AIR Modeller 68


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OCT/NOV 2016 • £6.50 UK $15.99





Tamiya Tomcat The Editor scrambles to build a pre-release of Tamiya’s brand new kit.


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Meng AIR Modeller is published Bimonthly by AFV Modeller ltd Old Stables East Moor Stannington Northumberland NE61 6ES Tel: 01670 823648 Fax: 01670 820274 email: [email protected] Editor and Designer: David Parker Deputy Editor: Mark Neville Sales Director: Keith Smith

We are now on Facebook, ‘Like’ us to follow what we are doing and follow our build projects.

Meng AIR Modeller welcomes contributions from interested parties, but cannot accept any responsibility for unsolicited material. The contents of this publication including all articles, drawings and photographs originated by AFV Modeller ltd become the publishers copyright under copyright law. Reproduction in any form requires the written consent of the publisher. Whilst every care is taken to avoid mistakes AFV

ISSN 2059-5964

Modeller ltd. cannot be liable in any way for errors or ommissions.


Modelled by David Parker



When a plain white box arrived at the AIR Modeller office we were delighted to discover that it contained a pre-production sample of the latest addition to Tamiya’s range of 1:48 aircraft kits, the F-14a Tomcat. As an advanced sample it came with a photocopied instruction sheet with a few captions waiting to be added and a marking guide that will probably be printed in colour, but was black and white. The two decal sheets, one for the markings and one for the numerous stencils were supplied but had yet have a key-cut carrier film so each was one huge decal! The canopy masks that will be included were also just a photocopy at the moment. What was immediately evident was the high quality moulding of the plastic parts just as you would expect from Tamiya’s designers. The fuselage has been broken down into several sections with the nose, along with the cockpit, as a stand-alone assembly. The lower fuselage without the intakes is another individual part whereas the upper section is moulded in two parts split roughly along the line of the wing trailing edge. Clever splits are the essence of this kit but lets see how well they assemble!


Work begins with the cockpit, normally the sort of detailed area that has the modeller reaching for an aftermarket replacement but in this case the level of detail is really very good. The various consols with the myriad of switches are all moulded individually and they locate with absolute precision onto the cockpit tub, no need whatsoever for any filler. The side wall panels are also separate and these can be painted before they are fitted as their steep overhang would make this extremely difficult when in position. The kit directs you to assemble the pilots’ seats and optional crew figures towards the end of the build so I followed their direction. I painted the cockpit using acrylics and I applied the assorted scope screens supplied on the kit decal sheet, having to trim out each one to fit from the solid decal sheet. I applied a very light wash to imply some age without much dirt as befits a carrier-based aircraft. The cockpit tub locates onto the nose wheel bay with a couple of big chunky pins. This bay is reasonably detailed within the limits of what can be moulded but obsessive detailers will probably want to add more. Before fitting the cockpit nose bay assembly the optional open or closed refuelling probe has to be fitted into the nose. The precision fit makes this a simple procedure. There are then several pegs to align the cockpit correctly within the two halves of the nose.

Big pin fixings make for a simple and positive location for the assembled cockpit within the nose.

Just look at the exact fit of the refuelling probe cover in the fuselage. The probe can also be modelled in the deployed position if desired.


The two parts of the upper fuselage are connected with these small tabs. I found it necessary to adjust the fit of these tabs in order to improve the overall alignment of the parts which was a surprise given the excellent fit across the rest of the kit. The variable sweep wing mechanism is assembled using a number of screws to fix the mechanism and you can see the wing ‘tabs’ onto which the assembled wings slide which is another clever piece of design.

Assembly now moves on to the large rear section of the fuselage with its single piece lower half and two part upper half. Why the upper part is split is not clear and the joint area is extremely visible. Some adjustment was needed to obtain the invisible join that was required. Tamiya evidently has plans for other Tomcats as the modeller is required to cut away a small section of the fuselage to accommodate the engine exhausts. The pair of intakes are cleverly moulded so that is possible to assemble and paint the interior of the intakes prior to adding them to the fuselage. The precision of the design means that the intakes will then clip into position with hardly any visible gaps!

Once adjusted and glued some very slight sanding and engraving of the joint seam was needed to achive a fit that matched the rest of the upper fuselage.

Small fillets are trimmed away from top and bottom fuselage mouldings to accommodate the exhaust nozzles.

The lip of the jet intake is moulded separately and fits exactly!


The jet intakes interiors are sprayed white before they are masked and the exterior grey FS16440 is sprayed over the front sections.

The intakes fit so accurately that once clipped in position a minimal pass over the joints with Mr Cement S is all that is required!

It is the same story with the interconnection of the nose assembly and the rest of the fuselage. The nose has a substantial collar which slides into the fuselage, the two parts marrying up and aligning with such a satisfying precision that you will enjoy repeating it again and again and even showing your friends and family! It really is that good! A touch of Mr Cement S and drop in the remaining fuselage panels, which are again precision fits, and your fuselage is complete. A word about the wings now. All the control surfaces are moulded in place on the kit, a feature that has generated considerable angst from Across the kit part numbers are moulded in where it is helpful to differentiate identical parts, another thoughtful touch.

The Tomcat shows just how good a precision kit can be most especially with the intersection of the nose and fuselage. It is rare to assemble a kit where filler is not obligatory and such a pleasure!


those who want dropped flaps come what may. Whatever your opinion about this there is no denying the satisfaction of simply gluing the two part wings together and moving on!

The fit of the canopies is also very good, I primed mine with Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black.

The centreline moulding seam on the canopy has to be removed and it always feels wrong to introduce an abrasive to the beautiful moulding!

Base colours applied this shows the breakdown of the parts for the painting.

Fine abrasive sanding sponges restore the shine which is completed with Mr Hobby Fine polishing compound.

The Furrball Aero-Design decals were applied directly onto the gloss finish paint where the performed beautifully.

The design of the kit allows for the wings elevators and tail fins to be left separate which is a big help during painting. Before fitting the windscreen I had to apply the blue tint to the centre panel. This simple procedure proved to be anything but simple and I had to spray, clean and repeat about thirty times before I obtained a good clear tint inside the glazing, much to my frustration! With the canopies masked I could move on to the paint. I used Mr Hobby H315 ‘Gray’ FS16440. This was thinned with Mr Hobby Blue label thinners and dries with a gloss finish. I really dislike gloss finishes but this dried quickly and without any tackiness. Rather than using the kit decals which would need to be individually trimmed out I ordered Furball Aero-Design decals 48-021 which provides seven different Tomcat schemes and using the VF-111 ‘Sundowners’ scheme.

Above The precision panel lines really come into their own when an oil wash is applied to define them. The gloss finish paint is a great help in this procedure. Once the panel lines had been defined I began to add some subtle streaks and stains, again using oil paint to achieve this.

The high visibility scheme Tomcats seem to have been relatively clean although I did find a photo showing one in flight with quite a grubby underside, something I tried to replicate.


Once completed the wing slides onto the internal tab with the notch in the wing mating with a matching section of the tab. A dab of glue here is enough to lock them in place. The kit allows you model the wings fully open or fully swept and comes with two sets of the dark grey panels for each scenario. The sealing plates that overlap the wing (parts B23 & B24) have a block which locates them into the grey panels. I found it best to shave this off to obtain an easier fit of the sealing plates.


The exhaust nozzles were painted in a variety of Alclad colours over a primer coat of Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black. Colour variations and details were then added using Vallejo Metal Color. The grey metal areas were also given a

thin grey acrylic wash to tone down their metallic sheen creating a dull finish. Finally a dark oil wash was applied to pick out all the engraved line details....

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