1/72 Academy F-14A Tomcat – Build Log

8th November 2014


I’ve always wanted to build a Tomcat, I reckon they have to be my favourite US jet, big dirty and look like they mean trouble. And what could be a better excuse than building one for my Mum as a Christmas present!

The idea is to make this a pseudo-Top Gun build. When I say pseudo I mean that it won’t be using the Top Gun decals (I can’t find any anywhere to buy), but I’m going to build her in flight and do up the pilot figures to look a bit like Maverick & Goose…


Onwards with the requisite shots of the box content…








And without further ado, straight into the build…

First off, the cockpit.

My first impressions of this are that the cockpit is complete and utter pants. My second impression is also that the cockpit is complete and utter pants, as have been all my subsequent impressions.

The seats look promising, but the tub and instrument panels? Oh dear.



Assembling the instrument panels into the tub involved a lot of dry fitting, and due to the fact that they didn’t line up anywhere on the tub they also had to be glued with the fuselage sides clamped together to ensure they finish up in the correct spot. It took a fair bit of trimming to get the front and rear instrument panels to fit, I’d expect this with a resin cockpit but not Out Of the Box.



Next up was the seats. Nicely enough these are of 3 piece construction even though they’re only 1/72. Again, the seat parts didn’t have any locating pins or lugs which made assembling them tricky. The parts tended to float around and I had to guesstimate where the parts would ultimately end up.

Gotta say though that once they’re together the seats go some way towards making up for the utterly naff tub assembly.



And here we are with the tub assembled and the seats dry fitted – shouldn’t look too shabby when it’s finished and pseudo-Mav and pseudo-Goose are in there!



The fuselage sidewalls are as bland as the tub, but with a few ejector pin marks. Thankfully there was only one that would have been visible and it was easily sanded out.



And what better thing to do to a bland cockpit and fuselage sidewall than to paint it medium grey…

Yup, still bland.



Moving on I next tackled the wings. These were straight forward two parts sandwiched together, and for once went together without any gluey thumbprints 😉



All was going professionally until I fitted the wings onto the locating pins. Mr Cock-up knocked on my door and like a fool I answered it… Now, I don’t know whether I still had a bit of Mr Cement S still inside the wings when I attached them, but they were a very stiff fit and seemed to weld onto the locating pin. A swift bit of manhandling and the pin sheared off.

I can’t imagine it was glue related as the Mr Cement S dries faster than Duncan Goodhew’s head and isn’t known for pooling around…





Not to worry (Betty) we’ll drill out the sheared pin and fit a new one…



As it happens I had a pretty close fitting pin from a shelf-of-doom 1/48 Hind kit.



The pin was sanded down a little and fitted and glued into the hole..



Now the observant of you might ask why in the photo below there are two pins?

Well, the answer would be that shortly after Mr Cock-up had made himself at home and was busy dribbling tea onto my nice clean floor, Mrs Cock-up also turned up and I was at home to her too :'(



Oh dear, how sad, never mind (as my granddad used to say)…



Soon the new (improved) pins were solidly glued and had been cut flush…



And from the inside looking a bit like it was the day before. Happy days 🙂



At this stage it was relatively easy to mate the two halves of the fuselage and break out just about every clamping device I own.

A few dabs of thin glue here and there (but not there) and she’s left to solidify overnight…



Once solid the vertical stabilisers were attached (the wrong way around). The one on the left should be on the right, and the one on the right shouldn’t be.

But I won’t tell anyone if you don’t 😉



Next job before the intakes could be fitted was to paint the compressor blades…

For this I brushed them with buffable Dark Iron. This was the point where the Cock-ups dog raced across my lawn after my cat destroying my prize magnolias! Ok I don’t have any prize magnolias, or a cat. Or a garden but like a dope I didn’t bother to stir the Dark Iron (which is getting near the bottom of the jar now), and I succeeded in painting the compressor blades in a sticky satin finish slimy wash. No buffing to be had here then!

Again, not to worry – they will be almost impossible to see buried way down the intakes. So a quick dry brush with some Citadel Necron Compound (Silver to you and me) and they look good enough not to be seen…



Here’s the compressor blades fitted… I’ve also given the insides of the intakes a coat of flat white.




And the intakes going on…

They don’t line up too well, so best to attach them one side at a time and clamp them while they set.




Back onto the seats while that all dries.

There were some small ejector pin marks on the sides of the seats that were filled with Humbrol Model Filler and sanded…



And then a nice coat of medium grey…




Here’s the seats with the base colours applied.

For the seat padding and the parachute pack I used Tamiya acrylic, but for brush painting I thin it with a little X-20A and add a drop of Windsor & Newton flow improver to help it flow and to keep it wet for long enough to be applied.

The touchy little bits such as ejection handles and yellow handles were done with Citadel paint as I find it brushed better than the Tamiya stuff.



And here we are after having applied a coat of Citadel Nuln Oil (dark oily wash), the contrast is starting to come out a bit now…




The finished seats having had a coat of Citadel Agrax Earthshade (dark muddy coloured wash) on the seat padding.

The ejection handles were painted using a 0000 brush with Humbrol Yellow Enamel.

They’ve had a bit of Citadel Necron Compound (Silver to you and me) dry brushed on, and also a bit of silver pencil applied to add extra wear and tear.

I’m really pleased with the seats for 1/72 scale especially given how rubbish the tub was (did I mention that?) 😉



Finally for this update I decaled the cockpit.

There were 14 cockpit decals, and as I usually find with Academy decals they are completely inert.

They don’t respond to any of the substances shown below, and although you can’t see it in the photo below, the front instrument panel is a mess of badly seated decals.

I built an Academy Stuka a while back and had the same problem with the decals on that. For that one I ended up making homemade decal setting solution by adding cellulose thinners to microsol. But for this one I’ve ordered a bottle of Deco Monster Strength Decal Setting solution (some say The Stig uses it as eye drops).

So when the new decal setting solution arrives I’ll try that to seat the decals down. Otherwise it’ll be back to the homebrew!



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

2 comments on “1/72 Academy F-14A Tomcat – Build Log
  1. delys says:

    It was my Christmas present and I was blown away by it. Couldn’t have been moredelighted or impressed by the work that went into it.

  2. dan says:

    i really enjoyed reading this. And you are funny 🙂 glad your mum liked it. I will use some of these techniques when i build my academy tomcat

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