Academy 1/72 F-14A Tomcat 'VF-2 Bounty Hunters' Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2016||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||F-14A Tomcat 'VF-2 Bounty Hunters'||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||12532||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy assembly||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$31.00|
Academy has reissued their F-14A Tomcat in 1/72 scale, this time with new decal options. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plue one tree of clear parts. The tooling represents an early fleet F-14A as it was configured out of the factory with a few minor exceptions. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nice cockpits
- Positionable canopy
- Positionable boarding ladder
- Wings have synchronized sweep
- Wing gloves extend with wings full-aft
- Choice of open or closed TF30 afterburner nozzles
- Positionable stabilators
- Choice of initial, TCS, or IR sensor undernose pods
The kit also provides a nice array of external stores options:
- 4 x AIM-9L Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-7 Sparrow
- 4 x AIM-54 Phoenix
- 2 x external fuel tanks
- 1 x TARPS pod
With these load options, you can select a wide range of weapons loads including later TCS nose and TARPS configured aircraft. The kit also provides the correct wing glove pylons for carrying the AIM-54 or AIM-7 under the gloves. The fuselage has the AIM-7 recesses and the AIM-54 pallets. The one thing that you can't change out of the box is the nose, this kit is tooled to represent the early fleet aircraft with the louvered gun gas vents on the port side. The later service F-14As were retrofitted with the gun gas doors of the F-14B/D.
The kit provides parts for two examples:
- F-14A, 162608, VF-2, NE/200, USS Ranger, 1993, CAG aircraft
- F-14A, 161283, VF-102, AB/111, USS America, 1982
The decal sheet provides a good selection of airframe and weapons stencils, cockpit consoles and instrument panel details, as well as the distinctive markings for both subjects.
If an AMS modeler is going to build only one Tomcat, they might prefer the more complex/detailed Hasegawa kit, but if you're building a collection of F-14s to showcase the variety of color schemes carried by this aircraft, I'd only build one or two super-detailed cats and then grab the Academy kits to showcase the rest. Conversely, if you are uncomfortable with the complex kits and want to build a nice-looking Tomcat without the challenges, this kit is a good option.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!