F-14D Super Tomcat


Kit Manufacturer
Out of Box (OOB) or Modified
Rating (1-10 10=best)

F-14D Tomcat



The F-14D Tomcat is a later development of the F-14 line of Grumman naval fighters. Developed (along with the F-15, the other great modern US fighter) after the fiasco that was the "common" F-111, the Tomcat took the swing-wing design and mated it to a purpose-built airframe and new (initially troublesome) engines, as well as the Phoenix air to air missile. The Phoenix is one of the items that makes the Tomcat unique - no other aircraft carries it, and its 100+ mile range is a perfect fit for the fleet defence mision. The D model has new cockpits, new electronics, and new GE F-100-GE-400 engines (much less troublesome than the early models' engines.)

The Kit

The kit is a 1993 update of a 1991 release (most likely of the "A" model.) It looks OK overall, though raised panel lines, some odd fit, and mold lines (such as one going right down the center of the forward fuselage) betray its age. Detail isn't too bad, actually, and with the fuselage in upper and lower halves you shouldn't lose too much when (not if) you need to putty and sand.

Nose deformity The first "Huh?" that stands out, though, is the nose. I understand its a somewhat complex shape, but... A new tip was apparently grafted onto the mold, with a hole for a pitot probe. The tip wasn't grafted on very well, though, and gives the molded nose a "pig-nose" effect, with the tip very noticably upturned. A great deal of sanding and reshaping will be required for this piece.

None of the other pieces are all that bad, really, though ejector pin marks and ejector pads abound, notably on the bottom of the horizontal stabilizers, three in the cockpit tub (talk about a pain to get to!) and, as seems to be the norm, on the Sidewinder missiles. The plastic is also soft, so while it may be easier to remove the problem "pads," sanding is going to have to be done carefully.

The plastic also feels slightly oily. A warm water wash will be needed before painting.

Still, for the price, it's an excellent looking kit, and with care should build up into a good looking model. I picked this up partially for the tail insignia (VF-31's "Felix the Cat.") I'm planning on picking up another Tamiya buffalo at some point, which also features these markings - it should be interesting, displaying one of the Navy's worst alongside one of its best! Note that there is  one oddity with the box top - if you look closely at the reflection in the puddles beneath the aircraft, it appears an Air Force T-38 is being reflected! (Except for the nose gear.)

More as the kit gets built.