Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A/B 'VF-74 Bedevilers Adversary'

KIT #: 02152
PRICE: 3800 yen SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2015 Limited Edition


The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the 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 MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.

The F-14 first flew in 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. In the 1990s, it added the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system and began performing precision ground-attack missions.[

In the 1980s F-14s were used as land-based interceptors by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force during the Iran–Iraq War, where they saw combat against Iraqi warplanes. Iranian F-14s reportedly shot down at least 160 Iraqi aircraft during the war, while only 12 to 16 Tomcats were lost; at least half of these losses were due to accidents.

The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy's active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 remains in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976, when the U.S. had amicable diplomatic relations with Iran.

VF-74, Fighter Squadron 74, Be-Devilers was an aviation unit of the United States Navy in service from 1944 to 1994. Originally established as VBF-20 on 16 April 1944, it was redesignated as VF-10A on 15 November 1946, redesignated as VF-92 on 12 August 1948, redesignated as VF-74 on 15 January 1950 and disestablished on 30 April 1994 after 50 years of continuous operation. It was the third US Navy squadron to be designated as VF-74. During its last years it functioned as an aggressor squadron since their planes were not TARPS capable. VF-74 was the first squadron to operate the F-14B in 1987.


Hasegawa has reboxed the Tomcat at least forty times, judging by my slowly growing collection of F-14 kits. It was natural that they'd get the most out of what has to have been an expensive molding, judging by the plethora of small parts and inserts that come with the kits. There are so many parts that the box is actually bulging in an attempt to keep them from escaping. You can see the number of bits and pieces from the image above. In many ways, this is just a smaller version of the larger and equally impressive 1/48 F-14 that Hasegawa has produced. Typical of Hasegawa, the kit came with all those sprues in two bags. As a result, there were a number of parts broken off the sprues and the bits have numerous scratches on them.

As demanded, the panel lines are engraved and the kit offers the ability to have the flaps and slats deployed. In fact, to do it otherwise will require a bit of surgery to be done on the slat tracks. You can also position the glove vanes open or closed. Again, some surgery is needed for the closed position. All F-14s had them wired in the closed position after it was realized that they didn't really do anything and were an additional maintenance hassle.  You also have the ability to have the speed brakes and entrance steps/ladder open or closed, and two different tails, though one set is not for this particular boxing. So much has the F-14 been modified and updated over the years that you really need to have photographs of the aircraft that you are modeling to get everything right.

As required by its price, this kit comes with a small fret of etched metal. These bits are for the interior, canopy and exhaust. The metalwork is very well done and should really enhance your Tomcat. For this kit, they supply the parts for both the F-14A and the F-14B. The instructions are very well done as you would expect and are especially for this boxing as there are differences between the A and B models that you'll need to pay attention to depending on the version you choose to build. They offer color callouts based on Gunze paint as is the norm with Hasegawa over the last decades. Every option and difference between the aircraft on the decal sheet is given so that you can do a proper job of things. As usual with Limited Edition kits, you get a standard set of instructions with an addendum sheet.

There are two options provided. One is the box art plane from the squadron's last year in 1994. It is painted overall FS 36375 with large areas in FS 35237. This is the F-14B option. The F-14A is in overall FS 16440 from 1987. The large decal sheet is nicely done and is is the second time Hasegawa has done a 'VF-154 Black Knights History' boxing, the other was six years prior to this one. For markings, we have three options in the Tactical Paint Scheme. Not surprising that none are line birds. One is the box art scheme while the other two are the CAG and the CO's plane with black tails. The decals are very nicely done and while a bit thick compared to others you can get, are the 'new generation' type where the white bits are actually white.


You can add this one to a growing list of Hasegawa limited reissue kits. I guess it is a good way to do business as they seem to sell rather well. I'm surprised at how well these molds have held up. The final result of the build is a superb model of an important US fighter.



February 2022

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