Tamiya 1/48 F-14A (late) Tomcat Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2021||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||F-14A (late) Tomcat||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||61122||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice kit, not over-engineered||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$129.00|
Five years ago, Tamiya released their first 1/48 F-14 kit representing the early-production variant of the A-model. This was followed two years later with their 1/48 F-14D kit. These kits have been strong sellers because they nicely fill that niche of a detailed model that provides the basic features of the aircraft. Unlike the Hasegawa or AMK 1/48 Tomcat kits, the Tamiya kits don't offer the wings with the flaps and slats extended nor the nose gear strut kneeling for catapult launch. The Tamiya kits' wings are hinged and interlocked to provide synchronized sweep movement. The fit of the kits' parts are excellent making both the F-14A (early) and F-14D kits fun to build. With this latest release, Tamiya addresses two holes in their Tomcat line-up. First, this kit represents the late configuration of the F-14A, including the revised gun gas door on the nose, later boat tails, ESM/ECM antennas, and more. Second, Tamiya takes away the need for the Hasegawa or AMK offerings by replacing the pivoting wing with a fully swept forward wing and with the flaps and slats extended, as well as the option of a kneeling nose gear strut.
Out of the box, the engineering is the usual Tamiya 'outstanding', it is molded in gray styrene and presented on 14 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts (duplicate parts trees not shown). Among the features and options:
- Nicely detailed cockpits
- Choice of early or late block instrument layouts
- Choice of early or late configuration GRU-7 ejection seats
- Nice pilot/RIO figures with choice of early hard-shell or lightweight helmets
- Molded-in details on the panels and side consoles are crisp and ready to paint
- Panels, consoles, and sidewalls are molded separate of the cockpit tub so they can be replaced as needed for different Tomcat variants
- Choice of gun gas doors
- Fully forward swept wing with extended flaps and slats
- TF30 compressor faces
- Choice of TF30 nozzle positions (open/closed)
- Choice of chin sensor pods
- Nicely detailed landing gear and wells
- Choice of beaver tails
- Positionable stabilators
- Card stock carrier catapult display
- Optional shooter figure
External stores are offered in this kit:
- 2 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder
- 2 x AIM-7F/M Sparrow
- 2 x AIM-54C Phoenix
- 2 x external tanks
- 1 x TARPS pod
- 2 x LANTIRN targeting pod (only 1 used)
- 2 x Mk.82
- 4 x GBU-12 Paveway II
- 2 x GBU-16 Paveway II
- 1 x ALQ-188 (not used in this kit)
The kit's TARPS is by far the nicest rendition of the reconnaissance pod I've seen to date.
The sprues actually have four AIM-7E and four AIM-7F/M on the sprues, but you'll only want to use the AIM-7F as shown in the instructions. Save the AIM-7Es for other projects.
The kit also provides an ALQ-188 pod which is carried by USN/USMC adversary and USAF aggressor aircraft. Not used in this kit, the parts indicate that another F-14 variant is coming in our future.
The kit's canopy is rendered without a seam line and the clears are all crystal clear.
Tamiya provides markings for four examples:
- F-14A, 162701, VF-32, AC/200, NAS Oceana, 1990, CAG
- F-14A, 159610, VF-32, AC/207, USS John F Kennedy, 1989
- F-14A, 161603, VF-211, AB/101, NAS Oceana, 2004, Skipper's aircraft
- F-14A, 161276, VF-154, NF/101, NAF Atsugi, 2003, Skipper's aircraft
The suggested retail price might give you pause as the price of new-tool kits continue to climb, but if you shop around the street price is around $100 USD in US online stores.
With this release, Tamiya now offers the early and late production F-14A models plus the F-14D. They also offer the simple parked or in-flight versions and now the 'down and dirty' launch configuration. Granted, the launch configuration is currently for the late F-14A, but you can swap out airframes and build the F-14D in launch configuration and the late F-14A in the parked configuration. They still haven't addressed the F-14B, but you now have Tomcat options for the battle group air defender or Bombcat. With the later configuration A-model parts and some aftermarket F110 nozzles, you can do your own F-14B as well. Whatever your choice, Tamiya's Tomcats are still the best on the market!