Hasegawa 1/48 F-14A Tomcat Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 2014||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Grumman F-14A Tomcat||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||02123||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Easy build, great external details||Cons||Sparse cockpit detail, mold flash|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$54.99|
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 used 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.
In this release, Hasegawa has rendered 'Miss Molly', the VF-111 CAG's distinctive aircraft with nice pin-up artwork on the nose. 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
- Choice of two undernose fairings including TCS
- 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
- External fuel tanks (x2)
- Phoenix 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 one aircraft:
- F-14A, 161621, VF-111, NL/200, USS Carl Vinson, CAG, 'Miss Molly'
What is unusual in this reissue is the amount of flash present on the kit parts. You can click on the parts images and see what I mean. The kit is still nice, you'll just have to do a little clean-up on some of the parts as you assemble the model.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!