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Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat – 21: Wings (VI)

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@Tomcat Trebor





Thank you all. Thank you so much !




Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 07

Main Fuselage (VI)


When I thought I had solved all the issues related to the air intakes (pic 68) - ie the two sets B1 / B10-B11 and B9 / B2-B3 - I realized that they do not fit well to the lower fuselage, despite what shown in the instructions (pic 69).






After another careful dry-fitting session, I had to choose between cutting some of the lower fuselage, cutting some of the upper edges of the B10-B11 and B2-B3 sub-assemblies, or trowing my Hasegawa Tomcat into the garbage. At the end, I decided to remove the areas shown in pics 70 and 71.





This operation has not been easy. Pics 72 and 73 show how, with the help of a photo-etched saw, I did it.






The following pic 74 shows the reworked, now shorter, lower fuselage part.




These other two pictures (pic 75 and 76) show the lower fuselage halfway in this process.






As you can see in pics 77, 78, and 79 the intake trunk sub-assembly is now clear from any fitting problem. As a result, my Tomcat won't fly into the garbage. At last not yet.







Edited by Lucio Martino
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I’m all caught up on this story now! Very nicely detailed and documented. Makes me wonder how i ever finished a model as a kid...it also reminded me of how frustrated I got when parts didn’t fit AT ALL. Cudos to you!

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  • 1 month later...

@coneheadff Yes

Yes, the surgery solved the problem. Now I can insert subassemblies  B10-B11 and B2-B3 either from the top or from the bottom of the lower fuselage without any problem. Thank you again for your attention


Just a short note to thank you for your nice words.




Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 08

Main Fuselage (VII)


The more I focus on this kit, the more I discover that my efforts to improve the air intakes are far from over. However, more on that in a future post because I need a break from the air intakes ordeal. Checking the upper fuselage, I can not precisely explain what it is wrong with the wing gloves of the Hasegawa kit, but they just do not look right, they just do not look the way they should. One good solution to improve this area would be using the etched aftermarket detail set released by A.M.U.R. Reaver (PE4804), but it is out of stock. Comparing the Hasegawa wing gloves with my references, they look simplified at least. To bring them up, the first thing I did was to remove an engraved line running along the outer edge. To this extent, some Mr. Surfacer Gunze 500 came very handy, as you can see in pic 79 and 80.






Wet sanding came next, having care not only to remove all the excess filler, but to somewhat reshape the entire area. Pics 81 and 82 show these two areas after wet sanding and after heavy engraving with a sharp needle of all the separate wing glove finger seals.






The fit between the inflatable bags, parts A10 and A11, and the upper fuselage is very flimsy. Positioned like in the pic 84 and 85, two small strips of Evergreen are enough to get these parts laying sturdy on the upper fuselage without any glue.






With this two parts firmly in position, I could address another important missing detail: the sealant stripes sandwiched between the wing gloves and the wings. I simulated these with few inches of .10X.120 Evergreen, carefully cut using as a reference photos and the Tamiya Tomcat. Pics 86 and 87 show these strips glued to the bottom edge of the upper fuselage.






At the end, fixing the missing sealant stripes was not so difficult. Not so difficult either is cutting and gluing six small pieces of Evergreen to imitate three small little things sitting in top of the each wing glove. Finally, with a 0.4 mm drill-bit I engraved the rivets running near the edge of the inflatable bags (pics 88, 89 and 90).










PS: I would like some feedback on the quality my pictures. Focus, too big, too small, to bright, too dark, etc.


Edited by Lucio Martino
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  • 2 months later...


@Tomcat Trebor



Thank you very much. I love your feedbacks.




Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 09

Main Fuselage (VIII)


From time to time my AMS becomes acute. That does not need much, let alone when it comes to something like you see in pic 91. G10 and G11, the upper walls of the air intakes, are clearly narrower than they should be to tightly meet parts B1 and B9. True, I reduced the thickness of the vertical walls of the air intakes because they look too thick, but not so much as to create such a gap. That the problem is even more manifest comparing parts G10 and G11 with the lower half fuselage, as shown by pic 92.






Something did not work well in the air intakes of my Hasegawa Tomcat, but I could not tell what. Checking the dimensions of parts G10 and G11 I have to say that they are fine because multiplied by 48, the 14.91 mm measured by my caliber equals 715.68 mm, a value close enough to the 744 mm of the Grumman Tomcat (pic 93 and 94).






At this point, getting bored of browsing the web and my books, I payed an inspirational visit to the Tomcat parked on the deck of the USS Yorktown (pic 95 and 96).






I am working on this kit mostly to challenge myself with old school techniques, not to build a perfect replica. In that case, I would have pick a Tamiya Tomcat, either in 1:48 or 1:32. Given that, I stopped counting rivets and I choose to do what I could to make the air intakes, if not accurate, at least looking somewhat better than out of the box. To this extent, I  sanded down even more the interior sides of parts B1 and B9 to wider the upper walls of the air intakes, and that was quite an easy job. Pics 97 and 98 show the un-modified and modified parts. At the end, I removed almost one mm for each side (pics 99 and 100).










To wider parts G10, G12, G11, and G13, I engraved a deep line with a needle guided by tape. Then, using one of my photo-etched saws I cut them in two half (pics 101 and 102). As you can see in pic 103, after sanding down their excessively thick edges, I glued them together by inserting some Evergreen .125X.060 strip. Pic 104 shows the final products, wider, longer, thinner and equipped with new edges made with Evergreen .060X.010 strip.










Next step was to wider the related sections of the lower semi-fuselage. As a guide for my needle I used a metal template for one side, and some tape for the other side because it was too narrow to use a metal template. Finally, I cut along the engraved lines using a photo etched saw (pic 105 and 106).






More from me soon.





Edited by Lucio Martino
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Finally I know why so few builds of this kit...




Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 10

Main Fuselage (IX)


Pic 107 shows the modified air intake upper surface. I rebuilt to a wider dimension the rear end of the air intake upper surface using some Evergreen stripes.




The modified and unmodified sides of the lower half of the fuselage, and parts D1 and D4, are shown in pic 108.




To get a better understanding of the overall shape and dimension of the air intakes, I needed to glue parts D1 and D4 to lower fuselage. Parts D1 and D4 are very rough. I clean them carefully, checking them continuously against the lower fuselage, nevertheless their joint needed few layers of Mr. Surfacer 500 to look acceptable (pics 109 and 110).






Finally, pics 111-115 show all these parts dry fitted outside and inside the air intake trunks.












Any feedback is welcome.


Edited by Lucio Martino
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I am amazed at the lengths you are going to to make this kit work. I have a couple Hasegawa F-14s but after watching this build I doubt I'll ever attempt one. But, your build is a testament to your perseverance and ingenuity.

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  • 1 month later...




Thank you all for following this build.




Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 11

Tails, Stabilizer, and Strakes (I)


Step 35 of this kit instructions is pretty disappointing (pic 116). According to Hasegawa, the stabilizer to the rear fuselage joint is a very weak and almost a randomic affair.





True, after getting together the fuselage halves we have a couple of holes (pic 118) in which inserting the short rods located on the internal side of the elevons (pic 117), but that is far from enough to assure a sturdy fit and, most important, the correct -3,5° dihedral.






To fix all this, the first thing I did was to lengthen the stabilizer rods using my beloved Testor liquid cement for plastic and some sprue of the same diameter (pic 119). 




Then I cut the two short pieces of brass tube that you can see in pic 120, and I glued them to the lower fuselage, using a generous amount of superglue, as you can see in pictures 121-123.









Pic 124 shows the short brass tube in position, and pic 125 shows no conflict with the internal rear fuselage parts. Then, I cut the lengthened stabilizer rods so to match the lenght of the brass tubes inserted in the fuselage (pic 126). At this point, the stabilizer rods are a little more than twice their original lenght.








The final product, in a temporary assembly, is shown in the following four pictures (pics 127-130).










Again, any feedback is welcome.

Edited by Lucio Martino
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Hi, Lucio!

This thread ought to be pinned somewhere; you'd make a fortune if you published it on your own.

Just one enquire; do you give the -3,5° dihedral angle to the short brass tubes or is the angle already present on the elevators plastic inserting rods?


17 hours ago, Fefster said:

Excellent work Lucio. Unfortunately the post was late to help me with my Hasegawa kit.


Ha! I thought someone has posted that he was away from modeling on the AMK Tomcat kit thread... :taunt:

It's never too late, Fefo.

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Keep going Lucio...it really looks great!!


Have you tried the beaver tail yet? I have always had a feeling that it looks weird. There is a hard kink between the top-aft fuselage part and the beaver tail part and that just doesn't look right.



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Is there anyone of the opinion that the Hasegawa kit is still worth the purchase? I'm a huge fan of the Tamiya and Monogram kits but I have an opportunity to pick up 3 Hasegawa's for the same price as 1 Tamiya F-14A. I want accuracy but also numbers as there are dozens of aircraft I want on my shelf still. 


After carefully reading Lucio's modifications and improvements I think that I have the skills to mimic some of the basic work he's completed so far however I'm still hesitant to pull the trigger on this kind of purchase as I know it can be a lot more work than originally intended.


My apologies if I come across as hijacking your build Lucio, I just thought this would be a relevant place to ask my question.  Please keep up the fantastic work as it really is an inspirational project.

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2 hours ago, Whiskey said:

Is there anyone of the opinion that the Hasegawa kit is still worth the purchase? I'm a huge fan of the Tamiya and Monogram kits but I have an opportunity to pick up 3 Hasegawa's for the same price as 1 Tamiya F-14A. I want accuracy but also numbers as there are dozens of aircraft I want on my shelf still. 

Unless you love a challenge and have the time to make adjustments or corrections, then no, it just isn't worth the hassle. 

Edited by Parabat
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I love watching this thread and am continuously impressed by your skill and attention to detail. Having built a bunch of the Hasegawa Tomcats, and correcting a few things, I still can only think the way to improve the Hasegawa kit is to build the Tamiya!  Hahahaha. 


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  • 4 weeks later...

First of all, let me thank you all for your attention and your kind words.




I am sorry to read that my post came late. In your opinion, what is the worst problem in building this kit?


@Hobbie Marsten

When lengthening the rods, I checked continuously to get that negative dihedral.



Yes, I will keep it up.


@Major Walt

Well, so far it is mostly an exercise in old modeling techniques.


@Tomcat Trebor

If you ever do that, what version and what markings are going to choose? Let me know, I am close to decide about camouflage and markings for this kit.



Yes, I have tried the beaver tail. I think that is way better to glue the two half tails before glueing together the upper and lower fuselages. Did not do it yet only because I have both the very early and the later one and still I do not know if building this tomcat as a very early machine or not.



I would not suggest you to buy three Hasegawa Tomcat. Maybe two would be a good idea: one as a collection item and the other to be built right away. In this case, I would suggest you to build your Tomcat in flight, with wings at air intake in the supersonic configuration, so to minimize building troubles.



I see your point. But, on the other hand, how could we ever like this hobby if we did not love challenges and loosing a lot of time?


@Brian P: Fightertown Decals

You are definitely right, building the Tamiya Tomcat is the only way to go to get a very accurate rendition of this aircraft. Nevertheless, I am having a lot of fun working on this kit and that is what matter the most to me.





Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 12

Cockpit and Wheels Wells (II)


Honestly, the Aires 1:48 F-14A cockpit detail set is irresistible, a big improvement to the Hasegawa kit. Just take a look at the following two pictures (131–132).






Given how roomy is the Tomcat cockpit most of this detail will be quite visible after closing the fuselages. However, fitting this chunk of resin between the Hasegawa forward fuselage parts (A4 and A12) is far from being easy. According to the instructions, the resin “bathtub” (part 11) must be heavily sanded to seat on top of the forward wheel assembly (pics 133).




Then, a kind of plastic ridge must be removed from the inside of the half forward fuselages, as you can see in pic 134.




Now that the “bathtub” floor was thin enough to stay clear of the front wheel wells, it became pretty clear that Aires never really intended to close his cockpit inside this kit because it is too wide (pic 135).




And this aires resin cockpit gets even wider if, following the instruction, parts 9 and 10 (pic 136) are glued to the “bathtub”.




There is only one good solution: sanding and scraping off all these plastic and resin parts. Pic 137 shows both half forward fuselages after cleaning away quite much of their interior and after gluing some short strips of Evergreen to support the resin cockpit. Pic 138 shows a finally much narrow Aires part 11.






After some dry fitting, I saw that getting all the hooks looking the canopy aligned was quite difficult. Pics 139-142 show how I cut and modified the hook related Aires parts and glued them to the cockpit sides. As you can see, all canopy hooks look aligned. It is a small detail, but given my Advanced Modeler Syndrome...










Pics 143-146 show all this assembly dry fitted.










Next pic (147) show how the now much narrow resin cockpit fits now inside the Hasegawa fuselage.




Finally, pic 148 shows the outcome of another dry fitting session.



Edited by Lucio Martino
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  • Lucio Martino changed the title to Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat – 21: Wings (VI)

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