F-14D Super Tomcat

Published on
November 8, 2013
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Hobby Boss
Provided by: Squadron - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Hobby Boss continues its F-14 series with a modern F-14D. The kit is large. There are 27 sprues of well-defined gray plastic, along with vinyl tires, a photoetch fret, one sprue of clear parts, and three decal sheets. Ten of the sprues are for weapons, including two GBU-12, two fuel tanks, four Mk-82's, four GBU-31's, six AIM54's, four AIM-7's and two AIM-9's. The kit features an open gun bay, refueling probe, two complete engines (that can't be seen), and a complete optional radar.

When this kit came out, the first thing that attracted me was the markings. The VF-101 markings with a black tail and white grim reaper were excellent, but then I noticed that the second markings were from VF-213 aboard the USS Carl Vinson where my son is stationed, so it became a no-brainer. Also, I had built the excellent 1/48th scale carrier deck from Skunkmodels, so it was time to build a kit to rest on the deck. This meant I want the plane to represent a configuration ready to take off.

Assembly started with the cockpit, which is very nicely done and goes together without a hitch. The two NACES ejection seats are not bad, and there are PE belts that comes with the kit for extra detailing. The nose gear well was built at this time and was made from five parts. I did leave the nose gear off until later. Although I wanted the nose closed, I built the radar and included a picture – it is extremely nice and well done and would look great in a maintenance diorama. At this point, if you wish, the nose can be closed up.

The next section was a full build of the Vulcan cannon and parts for the open gun bay. I again closed this; the fit was okay, but putty was needed to get the panels closed properly. Watch all the surrounding detail evaporate if you sand improperly. The best way I found to do it was to use masking tape and go slightly wider than the gap, and then putty over it and sand. It reduced the amount of rescribing needed. I added the nose cone and bottom and moved on.

The wings were next and had excellent detail with separate flaps and slats. These built up well and with no issues. During this time, I missed the need for drilling holes in the bottom – this was a mistake, as holes are needed for the pylons and weapons. You could leave them off but that just doesn't look right, to have a naked Tomcat. Also of note, the wings do not mesh together but are moveable.

Next was the engine and lower fuselage. I always wonder why any manufacturer would spend the money putting two 20-piece engines in a kit when you have no way to see them. They look fantastic, but there is no way to see them or display them. You must build them since they support the intake trunking on one end and the exhausts on the other. In this build, I quick-assembled them and only painted the parts visible from the outside. The bottom of the fuselage was then decorated with the variable intake ramps and the intakes.

The remainder of the intake trunking was built and was accessible enough to get smooth and white. The main gear bays were also built with the gear struts left off. The engines, intake trunking, wings, and wheel wells were glued in place and the aft fuselage was closed up.

The front fuselage was added now, and the fit is good but requires a little love. The tails were added, followed by various other steps such as closing the boarding ladder and prepping the landing gear doors, and I was ready for paint. Since I wanted a takeoff configuration, I had to close the cockpit…and discovered the canopy fit was not good. It would have looked great open, but I wanted a nice, tight fit and it took some love and putty to get there. There is also great PE detail that can be added to the canopy.

The Tomcat I chose to build is documented on the internet and was dirty, but not falling-apart dirty. I did the preshading in black for panels lines and wear areas. Painting started with the bottom being coated in FS36375. The sides of the nose and tails were coated FS36320 and the upper surfaces coated FS35237. This was set aside to dry.

While it was doing so, I turned myself to preparing the missiles. Four AIM-54’s, two AIM-7’s, and two AIM-9’s were prepared. These were painted and then decaled. This kit has a HUGE decal sheet just for the weapons and it really makes them stand out, especially with the full painting guide. The weapons pylons and landing gear were also prepped, painted, and set aside.

The decals applied perfectly and with no silvering, and also had good density. Based on some other kits, the stencils seem a little light, but since I don't research things to death and if it looks good, I'm happy. Now, for the weathering. I used oils for the grimy look, and pastels for the panel lines, general dirt, and soot. Several flat coats protected it, and then I added the landing gear, weapons, and wing tip lights, and the kit was ready to photograph.

F-14's are some of the most iconic aircraft, and each kit I build, I tell myself I am done, but the truth is it is a very cool plane and HobbyBoss has done justice to the "D" version. The build is not as simple as some smaller planes due to the complexity of the shape and all the open panels. Closing them takes time and persistence. If you leave them open, the kit is superb. In the end, I highly recommend this kit to all 'Cat fans. My thanks to Hobby Boss and MMD-Squadron for the chance to build this great kit, and to IPMS USA for the chance to review it.


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