FCM 144-032: F-14A Sundowners

Units: See review




Scott Van Aken

This particular set from FCM is on the F-14A Tomcat and specifically those operating with VF-111. The Sundowners have always been a favorite of modelers and this sheet is specifically designed for the Revell Germany kit. Not saying that the markings can't be fudged onto another, like the LS version, just that they weren't designed for it.

Markings are provided for six aircraft. The first option is from the USS Kitty Hawk circa 1978 and is probably the least colorful that VF-111 wore. The sunburst is only on the ventral strake, which will need to be painted red along with the fin tip. The aircraft does have the unit's signature shark mouth. and the aircraft is overall gloss light gull grey. The aircraft shown is 160674 from 1979.

By 1981/82, the markings had changed yet again, this time taking up most of the fin. Two different options are provided for these markings. One is an overall gloss light gull grey plane with the markings in red. The other is a Tactical Paint Scheme plane with the markings redone in shades of grey. For the latter scheme, small shark mouths are provided for the drop tanks. The photo to the right (160668 from 1980; which is the same plane modeled for option #4)) shows these markings but on an overall light gull grey scheme, so if you don't like the TPS scheme but want the grey markings, it is something that can be done with the markings provided.

The next three are for the markings carried from around 1986 until the unit disestablished in the early 1990s. By far, these are the ones most well known. There are three planes with these markings. The first is in the Tactical Paint Scheme version from 1986 when the wing had moved to the Carl Vinson. this is followed by a 1988 scheme in full color on light gull grey as was typical for a CAG bird. The final scheme is from 1991 when the wing had returned to the USS Kitty Hawk (see photo to the right). This scheme is similar to the other one though in this case the shark mouth is outlined in black and the wing codes had shifted to the rear of the fin/rudder. The font has also been slightly changed to a near italics design.

Since this is 1/144, there is plenty of room for full insignia, wing walk markings and enough stencils to make anyone happy in this scale.

The decals themselves are very nicely  printed by Microscale. Instructions are in full color and include color information and a full stencil placement guide.

June 2010

Thanks to FCM for providing the review sheet.

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