Kit Reviews

Video Builds

Grumman F-14A Tomcat

BuNu 160379 Modex AJ-100

VF-41 Black Aces USS Nimitz CVN-68 1978

 

 

As some of my previous builds have shown I have a real interest in US Navy aircraft, and especially those from the colourful 1970’s era. When Jeff ask us to join him in building the Tomcat there was only one I wanted to do, one of VF-41’s colourful birds.

 

I was fortunate enough to view aircraft from the Black Aces whilst on their final cruise before transitioning over to the Super Hornet. The USS Enterprise CVN-65 dropped anchor in Stokes Bay, Portsmouth for a short visit before heading home to Norfolk VA.

 

VF-41 Black Aces History

 

 

The Black Aces (Callsign – Fast Eagle) long distinguished history began in September 1950 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virgina. The squadron began it’s career flying the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair but quickly moved to the jet age in 1953 with the F-2H Banshee. The Banshee’s lasted until 1959, when they were replaced with the Navy’s first all weather jet fighter, the F3H-2 Demon. VF-41’s association with the Demon was short lived as by 1962 deliveries of the McDonnell Douglas F-4B Phantom II were taking place, and in that same year saw VF-41 deployed to the Western Pacific carrying out various missions as part operations in the Vietnam Conflict. F-4N Phantom’s were also used for a short period from 1975-76.

 

The mighty Grumman F-14A Tomcat arrived in 1976 and joined Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) and began several cruises aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68. On 19 August 1981 whilst in the Mediterranean VF-41’s Tomcats shot down a pair of Libyan SU-22 Fitters in an unprovoked attack, this was the first ever confrontation for the F-14A.

 

December 1990 saw VF-41 on operations in the Arabian Gulf aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71 in support of coalition forces during Operation Desert Shield. The Squadron flew more than 1500 combat flights hours, the most intensive flight operations in the Squadrons history. In 1999 VF-41 were back in the Gulf supporting Operation Southern Watch re-writing the history books by becoming the first Squadron to expend ordnance in two theatres in one sortie.

 

In 2001 after successful operations in Operation Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom VF-41 arrived back in the United States aboard the USS Enterprise CVN-65 and in November of that year transitioned over to the new F/A-18 Super Hornet and became VFA-41.. The Squadron also moved from its long time base of NAS Oceana VA to NAS Leemore CA.

 

The Black Aces also have the honour of being the only F-14 Squadron to ever be awarded the RADM Clarence Wade McClusky Award. The prestigious award had been reserved for the finest attack squadron in the Navy, previously only going to A-6 or F/A-18 units. In 1999 VF-41 were selected as the Navy’s premier attack squadron.

 

The Aircraft in Question

 

 

A Few Notes About my Build

 

For this build I will be using Hasegawa’s F-14A # 09797 VF-2 “Bounty Hunters” boxing, with Aero Master’s Colourful Tomcats decals #48-588.

 

Aftermarket parts from Aires will include their excellent Cockpit Detail Set # 4124, Open Exhaust Nozzles # 4122, and Wheel Well Replacements # 4132.

 

Verlinden Super Detail Set # VL0427 will be used to open up various panels along the forward fuselage, I am also hoping to have the nose in the raised position exposing the radar. Also from Verlinden is the Cockpit Detail Set # VL0428 which includes framework for the pit and canopies.

 

Weapons for the build will be AIM-54 Pheonix missiles from the Hasegawa Weapons Set B and AIM-9L Sidewinders from Flightpath.

 

Others accessories include Pitot Tubes from Fine Molds, Steel Beech Intake Plugs # SB143, and some superbly cast resin Wheels and External Fuel Tanks from Royal Resin. A big thanks goes to Doug Smith for allowing us to use these pre-production examples, and also Hans for sorting them out.

 

I may also have the radome in the raised position exposing the Radar and it’s associated wiring, this will be scratch built using Plasticard and Lead wire.

 

Paints for this one will be a mixture of Gunze, Tamiya and Model Master Acrylics, Weathering will be carried out using Promodellers Wash along side Chalk Pastels and Tamiya Weathering powders.

 

The wing leading edges and landing gear Oleo’s will be treated to a covering of Bare Metal Foil, and a red marker pen will be used to edge the landing gear doors.

 

 

After Market Parts & Reference Material

 

Aires F-14A Cockpit Update # 4122

Aires F-14A Open Exhaust Nozzles # 4122

Verlinden Super Detail Set # VL0427

Verlinden Cockpit Detail Set # VL0428

Aero Master Colourful Tomcats # 48-588

Steel Beach Engine Intake Plugs # SB143

Royal Resin F-14A Wheels

Royal Resin External Fuel Tanks

Fine Molds Metal Pitot Tubes

Hasegawa Weapons Set B

Flight Path AIM-9L Side Winders

SAM Publications – Grumman F-14 Tomcat 

In Detail & Scale Vol 9 - F-14 A & B Tomcat

AirForces Monthly - Tomcat v Hornet

World Air Power Journal - Volume 7 Autumn/Winter 1991

The Prime Portal website - Tomcat Pics

F-14A Detail Build - Build

F-14 Pics - Here

 

Here's the boxing i will be using.



All the goodies itching to be opened!!



And my favourite part, reference.


 

I will be using the Verlinden update set, and will be adding the gun bay as well as the avionic area's. With the Aires resin cockpit also in there it will need a fair bit of shoe horning to get everything in.

I have also decided to rescribe the entire model as the panel lines are a bit shallow in places.

Here is the excellent Verlinden set.



Area's of the nose to be removed, there won't be a lot left!!



I have also decided to show a couple of panels along the spine opened up. These house lots of pipework that runs down the spine of the aircraft and will be scratch built using Evergreens finest.


 

To open up the panels i used my Olfa-p cutter and scribed a couple of millimetres in from the panels lines, once through the rest was sanded back until the frames fitted. The resin avionics area's will have wiring and paint added on the bench before gluing them in.





I plucked up the courage to try and shoe horn the Aires cockpit along side the Verlinden stuff. To say it's a tight fit would be an understatement! As you can see the pit was sanded to within an inch of it's life but made it in the end.











Spent some time cutting out the panels along the spine. Once the area's were tidied up i added thin strips of plastic card, once these had dried i drilled out the holes for the fasteners.

First up the sides for the open panels.



The panels cut out along the spine.



Plastic strip added and drilled to simulate the fixing holes.




 

All the avionics bays have now been finished so hopefully the build should start to speed up and maybe i will catch up with the other guys!

Both bay area's were cemented together and various shapes and sizes of plastic stripe added for the internal stucture.









Next a coat of Model Master 4851 Yellow Zinc Chromate was added, along with a wash from Citadel.



Once this had dried, pipework and wiring was added using 0.8mm Lead wire and Electric motor winding wire.








 

The ejector seats have now been finished, and most of the cockpit completed. I've also added some wiring to the avionics bays and these have been glued in place. Now i just need to squeeze it all into the nose!!










After much fettling the pit has finally been installed and the two halves of the front fuse cemented together, to say it was tight would be an under statement!. The partitions that seperate the gun bays have also been added, they needed some minor trimming but nothing too major. The only thing that doesn't come with the Verlinden set is the roofs of each bay so these were fashioned from plasticard and stripe. Some rivet detail was also added with an RB Productions rivet tool.

There are a also few randome pipes that run through these area that will be added before painting.

The pit in at last!!



The bays with one of the roofs still missing.



Adding rivet detail.



Nearly ready for paint!!






 

The morning was spent sorting out the joints, especially the 'step' where the the front and rear fuse halves meet. Squadron white putty was used, and once dry sanded and re-scribed. The cockpit and avionics bays were masked and a Tamyia light grey was then used as a primer. After a couple of joint lines were made good, i used Tamiya flat black for the pre-shading.
























 

After priming, the entire fuse was rubbed down with Micro-Mesh and given a good clean. First for airbrushing was the inside of the airbrake area, the airbrakes were then placed in the closed position to act as a mask. Xtracrylic White was then shot onto the bottom of the fuse, and once dry was masked and Xtracrylic Gull Grey shot onto the top side. Finally Xrtacrylic Black was used for the nose and cockpit area's.

The tails and wings were shot with the same colours as the fuse excpet for the leading edges which were shot with Tamiya Flat Aluminium.











Next up are the burner cans, these were shot with a mixture of Burnt Iron, Metal Black from Gunze and Flat Aluminium from Tamiya. I then used Jeff's (Fokker 70) excellent run through from his Tomcat build, thanks Jeff!!





Finally some work on the landing gear. There are quite a few joints to be made good first, once this was done i added pipework and brakelines using motor winding wire and lead wire. All was then shot with gloss black before adding the white. After a coat of Johnson's Klear a weak mix of Tamiya smoke was brush into the recesses. All thats left now is to paint some of the brake lines and add a few placards.










The Aeromaster decals went on a treat, the small veins on the tails took a bit of settling down but nothing too taxing. These were left to dry and were then sealed in with coat of Klear. The whole model then received a Promodellers 'Dark Dirt' wash which came out great. For the more detailled weathering i used a mix of chalk pastels and Mig oils.

The reason for the background colour change is that when using the black you can hardly see the nose!

Still loads to do before she's ready for the party, but we are on the home stretch.






















 

I've also added a resin carrier tug from PWMP. The tug was first painted gloss black before painting white. The anti-slip surface on top is 800 grit wet & dry paper cut to shape and glued on. The tow bar and chocks are from Flightpath.




 

 

My F-14A Tomcat is finally finished, another really enjoyable build that had its moments. Getting the Resin pit in as well as the Verlinden set was a bit of an effort but really worth it in the end. A big thanks to Jeff for inviting me in to this build, and to Tom and Hans for the various bits and bobs that passed hands.

My Build
 
Kit:-

Hasegawa 1:48 F-14A Tomcat #09797

Scale:-

1:48

Extra's:-

Aires F-14A Cockpit Update # 4122

Verlinden Super Detail Set # VL0427

Verlinden Cockpit Detail Set # VL0428

Aero Master Colourful Tomcats # 48-588

Royal Resin F-14A Wheels

Royal Resin External Fuel Tanks

Fine Molds Metal Pitot Tubes

 

Reference:-

 

SAM Publications – Grumman F-14 Tomcat 

In Detail & Scale Vol 9 - F-14 A & B Tomcat

AirForces Monthly - Tomcat v Hornet

World Air Power Journal - Volume 7 Autumn/Winter 1991

The Prime Portal website - Tomcat Pics

F-14A Detail Build - Build

F-14 Pics - Here

 

Paints:-

 

Xtracrylic

Tamiya

Gunze

Citadel

 

Materials:-

 

Evergreen Styrene

800 grit wet & dry

Lead wire

Copper wire

Tin Foil

Loo paper

PVA Glue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Marcus