Hasegawa 1/48 F-14A Tomcat "Pacific Fleet Squadrons"

KIT #: 07018 (P18)
PRICE: 3800 yen when new
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1998 initial release


The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American carrier-capable supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program after the collapse of the General Dynamics-Grumman F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American Teen Series fighters, which were designed incorporating air combat experience against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.

The F-14 first flew on 21 December 1970 and made its first deployment in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy's primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor, and tactical aerial reconnaissance platform into the 2000s. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system was added in the 1990s and the Tomcat began performing precision ground-attack missions.

The Tomcat was retired by U.S. Navy on 22 September 2006, supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Several retired F-14s have been put on display across the US.


Let me preface this by stating that I've never built the 1/48 Hasegawa Tomcat. I've built a lot of 1/48 F-14s, but they have all be Monogram or Revell versions. Friends have regaled me with nightmare stories regarding the kit's fit so I've hesitated to start one. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to pick up one that had been started in that a few bits had been glued together and some paint applied. Still about 90% unbuilt so I grabbed it as it was only $20.

The interior is one place where folks commented on fit issues. Well, it is a bit complex with lots of separate pieces to add to consoles and such. Ejection seats are fair with molded on straps. There is a piece on the rear armor plating that allows for the canopy to be posed open. No instrument decals on this one. Two crew members are supplied. The cockpit tub fits atop the nose gear well and this is then trapped in the forward fuselage. Like most Tomcat kits, the cockpit section is separate from the rest of the airframe. One then attaches the nose gear assembly.

Construction then moves the the rear fuselage with the construction and installation of the main gear wells. There are holes to open in the lower fuselage for your choice of Phoenix pallets or the recon pod. At this time you have to decide if you want extended or retracted wings as there are inserts to deal with. Note that with retracted wings, you cannot pose the slats and flaps extended. Next the intakes and intake ramps are built up as are the exhaust.

One has the option of having the speed brake extended, though this was a rare sight on the ground. Main gear are then built and installed. This kit has metal wheel hubs and rubber tires. You may wish to swap out resin replacements, though it isn't needed. At this time, the forward fuselage is attached to the rear. This and the intakes are two other areas where one might run into fit issues. Then the lower fuselage insert is installed.

Instructions would have you build up and install the canopy. Note that if it is raised, then there is a p.e. fret to add detail to this are. While in this area, the boarding ladder can be built if you want and you have the option of an open gun bay. Next up are the wings, which once built, simply slot in place. 

Last steps involve the stabilators, the fins and the various things under wings. You have the recce pod as well as glove pylons for missiles and the Phoenix pallets. You don't have any weapons provided so you'll have to hit the weapons set to supply those.

The kit provides five markings options. All of the aircraft are in overall FS 16440 gloss light gull grey. The first two are with VF-21. Next are a pair of VF-154 aircraft. Note that both of these were with the USS Constellation. The fifth option was the CAG bird with VF-111 with the USS Carl Vinson. The decal sheet is nicely printed, but honestly, I'm not sure if it is still viable as it appears to have gotten wet. Fortunately, there are a lot of aftermarket decals for this aircraft.


The release of the Tamiya 1/48 F-14 kits has pretty well put other 1/48 Tomcat offerings on the back burner. Aside from the Academy kit with its bulbous forward fuselage, the others from Revell/Monogram, Fujimi, and Hobby Boss are worth building if you already have one and that includes this kit.



January 2023

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