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Mirror, mirror on the wall who makes the best 1/72 Tomcat of them all?


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Dear Fellow Modellers

 

There maybe a thread you can direct me too, but what is the consensus on who makes the most attractive F-14 Tomcat in 1/72.  I think I last made one from Airfix in the early 1970s (oops)

 

Thanks

Andrew

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Don’t forget the GWH kit. I haven’t built it yet, but it looks great in the box and the online reviews seems to be good. It seems the GWH and Fine Molds are similar in detail options and ease of build (seems they’re a bit complex, but fit well). 

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7 hours ago, Winnie said:

Academy!! their new one looks a treat for sure!!

I've received it several days ago and it looks very nice indeed.

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Thank you colleagues!

 

So Fine Molds, GWH and Academy get good marks from you all.  I've noticed some Hasegawa F-14s' being available for good prices.  Would you advise me to steer clear of the Hasegawa effort?

 

Andrew

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There are two types of 1/72 Hasegawa F-14 kits. The first is their original release dating from the late 1970's. I actually like it and have built my fair share. If you plan on doing a number of F-14A's its cheap ($10-$20 USD shipped depending on where you get them) and quick and easy to build. But it has raised panel lines (which don't bother me), simple decals for instrument panels (hardly noticed with closed canopy), and the wings do not have the option to be built with flaps and leading edges dropped nor air break open etc(again, fine with me as I prefer them fully swept back for less cabinet space).  They are also only the 'A' model Tomcat.

 

The later Hasegawa release from the late 1980's is much more detailed, photo-etch option for instruments (decals are included as an option), wings can be built fully forward with everything hanging down  (which is how the kit is meant to be built in my opinion. You can build it with swept back wings but its quite tricky to do on this kit), nose gear can be built kneeling for launch or resting/parked, air break open or closed. In all a much more detailed model. You can also choose an 'A' model boxing, 'B' model boxing, or 'D' model boxing (they may have done an 'A+' boxing too I don't remember). Essentially the same kit with version specific parts included. But they are tricky builds and have been described as over engineered. They also tend to run more expensive then their 1970's cousin.

 

I don't mind either of the Hasegawa Tomcat renditions if the price is right. With patience and typical building care (dry fitting) they can build up into nice models. As others have written above, there are newer and nicer options. But they can be more expensive (although that new Academy kit is pretty sweet at around $30 USD!).  So just make sure you know which era Hasegawa Tomcat you are buying before committing should you go that route.

 

Sorry for the long post.

 

Happy modeling to all!

 

EDIT: I am building the Revell 1/72 F-14D right now and am quite enjoying it. But its not perfect nor the best.

Edited by Don
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Does the Academy kit offer the same options for the wings as the later Hasegawa kits?

Do any of the kits offer the option to fold the wings all the way back like when its parked?
I think the Italeri kit does but Im thinking of the old 1994 kit No182

 

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31 minutes ago, ElectroSoldier said:

Does the Academy kit offer the same options for the wings as the later Hasegawa kits?

Do any of the kits offer the option to fold the wings all the way back like when its parked?
I think the Italeri kit does but Im thinking of the old 1994 kit No182

 

The new academy kit comes molded with the slats and flaps molded up and you can fold them back.  Though I’m not sure if that means in the over sweep position.  Fine molds wings are the same and over the fully sweeped

back too

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14 hours ago, Andrew CJ56 said:

I'm thinking if I do an f-14 I would choose the D version, but most of these new tools appear to be A versions!  Oh drat!

 

Regards

 

Andrew

 

If you want to build a 1/72 Delta-Tomcat straight OOB without doing the conversion yourself your best option might be the new GWH F-14D. It's priced something around 40 bugs but if you are lucky you might get t shoot it for something around half of the price in the bay. The only issues I see are the overpronounced spine ends and sides but that is nothing that couldn't be done away with using some sanding paper. In my eyes currently the nicest kit for a 1/72 F-14D.

 

The newer Hasegawa molds also have options to render a F-14D. They are in no way a lesser option than the GWH kits. Somewhat older but still very neat with only minor shape issues. They do require a bit more effort but should eventually build into a nice rendition of the Delta.

 

There would still be Fujimi. They should at least have one offering for a Delta version OOB if I recall that correctly. A bit an older kit but nonetheless very nicely shaped and detailed.

 

All kits provide the option to build flaps / slats deployed and speed brake open. Fujimi also included a compressed nosegear.

 

There is also a neat Finemolds F-14D providing the option for open spine panels etc. which many builders tell to be quite nice. However, if I reccall correctly it was only available as a limited edition together with a magazine and rather hard to get as well as pricey at around 70 or 80 dollars.

 

Lastly you would stilll have the good ol' Revell F-14D. The kit is very corse in it's details with rough and broad panel lines. However some future and a sanding stick work miracles here. The kit has minimal detail but the cockpit is not too bad though and a proper base for further detailing. Clean wings, i.e .no deployed slats/flaps/spoilers. Most rule the kit out but I like it because it makes for an entertaining build. The kit is cheap, readily available and most importantly very very accurately shaped! If you want to do an inflight Delta and look for a building experience that doesn't just mean slap together, paint be done with it, then you might consider this option as well?!

 

All other kits out there would imply that you would have to cnvert them to a Delta-Version.

Edited by bushande
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3 hours ago, bushande said:

There would still be Fujimi. They should at least have one offering for a Delta version OOB if I recall that correctly. A bit an older kit but nonetheless very nicely shaped and detailed.

 

All kits provide the option to build flaps / slats deployed and speed brake open. Fujimi also included a compressed nosegear.

I would avoid the Fujimi if want a Delta or even a Bravo. The kit is originally engineered as a standard A model with extra parts to convert it it to a B or D. You get a port fuselage half with NACA vents, ECM bumps(but not all of them), the GE engine nozzles(open and closed), and the D-style chin pod. 

 

What you need to provide or scratch build are D-model ejection seats, D-model instrument and RIO panels, ECM bumps for the area ahead of the glove vanes, and the engine shrouds for the GE engines.You will also need to source BOL rails, Lantrin pod/pylon, and bomb racks if you do not want an air-to-air loadout.

 

 

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The new Academy kit allows for four wing positions, including oversweep for storage, full sweep, somewhat swept, and fully extended. They give you choice of raised (inflated?) wing seal, or relaxed seal. If you use the raised seal, you won't be able to swing the wings back. The wings are NOT geared. And they do not offer separate flaps/slats.

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Fujimi's Tomcats also have separate flaps and slats. Not sure about this, but I don't think Tomcats at rest (powered down, no crew aboard) are normally left with the flaps and slats deployed (down). But if you want to show a Tomcat on the catapult or touching down, Fujimi's kit is perfect. It even comes with a compressed nose strut for launch!

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I don't know about it's price these days but I really enjoyed building my Fujimi A Tomcat. If you can get it cheap and don't care about extreme detailing on the newer kits (this has nice crisp details too, I mind you), it's still worth building. 

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Another supporter of the Fujimi Tomcat. Full weapons load, displayable engines, good pilot figures with posable arms, heads,  dropped flaps & slats,  radar dish, etc.

They're awesome:

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10373697

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10363197

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10341053

 

(click on the "List All Images"  to see more pics).

 

And despite its age, the Hasegawa Tomcats, to me, seem to be the most accurate.  Can't explain it, but it just "looks right."

 

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Now, if I really would want one of newer ones -Fine Molds, GWH or Academy - I'm left a bit confused for they all seem to have their advantage.

 

I've understood the FM kit can go together without any filler and it has some very nice openable panels - even the spine. Anyone who has the Daco F-14 book knows the detailing possibilities this opens up.

 

The GWH seems to have very exquisite surface details, while Academy includes options for several models and configurations and seems to fit quite nicely. Clever solution with the windscreen too.

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I have a question for those who are familiar with the GWH F-14A kit. I noticed on Scalemates that there are two boxings of this kit (7206 and 7203). Scalemates mentions that 7206 is a rebox (naturally) but that it contains new parts. They don't mention what the new parts are. I would suspect that they are referring to decals but maybe not? I want to pick up one GWH F-14A to do an early Tomcat but am not sure if the plastic is the same in each boxing. Any comments ? Thanks!

Have fun modeling

Mike

🍻

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3 hours ago, Mike J. Idacavage said:

I have a question for those who are familiar with the GWH F-14A kit. I noticed on Scalemates that there are two boxings of this kit (7206 and 7203). Scalemates mentions that 7206 is a rebox (naturally) but that it contains new parts. They don't mention what the new parts are. I would suspect that they are referring to decals but maybe not? I want to pick up one GWH F-14A to do an early Tomcat but am not sure if the plastic is the same in each boxing. Any comments ? Thanks!

Have fun modeling

Mike

🍻

Hi Mike, 

 

In that case, pick up 7206, which can be built as 70's A. 7203 can only be built as a early-mid D, since no BOL or any ground weapons provided. 

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I have them all. The Academy is the best as long as you don't want any extraneous things like slats and flaps or airbrakes out. Indeed, having got the Academy I'm now waiting on five more, and am tempted to sell the balance of my Fujimi, Hasegawa, Fine Molds, GWH and any others I can find. I won't be building them any time soon with the Academy now in the game. 

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