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Maverick's F-14A Tomcat - Top Gun 1:72 Airfix A00503


Julien
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Maverick's F-14A Tomcat - Top Gun

1:72 Airfix A00503

 

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The Tomcat was a much-loved and capable aircraft that had a unique look, and was brought fully into the mainstream media by the original "Top Gun" in the 1980s. It has its origins in the late 50s and a need in the 60s for a replacement to the (also much loved) Phantoms with something more agile and adaptable. After much faffing about (does all defence procurement do this?), a Grumman proposal was picked for development and to avoid any further flip-flopping by the then US Defence Secretary, building of a prototype was ditched in favour of development airframes. Only four years after first flight, the F-14A Tomcat went on its first deployment in 1974, serving with the US Navy until it was retired in 2006, accompanied by much gnashing of teeth and name-calling of its replacement, the F-18, which took some time to abate.

The F-14A was the first model, and because of a change of heart by the powers that be, which resulted in the Marines leaving the list of potential operators, it did not have the air-to-ground capabilities it was originally scheduled to possess. Instead it with a pure interceptor/fleet protection aircraft, armed with AIM-54 Phoenix for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) engagements for up to 100 miles in perfect conditions. It was also capable of carrying AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder for self-defence and closer intercepts. Later in service, the ground attack capability was added to upgraded A variants, Bs and of course the later D that was dubbed the "Super Tomcat" because of its vastly improved capabilities. 

 

 

 

 

The Kit

Now in a tie in with Paramount Pictures and the new Top Gun Film, Airfix are re-issuing kits from their back catalogue, unfortunately in this case its their original Tomcat from 1975.  Construction starts with the cockpit. The seats and front control column are added to the floor, there are two figures provided if the modeller wants to use them. The bulkheads/instrument panels are added in along with the rear bulkhead. Side consoles are then fitted. Inside the upper fuselage the re-fueling probe is installed. Next up a couple of subassemblies take pace; the two main wings are built up, and the tailplanes are built up. These can then both he put to one side for the next step

 

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Turning to the upper fuselage the cockpit can be installed along with the main wings and tailplane assembly. The main wings are designed to sweep and additional parts to aid their movement are now added, being careful not to glue anything. Moving to the lower fuselage holes must be opened up for the appropriate weapons load as mentioned in the instructions. Once this is done the two fuselage halves can be joined.  Next up the intakes and trunks are fitted, there are engine faces to fit into the trunks. 

 

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At the rear of the aircraft the speed brakes on the top and bottom are fitted, these can be either open or closed.  The tail fins are fitted as are the strake on the underside, this is followed by the arrestor hook and the exhaust nozzles. The landing gear and doors are then fitted to both the mains and the nose.  If doing an inflight model then all of the gear bays can be closed up. To finish off the under nose TV camera is added, along with the nose cone itself, your weapons load of choice can then be added, with lastly the canopy going on. 

 

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Decals

The small decal sheet is from Cartograf so should post no issues, it has only the decal option for the aircraft from the film. 

 

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Conclusion

This is a kit of its time but will no doubt look like Mav's Tomcat when built up.

 

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Review sample courtesy of 

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Just as a curiosity, this is not 100% the 1975 kit but a slightly modified mould that Airfix introduced at some point. The original kit correctly featured the early beavertail design, this one features a representation of the later smaller design... problem is that Airfix only changed the extreme rear fuselage end without noticing that the airbrake shape was also changed, with the result that the whole rear fuselage is a hybrid of the two configurations. Don't know exactly when the mould was modified, I believe that all boxes with VF-1 and VF-2 decals had the original tail, all later boxes the modified one.

Not that this matters much, it's a pretty bad kit anyway and I see that the mould doesn't seem to have aged well

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Embarassing to see kits like this get re-released. There are so many good Tomcat kits on the market, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find a worse F-14 on the shelves than this one.

Especially because these kits are focussed at youngsters and other people who may be new to the hobby this is an awful way to introduce them to what it has to offer. Missed chance.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/21/2021 at 7:13 PM, sroubos said:

Embarassing to see kits like this get re-released. There are so many good Tomcat kits on the market

I was hoping, when they teamed up for armour kits, that we’d see the well-received Academy F-14 and F/A-18E in Airfix boxes for the Top Gun tie-in. Ah well.

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  • 1 year later...

I bought the original kit back in 1986 after the release of Top Gun and I built it (my first kit and all) to depict Pete Mitchell’s machine ‘104’. At least at the time Airfix included not only the Top Gun decals for both Maverick’s but also Iceman’s F-14 and I can’t understand why on such an antiquated kit they couldn’t at least provide decals for all the F-14s that appeared in the two films including the hostile one. At least it would have made it worthwhile purchasing again. I was disappointed when I bought the latest kit offer to see the decal sheet is so small, it doesn’t even offer any stencils for the machines 

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On 15/07/2022 at 12:23, Onetogo said:

I am wondering why all models dedicated to Top Gun Maverick, either Airfix or Revell, supplied by sci fi style USAF insignias?

Because thats what they had in the film?

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On 21/01/2021 at 06:13, sroubos said:

Embarassing to see kits like this get re-released. There are so many good Tomcat kits on the market, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find a worse F-14 on the shelves than this one.

Especially because these kits are focussed at youngsters and other people who may be new to the hobby this is an awful way to introduce them to what it has to offer. Missed chance.

 

Totally agree. Airfix keep pumping out ancient kits clearly marketed at beginner/younger modellers - starter sets etc - that ought to be called 'put them off sets'. Bad paints and moulds that should be taken outside, given a biscuit and shot. The brush is usually OK.

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14 hours ago, busnproplinerfan said:

Was that marking on the tail an actual squadron marking of some kind?

 

It was actually the badge of VAW-110, although the scroll carried the name VF-1. VAW-110 was at the time the unit tasked with training crews for the E-2 Hawkeyes of the Pacific fleet (and later also the C-2s). This unit was based at the same Miramar base that hostess Top Gun and was later disbanded in 1994.

VAW-110s Hawkeyes did not carry that badge on the tail but a simplified version of badge "bird" in red on the fuselage 

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5 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

 

It was actually the badge of VAW-110, although the scroll carried the name VF-1. VAW-110 was at the time the unit tasked with training crews for the E-2 Hawkeyes of the Pacific fleet (and later also the C-2s). This unit was based at the same Miramar base that hostess Top Gun and was later disbanded in 1994.

VAW-110s Hawkeyes did not carry that badge on the tail but a simplified version of badge "bird" in red on the fuselage 

Thanks, I just remember seeing a patch for sale that had the same red bird.

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On 1/21/2021 at 6:13 AM, sroubos said:

Especially because these kits are focussed at youngsters and other people who may be new to the hobby this is an awful way to introduce them to what it has to offer. Missed chance.

But an exceedingly CHEAP choice, I'm guessing.... Airfix have never been shy of exploiting moulds which should have been scrapped decades ago. 

 

Chris. 

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On 16/07/2022 at 19:49, Julien said:

Because thats what they had in the film?

Probably my question has not been precise. I meant the US national insignias. In both movies they are real on F-14s, A-4s and F/A-18.

The same real style of national insignias presented on the decal of Italeri Top Gun F-14A / A-4F.

On the other hand Revell set Top Gun Maverick F-14 / F/A-18E as well as Airfix Top Gun Maverick F-14A and A-4 models, all have some fictional US national insignias.

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/7/2021 at 9:02 AM, Giorgio N said:

Just as a curiosity, this is not 100% the 1975 kit but a slightly modified mould that Airfix introduced at some point. The original kit correctly featured the early beavertail design, this one features a representation of the later smaller design... problem is that Airfix only changed the extreme rear fuselage end without noticing that the airbrake shape was also changed, with the result that the whole rear fuselage is a hybrid of the two configurations. Don't know exactly when the mould was modified, I believe that all boxes with VF-1 and VF-2 decals had the original tail, all later boxes the modified one.

Not that this matters much, it's a pretty bad kit anyway and I see that the mould doesn't seem to have aged well

 

I think they also fixed the 20mm cannon port on the nose as well.

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