1/48 Hasegawa F-14A Tomcat – Top Gun – Build Log

7th April 2016

Moving along with the cockpit…

As I mentioned previously, the cockpit is really quite crap in this kit. It’ll look Ok when it’s done, well Ok enough to be closed up with two figures in it – but if you’re going to be building one of these on it’s wheels with the canopy open you’re really going to want to get an aftermarket resin cockpit.

One of the main issues I have with the cockpit (apart from the crap fit) is the complete lack of positive registration when you fit the parts. The parts either don’t fit (generally too big and need sanding) or if they do fit, it’s a lottery as to where the parts actually locate.

So carrying on in the same vein as before I crack on with dry fitting before every major decision.


Here I’m dry fitting the RIO office with the help of a little white tack.




At this stage I’m fitting the side panels.

Here you can see the fit issues with the left hand panel.

It is too thick and sits on top of some of the switches on the left hand horizontal panel, and also the upper right section overlaps the main instrument panel. Oh yes, and it juts out too far into the tub.




On the right hand side things are similar. The right hand panel obscures part of the main instrument panel and it juts out too far sideways.




First I’m going to tackle the lower overhang.




This was just a case of cutting some material from the left hand edge of the panel so that it could slide to the left a bit.

Note that here I also thinned the panel by rubbing it on a coarse sanding stick so that it no longer sits on top of the switches on the horizontal panel.




There is quite a gap next to the panel, so next it’s time to do even more dry fitting to see how much of the instrument panel will be visible when the canopy is fitted.




The internal canopy frame covers quite a lot of the side detail. I’m not going to worry too much about doing more work on the left hand panel.




Onto the right hand panel…

As you can see, this panel also doesn’t fit very well. It will need thinning and shortening.




Here’s the panel after a bit of modification, a much better fit.




Finally for the RIOs office is the rear side panels. All these will need is a bit of thinning as they are way too thick.




Moving onto the pilots quarters…

As you can see below the instrument panel is about 3mm too low leaving a gap between it and the front coaming.




As usual things are such a loose fit you need to use white tack to hold the parts roughly in position.




Another problem with the front instrument panel is that it is too wide to fit between the fuselage halves.

To get around this I cut a notch either side to allow the instrument panel to poke through.

The notches are hidden under the front coaming when it’s fitted.




Here’s how the front instrument panel protrudes through the notches I cut.

Sorry for the blurry photo – still getting used to the new smartphone!




In order to get the instrument panel to fit up into the coaming I glued about 3mm of plasticard onto the bottom of the instrument panel. That way when I come to fit it later it will go in at exactly the right height.




Ok, enough fettling already!

Time for some paint 🙂

Here’s the various cockpit parts ready for some paint. Mostly it’s a case of using self gripping tweezers (can never have too many pairs of them!). But for the small ejection seat handles I have super glued them onto a cocktail stick. Don’t ask me how I know but trying to hold them in self grip tweezers will result in them being pinged across the room, through a wormhole and into another dimension never to be seen again.




For the grey parts I’ll be using Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey. This has a nice blue tint to it that looks good on US Jet Aircraft interiors.




Here’s the first coat of grey…




Having left the grey to dry for about 30 minutes the grey areas were masked off in readiness for some Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1) to go down onto the panels.

To mask the large areas where the seats go it’s easier to use cut down foam to wegde into the gaps.




Here’s the state of play after spraying the black bits.

Here they have had a light dry brushing with Citadel Necron Compound (a gloopy silver dry brushing paint).

What I like about Necron Compound is that it has a nice bright metallic tone and is of a very rubbery consistency that makes it very economical and easy to use for dry brushing.




For the next stage I’ll be starting on the seats.

Vallejo Model Color Green Grey and US Dark Green will be used for the seat padding. Also shown below is my trusty Necron Compound.




The seats after a dry brush with Necron Compound and the padding being brushed with Vallejo Dark Green.





As the standard seats don’t have a ton of detail I decided to brush paint some extra webbing straps on the sides as per my reference photos… Here they have been blocked in using Vallejo Model Color Light Grey. I’ll shade them and add detail next.




But before I get too carried away – time for some more dry fitting. I want to see how much of the seat will actually be visible…




The answer is “not a lot”.

Given that you can’t see much of the side of the seats and basically nothing of the lower parts I won’t go too mad painting them.




Even with the RIO absent you can’t see much in there. Even less when Goose is in situ!




While we’re working on the cockpit it’s worth mentioning the state of the figures.

These are particularly horrible and remind me of those old fashioned lead figures you used to get that vaguely resembled soldiers.

These kit figures have arms like Orang-utans, shoulders like Fatima Whitbread and appear to be wearing welding gloves.

The legs are too close together to fit past the control columns and they are just generally horrible.

Anyway, more about Mav and Goose in a future update…




The seats were finished using Vallejo Model Colour paints. I did get a little carried away with the side details, but it’s all good practice even if it will never be seen.

They don’t scrub up too badly for kit seats.




And here’s the seats dry fitted in the painted tub.




Nothing too exciting to say about painting the side panels… They lighter coloured knobs were painted with Vallejo light grey as white would be a bit too bright for this. Some of the buttons were picked out in red to add a bit of interest, but I find it pays to not go too overboard on colours as most jet cockpits have grey and black buttons with a few red ones. Some of the model cockpits I have seen have switches painted in so many colours it looks like the pilot caused the RIO to spill his smarties 😉



Next update – more fun getting the figures to look vaguely human 😉

Thanks for visiting!

I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

13 comments on “1/48 Hasegawa F-14A Tomcat – Top Gun – Build Log
  1. Housesparrow says:

    The F-14 is a really nice subject I think. 🙂 A lot of nice shapes imo.

  2. Yiannis - Athens says:

    Well, for all of us who lived the teenage youth in the 80’s, your model is much more than a reference!
    I have a question: do you know the BuNo or the actual Sqn of the real aircraft that was used as a Mav’s (or Iceman’s) bird?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Richard says:

      AFAIK the aircraft used in the film were from VF-51 (Screaming Eagles) and VF-111 (Sundowners). And on the carrier VF-114 (Aardvarks) and VF-213 (Black Lions).

      • Yiannis - Athens says:

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I am waiting to check the colors that you will use, especially for the (heavy) weathering on the wings and the upper fuselage!

        • Richard says:

          I’m going to be using Vallejo Model Air Pale Blue Grey (71.046 / FS36375 / RLM76). It’s a little dark straight out of the bottle (the Top Gun aircraft look quite sun bleached), so I will be lightening it with Vallejo white as I go.

  3. Yiannis - Athens says:

    Hello Richard,
    Following up and waiting for a new update on your work 🙂

    Is there actually any F-14 pattern using only FS36375? By the time TG was shoot (1985-86) the fashion was the (new then) TPS. Also there were examples of overall FS36440 (or FS16440).
    The TPS one is a very complex scheme to paint as it is utilizing three shades that are very close… Plus any king of weathering, fresh paint patching etc and voila, you have the (ehmmm…) 50 shades of gray on a single model!

    One thing that makes things more complex is the fact that there is not only one Maverick aircraft or only one Ice aircraft in the movie. In one case, the sn 104 aircraft (commonly identified as the Iceman bird) has been used wearing the VF-51 patch on the tail.

    Total “historical” mess, don’t you think?


    • Richard says:

      Hi Yiannis, to be honest I don’t know about the FS36375. I’m going to use it as a base colour and do the rest by eye as I go. I’ll definitely be using a lot of artistic license. AFAIK the birds used in the film had been out on duty for quite a long time before filming, so would have looked very tired (as they do in the film).

      50 shades of grey – you’re not wrong there mate. Have a look at this still from the movie – http://www.makingmodels.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/TopGun.jpg the paint is like a patch work quilt!

      Definitely a historical mess! 🙂

  4. Yiannis-Athens says:

    Well, you should finish the project before the release of TG2! (check: https://www.facebook.com/valkilmer/posts/1068503603181347 )

    Regards, Yiannis

    • Richard says:

      Thanks Yiannis – can’t wait 🙂 *digs out F-14A model from shelf of doom* 😉

      • Peter says:

        It’s about time Richard ! I’ve been following your build as I do mine. I’ve found it interesting how the same kit has different mould / fit issues. Looking forward to see your progress.
        Cheers p

  5. Yiannis-Athens says:

    quote mode on
    October 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm: *digs out F-14A model from shelf of doom* 😉
    quote mode off…

    Well, I guess that this process lasted about 1 year or so….

  6. Yiannis-Athens says:

    Well Rich, this one has been a great inspiration. I have a “new” WIP, trying to implement all the info that is gathered on this thread….


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