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Top Gun 1986 F-14A (Tamiya 1/48 - in-flight twin build))


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What better time to start a build than the beginning of a new year (and decade)!    And what better way to start the year than to build!  : )   I actually have a flaps-down 747 project as well to get back to.   I'll try to juggle between the two so I can utilize wait times.

 

During the holidays I watched Top Gun again in anticipation of the one that's coming up and I sure miss those weather-beaten Tomcats.  Taking advantage of the holiday season to get away with some purchases, I treated myself to  aftermarket F-14 cockpits ---  and a couple kits to build around them : )   I’m building these really to find out how easy it would be to close up the Tamiya gear doors and to see what else needs fixing on my Hasegawa build.  After examining the parts, though, I’m sold on these Tamiya Tomcats and may not go back  : )    I would like to compare the forward fuselages, though, with the Hasegawa Tomcats once built.

                                       

Photo of two Tomcat kits thirsty for some loving care:

 

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And a photo I snapped of another thirsty Tomcat, visibly guilty after getting caught lapping up aquarium water:

 

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I've yet to find a way to keep him away from it -- and the guppies.

  

I worked on the more difficult tasks first to get them over with.   I just knew I’d have trouble cutting off the resin blocks under the ejection seats, so I started with those. 

 

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To shape the lower edges I used a cutting wheel to remove material right behind where I wanted to score the outline then broke off the excess.

 

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More on the cockpit later.  Turned my attention to the gear doors.  At first I thought all you need to do is cut off the hinges and the gear doors close up magically.  Maybe I expected too much. On the main wheel opening there is a lip that will not mesh with the door. 

 

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I could either remove the lip or create a stepped edge on the door – chose the latter.  Made a scraper from a cutter blade with the tip broken off glued onto a piece of styrene to provide a “stop”.

 

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Next came these smaller doors.  The hinges had to be removed and the sides cut off.  And the depressions will need filling. 

 

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Not too clean -- should do a better job on the next set.  Also the lips won’t mesh without some scraping:

 

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So I had another go with the scraping tool. Just had to be careful about how much material is removed.  At some point I had to follow through with some sanding.

 

 

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The leg doors were the easiest to work on as there weren't any lips to fix but I made a mistake and cut off the hinges entirely, creating small openings that will need puttying.  Should’ve just cut them off to a certain length and sanded to shape -- will make sure I do it right on the next set of doors.  Photos show visible hinges on the closed leg doors:

  

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Also, I was wondering about that gap between the wheel door and the smaller door.   When I checked some photos there really is a gap! : )

 

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More on gear doors later.   Assembled the wing sweep mechanism and made a major booboo.  I skimmed through the instructions and had it all down pat, or so I thought.  I didn’t realize the little cone-shaped part for the wing pivot had a notch.  And I missed the fact that the screws weren’t all the same size.   With the little cone askew, I screwed down the wing pivot with an 8mm where I should have used a 6mm.   First screw of the build and first screw-up.  I tightened it with as much force as I use on RC cars.  The molded-on screw tube broke off from the root (!) and I managed to push out a little material from the good side of the hull : (    I missed taking a photo out of panic but here’s one after fixing.   Had to glue on the cylinder and cone permanently.  

 

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Carefully attached the other screws:

 

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Worked on the intakes.  Not sure if the ejector pin marks will be visible but patched them up with some Apoxie Sculpt anyway.  Fashioned a long putty knife from a razor blade and styrene rod to reach them easily.

 

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Puttied and sanded the ones on the intake ramps as well:

 

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Slit the ends of the actuators for more believable hinges.

 

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And that's where I'm at so far.

Edited by crackerjazz
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Thanks, Mongoose!  : )

 

Glued the ramps on.  Weathered them a little while they’re easier to reach.  

 

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Also painted the slanted white sections of the intakes.   Was looking for some references and the white areas seem to vary in shape. In some F-14D photos the forward end of the white area seemed higher just like the Tamiya F-14D masks.   The F-14A kit didn't include any slanted masks but in some F-14A walkarounds the small end seemed level with the panel line near lip so that’s what I followed. Was really hoping either the Sundown scene or where Pete Mitchell was climbing down the ladder would reveal some intake detail but was disappointed.  They should make it a point to show scenes with such details – for the modelers in the viewing crowd : )

 

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Hi BastianD, thanks!  Cool EA-6B, nice progress! : )  Hey, John, thanks! : )

 

Glued on the main doors that I haven't re-shaped the lips on by mistake  : (      Had to score the lips and break them off completely.   

 

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Glued on some supports for the small door:

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This door doesn't sit right:

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Had to shave down this edge for the door to fit better:

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Had to fill the depressions with some styrene and sanded down.  I should've done this before gluing the door on  :  (

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Alternatively this edge can be shaved down:

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And the door sits so much better:

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I'm not sure if you guys had the same issue with pieces K14 and K15 in that they they don't fit flush to the surface and the gaps aren't that tight? I had to shave down the plastic where it glues onto for Tomcat 1 and had to push on both ends to seal the gaps.

 

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But had to do a little sanding for Tomcat 2.  The plastic  sands really easily.

 

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I might try the same for Tomcat 1 -- just a tiny bit along the sides.

Edited by crackerjazz
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I love your in-flight builds. They very inspiring. I am still in awe with your Hasegawa Tomcat nozzles. What happened to that build? I am really looking forward to your magic in this one too. 

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If i may, I know it's a little late but for informational purposes, ramp number 3 (the one closest to the engine) is completely gloss white, only ramps 1 and 2 have grey on the outside and white on the inside.

Edited by GW8345
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Hi Janissary, thanks for checking in!   The Hasegawa Tomcats have sealed canopies now -- thanks to my mindless decision to glue them on -- with Tamiya glue at that -- and now I couldn't clean the dust specks that have started building up on the inner walls of the canopy : (   So there they are on the shelf of doom : (   And it's hard to go back once you get your hands on these Tamiyas : )

 

GW8345, great info, thanks!  I re-checked the reference pics and you're right about ramp No. 3.  How could I have missed that.  And the sideplates look gray?  No, it's not too late.   I haven't closed up the fuselage so I still have access to them and may still be able to remove them by drilling out the glue points.   Thanks again!   I could have sworn seeing half-and-half Ramp 3's somewhere, though, with white tops and gray bottoms, because my first thought was how to mask the sideplates which looked gray.   And now when I checked  there they are --- in the Daco book.  I see they're F-110 engines, though, and not TF-30's so maybe the Ramp No. 3 with gray undersides were done only on F-14Bs or Ds?

 

Also noticed something Tamiya may have missed -- the sideplates on ramps 1 and 2.   Hasegawa cats have them on all ramps and on 2 they curve inwards towards the end like in the pics I see.   Tamiya seems to have missed the sideplates  and have that little extension in the end.    This one's kind of tough for me to correct now since I've glued them on securely.

 

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Edited by crackerjazz
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The side flanges on the ramps will be the same color of the ramps with the very ends being a light grey, the end were rubber seals.

 

I looked in the DACO book, it does show the ramp 3 grey, I don't recall seeing any grey ramp 3's. Going by the DACO book I would just say leave it grey and not worry about changing the color.

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Ichitoe, thanks!  Hi GW8345, it's ok I was able to free them by drilling out the glue points.  Good thing I didn't glue them any more than was necessary.

 

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For repainting to all white:

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Some weathering:

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Experimented on building stators for the compressor:

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Edited by crackerjazz
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Ok I scrapped the idea of scratchbuilding the stator blades.  I noticed the blades would move out of position overnight way after the glue has dried.  Or it probably takes a while for the melted plastic to settle.   I tried twice wetting the glue and shifting the blades back into position but the same thing would happen the next day so I finally threw my hands up and decided to just glue the compressor faces on.    I should've painted around the fan assembly with some black to depict the space around it;  too late for that now as they're fixed on permanently with the Tamiya glue.   They do  become hard to see, though, once they're buried deep inside the intake ducts unless you purposely shine a light to look at them.    I'm trying to learn not to get so obsessed with detailing hidden parts.

 

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Installed mounting tubes.   It was painful for me to drill the cat's flank even though I've done it before.   It's never easy to mangle a perfectly smooth surface.    But I guess that's one of the drawbacks of wanting to mount a model.

 

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When I test-fitted the cover it wouldn't go on because of the mounting tube  :gr_eek2:.   I had to do some painful cutting again.   The previous ones I did were on the Hasegawa with a somewhat different setup.

 

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Dry fitting...

 

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I finally found the poly caps I thought I lost so I should be able to button up the rear fuselage soon. 

Edited by crackerjazz
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Fabulous detailing as usual! I really like the weathering you did in the inlets! Taking notes here....I have another Tammy cat in the pipe this year 😄

Keep up the great work!

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Hi, Steve, thanks for following along!   : )    Hi Aigore, thanks!  Hopefully I can come up with a nice grubby cat.  Looking forward to your build!

 

Rear fuselage sections all buttoned up.   

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There are some seams that will need filling -- the glove vane area and as well as along the side of the aft section:

 

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Some trimming is required for the rear but the instructions need some updating, I think.   I trimmed a little too much at the top:

 

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There should be a rectangular piece left at the top, though.  I think it's best to follow the panel lines and cut along those.   

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Also, I got myself into a pickle by not gluing on these little guys first before attaching the intakes.   The manual doesn't really require that they go on first but I saw a guy on youtube do just that and they went on nicely.   

 

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The insides needed a lot of trimming.

 

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There's a little step -- hopefully I could correct it with some Apoxie Sculpt.

 

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The Fightertown decals arrived -- two gorgeous sets.

 

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Got a bottle of Mr. Surfacer 1000 and was able to try it on the fuel tank seams.  The seams are really narrow but might show with the wash so I filled them anyway.

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There are 2 types of rear caps provided in the kit.  I'm not sure which one to use for the movie cats but from what I see in the screencap it looks like they've got the earlier style caps with that dome in the middle?

 

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I can hardly make out the shape of the end cap but it does seem like there's a dome in there, doesn't it?

Edited by crackerjazz
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Hi weirich1, yes the decals are just beautiful.   Can't wait to slap them onto the model.   Hi Brett, yeah it does seem like it.   I'll throw out the question to the other guys as well.   I just saw this other photo that might show it more clearly (if there were a higher resolution copy of it).

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Going by the pictures you posted here and the time period, the tanks did not have the end caps installed, ie. they had the rounded (dome) ends.

 

The rounded ends were common in the 80's (but there were tanks with the end caps around), starting in the early 90's they would have the end caps installed.

 

hth

GW

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