the intakes join the rest of the lower fuse engine trunking to allow better alignment and a sounder attachment. You can see them just behind the fans. Gaps sealed with some sprue glue and tamiya thin.

50795417023_4c86db3ac8_h.jpgIntakes fitted. Note additional tabs to help secure rear of intakes for fit. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Outside, there were some gaps along the inner edge between the intake and central fuselage base, but these were sealed with sprue glue and tamiya thin as before. There was a slight step between the intake pieces and the fuselage, but these were sanded down quite easily.

50795419498_4e93016843_h.jpgIntakes fitted and initial sanding complete by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And finally (as there are no other photos to show as of yet... I set about joining the two fuselage halves... to increase the bond area in the wing root (especially in the area immediately forward of the wing cut outs) I added a small length (about 6mm) of plastic rod that you can hopefully see in the photo below. These give a greater surface area to allow a solid bond so there’s no danger of the two halves opening up if the wings go too far forward (a problem I had with the hobbyboss kit that I used a similar solution to resolve)...but hopefully this will be enough.

50795423218_6381e049f9_h.jpgLower fuse ready for joining to upper half. Small rod sections to aid bond of wing roots by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

For now... this has all been sealed up and will dry over the next day of so and then I’ll go back and take a look to see what needs tidying up externally... but it’s time for work to start again – how terrible.

As a final asides, I did receive a reply from Aires regarding the seamless intake trunking pieces; they offered to send me replacement parts (their email was buried in my spam folder and I’d not noticed). I’ve written back to them to explain that I was actually concerned that they may wish to look at the tool as the part seemed properly formed (not a short cast) but that it looked wrong, and I’ve sent them a photo. I’ll see what they come back with – just don’t want their product to be any less good than it could be. And... I trust that all at Eduard are ok. Images of the fire just before Christmas looked quite frightful; whatever impact this has had on them, I hope they are able to recover their losses and continue to supply us with the products we’ve come to know and enjoy.

 

With my thanks to all... Happy New Year everyone... and stay safe.

Jonathan.

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Great update Jonathan, lots of progress here! The cockpit looks great and i really like the way you are reinforcing and improving the key joins as you go along - will be very useful when i get around to making another tomcat one day!

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I was pleased to read this update and see the progress you have made over the Christmas Holidays. I am picking up some useful hints for when I start my Academy Tomcat especially the support enhancement for joining the upper and lower fuselage pieces.

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That’s a cracking start so far Jonathan! These Academy F-14 look really nice don’t they? Also I was wondering if anyone knows what has happened to Tony Oliver? It seems his account has been de-activated which is sad as he is such a valuable source of knowledge regarding the F-14.

 

Neal

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23 hours ago, SaminCam said:

Great update Jonathan, lots of progress here! The cockpit looks great and i really like the way you are reinforcing and improving the key joins as you go along - will be very useful when i get around to making another tomcat one day!

Thanks Sam. I think it looks ok. I think the fact that we now have resin colour 3D print panels in 48th must surely mean than 72nd is next... which I think could provide some great opportunities for detail fans.

But thanks for your kind comments.

7 hours ago, Billy54 said:

I was pleased to read this update and see the progress you have made over the Christmas Holidays. I am picking up some useful hints for when I start my Academy Tomcat especially the support enhancement for joining the upper and lower fuselage pieces.

Glad it's of some use. Yes get it started it seems to be quite a well thought through kit... or rather, I've not found much wrong with it yet 😉

5 hours ago, NealParkes said:

That’s a cracking start so far Jonathan! These Academy F-14 look really nice don’t they? Also I was wondering if anyone knows what has happened to Tony Oliver? It seems his account has been de-activated which is sad as he is such a valuable source of knowledge regarding the F-14.

 

Neal

Thanks Neal. Yes they're a good Kit.

Sad about Tony's account; perhaps we will see a return here sometime; one can but hope because his knowledge was immeasurable .... of vast usefulness when I started looking in to Tomcats last year and for reading what could be done to the kits.

Here's hoping eh.

Thanks all.

Jonathan

 

 

 

 

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I was given a heads up about this thread and very glad now looking at your work. Excellent detailed work.

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On 05/01/2021 at 15:18, baldwin8 said:

I was given a heads up about this thread and very glad now looking at your work. Excellent detailed work.

Thanks... hopefully I'll not disappoint. Fingers crossed. 😉

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Hi all, well that’s the first working week of 2021 out of the way. It was quite a busy one so since my last update there’s not huge amount to report. Before returning to work, I had got some of the paintbrushes out and applied some colour into the nose gear bay and to areas needing touch up in the cockpit tub after the rest of the PE was fitted. I also added some clear green to the silver foil projector dish and to the inside of the windscreen. For whatever reason, the windscreen paint didn’t settle brilliantly, so a day or so later, I polished it all back a bit with the Tamiya pastes and I think it’ll be ok. It looks a little untidy around the edges but that will all be covered when the frames are painted. Fingers crossed.

A photo of the completed tub, just for now.

50817377813_2001d62d9f_h.jpgCompleted cockpit tub by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Nose gear bay too... far from perfect but I think it’ll do for now.

50818221982_f01f044739_h.jpgNose gear bay painted by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

One other easy but essential task once the fuselage halves were together was to remove the AN/AlR-45 fairings that the kit has moulded in as a part of the kit. I think they’re nicely shaped and useful to have for a late A, A+, B or D, but they need to come off for mine. These are moulded quite thick at this point so sanding them off is no problem and takes but a few minutes.... here, starboard side done; port side to do.

50817503912_5b2b247cac_h.jpgAN/ALR-45 Radome removal by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The main task tacked in a few of the evening this week was that of the main gear bays. Now... I know that maybe I’m asking a bit much here, but wouldn’t it be nice to see some detail in these bays (and nose) by any manufacturer... dare i say in any scale, without having to resort to resin. Is it worth it..? I’m not sure as it’s mostly hidden once the aircraft is stood right-way-up... but in close, there are apertures that are visible. So... there’s tones of wiring and pipework in there (too much) but how to give an impression. Hmmm.

Samincam had done a superb rendering on his Revel F-14D, so duly inspired, I sat about looking for some “thin” wire. Whilst I’ve a selection of wire I could have used, the thinnest is about .25mm, maybe a bit thick. So I took an old USB cable that I’d attacked some years ago, and untangled the braded screen wires and used some of that... this is about 0.1mm thick and with a few strands of this, and some slightly thicker wire in there that might help tie an earth path, i made up some lengths to work with. To tie them together I took some small pieces of plasticard that I’d drilled a 0.4mm, 0.5mm or 0.6mm hole in (some harnesses pass through clips and clamps so they’re not too unrealistic, and passed a bundle of wires through them. Once I’d fiddled with these a bit, I sealed them in place with some Delux Rocket hot (flows well) and bent/cut to shape.

50816665618_333e20a52b_h.jpgMain gear well harness 2 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Some took some more bending than others – not perfect by any stretch of the imagination...

50816664723_48ec923164_h.jpgMain gear well harness 1 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

There was another length that I ran along the rear section of the bays, made up in the same way then bent to shape and glued in, and a representation of an actuator that sits on the forward face of the wheel bay, made from plastic rod, strip and wire. Again... far from accurate, but from an impressionistic perspective, hopefully enough to give an impression of pipework.

There’s an angled bracket in there too – evident in photos in the Daco book, so I made some pieces up from plastic card to shape and just glued them in. Again, nothing accurate, but hopefully a good enough impression.

50817501252_03776b676b_b.jpgMain gear well harneses by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

As I said – not too much, but one week in with work and I’m exhausted; some fresh air helped today, but hopefully energy levels will recover as the year progresses.

Stay well and stay safe everyone.

Jonathan

Edited by Jon020
Why do you always notice a typo just as you hit submit?
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sorry I couldn't post earlier, but I continued to follow this new build with pleasure.

 

The improvements made are more than interesting, and the result follows.

 

Thanks again for the given tips that I will, again 😄, keep as a favourite.

Edited by Zorglub
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Thanks for your comments. I really ought to draft and publish an update as I have managed some significant progress since the last post; I guess sometimes I just prefer to stay away from the computer a bit and do some modelling.

Update to follow.

Cheers

Jonathan

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On 1/10/2021 at 10:37 AM, Jon020 said:

One other easy but essential task once the fuselage halves were together was to remove the AN/AlR-45 fairings that the kit has moulded in as a part of the kit. I think they’re nicely shaped and useful to have for a late A, A+, B or D, but they need to come off for mine. These are moulded quite thick at this point so sanding them off is no problem and takes but a few minutes.... here, starboard side done; port side to do.

50817503912_5b2b247cac_h.jpgAN/ALR-45 Radome removal by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

 

Stay well and stay safe everyone.

Jonathan

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

 

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On 1/22/2021 at 12:37 AM, Jon020 said:

Thanks for your comments. I really ought to draft and publish an update as I have managed some significant progress since the last post; I guess sometimes I just prefer to stay away from the computer a bit and do some modelling.

Update to follow.

Cheers

Jonathan

 

Hello Jonathan,

 

Have to agree with your point concerning the computer impacting modelling productivity. I am pleased to hear you are making progress on your build and am looking forward to future updates. I have started my Academy Tomcat and so far it has been pleasant and enjoyable. 

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13 hours ago, npirnia said:

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

 

 

This is interesting because I am currently building the Academy Tomcat and plan to finish it in the decals provided, white/gull grey scheme with VF-143 (Pukin' Dogs") high viz markings for 159434. It was delivered 9th November 1975 and was the 100th Tomcat built.  I have been unable to find any photo reference of it finished in the hi viz scheme. The Academy instructions indicate that the bumps are to be removed, it is also apparent that Academy plan to reissue the kit as an F-14 in its later life (different weapon etc) when the bumps were added. But as you say the bumps are difficult to see unless viewed from above or below. I found one photo of a a Tomcat where the bumps can definitely be identified and In 1/72 scale it may not matter too much. I will however remove the bumps from my build. I also have a set of  Super Scaler decals for VF-143 in case the Academy prove to be difficult. :)     

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On 23/01/2021 at 05:24, npirnia said:

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

 

 

16 hours ago, Billy54 said:

 

This is interesting because I am currently building the Academy Tomcat and plan to finish it in the decals provided, white/gull grey scheme with VF-143 (Pukin' Dogs") high viz markings for 159434. It was delivered 9th November 1975 and was the 100th Tomcat built.  I have been unable to find any photo reference of it finished in the hi viz scheme. The Academy instructions indicate that the bumps are to be removed, it is also apparent that Academy plan to reissue the kit as an F-14 in its later life (different weapon etc) when the bumps were added. But as you say the bumps are difficult to see unless viewed from above or below. I found one photo of a a Tomcat where the bumps can definitely be identified and In 1/72 scale it may not matter too much. I will however remove the bumps from my build. I also have a set of  Super Scaler decals for VF-143 in case the Academy prove to be difficult. :)     

Hi Nick and Billy. I did spend some time looking at all the lumps and bumps that this model needs to have and whilst the instructions call for neither the rear radome next to the fuel dump port or the two additional bumps underneath the wing root leading edge/intake area, these are needed for 162603... and fortunately the kit has most bits for a A, B or D, so these were incorporated in y build, along with the later fins with the reinforcing plates (again because they're on 162603), but the leading edge bumps are not. Yes, they can be difficult to see... but sometimes very easy. The Daco book provides many good examples and clear photos of this area so the differences are clear... and there are a number of photos of 162603 to see enough of to see that it didn't have the bumps. One aspect that seems to align (or not possibly) is that the fwd vanes were still present on 162603 and the aircraft that ive seen the bumps on are with the vanes covered over or removed. A cutaway drawing illustrates that the wing vane pivot is about the same location as those bumps... so whether there was ever enough space for antenna and wing pivot might explain when they're there. The kit is certainly a good base to start from, for any F-14 model (with a few aftermarket bits as necessary) but the basic premise I work from is "know your subject". Whether you're doing the kit markings or not, look at photos for reference and then decide if you wish to follow the instructions 🙂

Anyway... time to draft an update whilst the rain eases outside (snow here lasted about 5 minutes)

Cheers

Jonathan

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Hi all.... so, time for an update as some progress has been made with the ongoing build of Wichita 103.

First of all, I managed to join the nose fuselage sections to the rear section and was quite pleased with how this fitted, a small amount of sprue goo was used initially just around the upper spine join as seen in the photo, although I later added some deluxe perfect putty too as this gave a better ane less soft “fill” where needed. I would normally leave the cockpit IPs and coamings off, but they went on earlier than intended due to the width of the cockpit sill; I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to squeeze them in afterwards. This leaves a little bit of a masking challenge – more of which is to be seen below. The sill and real ledge PE were added with just a little trimming. They’re sized for the Hobbyboss kit (by that I mean the Hobbyboss etch had the same parts and they fitted... here the sills weren’t quite long enough and the rear deck a bit too long... but that was fettled to fit; the short sills hopefully wont show at the end.

50866634653_18eff25fc5_h.jpgFuselage assembly. Little filler needed. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Underneath, I decided to add the ventral fins. As with my normal means of breaking from tradition, I opted to not use the kit parts, nor the Quickboost ones, but used the other spare GWH fins (like I’d used on the Hobbyboss kit as these have the two points attached. Fitting was a case of slimming down a bit at the front and back and then dropping into the slot; a tight fit, but as they’re a bit slimmer than the kit fins, some filler was needed along the inside edge (mostly) and for this, the deluxe perfect putty stepped in. Note the ECS fan covers (is that what they are) PE is attached, yet the rear chaff/flare dispenser is yet to be added... as is still the case. I mustn’t forget that.

50867356271_991feb6b61_h.jpgGWH ventral fins added. Filler in gaps. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Onto the nose... and ballast. Firstly, I test fitted the master probe and found it was a little small to just fit the nose. So, I added the kit nose probe (a tight fit) and then cut the probe, sanded the point to a flat the same OD as the masters probe base and drilled a small hole... to give a good fit for later in the build. I then added a small circular piece of plasticard in the bottom of the nose cone so that the hole did not fill with ballast when I poured it in.

50866641923_64ab66506a_h.jpgNose cone, lower base added for ballast by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The liquid gravity went in and “set” with some hot CA.

50866643583_7f82fb9a79_h.jpgBallast by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A further plasticard bulkhead was added and sealed to keep the ballast bits where I want them; I didn’t want them breaking loose at some point later in the build and rattling around.

50867461547_77c9fb553e_h.jpgBallast sealed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And just for the record... once finished, it’s about 8 grams.

50867469392_6d0de760b2_h.jpgBallast weighed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I spent a little time looking at the gear doors and adding PE where needed. One item that I toyed with and finally decided to add the PE (but forgot to take a photo of it finished) was the thin fwd inner main gear doors. The Eduard instructions have you discard this piece altogether and just use the PE; to me that looked to thin, so I sanded the face of the door flat, taking off all the raised detail so that the PE, which looked more refined) could be attached to the flat surface. Yea, it looked ok. I’ll take a photo later. Just a photo here to show how much is removed. This leaves the two plastic tongues that fit into the kit slots... so positioning will be precise.

50867464032_f009ff99fd_h.jpgFwd main gear door sanded for PE addition by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Oh, I assembled the main gear too... that was quite fiddly (considering the hobbyboss fit is a single piece item) but i used the fuselage attachment points as jig to get the angles right and they both looked quite nice at the end. The axles of these are arch shaped rather than round, so I filed the bottom corners to make this circular; resin wheels will be test fitted later.

Back to the nose, and I decided it was time to fit and clean up the windscreen piece. It’s a surprisingly good fit (I’m going to have to get another of these kits and stop ordering GWH ones) and it was only a bit of a faff because I’d cut away the refuelling probe bay (which I’ve added some detail to now).

Before adding this part, I’d painted a layer of humbrol enamel clear green on the inside of the central frame. I’ll admit I wasn’t concentrating as much as I should and as you can see, some green is evident in the area of the central frame... but it’s not further. Once the black inner and grey out layers are on, I’m hoping that will all be fine.

The windscreen was secured using Tamiya thin capillary auctioned in to the gaps, and then I added some thicker odourless CA (Bob Smiths Gold) above the probe bay to seal its “roof” to the glazed nose part. A bit of fiddling and straightening and it’s all good.

50867369201_25a4ad971b_h.jpgWindscreen added and slight gap filled. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Nosecone... well, I was expecting a nice fit like the rest of the parts. Well, yes, it fitted quite nicely, but it was a bit big so needed sanding down around its edges, along the lower edge most, but eventually I got a good smooth finish.

50867481112_2505eaaf7d_b.jpgOversized nose cone and sanded to blend in by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Masking. Yea, not made my life easy had I? Anyway, I needed to mask the cockpit tub yes leave the sill PE exposed. Fortunately, there’s a thin gap between them, that I used to fit two shaped pieces of thin plasticard, a pair of back pieces and a top. The windscreen was already masked with the paper masks and a plasticard piece that I used on the hobbyboss kit (pleased that it fitted; well it should shouldn’t it), and some masking take to the rear panel on the back of the cockpit tub (CBs panels) to protect from bleed. All bits were “attached” and sealed using Maskol... well, it worked before. It looks a bit “cabrio” now... well, let’s ignore that.

50867474952_e987328aba_h.jpgCockpit tub masked (plasticard box) by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Another shot of the blended windscreen piece that had a bit more sprue good along its edges and careful sanding... Some primer will show what I’ve missed, but holding it various ways under some good lights, it looks about as good as I can get it.. for now.

50866660863_3100785330_h.jpgNose cone on and blending all together by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A quick diversion here. My modelling expert mate Brian has been looking closely at another kit and working on further areas of improvement. One point he mentioned to me last week was that of the wing crank. No, not a person totally fascinated by high lift devices, but a droop in the wing leading edge near the root. He’d made some mods to a set of Hobbyboss wings to fit a different kit and added these with some cutting and bending which looked good. Looking at certain photos, yes, it’s there when you look. But I now can’t look at my completed Hobbyboss kit with its straight wings and frown. Hey ho. Anyway, a look at the wings of the Acad kit and yes, it has them. Very subtle, but here they are. Excellent.

50866667188_482cba9a1a_h.jpgWing crank... Excellent! by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I was now thinking about adding the other main parts to the kit. The fins went on, with a little sanding of their nose to blend to the fuselage pieces, and I looked to add the horiz stabs. A while ago, I’d noticed the little stabilising frames just inside the rear fuselage. Great, I thought, that’ll keep the stab level. Well... they would if they’d been added to the upper half, but not if they’re added to the lower half. L Someone needs to think about lever movements.

Anyway... I decided to fix this and add a similar piece to the upper fuselage half to sandwich the end of the stabs’ shafts and hold them level. After some measurement, and conservative over estimating, and some strengthening pieces to add bonding area, I made these two bits from plasticard, with a semi-circular cut out to secure the stabs’ shaft.

50867615707_04f0fc5ee1_h.jpgHoriz stab pieces by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here you can see them fitted, with a few reinforcing strips, all glued with Tamiya thin that gives a good melted bond. As you can see they hold the stabs nice and securely and flat... this will allow them to be fitted at the end loose with no glue so their pitch can be changed to suit the mood.

50866802593_7200664b98_h.jpgStab pieces in place and strengthened by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A quick dry fit of all bit bits... just for the record

50866804828_ebb601d2ad_h.jpgDry fit. Yes, fins on too by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

As with last time, I’d planned to sue the quickboost ECM/TCS equipped chin pod. When I looked at the kit, I’d convinced myself it only had the early chin pod (I think I’d confused myself with one of the other kits – GWH?) but the kit comes with the early one, this one, the faired over one and of course the twin “D” chin pod. The kit part is a nice shape but lacks detail. I therefore used the quickboost part as a guide and with my needle/pin vice combo added the fastener detail that’s on the resin part, and drilled out the camera sensor aperture at the front. This will clearly now attaché easier ... just need to take care of the small aerial, but if that breaks off, I an always drill and pin a new one as I did last time. It’s plastic so will be a little more robust than the glued on resin one last time.

50867627207_e3476a0242_h.jpgDetailing the undernose camera/sensor by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Well... final straight for today now. Canopy. As usual, there’s a fine seam that runs along the top, and this I scraped away with the back edge of a sharp blade, a little fine paper, and then polishing with the tamiya compounds. I will admit that working with these parts is my least favourite, as the material is more brittle and I’m convinced I’ll break it while handling. So more care than normal. It all came up ok. If I’m honest, I don’t think the material is as nice or pure as that of the hobbyboss part, but hopeful it’s good enough. Once finished, I’ll possibly treat this to some Kear.. but not before.

50867531711_2989d1d26f_h.jpgCanopy. Polished. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

One item I do like about this kit, is the completely separate canopy frame. I had to add the PE to the glazed item on the hohhbyboss kit.. so this was much less stressful and easier to fit. One thing I did have to do though was to reduce the height of the side piece, again presumably as it’d been sized for the hobbyboss kit and not changed when assembly was directed to the plastic frame rather than the clear canopy. Easily rectified though: here you can see that I clamped the part in my hold n fold tool (edge protruding) and then filed the top edge down to the right height... a before and after being shown at the bottom.

50870064172_e6a0b1abe8_b.jpgCanopy frame prep by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Once fitted, the bottom sills can be added and then the rear underside piece too... but again, this will need narrowing because.. yes, same as hobbyboss. On that kit the sills and rear bit are separate pieces, here there the same, so I took about 1mm off each side to make it fit (not shown as I forgot to take a photo)

One item that’s obvious with these canopies, especially when open, is that of the canopy demisting ducts. I think I’ve only seen these as a flat item on the hasegawa etch, but I thought it’d be good to add something here (and to the rear deck too). I think Samincam did something similar. This is a combination of 0.4mm brass wire and one piece of 0.6mm copper wire. The two cross pieces were soldered to the rear longitudinal “pipes”, but it was too much to get them to join before fittine, so the whole assembly was glued in place using “hot” CA. The forward ducts were bent to shape and added. To be honest, they’re not completely symmetrical, but hopefully close enough. Small pieces of stretched sprue for the pipe end plates and “clamps” added with small strips of 0.3mm wide take. Once coated in a thin primer layer, hopefully this will blend nicely.

50867636542_6dfbd3d5ec_h.jpgCanopy rail, detailed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50867539611_2ec858886c_h.jpgCanopy rail from above by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Please ignore the small bits of tape that have lifted in the image above... annoying that I'd not noticed that until now; they've been pushed back and are now fine. Typical!

Anyway... that’s enough for now. Still a huge amount to do, but it seems to be a good kit that makes for a fun build and good start point for additional work should you so wish.

Whilst I’ve been writing this, it seems that we’ve had 4 seasons outside. We were forecast to have snow... first of this winter as none of the rest of the country’s snow reached us... but we’ve just had hail, snow, sleet, rain, more snow, more rain, wind, bright sunshine and well, now it’s just cloudy and cold and no snow left to be seen. Perhaps it’s time to get some lunch.

Thanks for reading.

Jonathan

Edited by Jon020
Explained lose tape in photo.
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4 hours ago, Jon020 said:

 

Hi Nick and Billy. I did spend some time looking at all the lumps and bumps that this model needs to have and whilst the instructions call for neither the rear radome next to the fuel dump port or the two additional bumps underneath the wing root leading edge/intake area, these are needed for 162603... and fortunately the kit has most bits for a A, B or D, so these were incorporated in y build, along with the later fins with the reinforcing plates (again because they're on 162603), but the leading edge bumps are not. Yes, they can be difficult to see... but sometimes very easy. The Daco book provides many good examples and clear photos of this area so the differences are clear... and there are a number of photos of 162603 to see enough of to see that it didn't have the bumps. One aspect that seems to align (or not possibly) is that the fwd vanes were still present on 162603 and the aircraft that ive seen the bumps on are with the vanes covered over or removed. A cutaway drawing illustrates that the wing vane pivot is about the same location as those bumps... so whether there was ever enough space for antenna and wing pivot might explain when they're there. The kit is certainly a good base to start from, for any F-14 model (with a few aftermarket bits as necessary) but the basic premise I work from is "know your subject". Whether you're doing the kit markings or not, look at photos for reference and then decide if you wish to follow the instructions 🙂

Anyway... time to draft an update whilst the rain eases outside (snow here lasted about 5 minutes)

Cheers

Jonathan

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:

 

spacer.png

 

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

Edited by npirnia
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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

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Thanks for the comments Nick.. very informative and useful... and kind.

One item I forgot to mention in the post above is that  spent a bit of time peering carefully at a number of photos of Witchita 103 and eventually decided to go for the three blade antenna option on the centre section. On my last one, I think I was right to remove the middle antenna on Miss Molly as photos implied it wasn't fitted... and I reshaped the front antenna to suit the photos. On this one, again, the instructions will have you fit the shorter antenna, but i went for the larger one, per photos, and am quite happy with this. I also removed the GPS radome as it's not there on the A's... ony on the LANTIRN equipped later aircraft (I think)

All of that should be visible in the previously shared photo above, but here it is again for good measure

50866804828_ebb601d2ad_h.jpgDry fit. Yes, fins on too by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

there will be something I've forgotten... there usually is. I'll post again if I remember.

Thanks all

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6 hours ago, Jon020 said:

Hi all.... so, time for an update as some progress has been made with the ongoing build of Wichita 103.

First of all, I managed to join the nose fuselage sections to the rear section and was quite pleased with how this fitted, a small amount of sprue goo was used initially just around the upper spine join as seen in the photo, although I later added some deluxe perfect putty too as this gave a better ane less soft “fill” where needed. I would normally leave the cockpit IPs and coamings off, but they went on earlier than intended due to the width of the cockpit sill; I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to squeeze them in afterwards. This leaves a little bit of a masking challenge – more of which is to be seen below. The sill and real ledge PE were added with just a little trimming. They’re sized for the Hobbyboss kit (by that I mean the Hobbyboss etch had the same parts and they fitted... here the sills weren’t quite long enough and the rear deck a bit too long... but that was fettled to fit; the short sills hopefully wont show at the end.

50866634653_18eff25fc5_h.jpgFuselage assembly. Little filler needed. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Underneath, I decided to add the ventral fins. As with my normal means of breaking from tradition, I opted to not use the kit parts, nor the Quickboost ones, but used the other spare GWH fins (like I’d used on the Hobbyboss kit as these have the two points attached. Fitting was a case of slimming down a bit at the front and back and then dropping into the slot; a tight fit, but as they’re a bit slimmer than the kit fins, some filler was needed along the inside edge (mostly) and for this, the deluxe perfect putty stepped in. Note the ECS fan covers (is that what they are) PE is attached, yet the rear chaff/flare dispenser is yet to be added... as is still the case. I mustn’t forget that.

50867356271_991feb6b61_h.jpgGWH ventral fins added. Filler in gaps. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Onto the nose... and ballast. Firstly, I test fitted the master probe and found it was a little small to just fit the nose. So, I added the kit nose probe (a tight fit) and then cut the probe, sanded the point to a flat the same OD as the masters probe base and drilled a small hole... to give a good fit for later in the build. I then added a small circular piece of plasticard in the bottom of the nose cone so that the hole did not fill with ballast when I poured it in.

50866641923_64ab66506a_h.jpgNose cone, lower base added for ballast by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The liquid gravity went in and “set” with some hot CA.

50866643583_7f82fb9a79_h.jpgBallast by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A further plasticard bulkhead was added and sealed to keep the ballast bits where I want them; I didn’t want them breaking loose at some point later in the build and rattling around.

50867461547_77c9fb553e_h.jpgBallast sealed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And just for the record... once finished, it’s about 8 grams.

50867469392_6d0de760b2_h.jpgBallast weighed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I spent a little time looking at the gear doors and adding PE where needed. One item that I toyed with and finally decided to add the PE (but forgot to take a photo of it finished) was the thin fwd inner main gear doors. The Eduard instructions have you discard this piece altogether and just use the PE; to me that looked to thin, so I sanded the face of the door flat, taking off all the raised detail so that the PE, which looked more refined) could be attached to the flat surface. Yea, it looked ok. I’ll take a photo later. Just a photo here to show how much is removed. This leaves the two plastic tongues that fit into the kit slots... so positioning will be precise.

50867464032_f009ff99fd_h.jpgFwd main gear door sanded for PE addition by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Oh, I assembled the main gear too... that was quite fiddly (considering the hobbyboss fit is a single piece item) but i used the fuselage attachment points as jig to get the angles right and they both looked quite nice at the end. The axles of these are arch shaped rather than round, so I filed the bottom corners to make this circular; resin wheels will be test fitted later.

Back to the nose, and I decided it was time to fit and clean up the windscreen piece. It’s a surprisingly good fit (I’m going to have to get another of these kits and stop ordering GWH ones) and it was only a bit of a faff because I’d cut away the refuelling probe bay (which I’ve added some detail to now).

Before adding this part, I’d painted a layer of humbrol enamel clear green on the inside of the central frame. I’ll admit I wasn’t concentrating as much as I should and as you can see, some green is evident in the area of the central frame... but it’s not further. Once the black inner and grey out layers are on, I’m hoping that will all be fine.

The windscreen was secured using Tamiya thin capillary auctioned in to the gaps, and then I added some thicker odourless CA (Bob Smiths Gold) above the probe bay to seal its “roof” to the glazed nose part. A bit of fiddling and straightening and it’s all good.

50867369201_25a4ad971b_h.jpgWindscreen added and slight gap filled. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Nosecone... well, I was expecting a nice fit like the rest of the parts. Well, yes, it fitted quite nicely, but it was a bit big so needed sanding down around its edges, along the lower edge most, but eventually I got a good smooth finish.

50867481112_2505eaaf7d_b.jpgOversized nose cone and sanded to blend in by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Masking. Yea, not made my life easy had I? Anyway, I needed to mask the cockpit tub yes leave the sill PE exposed. Fortunately, there’s a thin gap between them, that I used to fit two shaped pieces of thin plasticard, a pair of back pieces and a top. The windscreen was already masked with the paper masks and a plasticard piece that I used on the hobbyboss kit (pleased that it fitted; well it should shouldn’t it), and some masking take to the rear panel on the back of the cockpit tub (CBs panels) to protect from bleed. All bits were “attached” and sealed using Maskol... well, it worked before. It looks a bit “cabrio” now... well, let’s ignore that.

50867474952_e987328aba_h.jpgCockpit tub masked (plasticard box) by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Another shot of the blended windscreen piece that had a bit more sprue good along its edges and careful sanding... Some primer will show what I’ve missed, but holding it various ways under some good lights, it looks about as good as I can get it.. for now.

50866660863_3100785330_h.jpgNose cone on and blending all together by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A quick diversion here. My modelling expert mate Brian has been looking closely at another kit and working on further areas of improvement. One point he mentioned to me last week was that of the wing crank. No, not a person totally fascinated by high lift devices, but a droop in the wing leading edge near the root. He’d made some mods to a set of Hobbyboss wings to fit a different kit and added these with some cutting and bending which looked good. Looking at certain photos, yes, it’s there when you look. But I now can’t look at my completed Hobbyboss kit with its straight wings and frown. Hey ho. Anyway, a look at the wings of the Acad kit and yes, it has them. Very subtle, but here they are. Excellent.

50866667188_482cba9a1a_h.jpgWing crank... Excellent! by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I was now thinking about adding the other main parts to the kit. The fins went on, with a little sanding of their nose to blend to the fuselage pieces, and I looked to add the horiz stabs. A while ago, I’d noticed the little stabilising frames just inside the rear fuselage. Great, I thought, that’ll keep the stab level. Well... they would if they’d been added to the upper half, but not if they’re added to the lower half. L Someone needs to think about lever movements.

Anyway... I decided to fix this and add a similar piece to the upper fuselage half to sandwich the end of the stabs’ shafts and hold them level. After some measurement, and conservative over estimating, and some strengthening pieces to add bonding area, I made these two bits from plasticard, with a semi-circular cut out to secure the stabs’ shaft.

50867615707_04f0fc5ee1_h.jpgHoriz stab pieces by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here you can see them fitted, with a few reinforcing strips, all glued with Tamiya thin that gives a good melted bond. As you can see they hold the stabs nice and securely and flat... this will allow them to be fitted at the end loose with no glue so their pitch can be changed to suit the mood.

50866802593_7200664b98_h.jpgStab pieces in place and strengthened by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A quick dry fit of all bit bits... just for the record

50866804828_ebb601d2ad_h.jpgDry fit. Yes, fins on too by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

As with last time, I’d planned to sue the quickboost ECM/TCS equipped chin pod. When I looked at the kit, I’d convinced myself it only had the early chin pod (I think I’d confused myself with one of the other kits – GWH?) but the kit comes with the early one, this one, the faired over one and of course the twin “D” chin pod. The kit part is a nice shape but lacks detail. I therefore used the quickboost part as a guide and with my needle/pin vice combo added the fastener detail that’s on the resin part, and drilled out the camera sensor aperture at the front. This will clearly now attaché easier ... just need to take care of the small aerial, but if that breaks off, I an always drill and pin a new one as I did last time. It’s plastic so will be a little more robust than the glued on resin one last time.

50867627207_e3476a0242_h.jpgDetailing the undernose camera/sensor by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Well... final straight for today now. Canopy. As usual, there’s a fine seam that runs along the top, and this I scraped away with the back edge of a sharp blade, a little fine paper, and then polishing with the tamiya compounds. I will admit that working with these parts is my least favourite, as the material is more brittle and I’m convinced I’ll break it while handling. So more care than normal. It all came up ok. If I’m honest, I don’t think the material is as nice or pure as that of the hobbyboss part, but hopeful it’s good enough. Once finished, I’ll possibly treat this to some Kear.. but not before.

50867531711_2989d1d26f_h.jpgCanopy. Polished. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

One item I do like about this kit, is the completely separate canopy frame. I had to add the PE to the glazed item on the hohhbyboss kit.. so this was much less stressful and easier to fit. One thing I did have to do though was to reduce the height of the side piece, again presumably as it’d been sized for the hobbyboss kit and not changed when assembly was directed to the plastic frame rather than the clear canopy. Easily rectified though: here you can see that I clamped the part in my hold n fold tool (edge protruding) and then filed the top edge down to the right height... a before and after being shown at the bottom.

50870064172_e6a0b1abe8_b.jpgCanopy frame prep by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Once fitted, the bottom sills can be added and then the rear underside piece too... but again, this will need narrowing because.. yes, same as hobbyboss. On that kit the sills and rear bit are separate pieces, here there the same, so I took about 1mm off each side to make it fit (not shown as I forgot to take a photo)

One item that’s obvious with these canopies, especially when open, is that of the canopy demisting ducts. I think I’ve only seen these as a flat item on the hasegawa etch, but I thought it’d be good to add something here (and to the rear deck too). I think Samincam did something similar. This is a combination of 0.4mm brass wire and one piece of 0.6mm copper wire. The two cross pieces were soldered to the rear longitudinal “pipes”, but it was too much to get them to join before fittine, so the whole assembly was glued in place using “hot” CA. The forward ducts were bent to shape and added. To be honest, they’re not completely symmetrical, but hopefully close enough. Small pieces of stretched sprue for the pipe end plates and “clamps” added with small strips of 0.3mm wide take. Once coated in a thin primer layer, hopefully this will blend nicely.

50867636542_6dfbd3d5ec_h.jpgCanopy rail, detailed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50867539611_2ec858886c_h.jpgCanopy rail from above by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Please ignore the small bits of tape that have lifted in the image above... annoying that I'd not noticed that until now; they've been pushed back and are now fine. Typical!

Anyway... that’s enough for now. Still a huge amount to do, but it seems to be a good kit that makes for a fun build and good start point for additional work should you so wish.

Whilst I’ve been writing this, it seems that we’ve had 4 seasons outside. We were forecast to have snow... first of this winter as none of the rest of the country’s snow reached us... but we’ve just had hail, snow, sleet, rain, more snow, more rain, wind, bright sunshine and well, now it’s just cloudy and cold and no snow left to be seen. Perhaps it’s time to get some lunch.

Thanks for reading.

Jonathan

 

Very nice update Jon, thank you. I had the same issue with the nose connecting to the forward fuselage and so far that's been the biggest problem I come across, this Academy Tomcat really is a nice kit.  

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10 hours ago, Jon020 said:

Thanks for the comments Nick.. very informative and useful... and kind.

One item I forgot to mention in the post above is that  spent a bit of time peering carefully at a number of photos of Witchita 103 and eventually decided to go for the three blade antenna option on the centre section. On my last one, I think I was right to remove the middle antenna on Miss Molly as photos implied it wasn't fitted... and I reshaped the front antenna to suit the photos. On this one, again, the instructions will have you fit the shorter antenna, but i went for the larger one, per photos, and am quite happy with this. I also removed the GPS radome as it's not there on the A's... ony on the LANTIRN equipped later aircraft (I think)

All of that should be visible in the previously shared photo above, but here it is again for good measure

50866804828_ebb601d2ad_h.jpgDry fit. Yes, fins on too by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

there will be something I've forgotten... there usually is. I'll post again if I remember.

Thanks all

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

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Thanks to @npirnia for the good information. Noting all the comments for my own build.

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