Revell AG 1/144 F-14A Tomcat
|KIT:||Revell AG 1/144 F-14A Tomcat|
|PRICE:||$7.20 at GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
When the Tomcat was retired last year it was with much fan-fare and sadness from Naval fighter enthusiasts. It reminded me a bit of when the Phantom finally left, though a bit more so. I leaves me to wonder if the Hornet will be similarly treated when it is retired in the next 20 years or so. I'd like to be around to see it but probably won't.
Anyway, when the Tomcat came into fleet service, it was hailed as the perfect fleet defense fighter. The Phoenix missile system around which the Tomcat was designed, was able to engage six different targets, all at the same time and at a huge range. Just what was needed to keep Soviet bombers from reaching the fleet. While never fired in anger, the system did what it was supposed to and that was the important part.
From the start the Tomcat was saddled with a less than optimal engine. It was only with the later F-14B and F-14D that an engine was available to meet the design parameters of the airframe. Unfortunately, in the eyes of many, the money was not there to continue production of the F-14D beyond a few dozen airframes. As in all things to do with military hardware, other programs sucked out the funds needed. While the Tomcat did not have the staying power of the Phantom, and thanks to political knee-jerking we will never see one in the air again, it did provide what was needed when it was needed. Those of us who have seen one in the air have seen something we will never forget.
This kit from Revell AG is dated 2004 so it isn't exactly a new kit, though this boxing is dated 2007, making for probably new decals.
It comes on three major and two minor sprues, all except the canopy being molded in grey plastic with nicely done, though obviously over-scale engraved detailing. There is a full interior with control sticks, instrument panels (over which decals are placed), and a pair of nice, but somewhat generic bang seats.
It appears that Tomcat kits can only be designed in one way and that is a horizontally split main fuselage and vertically split nose section. The main intakes are separate and have no compressor facing to install, but in this scale, perhaps it is not needed. The wings are designed to move so that has been taken into consideration. Fins are separate with the stabs molded into a fuselage half. Landing gear are nicely molded and one has the option of building it gear up, though no stand is provided. A nice pair of drop tanks are part of the package as are the forward Phoenix pallets. A pair of Phoenix, Sparrow, and Sidewinder missiles are provided along with the wing pylons for the latter. Exhaust are molded in the constricted position, which is more for an 'on the ground' display than one in flight. Actually, it was not uncommon to have one exhaust full open and one full closed when on the ground.
Instructions are the usual Revell AG fare with only Revell paint callouts. Most of us who have built aircraft kits of this era will be well aware of the FS colors needed, so that is no problem. Markings are provided for two VF-84 aircraft from the 1980 time period. One is the CAG bird and the other is one made up for the movie 'The Final Countdown'. The decals are superbly printed and provide a full suite of data markings. There are also decals for the leading edge of the fins, for the canopy frame lines (no masking needed), for the area under the wings at the fuselage and for just before the exhaust.
Overall, a fine looking kit in the box. It is well done and probably will turn out better than the Dragon kit, which itself is a nice kit. It is also at a relatively good price and would be perfect for those who need to conserve shelf space.
You can do as did I and get this one atwww.greatmodels.com. They have lots of other neat stuff and their shipping is very prompt.
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