1/72 Academy F-14A Tomcat – Build Log

14th December 2014

The past couple of weeks I’ve been building the Tomcat in parallel with a Revell 1/48 Mk.9 Spitfire.

That’s fine, but my brand of building two things in parallel involves starting kit A, then starting kit B and working on kit B it until it is finished. When kit B is complete I can then go back to kit A, continue past it and find myself opening kit C.

As it happens this time I’m on a proper deadline to get the Tomcat ready as a Christmas present, which gives me about 10 days from now to get it finished. So with this focus I have managed to get back onto the Tomcat and it’s going great guns…

 

 

Having got the cockpit finished it was time to bring the front fuselage halves together, no problems here and it was all a pretty good fit…
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There are some big seam lines on top of the fuselage that will be under the canopy. Luckily these are all hidden by these bits. Here they are having had a quick blow over with Tamiya Nato Black.

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Next up was getting the front fuselage attached to the rear fuselage.

This wasn’t the best of fits, so I opted to get the underside aligned as it had more detail in terms of missile rails and recesses etc… Much easier to make any adjustments to the upper side where there’s less detail.
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As you can see, there’s a bit of a step from the rear fuselage to the front section. Also there’s  quite a big gap between the fuselage and the intakes. I guess the gap between the intakes and fuselage could be intentional, but since I’m doing this as a bit of an artistic license build and haven’t got time for tons of research I’ll fill the gaps.

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In the following photo towards the left hand side you can see the seam between front and rear fuselage sections that runs through the missile recesses. Definitely easier not to have to do much filling and sanding here!

Next job will be fitting the forward gear doors…

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The gear on this kit is most definitely designed to be deployed, so doing her wheels up requires a bit of handywork…

Here’s the front section on the front gear doors. This is actually 3 pieces that have been glued together.

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There didn’t appear to be a door for the narrow opening of the front gear, I eventually found the door moulded onto the front landing gear.

So that got snipped off and fettled up to be fitted in the closed position…

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There are no locating lugs or tabs for closing up the gear doors, so I decided to glue in some plasticard shims to pack the gap under the door.

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Here’s the first front gear door fitted – not looking too shabby there.

I’ve also packed the front area ready for the second door to be glued in place…

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And the second front gear door fitted. There’s a few gaps and a bit of re-scribing to do, but I’m not too unhappy with that…

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And moving back to the upper surfaces, the gap next to the intakes has been filled with plasticard and the step has been sanded down…

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The rear gear doors have had a bit of Perfect Plastic Putty and a sand. Just a few minor imperfections to iron out and a bit of a rescribe needed.

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Talking of filler, I decided to try out the “Make your own gloop” thing…

I had a bottle of Mek-Poly that’s been kicking around since biblical times. To this I added numerous small lengths of black sprue from the stand from an old 1/24 Airfix Spitfire kit that has since slid down the shelf of doom and gone to join the choir invisible…

After half a day of dissolving it left me with a nice sticky black syrup that can be dolloped onto seams and into gaps.

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I had a few seams on the rear fuselage that needed filling. A bit of black gloop was smeared on using a cocktail stick and left overnight to go solid.

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In the morning the gloop was rock solid and sanded back really nicely.

In the photo below you can see the fine hairline gap it has filled. I know if I’d used Perfect Putty for that some of it would have flaked out during sanding leaving small voids. Tis doesn’t seem to be a problem with the gloop. So far so good, and I look forward to using it more later.

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Next I decided to turn my attention to how I’m going to display the Tomcat.

I’ve got some 3/8 acrylic rod left over from my Vulcan build which is a nice size for the burner cans, so a couple of lengths of that should do the trick.

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First job is to cut a hole in the burner cans for the rod to go through.

I marked the outside diameter of the rod with a pencil, and then chain drilled around the perimeter…

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Then it was a simple matter to cut out the centre with a scalpel and then rough out the hole with a diamond needle file…

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So now the burner cans fit over the rod, but you can imagine that when the rod is poked up the burners it isn’t going to sit centrally, it’s going to be non-concentric, or in technical terms “it’ll be reet wonky”.

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Thus began a foray into scratch building to fabricate a de-wonking bracket.

First of all I marked the angle of the wonk using yellow de-wonking tape. If you don’t have access to de-wonking tape, Tamiya tape makes a good substitute (just remember to work in Metric angles of wonk if you use Tamiya tape).

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Using the wonk-o-meter I was able to use it as a guide to help me cut an angle off a length of sprue with a razor saw.

As you can see the angle cut off the sprue matches the angle of wonk on the burner can. If you want to be more precise you can use Pythagoras’s rule of wonk, but that will involve calculating the angle of the dangle and the axis of the maxis… Personally I think Pythagoras is a bit of a wonker and prefer to do these things by eye.

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Next I needed to add a flat surface to the de-wonking strut, this is to help ensure a stable elimination of wonk. All will become clear in a bit (honest)…

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Here’s the first de-wonking strut taped into position where it will be carefully glued onto the burner can…

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This was repeated another 5 times so that we end up with 3 equidistant de-wonking struts on each burner can.

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Next I used some plasticard to fabricate a de-wonking collar for the free end of the de-wonking bracket.

This was simply a case of bending a strip of plasticard to roughly the right curve and trimming it to fit with scissors.

There’s a layer of tape around the rod to protect it from the Extra Thin that was used to glue it in place.

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When the glue had cured nicely I went around the joins with a good daub of the black gloop. This helped fill in the gaps and hopefully add some strength. Afterall we don’t want to eliminate wonk and introduce wobble.

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After being left overnight to cure the end of the burner cans could be glued in place.  I took plenty of care gluing these on because these joins will be taking the full weight of the Tomcat when it’s on its stand. I’m going to have it at quite a high angle of attack so there should not be too much force on the seams, but better to be safe rather than risk them cracking later.

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So with the de-wonking system being left for the glue to harden it’s time to start on the gizzits and dooh-dahs.

I’ve got to say that this kit has a massive array of doo-dahs as you can see below, so on these bombshells I’ll sign off and get gluing and fettling!

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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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