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Academy's new 1/72 F-14A: Wichita 103 lo-viz 1985


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Hi everyone,

 

This is my latest model: Academy’s new 1/72 F-14A depicting “Wichita 103” in 1985 using DXM decals.

 

This is an excellent kit and my favorite that I have built. The engineering is very good and the exterior shape perfect to my eyes. The DXM decals were also quite good, but missed a few things: the gear door placards used by VF-1 were missed and the anti-skid walkways looked a tad off in shape. I used the Furball-Aero VF-111 and their VF-41/VF-32 set for these details.

 

The kit went together very quickly and was built in 2.5 months with most of that time spent post-construction on painting, weathering, and dilly-dallying :). Aftermarket details include Quickboost intakes and ventral fins (to spare ejector mark filling), Master pitot, DXM VF-1 decals, and seats/throttle, control stick, and canopy details from an Aires cockpit set. The cockpit is very nice, especially with a few small editions. I wouldn’t bother adding the whole Aires set, definitely not worth the effort given what can be accomplished with the base cockpit. I also detailed the nosegear wheel well with lead wire and a few parts from the Hasegawa kit.

 

The kit was painted with Mission Models acrylics with MRP for the metallics. MRP’s new acrylic metallic for brush painting are really nice, by far the nicest that I’ve tried. Weathered with oil paints.

 

I highly recommend this kit to anyone with an interest in Tomcats or USN aircraft. It is a joy to build, takes to detailing well, and looks great once finished.

 

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The cockpit was hard to see in the winter light today, so I included a construction shot and another photo taken with a flash. Detail is very nice for an injection kit if you add aftermarket seats and a few details like a better stick and throttle.

 

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All comments and feedback welcome. :)

 

Best,

 

Nick

Edited by npirnia
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I indeed I can only repeat all this . It looks perfect! Cool weathering, nothing overdone! And this shiny cockpit is first class.

best regards

Andy 

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Excellent build! Cockpit is extraordinary and the masking of the canopy and windscreen and the finish of the transparences is truly awesome!

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11 hours ago, Farmerboy said:

who doesn’t love a tomcat

 

Well... me.  I recognise a stunning model though, and your '103 just can't be faulted.

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21 hours ago, SAT69 said:

Excellent build! Cockpit is extraordinary and the masking of the canopy and windscreen and the finish of the transparences is truly awesome!

 

Thank you! Much of the credit goes to Academy for molding a very clear canopy. It does have a seam that needs to be removed, but the canopy responded very well to polishing with fine sandpaper, Novus plastic polish, and then dipped in future. I used Eduard masks and Mr Masking Sol, but did notice a tendency for Mr Masking Sol to leave a bit of residue in the form of a dull sheen that didn't come off with dry buffing. I dealt with it using a tiny bit of isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber swab. A thin layer of brushed future restored the clarity and shine nicely. I'm not sure if others have encountered this residue issue? I let the canopy dry for 5 days after future dipping before masking. 

 

Thank you to everyone else for the kind words and support. :)

 

-Nick

Edited by npirnia
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Wow! What the others have said goes double for me. Very realistic and not overdone weathering, and the canopy and cockpit are exceptional! You should be proud of this build! :like:

Mike

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I must admit that I was a little sceptical when Academy announced that they were releasing a new mould 1:72 scale kit of the F-14 Tomcat into an already 'crowded' marketplace of high quality kits. The Fujimi and second generation Hasegawa kits remain quality products and have, more recently, been joined by examples from Fine Molds and Great Wall Hobby.....but......judging by your model it looks like Academy have also nailed it !. Great model, which really tempts me to buy this and do a direct comparison with my other acquisitions. 

 

Well Done, Sir ! 

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21 minutes ago, busnproplinerfan said:

This looks great, now I see what Academy's kit is like. Why are the exhausts different?

It is a standard F-14A behavior based on the engine shut down procedure and inherent engine/nozzle functions.

 

So the default nozzle position for the TF30 is fully closed. The nozzle is actuated by fuel pressure and is commanded to open by 2 possible functions: throttle in the idle detent with “weight on wheels” (WoW) detected or by the afterburner pressure sensor indicating AB light-off. In the absence of these functions, the nozzle is closed.

 

The right engine is shutdown first to allow function of the hydraulic transfer pump to be checked prior to securing the aircraft. The engine is at idle and the WoW sensor is active, so the nozzle stays open as the engine spools down.
 

When the left engine is shutdown, the electrical generator cuts off when the engine spools down below 50% rpm and this deactivates the WoW sensor. Remaining fuel pressure is sufficient to then close the nozzle since the WoW function can no longer keep it open - it reverts to standard flight mode. Usually the nozzle fully closes or almost fully closes before fuel pressure is lost.

 

You almost always see these asymmetric nozzles on parked F-14As due to these functions. :)

 

-Nick

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1 hour ago, Tiger331 said:

I must admit that I was a little sceptical when Academy announced that they were releasing a new mould 1:72 scale kit of the F-14 Tomcat into an already 'crowded' marketplace of high quality kits. The Fujimi and second generation Hasegawa kits remain quality products and have, more recently, been joined by examples from Fine Molds and Great Wall Hobby.....but......judging by your model it looks like Academy have also nailed it !. Great model, which really tempts me to buy this and do a direct comparison with my other acquisitions. 

 

Well Done, Sir ! 

I indeed think that Academy nailed it! The key for me is that the shape is very accurate and this was a shortcoming of all 1/72 kits (and all 1/48 kits before Tamiya’s Tomcat). The Tomcat’s shape is really complex and is hard to get just right without something like 3D scanning which Tamiya used. It is clear that Academy took a lot of engineering “inspiration” from the Tamiya kit and I was hopeful that they also used it to get the exterior shape right. This seems to be the case and it really captures the look of the Tomcat from all angles. The GWH looks good too, but I like the price and engineering choices of the Academy better. Fine Molds looks pretty good, but I would be tempted to replace the front windscreen and the glove pylons - the pylons are too large or not shaped right so they end rather close to the ground compared to the real thing. My only real complaint with Academy is the front wheel well lacking the emergency nitrogen bottle and retraction arm for the NLG. It looks like it was planned, there is a nub where it should attach, but somehow it was missed for production. I took these parts from a spare Hasegawa kit along with adding sidewall detail for the cockpit with lead foil and the Hasegawa photo-etch circuit breakers. It is barely visible when built, but fast to add and still seems worth it.

 

Thank you for the kind words!

 

Best,

 

Nick

Edited by npirnia
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5 hours ago, npirnia said:

It is a standard F-14A behavior based on the engine shut down procedure and inherent engine/nozzle functions.

 

So the default nozzle position for the TF30 is fully closed. The nozzle is actuated by fuel pressure and is commanded to open by 2 possible functions: throttle in the idle detent with “weight on wheels” (WoW) detected or by the afterburner pressure sensor indicating AB light-off. In the absence of these functions, the nozzle is closed.

 

The right engine is shutdown first to allow function of the hydraulic transfer pump to be checked prior to securing the aircraft. The engine is at idle and the WoW sensor is active, so the nozzle stays open as the engine spools down.
 

When the left engine is shutdown, the electrical generator cuts off when the engine spools down below 50% rpm and this deactivates the WoW sensor. Remaining fuel pressure is sufficient to then close the nozzle since the WoW function can no longer keep it open - it reverts to standard flight mode. Usually the nozzle fully closes or almost fully closes before fuel pressure is lost.

 

You almost always see these asymmetric nozzles on parked F-14As due to these functions. :)

 

-Nick

Never knew that. Good explanation. Thanks.

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