Next up on the bench is one that I’ve had my eye on for some time now – a 1/48 F-14A which will be done up as one of the aircraft from the film Top Gun.
I did a “Pseudo Top Gun” build a while back as a Christmas present for my mother (she’s always been a fan of fast jets and the pilots that go with them). My last build was “Pseudo Top Gun” because I couldn’t find a decal set for the movie decals so I had to improvise with decals from my stash that were near enough. Since then I’ve had it mind to do a Top Gun Tomcat of my own and have been working on getting hold of (or creating) proper decals this time.
To begin with I acquired an old Testors 1/72 F-14A “Top Gun” Tomcat from the states with a view to scanning the decals, blowing them up to 1/48 and custom printing them.
As it is, a few weeks ago I discovered that Fighter Town made a fantastic 1/48 decal set that covers all the aircraft in the Top Gun movie.
It cost me £20 for the decal sheet from Hong Kong, but it was well worth it and now i’m totally tooled up to re-create my Top Gun F-14A.
Here’s the obligatory box and sprue shots…
The Hasegawa packaging is really nice, the box is chock full of sprues and there is a cardboard box within that contains detailing parts.
Here’s the info that came with the Fightertown decal set. Lots of options here…
And the actual decal set. As you can see it has all the various tail markings as well as the pilots names as in the movie.
The glass looks good, though the canopy has a centre seam that will need sanding and polishing…
In the detailing pack is some photo etch for the canopy as well as metal wheels with rubber tyres. As it is I’ll be building her in flight so the wheels and tyres won’t be used.
Lots of sprues in this kit…
The engine parts look Ok, however I’ll be mounting her on a couple of acrylic rods – one up each engine so the only bit that will be seen is the afterburner petals.
The kit decals look tame in comparison to the Fightertown ones. Not sure if I need to use any of these or whether the Fightertown set has all the stencils included…
The figures will be painted for this one (Mav and Goose of course), and the kit comes with figures that have poseable arms and two head options (visor up and visor down).
Right – straight on with the proceedings…
I’ve heard some bad things about this kit. Seems that the general opinion is that it builds into one of the best F-14A’s there is, but it’s far from shake and bake and has its fair share of fit issues.
Let’s find out 😉
First up is the cockpit. I’m not going for aftermarket here, partly to save costs, and partly because the aircraft will be in flight with the figures inside so there will be little opportunity to look inside.
Here’s the bits required for the cockpit assembly – time to get sanding…
Here we are with the seats assembled – no drama there and they look reasonable for kit seats.
The cockpit tub though is a bit of a pig. The side switch panels are a poor fit and don’t locate very positively. This took a lot of dry fitting and sanding to get the panels to sit right.
Because the cockpit components don’t fit very well I want to dry fit everything before I glue it.
This is tricky because the tub doesn’t locate positively into the fuselage until the front wheel well is attached.
So next job is to build the wheel well so that it can be attached to the tub.
Some nice detail in there – a shame it will be closed up, but then it’s less to paint 😉
Again, the wheel well assembly is a bit of a vague fit so you need to glue it all together and coax it into shape as the glue sets.
And the wheel well attached to the underside of the cockpit tub.
And now I can locate the tub in the fuselage and start to work out how all the other parts come together…
And finally for this update the rear side switch panels are installed.
I have to say progress this far has been a bit painful and an aftermarket resin cockpit would probably take a similar amount of time to fit as the kit cockpit. If I was building this one with the canopy open I’d definitely consider the aftermarket option here.
Next update – more work on the cockpit…