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F-14 'The Early Years'

Caracal Models 1/48 F-14 'The Early Years' Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2020 Manufacturer Caracal Models
Subject F-14 'The Early Years' Scale 1/48
Set Number 48168 Pros 14 distinctive schemes
Cons See text Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) $13.99

First Look

Here is the latest from Caracal, this set for the Tamiya 1/48 F-14A kit using aftermarket backdates to the early boattail of the initial prototypes/initial production aircraft.

F-14 'The Early Years' F-14 'The Early Years'

The aircraft presented in this set include:

  • F-14A, 157980, prototype 1
  • F-14A, 157981, prototype 2
  • F-14A, 157982, prototype 3
  • F-14A, 157983, prototype 4, Phoenix Missile Development
  • F-14A, 157983, prototype 4, PMTC
  • F-14A, 157984, prototype 5
  • F-14A, 157985, prototype 6
  • F-14A, 157987, prototype 8
  • F-14A, 157988, prototype 9, NMC
  • F-14A, 157990, prototype 11
  • F-14A, 157991, NASA 991
  • F-14A, 158612, 200/7T, NATC
  • F-14A, 158616, 616/--, NATC
  • F-14A, 158619, 619/S

This set will provide the various test markings as well as the distinctive artwork carried by specific aircraft/organizations. Interesting to see aircraft 8 in its flight markings as I saw the aircraft in a hangar at Pax river in the mid-1970s with no engines and billiard '8 balls' painted on the vertical stabs. According to the folks there, aircraft 8 had an in-flight fire so bad, the crew was ordered to eject, but the pilot brought the aircraft back to Pax River. The damage was severe enough that it never flew again, though they had repaired it enough for use in ground testing.

This set is printed by Cartograf, so you know these decals will provide a nice finish to your early Tomcat project. For more information about this set and the other releases from Caracal Models, visit their website at

My sincere thanks to Caracal Models for this review sample!