Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A Tomcat 'Bicentennial'
|KIT #:||51503 (SP 3)|
|PRICE:||1600 yen when new|
|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 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.
Hasegawa has reissued the Tomcat at least five dozen times, judging by my slowly growing collection of F-14 kits. This is one of the earliest ones that is in the 'special' series that predated their 'Limited Edition' kits.
Aside from the decals, there is nothing new in this boxing. Typical of Hasegawa, the kit came with all the sprues in two bags. This does little in the way of keeping parts from being scratched as the box is jostled around in shipping.
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. Same goes for the nose radome. 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. You also get inserts for the gun gas vents to be sure you have the right ones for this boxing.
There are two markings options with one of them being the box art plane from VF-124. Both options are early planes in light gull grey and white. The other option is with VF-14. All of 124s special paint stripes are included on the decal sheet though you do have to paint the fin tips red. As you'd expect, the sheet is old school with white markings in off white.
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