I originally meant to split this into two parts but once I got started, I couldn’t stop. So, let’s finish off this magnificent kit. Last we left off, the airframe parts are together and ready for paint.
I chose an older Aeromaster sheet Anytime Baby Part VI which had an F-14D stationed on the USS Carl Vinson from the VF-31 Tomcatters with great tail art. Color was dark ghost over light ghost scheme. You also must paint the tops of the tails yellow and there are no stencils. I recently got a shipment in of the Xtracolor line and used those and had an oops to start with when I painted the bottom of the aircraft first and sat it (along with the pylons, TARPS pod, etc.) off to the side to dry. The next day, I mixed up the dark ghost gray and before I started the painting, I noticed that the bottom was the same color as I was about to put on and starting checking. I used the correctly labeled paint so what’s wrong. The top cap is the right color. Bottom line, paint in the cup did not match the lid or label. Drop back five and restart. Repainted the bottom and all the parts, wait a day and spray the top. Set aside while relabeling the paint correctly. Lesson learned- check the paint before use!
While this dried, I started spraying all the small bits which need painted including all the landing gear doors, the missiles and missile rails, antennae and the seal portions of the fuselage where I picked he ones for swept back wings. I also worked on the canopy. There is a seam that needs polished and then dipped in future. I added the masking provided and sprayed black and then dark ghost gray.
The exhausts were next, and they consist of three parts. I painted the ducting white weathered with pastels. Added the engine painted per Tamiya’s recommendation and a black wash and then onto the visible portion of the exhausts, the afterburners. The inside is white with pastel weathering. The outside was base coated black and then sprayed jet exhaust from Alclad. Once dry, a mixture of Alclad dark aluminum and magnesium were sprayed on the petals. A slight mist of pale burnt metal was done and the dark sport touched up with jet exhaust and a black wash. The exhausts were assembled. While at it, I didn’t like the decals for the aft section of the fuselage representing the carbon fiber so those were masked and painted Alclad gun metal.
Painting was coming down the stretch and all details were picked out. By using Xtracolor, I was able to go direct to decaling over the glossy paint. The Aeromaster decals went on well but did take some setting solution. The miscellaneous markings were from the kit and the Tamiya decals settled well. Note, there are a lot of markings for weapons and TARPS pod as well as the landing gear too. Take your time and cross them off as you go. Once the decals were complete, I added a wash from Flory and wiped clean. Being the CAG’s plane, this plane showed very little wear, so I weathered very minimally. I finished with a flat coat.
Assembling all the pieces is a joy. It all fits. Adding landing gear, wings and all the parts just drop into place. Lastly was the canopy and adding color to the lights and the plane was done.
This was as easy and trouble free a build as I can remember. It looks great, fits even better and there are a ton of options for color. Add a full load out of weapons choices and it just doesn’t get any better than this. It most definitely will not be the last one I build. Highly recommended.
My thanks to IPMS/USA and Tamiya for the opportunity to build this kit. Go buy a bunch!