F-Toys/Platz 1/144 F-14A 'VF-154 Black Knights'

KIT #: PF71
PRICE: 2800 yen SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2023 release

The F-14 was developed at a time when a replacement fleet defense interceptor was needed to replace the F-4 Phantom II. At the time, the best way to combine high speed with low speed handling was to use a swing wing. Multiple aircraft from the major powers of the time used this method and one could say that the system in the F-14 was the most sophisticated as it was automatic. The aircraft also needed to use the AIM-54 Phoenix system developed for the cancelled F-111B. This was a very long range missile and part of a weapons system that could detect and destroy multiple targets at the same time.

The Tomcat saw its first deployment in 1975 at the tail end of the Vietnam War and served until 2006, after which most of the airframes not provided to museums were scrapped to keep parts out of the hands of Iran, who still operate the type.

Platz has made quite a name for itself, not only by producing some of its own kits, but by reboxing quality kits from other manufacturers with its own additions. These are mainly made for the Japanese market where these kits are generally fairly expensive. An example of a line of reboxings by Platz in in co-operation with F-Toys. In this case, they generally box two kits with new decals. F-toys kits are actually quite well done, though by their engineering, they are what most would call snap-tite kits.

These are fairly minimal in terms of parts and the mounting areas are usually quite large and positive. Detail level is quite good, though many, including me, think that the engraved panel lines are overdone. Still, the kits are quite popular and often sell out quickly.

As with pretty much all F-14 kits, the nose section is separate from the rest of the fuselage. This consists of a cockpit tub with two seat shapes, a main instrument panel and two crew figures. There are decals for the panel and side consoles. This is trapped in the nose halves. For the main fuselage, a pair of gears and the exhaust pieces are installed, followed by the wings, which have teeth that fit on the gears so they can swing. This then attaches to the forward fuselage, and the fins, stabs, burner cans, nose and canopy are attached. Flipping the kit over, the intakes strakes pylons and weapons are installed. There are no fuel tanks with a pair of wing pylons holding a single Sidewinder and Phoenix. This is a legitimate, though rarely seen load-out. The final step is gear and gear doors. You are provided a gear up option though you'll have to come up with your own stand.

Instructions are well drawn and use Gunze and Tamiya paint references. Both options are with VF-154 and sport the later tactical paint scheme of FS 36320 over 36375. The black areas on the fins and canopy/nose will have to be painted. The decal sheet is nicely done and includes both intake walk areas and missile markings. There are aftermarket decals if you don't want to do the two VF-154 options.


This isn't, of course, the only 1/144 F-14 that has ever been kitted. LS did a very nice one and Dragon produced one, though I've not built it. The Revell kit is probably the most detailed and now we have this one. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

August 2023

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Thanks to me for picking this one up.

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