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

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After a long break, time has come to resume this project, but first I want to thank once again all those of you who have visited this thread and, in particular, I would like to greet a great modeler and friend, Jeff Newton, whom I had the privilege of meet some time ago here in South Carolina, in Simpsonville.






Improving Hasegawa 1:48 Tomcat - 14

Tails, Stabilizers, and Strakes (II)


One of the many inaccuracies of the 1:48 Hasegawa Tomcat is the insufficient deep and length of the ventral strakes. Fixing this detail proved more complicated than expected. Photo 159 compares the Hasegawa strake (part E11) with a profile drawn in pencil of the equivalent Tamiya part, whose dimensions are correct. 




I thought that all I needed to do to fix the strakes was to add some plasticard to the top edge of the strakes. So, I had to remove their pins  (pic 160), flatten their edges (pic 161), and then firmly glue an Evergreen stripe (pic 162). 








The next pics (163, 164, 165 and 166) show the following steps, from cutting the excess part of the Evergreen stripes using the Tamiya strakes as a reference, to the final sanding.










Given that my strakes had not only become deeper but are also, and rightly, longer than before, the  panel line running close to the air intake on each strake did not match anymore the related engine trunk panel. Of the possible solutions to this little problem, I have chosen one which is perhaps not the most accurate but not the most complex either. At the end, my goal in this project is to improve my Hasegawa Tomcat, not to build a perfect replica. So, Evergreen came again to the rescue and pics 167, 168, and 169 explain how a 2 mm wide stripe saved the day:








In the next two pics, a modified strake sitting on top of an engine trunk (part B11). As you can see, now the ends of each strake, and the panel line near the air intake, they all match with the three relative engine trunk panel lines, like they are supposed to.






To be continued (soon).

Edited by Lucio Martino
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@ Rich,

Happy to know that I am keeping this thread both entertaining and informative. That's my goal.

Thank you !


@ Robert, 

The good thing about this kit is that most of its inaccuracies can be fixed. However, my next 1:48 Tomcat will be a Tamiya... no question.

Sure, I am going to add the tiny parts hanging down the rear end of these strakes, but much ahead in the build because they "belong" more to the engine trunks than to the strakes. Not easy to get a good picture of these things on the web. Here is one I took last summer on the USS Yorktown:




@ Jeff, 

I had no plan to go back to Italy until next fall, so I am sheltering in place here in Columbia.

As far as I know, no decision has been made yet regarding postponing or cancelling the Third Annual South Carolina Scale Model Mega Show (https://scmegashow.com). I have been there last year, it was great, and I do hope we can meet there in June.

In the meantime, stay safe.


@ Aigore,

Great job on your Mig-23M !









Improving Hasegawa 1:48 tomcat - 15

Main Fuselage (XI)


The NACA air intake on the left side of each intake trunks is a barely visible detail but it is misshaped and not deep enough. Reshaping this detail to a more accurate standard is overkill. Just improving its depth is much easier and faster. As you can see from the following photos (172, 173, and 174), first I thinned as much as possible of their inside, then with a very sharp blade I opened them up and, finally, I glued behind them some specially shaped plasticard triangles. Not a perfect, but better than out of the box.








Next post will be focusing on the left forward fuselage side. In my opinion is the worst area of this kit.




Edited by Lucio Martino
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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a wonderful build account, filled with intelligence and skill. I am enjoying this so much.

And it is very inspiring. 

Thank you so much.... can't wait for more.

I have this kit for years. What drew me to it was the control surfaces in the kit. I love a plane with its flaps/slats clearly presented. 

And of course I thought a Hasagawa kit would be very accurate... silly me.


Well, keep safe and well, Lucio.

See you soon I hope.


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It took me a little time, but I finally made it to your thread. And, I'm not in the least-bit

disappointed. Your patience and attention to details are inspiring, to put it mildly. The

modifications are extremely well done, and simply look phabulous. No doubt, this kit

from Hsaegawa has been made much better, with your improvements & renovations.

The manner in which you've decided to showcase the process, by utilizing both great

looking photos and an easy to understand narrative - speaks volumes of getting your

message across to your audience. Continued success, I'll be following your build and

looking forward to seeing the finished model... and what a "Looker" it will be!

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First of all, I would like to thank Tomcat Trebor, Randy, Wardog, and The Underdog for their attention and nice words. I admire your work, and I have to say that I am not at your the skill levell. I just want to improve this kit using quite old school techniques, not to build a perfect replica.


But thank you again, it is great to know that this thread is enjoyable.







Improving Hasegawa 1:48 tomcat - 16

Forward Fuselage (I)


Since I started thinking about working on this kit, my goal was a very early F-14A. However, the first Tomcats differ from other early Tomcats for a many detail, such as the flat tail, no L shaped stiffeners on vertical stabilizers, no pitot tube, and the seven-door gun panel. You can see the Hasegawa interpretation of all these parts in pic 175 and 176.






Until not long ago my favorite choice was one of the very first Tomcat deployed aboard the USS Enterprise in 1976, but I changed my mind on a later aircraft of the early Eighties, equipped with a two-door gun panel, pitot tube, L shaped tail stiffeners, later beaver tail, and no TCS. All these other Hasegawa parts are shown in the next two pics, 177 and 178.






When building this kit, a choice to be made relatively early is whether to leave open the panel doors on the left side of the fuselage (part A12) or not. In this case, the Hasegawa portrayal of the M-61 is so disappointedly basic (pic 179) as to make mandatory the use of a super detail set.




So, I dug deep into of my stash looking for a detail set released too many years ago by Verlinden (pic 180) which also brings a very much needed multipart resin and photo-etched seven-door gun panel, because that one provided by Hasegawa is, in my opinion, unacceptable.




In the end, I spared myself all this super detailing work closing down the gun panels and also the access ladder panel. The only thing I left open, after consulting with GW8345, was the aft step, the one closest to the air intake because I want to leave the canopy open and closing them both, while possible, was less common. GW8345 is an incredible source of knowledge and I need to thank him for sharing that with me. According to the instructions (pic 181), five parts are needed to button up the fuselage left side.




To complicate matters further, my kit is a pre-owned item that I got many years ago. Form its original owner, it has been equipped of all the alternative parts needed for building any Tomcat version, from A to D, but it lacks part A6. So, I used part E20, the one foreseen for the later versions of the F-14. I just needed to fill up its NACA air intake with some bit of Evergreen stripe. Unfortunately, only of one these five parts fit passably well, exactly the access ladder panel, part F45. To blend everything together, I had to use some tiny stripes of Evergreen and a lot of super glue instead of my usual Testors Liquid Cement, so to be able to engrave all the related panels (pics 181-185). 










Going from bad to worse, the prominent gun bulges on parts A15 and A6 are misshaped. Both are shorter and the aft one is also less elliptical than it should be. So, I have had no choice but to improve them, resorting to my hobby knives, abrasive sticks, and beloved Milliput (pic 186).




However, before dealing with the bulges it was time to open the two slots on the lower left side of the fuselage, which in this kit are only hinted at. Pics 187, 188, and 189 show how I did it.








Reshaping the gun forward bulge was easier that I first thought (pics 190-193).










The other bulge was somewhat more challenging. To get as accurate as possible, I cut some 010 Evergreen sheet using a Tamiya Tomcat as a reference. And then, before resorting again to my knives and sanding sticks, I traced the correct bulge on my Hasegawa fuselage, as you can see in pics 194 and 195.






Finally, pics 196-202 show, from multiple angles, the modified bulges and the left side forward fuselage after re-engraving all panel lines. Still there is some work to do in this area, some filling and sanding, but the most is done and before doing anything else I need to spray on this area a thin layer of primer and that is something I do not plan to do before working on a couple of other area of this kit.






















Any kind of feedback, including unconstructive criticism, is very welcome.




Edited by Lucio Martino
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12 minutes ago, Brett M said:

No criticism from me, nice work! I assume you’ll clean the vents up later?😉


Thank you!


I need to do some minor filling and sanding in this area before dealing with the vents. However, I won't do much more than cleaning them from the sanding dust because these vents are very, but very, fragile and I feel that a dark wash will be enough to bring them to life.

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52 minutes ago, Brett M said:

No criticism from me, nice work! I assume you’ll clean the vents up later?😉


I agree with Brett, "who am I in being critical?" You handled the task and modifications

in a splendid manner, looks like they were there to start with. And, I was thinking about

the Vents needing to be cleaned-up just a bit. But, you've seemed to have addressed it

with applying the Wash.

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4 hours ago, The Underdog said:


I agree with Brett, "who am I in being critical?" You handled the task and modifications

in a splendid manner, looks like they were there to start with. And, I was thinking about

the Vents needing to be cleaned-up just a bit. But, you've seemed to have addressed it

with applying the Wash.


I just want to thank you for your very welcome message. I am doing my best, but the true is that I do not have the stamina and the skills of some the excellent modelers crowding this forum (like Wardog, just to give an example), to cut these vents off and to scratch building some new.


In this, like in any other build, I need to stop somewhere, I need to say to myself "good enough". When it comes to this kit gun vents this is one of these cases.


On the other hand, especially after checking the pics, I saw few other small flaws in this area that I am planning to address, but first I want to deal with "another" critical area of this kit, the joint between the upper and lower fuselage and the upper and lower component of the beaver tail.


And then I want to spend some time on the other projects now on my workbench (Trumpeter 1:48 SM79 and 1:35 T-80; Academy 1:72 Tempest; Hasegawa 1:72 F-15) because I enjoy jumping from a project to another...




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What you did with the gun panels is spot on, looks like the real thing.


And as far as your skills, don't sell yourself short, you have the skills of a Master Modeller.

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Right now I don't have much documentation with me (I left on the other side of the ocean my Daco Book) and browsing the Web I did not find pictures good enough:

1) To asses if the Hasegawa step/door compartment is deep enough:

2) To detail the Hasegawa airbrake upper and lower compartments:


Any help is very welcome



Edited by Lucio Martino
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/1/2020 at 6:50 PM, GW8345 said:

What you did with the gun panels is spot on, looks like the real thing.


And as far as your skills, don't sell yourself short, you have the skills of a Master Modeller.


Dear GW8345,


Thank you, thank you very much !

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First of all,

My special thanks to Toki71 for his help.

On 5/6/2020 at 11:10 PM, Brett M said:

Hi Lucio

The Hasegawa step looks pretty shallow, but when I look at photos of the actual jets, they seem to match.


Dear Brett M,

Very useful comment. thank you.



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First of all, I need to thank Toki71 for his very appreciated help





Improving Hasegawa 1:48 tomcat - 17

Tails, Stabilizers, and Strakes (III)


When I thought that - finally - there was nothing else to improve in the fuselage, my Tomcat Hasegawa gave me another surprise. The speed brake compartment is not acceptable as it is out of the box. The temptation to close everything was strong, also because the fit of the E14, E26 and E27 doors is particularly good. In the end, I decided to leave everything open and improve the aspect of this area, but not much, just a bit. In addition, given that I am planning to build this kit as an early F-14A (no TCS, no ECM bulges), but at my disposal, I have only parts D15 and D30, that is to say those with the prominent tail bulge (instead of the required parts D13 and D25) I strengthened from the inside part D30 with some Milliput and then I filed away the bulge. Immediately afterwards, I realized that the lower compartments of the speed brake and its doors are about three millimeters too long. Reducing the length of parts E26 and E27, and gluing the bits thus obtained to part D30, was not really difficult (see pics 206, 207, 208, and 209).











At this point, it became necessary to dress up the door compartments. Evergreen came handy, again, as you can see in pics 210 and 211. Rivets were simulated using a ruler and a needle into a in wise.






After checking the great DACO book dedicated to this aircraft, I sanded down to a more proper scale appearance the “bars” of part D15 (pic 212), removed one of these “bars” (pic 213 and 214), and then glued a couple of short Evergreen stripes as shown in pic 215.








Next pic, 216, shows the inside of modified parts D15 and D30, while pic 217 shows modified parts D15 and D30 momentarily assembled.






As usual, any feedback is welcome.



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

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