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Grumman F-14D
Super Tomcat

AMK, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

AMK Kit No. 88007 - Grumman F-14D Super Tomcat

Contents and Media:

350 parts in grey plastic; 19 in clear plastic; photo-ethced fret; three decal sheets with five marking options.

Price:

£59.99 EU Price (£49.99 Export Price) plus shipping at Hannants

Scale:

1/48

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

The kit features amazingly crisp surface details (recessed and raised) and multiple seamless parts due to the use of slide-molding. Despite a high parts count and complexity, this will be relatively easy and fast build.

Disadvantages:

None noted.

Recommendation:

This is one of the most beautifully engineered kits I’ve ever had the pleasure to review. The use of slide molding for parts such as the underwing stores, gear legs, and forward fuselage not only produces more accurate parts; it also decreases build time. That being the case, I suspect this would be a surprisingly quick and easy build despite its high parts count and demonstrable complexity..

 

Reviewed by John Miller


Airfix's 1/72 scale Sea King is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-swept wing fighter aircraft. It was the first U.S. jet fighter with a twin tail. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the F-111B project.

 

 

The F-14 was the first of the American “Teen Series” of fighters, which were designed by incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters gained during the Vietnam War. The last flight of an F-14 in U.S. service took place October 4, 2006, when an F-14D of VF-31 was ferried from NAS Oceana to Republic Airport on Long Island, New York.  

 (Edited from Wikipedia)

 

 

FirstLook

 

In a rather large and deep box are found 3 smaller, white cardboard boxes, and many (many) individually bagged sprues of light grey styrene. There isn’t a spare inch of unused space in this box. The packaging alone is an example of efficient engineering. 

Within each of the white boxes are bagged sprues of parts, so delicate as to require the extra protection afforded them.

 

  • AMK 1/48 F-14D Review by John Miller: Image
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  • AMK 1/48 F-14D Review by John Miller: Image
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The surface details, both recessed and raised, are beautifully done: some of the best this reviewer has seen-period. Moreover, by using slide-molding and some good engineering, the folks at AMK were able to place most of the sprue attach points in places where they will be hidden during assembly: awesome.

 

 

Another upside of the slide-molding are parts with no seams whatsoever. This is particularly apparent on the multitude of ordinance provided in the kit. There are no halved bombs, tanks, or pods to deal with. Most of the underwing stores are single pieces that are stacked within their molding frames and will require little-to-no work before use. This will save the builder an immense amount of time, as there are a lot of parts in this kit.  

 


 
As usual assembly begins with the pilot’s office and here AMK really outdid themselves. The multi-part seats are beautifully molded and will look great right out of the box.

 

 

Photo-etch seat harnesses are provided.

 

 

What’s really impressive are the individual side panels for both the front and rear cockpits that are replete with high fidelity detail. This will build up into a very detailed cockpit with what’s provided in the box alone. Once assembled, the cockpit tub slips into the single-piece front fuselage piece that’s just beautiful by itself.  

 

 

With the front fuselage complete, the builder is directed to assemble the engines/nozzles and the innards of the intake ramps. These assemblies are glued into the lower fuselage halve followed by the left and right single-piece intake trunks.

The build continues with the assembly of the wings and here the modeler must decide if the wings will be built in one of three positions; swept out, swept back, or parking position (over swept). Different wing and internal parts are provided for building either the swept out or swept back positions. The wings cannot be moved once the model is complete.

 

 

Next, the wings (swept out or back) are trapped between the upper and lower fuselage halves followed by the addition of the engine nozzles thereby completing most of the major assembly.

The beautifully molded landing gear is next in sequence and here again the main gear legs have no seams to deal with due to slide molding: beautiful. The detail provided on the gear legs is just awesome and will look great under paint and a wash.

The canopy parts are crisply molded and crystal clear with scale appropriate framing and details. One of my favorite features of the kit is the canopy, which can be displayed closed or open. For the open option a separate canopy frame, molded in grey styrene, with amazing outer and inner detail is provided. Crystal-clear canopy parts that fit into the frame, completing the canopy assembly, are provided: Wowza! Once again, this is the most detailed canopy assembly this reviewer has seen. Keep in mind I don’t get out much. 

 

 

With the model largely complete the builder is next offered a pretty comprehensive selection of underwing stores to choose from. Almost all are the products of slide molding. Given the abundance of stores than can hung on a Tomcat, the use of slide molds for these types of parts will save the builder an immense amount of time in clean up. An easy-to-understand weapons loading chart is provided to assist in accurate placement: very nice.


 

Markings

The decals, by AMK and Furball Aero Design, are crisply printed with good color density and appropriate hue.

 

 

These are beautiful decals and the involvement of Furball in their production suggests accuracy.

 

 

Airframe stencil data and markings for 5 schemes are provided as follows:

  • F-14D Tomcat BuNo. 164348 of VF-213 “Black Lions’ February, 2002.

  • F-14D Tomcat BuNo. 164342 of VF-2 “Bounty Hunters’ May, 2003.

  • F-14D Tomcat BuNo. 164600 NK 100 of VF-31 “Tomcatters’ 1997.

  • F-14D Tomcat BuNo. 164604 “Vandy One” of VX-9 “Vampires,” Spring, 2000.

  • F-14D Tomcat BuNo. 163900 AD 155, VF-101, “Grim Reapers,” 2005.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Man, what’s not to like? This is one of the most beautifully engineered kits I’ve ever had the pleasure to review. The use of slide molding for parts such as the underwing stores, gear legs, and forward fuselage not only produces more accurate parts; it also decreases build time. That being the case, I suspect this would be a surprisingly quick and easy build despite its high parts count and demonstrable complexity. The kit decals, produced in conjunction with Furball Aero Designs, are colorful and crisply printed. I say again, what’s not to like? Highly Recommended! 

Now go paint something!

John                                  

Kit purchased by reviewer.

For more on this review visit Modelpaintsolutions.com.


Review Text and Images Copyright 2020 by John Miller
Page Created 23 January, 2020
Last updated 24 January, 2020

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