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a4s4eva

1/48 F-14B Cockpits - Aires vs Avionix

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I'm in the process of building a F-14B, I had the Avionix Bombcat cockpit and the Aires F-14B set but couldn't find a good comparison on the web anywhere so I thought I'd write one up.

Here's a comparison between the Avionix and Aires Cockpits.

First the tub Aries is grey, Avionix is cream

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-07.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-06.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-08.jpg

I took this one after all the others as the flash washed out the Avionix Resin

(ignore the white plastic in the bottom, I cut the casting block a bit to close.

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-11.jpg

The main difference I noted was the size of the display unit/controller on the Aft cockpit right hand side. After comparing both to the photos in the Daco book I'd say the Aires one is the more accurate of the 2. But I don't know if on Bombcat's this was different from vanilla F-14's (FWIW the Daco book doesn't say so).

As you can see the Aires has the rear shelf as part of the tub whereas this a separate part on the Avionix. The Aires has a broken bit for the seat seal.

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-13.jpg

I prefer the Aires approach as the The Avionix parts don't align well (note the large pipe on the right side from the deck that goes down behind the seat

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-15.jpg

I'd read the Avoinix is easier to fit. Here you can see the Avionix and Aires are pretty much the same size so I have to doubt there will be any significant differences.

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-04.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-05.jpg

Next are the seats

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-01.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-02.jpg

The Aires Seats have PE belts which I hate. The Avionix Seats look a little anaemic. I'd have to compare these to some photos. At least these appear to the GRU-7A seats used on the F-14B

For both sets I'll probably spend another $10 and replace with the Quickboost seats (assuming they fit)

Edited by a4s4eva

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Next is the front shroud

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-10.jpg

The Avionix one is a little narrow and short when dry fitted to the kit. There is a difference in the HUD projection detail as well. Neither of these look like the images in the DACO book. The Avoinix does have some resin parts for the HUD pieces though

The Aires has a full panel whereas Avionix is a 2 piece affair (it has a broken bit). However, as pointed out below, the Avionix set depicts a F-14D front IP.

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-12.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-14.jpg

Onto the rear shroud

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-09.jpg

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-03.jpg

The biggest disappointment of the Aires set is the rear IP. It's is simply the F-14A piece with the round Tactical Information Display (TID). Although I believe this is accurate for a very early F-14B , it's not much use for most F-14B's people will be building, and no good for a Bombcat. The Avionix set also has the GPS box on the shroud, this is only shown in the Daco book as fitted to F-14D "Bombcats". Was it fitted to F-14B Bombcats???

The Aires F-14D set has the right display on rear IP and the GPS box on the upper shroud so Aires (if they cared) could have used that in their F-14B set (and told you remove the GPS box).

Sidewall detail

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-16.jpg

Again , the Avionix set depicts the F-14D configuration, not the F-14B. The fit of the these parts to the tub on the Avionix set fit is poor (I had trouble fitting these). The Aires detail is better and fit looks better to the tub

I've not photographed out all of the small pieces, Both sets have a lot of tiny fragile details but the cream Avionix resin seams much more brittle than the Aires stuff.

My Conclusions

1. Casting Quality/Detail - The Aires set is definitely superior to the Avionix set. Plus IMO the PE instrument panels result in nice finish. I do hate PE seat belts though

2. Accuracy - Both have issues. Your call

3. Instructions - Both are pretty woeful. But that seems to be par for the course for these type of things. What is annoying is that companies go to great lengths to create these sets with wonderful detail then skimp on the instructions. Noting their price, and the complexity of fitting these to a kit, I'd expect a instruction sheet to tell what parts of the kit need to be removed and where the part should sit in relation to the kit parts. That shouldn't be to much to ask.

4. - Overall - Knowing what I know now, if I had purchase one or the other I think I'd go for Aires and scratch the rear square TID. The primary reason is the a casting quality and fine detail. Having fitted both, there is no difference in ease of fitment

If you're still with me, and you're interested, I've decided to use the Avionix set, because I already have it. That is why I've made comments on its fit. After reading the comments below I'm trying to get the sidewalls off...

Here's the box

F-14B-Cockpit-Aries-vs-Avionix-17.jpg

In my set it appears Avionix have simply added F-14D parts to F-14A/B seats and called it a F-14B Bombcat Deluxe set. I did think there may have been a mix up where some F-14D parts were mixed up with F-14B sets but the instructions are labelled F-14B and they show the same parts I've received (rear IP etc)

Edited by a4s4eva

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Nice to see this comparison but I believe that the Avionix set was either mis-labeled or something as it looks more like an F-14D cockpit. The glaring indicators being the box on top of the RIO Shroud, which only appears on the D and the Multi Function Display screen set-up for the pilot's IP. Check the DACO book, or the walkarounds here on ARC and you'll see what I mean.

Denis

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Both aft left panels are wrong for a Bombcat. Don't have my references here, but the most obvious thing missing is the LANTIRN control stick and the panel.

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Both aft left panels are wrong for a Bombcat. Don't have my references here, but the most obvious thing missing is the LANTIRN control stick and the panel.

Thanks, I'm only going on what I received in the box. But it's another reason not to purchase this set then if they can't even put the right parts in box.

The Lantirn control stick and panel are part of the "Deluxe Bombcat update set". I have that set as well. I'll photograph that in detail when I get the chance.

Nice to see this comparison but I believe that the Avionix set was either mis-labeled or something as it looks more like an F-14D cockpit. The glaring indicators being the box on top of the RIO Shroud, which only appears on the D and the Multi Function Display screen set-up for the pilot's IP. Check the DACO book, or the walkarounds here on ARC and you'll see what I mean.

Denis

Hi Denis

Glad the comparison is of some interest. Noting the price of both these sets hopefully people will be able to make a better decision knowing what is there or not. I wish someone had done this before I wasted the money on avionix set

I have the Daco Book and noticed that the F-14B photos didn't have the GPS controller shown. The text for the F-14D image with the GPS controllers notes that this was fitted to "Bombcats". I've assumed that those F-14B's which are "Bombcats" have this as well. But from what you're saying this isn't correct?

I do agree with your conclusion re the front IP. I will update the post to reflect

Edited by a4s4eva

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Nice to see this comparison but I believe that the Avionix set was either mis-labeled or something as it looks more like an F-14D cockpit. The glaring indicators being the box on top of the RIO Shroud, which only appears on the D and the Multi Function Display screen set-up for the pilot's IP. Check the DACO book, or the walkarounds here on ARC and you'll see what I mean.

Denis

I agree that the front and rear IP's are D variant.

If it is a mis-labelled set, they've included GRU-7 seats instead of the SJU-17's.

A pity.

Edited by Parabat

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I agree that the front and rear IP's are D variant.

If it is a mis-labelled set, they've included GRU-7 seats instead of the SJU-17's.

A pity.

It's definitely labelled F-14B Bombcat Deluxe Cockpit set...

This comparison appears to have been a waste of my time :)/> . I wonder if I can get those sidewalls of my model ...... I now wish I'd used the Aires set.

Edited by a4s4eva

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This comparison appears to have been a waste of my time :)/>/> . I wonder if I can get those sidewalls of my model ...... I now wish I'd used the Aires set.

Not a waste of your time, it's the first time I've seen a comparison done, so thank you. I do wonder if there was a mix up though, the Avionix/Black Box stuff is reasonably well regarded, so I can't see them dropping the ball to the extent of getting so much mixed up.

The ONLY model to have the sensor slaving panel above the RIO's IP cover, so logically it can't be a B cockpit set, but the A and B had the GRU-7 seats, so it can't be a D.

Edited by Parabat

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Not a waste of your time, it's the first time I've seen a comparison done, so thank you. I do wonder if there was a mix up though, the Avionix/Black Box stuff is reasonably well regarded, so I can't see them dropping the ball to the extent of getting so much mixed up.

The ONLY model to have the sensor slaving panel above the RIO's IP cover, so logically it can't be a B cockpit set, but the A and B had the GRU-7 seats, so it can't be a D.

I agree that this was not a waste of your time. Tomcat lovers like myself, who have not yet ventured into the resin cockpit arena really appreciate the effort. I really hope that this is simply a miostake in mixed up parts and that Avionix didn't simply swap ejection seats with an F-14D Bombcat set and call it a B. Also, as noted above the box on the RIO's IP cover is called a Sensor Slaving Panel.

The Aries pit look good for an F-14A & F-14B Pre-Bombcat since there is no PTID and Sparrowhawk HUD. I think this could be a good thread for people to add in other "Bombcat" resin cockpits in order to help the modeller find the pit they need.

Denis

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It's definitely labelled F-14B Bombcat Deluxe Cockpit set...

This comparison appears to have been a waste of my time :)/>/> . I wonder if I can get those sidewalls of my model ...... I now wish I'd used the Aires set.

Or as an alternative you could correct the Avionix set by removing the Sensor Slave Panel and fixing the Pilot's IP since that one has the Sparrowhawk HUD of later F-14Bs. Maybe use kit parts for the Pilot's IP but keep the Resin shroud?

Good reference pics here: http://www.arcair.com/awa02/1001-1100/walk1054-F-14-Hall/00.shtm

Denis

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Thanks gents. That waste of time comment didn't quite come out right.

I'm just a bit annoyed with myself in that I took these a few weeks ago, before I started my build and decided to use the Avionix set.I should have done this earlier :)

I've pulled the sidewalls out and destroyed them in the process, I've also now got some repairs to do in the fuselage piece.:(/>

Edited by a4s4eva

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Thanks for the review. Cheers for taking the time to post it :thumbsup:

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The seats need to be replaced for sure. Verlinden is the only resin company that has truly and accurately captured the GRU-7A for the F-14. The fleet jets didn't have those ribbed cushions and I still can't figure out why the resin companies are casting them that way.

Verlinden's seat is accurate all the way in size and shape. Hell, even their seat belts which are molded in are accurate.

Both of those pit sets are set up for early B configs, but the LTS upgrade panel can be easily created.

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