1/72 Academy F-14A Tomcat – Build Log

23rd December 2014

Having been left over night for the Klear to harden it was time to paint the jet pipes and the gun…

I’m using Mr Metal Colour Iron Buffable Metaliser (not sure how many capital letters that required but thought I’d throw them all in…). From past experience I’ve found that buffable metaliser can travel absolute miles when you spray it, so rather than have the Tomcat and up looking like a mis-shaped glitter ball I’m not taking any chances with the masking. Since I don’t have time for any mistakes on this one a few minutes spend wrapping her up will be time well spent…




Here’s the tiny bit that need painting at the front end, again, not taking any chances with overspray on this one…




Spraying metalisers can be tricky what with clogging and spattering, but I’ve found a technique that works well for me.

I’m using a Harder & Steenbeck Evolution with a 0.2mm needle and am spraying at around 12 PSI.

The thing that makes the difference for me is to prime the colour cup with just under 0.5ml of Mr Color Leveling Thinner (which is a lacquer or cellulose based thinner).




0.5ml of thinner looks like this in the Evo colour cup. Basically I add enough to just come up to the bottom of the colour cup.

Then into this add one brush-full of Metaliser paint. When I say one brush I’m talking a brush with bristles about 14mm long and 4mm diameter (I don’t know what number brush it is because the markings have long since worn off). Using a brush to add the paint saves messing up a pipette and even this amount of paint will go quite a long way.




Here’s the gun sprayed up (and buffed). The buffing has been done with the tape still in place so that the metal residue doesn’t get wiped all over the paint work when buffing.




And here’s the jet pipes sprayed and buffed.

One word of warning though, the Mr Color Thinners will retard the metaliser paint. So if you’re used to spraying the metaliser and buffing it immediately after, you will need to let this dry for around  15 minutes to be sure that it is fully dry, otherwise you’ll just smear the paint around.




With the metal bits done it was onto the decals.

Now this bit is complete artistic license for a several of reasons…

1. The film top Gun is made up and is quite inconsistent. Mav & Goose randomly jump into different numbered jets throughout the film.

2. I couldn’t find an aftermarket set of Top Gun decals to buy anywhere.

3. The Academy decals are absolutely useless and I refuse to use them on any major part of the model.

So with the above disclaimers in place it was time to raid the stash and cobble together a set of reasonably convincing decals.

In the film Mav & Goose’s plane (one of them at least) has a blue roundel on the fins with an eagle in it (or something). The closest I could find was a SpringBok in a pointy pentagon from a 1/72 Buccaneer kit. That’ll do 😉

Most of the other decals come from a spare set of 1/7 2F18 Hornet decals I had lying around, and the remainders are from a variety of other decal sheets such as 1/72 Sea Harrier and 1/72 A4.

The stars and bars in the film are the low vis variety. I tried the low vis decals from the Hornet decal sheet but they were too close to the Sky Grey bodywork and got totally lost. I opted for the red white and blue to make it a bit more pleasing to the eye…

And here she is decaled up and ready for another clear coat.




Next up was the missile bands…

Now whose bright Idea was it to include the Phoenix missiles in the build when they weren’t needed!? I hate to think how long they took to mask up.




And here’s the finished weapons striped and ready for their protective coat of Klear…



Next job: Applying some Flory Dark Dirt weathering wash and thinking about making a wooden base.


Click here to see the final reveal photos…


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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