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Tamiya F-14 VF-2 Bounty Hunters


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In January 1975, I was a Midshipman assigned to the USS John f. Kennedy for a six week refresher training cruise in the Caribbean. During that time, all the "middies" on board were called up to the tower to watch the fleet's newest fighter land. Once on deck, the lone Tomcat on board was immediately transferred to the hangar bay. As my duty station for the cruise just happened to be right next to the plane, I got a good chance to view the beast up close. The thing was mammoth, and screamed "Badass". It's been one of my favorite planes ever since. I got this kit as a gift for Christmas.

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Upon opening the box, I was dismayed at the lack of detail in the cockpit. Side consoles and instrument panels were flat, with decals supplied to go over them. I ordered the Quinta Studios 3D printed interior set (highly recommended).

In my opinion, the Tomcat simply has to be displayed in a high visibility scheme. I searched high and low for hi-viz decals for the Kennedy's VF-32 birds to no avail. I settled on a hi-viz Tomcat from VF-2 aboard the USS Enterprise in 1977. I got them, along with a hi-viz data sheet from milspec decals.

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Other additions were Master Model pitot and AOA probe, and a set of seats from Quickboost.

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The cockpit enhancements were easy to apply and incredibly detailed. The only drawback was the gray, which to my eye didn't quite match the dark gull gray called out as the proper interior color for the F-14.

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Bill

You're off to a great start and always enjoy any bio with a build as it adds to the theme, concept and interest of the build. Hard to believe for such an iconic aircraft. there isn't a state of the art kit available. Good call on the markings and scheme - the low vis markings just haven't the same appeal for me.

Some very nice work on the front office and will be along for the entire journey. :popcorn:

I'm a big a big fan of the Quinta 3D Decal sets and already have quite a few in the stash and use them when I can. I grew up on Long Island, maybe 15 minutes or so from Grumman's in Bethpage (depending on traffic and lights). In the early 1970's moved to Suffolk County and quite frequently over the years seemed to find my way to drive past the Calverton facility. All that is left today in Calverton is the Grumman Memorial Park with an F-14 on a pedestal, an A-6E Tram and Pheonix Missile on display. But every time I visit, I can't help but be amazed at how big and beautiful the Tomcat is.

Keep 'em comin

Peter 

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I've decided on armaments. Four Phoenix missiles slung under the fuselage, with Sparrows and Sidewinders on the wing mounted pylons. I'm leaving the external fuel tanks off; I think the lines look much cleaner that way - though I may change my mind later. They're easy to add.

Tamiya provides slots in the belly for Sparrows to be put there. In the photo you can see where I've filled them in with styrene.

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One of the complaints about this kit is that it has a mix of raised and recessed panel lines. The forward fuselage (around the cockpit) has nice recessed detail; the main body behind it is all raised panel lines. It took a while, but the rescribing is complete.

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There are three screws to affix the upper and lower main fuselages. You can see one of the holes in the picture above. Of course, the holes aren't a standard size. Once things are together, I'll fashion some styrene plugs to cover them.

The variable sweep wings mean (to me) that the wings should be painted prior to assembly. The top is light gull gray, the bottom gloss white. I'm using Mr. Color lacquers and some of my trusty Model Master metallizers.

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The fit between the forward fuselage and the main body has some minor gaps. In test fitting, there is a sizeable gap on the top surface. I've done a little experimentation, and a little "flex" should go a long way toward minimizing that gap. Tamiya would have you use cellophane tape here!

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Another seam that needs to be addressed.

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Yellow is on the tops of the rudders and the ventral fins. I couldn't resist applying some of the decals.

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You seem to build this beautiful Tomcat as fast as it flew Bill. The cockpit detailing looks beautiful and I will buckle in as I plan do do a -D version, albeit in 48 scale.

Cheers Rob

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What a great start to your build Bill and thanks for the back story. 

The Tomcat is my favourite jet hands down, mostly due to The Final Countdown. 

I've got 3 of the Tamiya Tomcats in the stash. They're all the original release.

Peter, Trumpeter has a more recent release of the Tomcat out. The biggest issue with it is the intakes. The shape is off. Zacto do a correction set for it but it's a bit pricy and needs a fair bit of work to use. They also have replacement wing bladders to replace the kit's vinyl ones. You do get the option of dropped flaps and slats and it's fully engraved and be able to build a (more) accurate B or D Tomcat. 

Carl

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Phil, the Tomcat was Tamiya's first 1/32 kit and is from the early '80s when Tamiya would print separate instructions and boxes in Japanese and English. So not quite the paradigm of plastic modelling we know today. 

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Thanks for the kind comments. I'm not really moving very fast on this one, though. I've posted a few pictures in the "What's on your bench" thread over the past few months. Peter suggested I start a build thread. I work on this one when I get burnt out on the XB-70.

Carl, those intakes are the primary reason why I didn't opt for the Trumpeter kit!

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Bill

So glad you started a build thread for the Big Cat - so easy to follow and appreciate the work you are doing.

The photo of the foward upper spine - the gap shouldn't be there, but I believe there should be a slight step there as well - no biggiif the step has been sanded out or if Tamiya didn't mold it. 

Keep 'em comin

 Peter

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1 hour ago, BlrwestSiR said:

What a great start to your build Bill and thanks for the back story. 

The Tomcat is my favourite jet hands down, mostly due to The Final Countdown. 

I've got 3 of the Tamiya Tomcats in the stash. They're all the original release.

Peter, Trumpeter has a more recent release of the Tomcat out. The biggest issue with it is the intakes. The shape is off. Zacto do a correction set for it but it's a bit pricy and needs a fair bit of work to use. They also have replacement wing bladders to replace the kit's vinyl ones. You do get the option of dropped flaps and slats and it's fully engraved and be able to build a (more) accurate B or D Tomcat. 

Carl

Carl

I've often thought about taking another try at the Trumpeter kit and adding the Zacto detail/correction sets - but research shows you are so right - a boat load of work.

Needs a big commitment to tackle such a project and at this stage of the game, I doubt I would consider it. Always a chance a new 32nd scale Tomcat may appear down the road. I've already built one of the new Tamiya 1/48 Tomcats with a few more in the stash.

Keep 'em comin

Peter 

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I got the aftermarket decals from Milspec (formerly CAM Decals). They're nicely printed, with vibrant colors - but there are issues.

1. The tail emblem seems to me to be either too large, or the illustration is off. The same for the "USS Enterprise".

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2. As supplied, I've been unable to get them to stick. Out comes the future.

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Bill, those markings do look a bit large nevermind their lack of adhesion. I've heard folks using Future to stick on decals but have never tried it myself. Probably because you can't get Future in Canada. 

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13 hours ago, Peterpools said:

Carl

I've often thought about taking another try at the Trumpeter kit and adding the Zacto detail/correction sets - but research shows you are so right - a boat load of work.

Peter, I had a Trumpeter A model in the stash with the Zacto intakes, Aires cockpit, burner cans etc and decided it would be too much work. Sold it as a set and picked up the Tamiya kits. To me, they're less work plus a whole lot cheaper. The last one I got for $45 so hard to gripe about the price. 

Although I am tempted by the 1/48 ones....

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Bill

Nothing as aggravating a colorful, AM decals that are inaccurate in size and won't adhere. I've heard of using Future as well but like Carl, haven't used it for decaling.

Keep 'em comin

Peter 

 

 

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On 6/6/2022 at 11:55 PM, BlrwestSiR said:

Bill, those markings do look a bit large nevermind their lack of adhesion. I've heard folks using Future to stick on decals but have never tried it myself. Probably because you can't get Future in Canada. 

 

On 6/7/2022 at 6:57 AM, Peterpools said:

Bill

Nothing as aggravating a colorful, AM decals that are inaccurate in size and won't adhere. I've heard of using Future as well but like Carl, haven't used it for decaling.

Keep 'em comin

Peter 

 

 

A quick update. Future works well for the task! I've got my fingers crossed that it's a bad batch, and that I don't have to use Future on every data stencil!

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In between filling and sanding, some minor progress. Intake interiors are done; They're satin white AKA Tamiya rattle can primer.

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Ordnance ready for paint.

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And some fiddly bits...

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Compressor faces painted and glued...

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And intakes installed.

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She's starting to look like a Tomcat! I had to apply a little pressure to get the intakes to bottom out. One of these days, I need to get some lightweight bar clamps.

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While I'm waiting on the intakes to cure, I took a look at the nose. Master Models would have you build up the nose on the Trumpeter kit; no mention was made of the Tamiya offering.

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There's a definite step there. It makes me wonder if the AM part is off. A hole drilled in a piece of 0.020" (0.5 mm) sheet stock. Once dry, I'll trim and sand. Hopefully it's thick enough.

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Bill

Right with Kai and glad you have the nose pitot step taken care of. If memory serves me correctly, the Tomcat shouldn't need any nose weight at all. My 48th scale Tamiya Tomcat didn't need any nose weight at all.

Keep 'em comin

Peter

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