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Darren Roberts

Something about the Tomcat I didn't know.

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It's amazing how you can study something for years and still miss a bit of information. There was a discussion on a Facebook group about the painting guide on the Tamiya kit. It calls for "natural metal" to the rear of the speed brakes and down either side of the fuel dump. It shows it for all three schemes. The thought was maybe it was just an Iranian thing. I did some digging, and was surprised to find out it seems there are a number of examples of gull gray over white Tomcats with this metal/gray area. Unless the photo is perfectly aligned, you can't see the area in question. I'm going to infer that it was there on all gull gray over white Tomcats. There's a picture of a VF-124 jet shown from the rear that was delivered in 1978 that has it. Here's the caveat. When the Tomcats went to the overall gull gray scheme, that area seems to have been painted. I couldn't find a single picture showing the metal/gray area. Again, I'm assuming that this area was overpainted in camo colors with the advent of the overall gull gray scheme. Now I have to go back and paint all my gull gray over white Tomcats.

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Yeah Darren I saw that little tidbit of info too. So even now we are still finding out new info. My first Tamiya kit will be a grey over white scheme so I will have to make sure I remember this.

 

Oh and if you are going to repaint your Tomcats in that area I guess we will see you next year? 🤣🤣

Edited by skyhawk174

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26 minutes ago, skyhawk174 said:

Yeah Darren I saw that little tidbit of info too. So even now we are still finding out new info. My first Tamiy kit will be a grey over white scheme so I will have to make sure I remember this.

 

Oh and if you are going to repaint your Tomcats in that area I guess we will see you next year? 🤣🤣

I actually don't have that many in the Gull Gray/White scheme...because I hate painting white! Most are in the overall Gull Gray or TPS schemes. They're easier to paint. 😊

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The Tamiya F-14A instructions pdf file doesn't show the natural metal area on the Vf-84 jet. They do show it on the VF-2 and Iranian aircraft but not on the underside. Now that you have pointed it out, I have managed to find it in a few pics. In those pics the top side is as shown in the Tamiya instructions. On the bottom, the metal area is a narrow line following the outer edges of the boat tail. On the part of the tail that includes the fuel dump, it is a wider line on left and right side.

Below are two photos where you can just see the "natural metal" areas. Interestingly, they are of the same aircraft that Tamiya provides decals for and the instructions show the metal areas.

 

2736

 

2738

 

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2 hours ago, Darren Roberts said:

I actually don't have that many in the Gull Gray/White scheme...because I hate painting white! Most are in the overall Gull Gray or TPS schemes. They're easier to paint. 😊

 

I should go have a look at your line up when you had them in Phoenix. I actually took some pictures of your wonderful display.

 

Also, I agree with you about the white. However I think I have it sorta figured out now. What I do is spray a flat white and then do a couple light coats with gloss or just wait until I am doing my overall gloss coat. I find I get a better finish doing it this way. I wnat to build more airliner so that white paint issue was in the way.

 

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2 hours ago, Mstor said:

The Tamiya F-14A instructions pdf file doesn't show the natural metal area on the Vf-84 jet. They do show it on the VF-2 and Iranian aircraft but not on the underside. Now that you have pointed it out, I have managed to find it in a few pics. In those pics the top side is as shown in the Tamiya instructions. On the bottom, the metal area is a narrow line following the outer edges of the boat tail. On the part of the tail that includes the fuel dump, it is a wider line on left and right side.

Below are two photos where you can just see the "natural metal" areas. Interestingly, they are of the same aircraft that Tamiya provides decals for and the instructions show the metal areas.

 

2736

 

2738

 

Nice shots! Look how clean that underside is (relatively speaking). That shows it to good effect. I had a guy on the Tomcat Association site confirm it that area as well.

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Thing is, in searching for this, I noted that many grey and white painted F-14's did not have this feature. I think it will have to be up to the person building the model to find reference pics of the bird they are painting, or barring that, just decide on their own whether to paint this feature.

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So it's airframe specific. That makes a bit harder. I've seen it conclusively on VF-32, -124, 143, and -211 jets. -24, 114, and 142 pictures I saw were inconclusive. It looked like it might be there, but I couldn't be sure.

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Yea, just one more thing to have to figure out. Fortunately for me, my F-14A has the early style boat tail, so I don't have to worry about no "natural metal" area. :709-457:

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On 3/15/2019 at 12:08 PM, Mstor said:

 

2738

 

Learned something else about the Tomcat that I didn't know, that the "staple" was older than I thought.

 

If you look at the center Sparrow missile trough, between station 4 LAU-92 and station 3's aft fin recess you will see a vertical line going across the trough, that's the staple. I thought the staple was an 80's mod done to older Tomcats, the above picture shows that it was done very early in the Tomcat's life. Since this photo was taken in Oct 76, the Tomcat was only in service for around 2 years and they already had structural issues that required Grumman to develop a fix.

 

The staple was a structural support beam but I don't recall the exact details about it, I just recall being told by an Airframer that is was a structural support beam. When I was in VF-101 (88-90) we had a hand full of birds (we had a total of 52 F-14A and A+'s when I was there) that had them. One thing for sure, they hurt like hell when you walk into the while walking down the tunnel at night.

 

One other thing, for aircraft with a staple, you could not load a Sparrow on station 4 (aft Sparrow station) since the staple blocked the nose of the missile from going up into the trough.You also could not load the aft weapons rails on aircraft that had a staple installed.

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1 hour ago, GW8345 said:

Learned something else about the Tomcat that I didn't know, that the "staple" was older than I thought.

 

If you look at the center Sparrow missile trough, between station 4 LAU-92 and station 3's aft fin recess you will see a vertical line going across the trough, that's the staple. I thought the staple was an 80's mod done to older Tomcats, the above picture shows that it was done very early in the Tomcat's life. Since this photo was taken in Oct 76, the Tomcat was only in service for around 2 years and they already had structural issues that required Grumman to develop a fix.

 

The staple was a structural support beam but I don't recall the exact details about it, I just recall being told by an Airframer that is was a structural support beam. When I was in VF-101 (88-90) we had a hand full of birds (we had a total of 52 F-14A and A+'s when I was there) that had them. One thing for sure, they hurt like hell when you walk into the while walking down the tunnel at night.

 

One other thing, for aircraft with a staple, you could not load a Sparrow on station 4 (aft Sparrow station) since the staple blocked the nose of the missile from going up into the trough.You also could not load the aft weapons rails on aircraft that had a staple installed.

Great info! Thanks for sharing it.

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Why only a certain amount of airframes received the staple I wonder. Was it a structural issue that Grumman later resolved after being identified and they fixed it on the assembly line? Now I'm curious if any D's got it too.

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Hm, when I started reading about the staple, I wondered if it was related to a structural issue we investigated in '86 or '87, but the staple is in the wrong location and predates the issue. One specific fuselage frame around the wing pivot was developing a crack in some airframes. One engineer developed a detailed 3D model in Patran--he had the frame sitting on his desk--while I worked on the loads. We found an excessive stress concentration due to too small a radius for the loading. I wasn't involved with the fix, and I don't recall how the problem was resolved.

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3 hours ago, Whiskey said:

Why only a certain amount of airframes received the staple I wonder. Was it a structural issue that Grumman later resolved after being identified and they fixed it on the assembly line? Now I'm curious if any D's got it too.

To my knowledge only the A had them, and they were older airframes.

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