For years Aires has been keeping us detail freaks supplied with upgrade sets for the latest contemporary state-of-the-art kits from the major manufacturers. Now they’re providing us with upgrades where they’re really needed – for older models with interior details that have been surpassed by the quality of more modern kits. That’s exactly the case with this F-14A set.
The Academy kit has been around for quite a while, and its interior details, while perhaps adequate for its day, are sorely lacking by today’s standards. This set goes a very long way towards turning the Academy kit into a first class representation of the real thing.
This is a complete, multi-media cockpit set. The major components are resin, and these parts are crisply molded and virtually free of flash (I found one small bit around the RIO’s scope). Some of the smaller resin parts such as the instrument control handles and the foot pedal mounts are quite thin and/or tiny and will require considerable care when removing them from the pouring block. The accompanying photo etch covers various seat parts such as handles, seat belts, ejection pulls, etc, as well as instrument panels, canopy interior rails, mirrors and foot pedals. Also included are films for the instruments.
To use this set, some minor surgery is required. Replacing the instrument panel housings for the pilot and RIO will require cutting out these sections of the plastic cockpit on the Academy upper fuselage. You will also need to sand off the original molded-on sidewall detail (such as it is) on the fuselage interior, which will be replaced with nicely detailed resin cockpit sidewall parts. Note also that the upper nose wheel bay detail is molded on to the underside of the original Academy cockpit tub. This will have to be sliced off the bottom of the kit part and used separately. No doubt some thinning of both the plastic and resin parts will be needed where they butt together.
If you have the Academy Tomcat and have been waiting for a good replacement cockpit set to start your build, then wait no more. With just a little bit of effort, this will give that tired old cat another set of nine lives.
Thanks to Aires for providing IPMS with the review sample.