Hasegawa 1/48 F-14A Tomcat Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Grumman F-14A Tomcat
|Easy build, great external details
|Sparse cockpit detail, poor fit of lower fuselage parts on early releases
|Out of Production
NOTE: Hasegawa used to maintain a standard selection of 1/48 scale kits in their annual catalogs. Several years ago, they changed their business approach and discontinued most of their 'standard' kits. In order to enhance the appeal of these kits, they have chosen the same approach taken by other model manufacturers, releasing a given kit subject for a limited production run with unique markings and/or details. The F-14 Tomcat series is one good example...
Hasegawa seems to have a soft spot for the Tomcat, as this aircraft has been released in numerous special editions and markings. This edition commemorates the 25th anniversary of VF-154 at NAS Atsugi, Japan. The aircraft markings are for the Squadron Commander's mount (Modex 100) as it appeared at the airshow (see box photo). Unlike other Tomcats that have been featured in previous 1/48 editions, the aircraft chosen for this release has a number of interesting features:
- It is a TARPS modified F-14A
- It has the TCS camera system installed under the nose
- It has the F-14B/D-style gun gas vents being retrofitted to some F-14As
- It has all of the latest ECM 'bumps' fitted
- It has slime lights installed
If you're an F-14 lover, this will be an interesting configuration to put on the shelf.
The kit comprises 286 parts, carried on nine light-grey plastic trees and one clear tree for the canopy, etc. As you may have read previously about the Hasegawa 1/48 Tomcat, this is the best Tomcat model offered in any scale!
The cockpit is a completely detailed model of its own. The ejection seats are six pieces and build up nicely (from previous experience). The side consoles are separate from the cockpit tub, making painting a detailing a little easier. Two crew figures are also included. The only thing missing is the throttle handles in the front cockpit, but those are easily fabricated. Photo-etched parts are provided for detailing the canopy.
The landing gear is positionable, as are the wing flaps & slats, the speed brakes, the canopy, and boarding ladder. Speaking of landing gear, the wheels are white metal, while the tires are rubber. Also normal for the Hasegawa Tomcat kits, two external fuel tanks and a TARPS reconnaissance pod are included, but no armament. If you want to arm the aircraft, Sidewinder, Sparrows and Phoenixes are available in the Hasegawa Weapons Set C.
The TF30 engine nozzles provided in the kit are another interesting distinction with the Hasegawa Tomcat kits. They provide nozzles for 'open' and 'closed' positions for each engine. This gives you the ability to pose the aircraft for two different power settings, or on the ground in a shut-down pose. When a multi-engine fighter shuts down, the nozzle on the first engine closes down, but the when the second engine is shut down, its nozzle remains open as the hydraulic pressure used to close the nozzle is removed when that engine quits. That is why you see F-14s, F-15s and FA-18s with their nozzles in assymetrical positions.
The markings are nice representations of the markings on the VF-154 CAG machine. The decal photo has been adjusted so that the white details (that go over the black-painted tails and fins) would be visible. This has caused the color representation to not be accurate. The oranges in the photo are actually yellow, the intake warnings are red, and many of the black markings are subdued grey.
As always, the Hasegawa 1/48 scale Tomcat is hands-down the best quarter-scale 'cat on the market today. While some of the early releases of the Hasegawa F-14 had fit problems with the intake trunks/engine fairings, Hasegawa has altered the tooling to remedy that problem.
This kit is recommended to all intermediate/advanced modelers.