Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D Tomcat
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program following the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiGs during the Vietnam War.
The F-14 first flew in December 1970. It first deployed in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform. In the 1990s it added the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system and began performing precision strike missions. The F-14 was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. As of 2009, the F-14 was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976 when the US had amicable diplomatic relations with the nation.
With the F-14D, the Navy finally got the aircraft it had originally wanted. The somewhat anemic TF-301s were replaced with much more powerful GE F-110s. Also upgraded were system avionics and the ejection seats just to name a few items. Unfortunately, the cost of the aircraft was, for the time, very expensive so only a small number were built new, while some older airframes were upgraded to F-14D standards. The serials of these older aircraft remained the same, but the rebuilds were referred to as F-14Dr aircraft with the r showing the rebuild status.
This is the sixth 1/48 F-14 kit that has been presented to the buying public. First was the Monogram kit then the Fujimi kit, then Hasegawa, Academy and finally the Italeri kit. Most modelers will agree that the Hasegawa kit was the best available in terms of detail, but the Monogram was probably somewhat easier to build. In truth, no 1/48 Tomcat has been really easy to build. All of them have suffered from various problems with fit and only those few folks who have built dozens of 1/48 Tomcats (yes, I mean you, Darren), have figured out how to breeze through construction.
So now we have another player in the 1/48 Tomcat game. Is it the best so far? Well, it certainly looks very nice and it couldn't be any more difficult to build than the Hasegawa kit. It offers a bunch of options that will appeal and includes weapons that are separate items with some other kits. Two nicely done markings in the box and a ton of aftermarket decals that should fit make for a very attractive new kit.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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