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F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'

Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2014 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 02106 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons Nothing serious noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $89.99

First Look

Grumman F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'
Grumman F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'
Grumman F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'
Grumman F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'
Grumman F-14A/B Tomcat 'Jolly Rogers History'

Grumman's F-14 Tomcat was developed following the failure of the F-111B as the Navy's next fleet defense fighter. What the F-111B had going for it was a crew of two, a pair of good engines with the TF30 afterburning turbofans, the AWG-9 advanced fire control system, and the long-range AIM-54 Phoenix missile. What it needed was a lighter, more agile airframe! Grumman developed the answer by wrapping all of the best features of the F-111B into the Tomcat airframe and a legend was born.

Like the F-111B, the F-14A uses variable geometry wings to allow for maximum lift during launch and recovery from the deck while still achieving Mach 2+ intercepts in defense of the fleet. Unlike the F-111B, the Tomcat was agile in a dogfight, though its TF30 engines were just not powerful enough to sustain high-performance maneuvers for very long. This was later fixed with the replacement of the TF30 with the F110 engines on the F-14B/D.

The only country to operate the F-14 outside of the USN is Iran. While US operations of the F-14 never accumulated the combat records of the F-15, the Iranians used the Tomcat to its fullest extent and not only fired the Phoenix in anger (which the US has not done), but when they ran out of AIM-54s, they began carrying HAWK missiles instead!

Hasegawa first rendered the F-14 Tomcat in 1/48 scale and created the best Tomcat kit in any scale at that point in time (once they fixed a design problem with the ventral engine trunks). That kit was the first to offer positionable wing flaps and slats as well as the compressed nose gear strut to pose the aircraft on the catapult. Many of the details and options in that 1/48 scale kit were scaled down to create the best 1/72 scale Tomcat produced (at that time). Here is the latest limited edition release of that 1/72 tooling.

This is the VF-84 Jolly Roger history edition featuring two complete kits, an F-14A and an F-14B. The kits are molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. The F-14B includes a tenth tree of special parts which help render the F-14B in its 'Bombcat' configuration. (Note that duplicate parts trees are not shown). With 21 parts trees in all in this box, you can imagine that the box looks large enough to hold a 1/48 scale Tomcat kit.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Choice of painted or decal instrument panels
  • Choice of photo-etched or decal side consoles and sub-panels
  • Nice GRU-7 ejection seats with photo-etched overhead pull handles
  • Photo-etched canopy bow w/rear view mirrors
  • Photo-etched canopy side frames w/anti-fog plumbing and locks
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of early or late gun bay door (F-14A only)
  • Choice of four undernose fairings including TCS and IRST systems
  • Positionable boarding ladder
  • Positionable wings
  • Positionable wing gloves
  • Positionable flaps and slats
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable tail hook
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Choice of normal or kneeling nose gear strut
  • Choice of open or closed nozzles (TF30 and F110)

Among the external stores options in the kit:

  • TARPS pod
  • AAQ-14 LANTIRN pod w/pylon adaptor (F-14B only)
  • LAU-138 BOL (x2) (F-14B only)
  • External fuel tanks (x2)
  • Phoenix/Bomb pallets

As with many of the Hasegawa kits, you'll have to acquire the weapons from the Hasegawa weapons sets or from your spares.

Markings are provided for four aircraft:

  • F-14A, 160393, VF-84, AJ/200, USS Nimitz, 1978, CAG
  • F-14A, 162688, VF-84, AJ/200, USS Theodore Roosevelt, 1989, CAG
  • F-14B, 163217, VF-84, AA/103, USS John F. Kennedy, 2004
  • F-14B, 162918, VF-84, AA/100, USS John F. Kennedy, 2004, CAG

As I mentioned above, you get one complete F-14A and one complete F-14B kit in this box, each with all of the options plus the different upgrades to render the F-14B. If you look closely at the images, you'll see a bit of flash showing up on some of the sprue trees including around the intake trunks, but a little cleaning and filing will clean that up. When you do the F-14B, you'll want to use the 'open' F110 engine nozzles as the detail on the closed nozzles is almost gone. The open F110 nozzles look great as do the open and closed TF30 nozzles.

Hasegawa has done a great job rendering the detail differences between the Alpha and Bravo cats and both will build into nice models right out of the box. I'm sure the AMS modeler will opt for resin GRU-7 seats or perhaps the whole cockpit, but with the included photo-etched parts and careful painting, you'll get two great aircraft without the need for resin. All you'll really need is to decide on the loadout of each aircraft whether you're chasing Zeros from the Nimitz in 'The Final Countdown', chasing MiGs over the desert, or showing short-ranged Hornets how to get bombs on target, this kit will give you lots of possibilities.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!