|KIT #:||FP 30|
|PRICE:||4500 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
It has been 12 years since the US retired the F-14A and like the Phantom II before it, there are folks bemoaning the loss. The truth of the matter is that aircraft have only a finite life span. It is the end of that span where the airframe starts to show signs of fatigue or it simply becomes too expensive to continue maintaining its now obsolescent equipment.
However, this does not diminish enthusiasts and as modelers, we are enthusiasts, at least about some parts of the hobby. So having new kits of old favorites usually goes over quite well when we know about them. I have to admit that this one snuck under my radar when it was released last year.
Fine molds has a reputation for producing high quality kits and I'll have to say this fits into that mold. There are 246 parts in this one and that makes for a rather stuffed box o bits. Part of what makes up that large parts count are the ability to open various panels as well as a lot of weapons. Now I'm not an 'open panels' sort of modeler, but I know a lot of folks who are and this should go over well with them.
Other features of the kit are a nicely detailed cockpit, complete intake trunking, the ability to have the wings forward or rear swept (a movable hinge is provided), two nose gear legs so you can post it ready to be catapulted, separate speed brake positions, open or closed burner cans and the ability to have the canopy open or closed.
You are also provided with a full weapons load and can, if you wish, have it mount 6 Phoenix missiles. The kit also includes enough Sparrow missiles to mount them on the fuselage and the pylons as well as a pair of Sidewinders. Additional features are a refueling probe that can be extended. This has a separate forward outer door in case you wish to leave that off. A boarding ladder is included. Interestingly, there is a separate upper spine piece that shows the plumbing under it for those who want the 'everything open' look. What you don't get are separate flaps and slats.
Instructions are extremely comprehensive. There are a considerable number of notes as the build goes forward regarding opening holes or cutting away bits. The mounting lugs for larger pieces are quite large and very positive so hopefully this will be a real plus when building the kit as Tomcat kits in all scales have a bit of a reputation for being difficult to build. There are bits that are not used and those consist of different fins, gun gas doors and nose seekers to name a few. You are basically building fairly early planes. Fine Molds has picked two very popular schemes for markings. There is a light gull grey over white VF-84 plane from 1978 and an overall light gull grey VF-111 aircraft from 1982. The decal sheet is very nicely done and there are lots of aftermarket decals out there for this plane if you don't like those.
Just as we have the 'not another 109' crowd, we have a 'not another F-14' folks. Well, yes, this is another F-14, but it looks to be a very nice one. Of course the telling is in the building, but Fine Molds' reputation is such that this should be a very nice one.
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Thanks to me for forking out for the review kit.
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