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Haven't done much modelling the last few years, and I've been looking through a lot of builds lately, of the Tomcats that have come out in the past few years (while I wasn't building any!)---I don't think any has been praised as "clearly the best one ever"----that said, I'm wondering what one "has the best odds of looking good when built".  A master modeler can deal with any issue in any kit---that's not me!  I'm looking for one where I won't have to spend 100 hours trying to get parts to fit.  I would basically want to "slap it together out of the box, and be proud of it".  Skills are rusty, patience is less than it used to be.   (and thus, 98% accurate will be good enough, even as a Tomcat fan---subtle shape/accuracy issues aren't a deal killer)

 

Scale is actually not much of an issue---1/72 or 1/48.  I want the "best result with least amount of work", period.  Whatever scale that kit is, is what it is.   That likely means "how well the sub-assemblies fit" will be #1, but other things come into consideration too-----I notice that the 1/72 Fine Molds kit seems to have a TON of open access panels.  That means a ton of panels that even with extremely good fit, will never look as good as if they were simply molded in place, closed.  So open panels=bad, for my purposes.   (same for slats/flaps!)    A "clean" build here is the likely goal, everything buttoned up and in the air.   (MAYBE gear down, but canopy closed, steps retracted, flaps up).   A lot of the recent kits also seem to have butt-joints (i.e."glue it and pray it's aligned just right") for fairly important sections, I see a lot of comments about that lately.  I can build extremely precisely, but I need to have someway to know whether it's perfect, or 0.5 degrees off, or 0.1mm too high... 

 

I have seen both praise and hate for the 1/48 AMK----"in theory" it should be easier to build due to one-piece weapons, "canopy glass separate from the frame" and a one-piece forward fuselage----but it seems maybe the pieces that are there, don't fit?  I've seen one build absolutely hate the fit, and a whole lot of "praising it from the sprues without building it".   Would like more opinions of actually-built ones, as their weapons and canopy are very appealing to me, as canopies and weapons are often what I do worst on.  

 

PS---this may be heresy, but it there's one thing I don't care about and never have, it's the cockpit.  Cockpit detail (or lack thereof) should not be a factor at all, in what "the best-to-build" recent Tomcat kit is.  . 

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The 1/48 Tamiya F-14A or D has great fit (built 3) but is the most expensive of the bunch. The 1/48 Academy and Hasegawa kits have fit issues but can be built into very nice models with patience, the AMK kit seems to have it's haters and lovers but I don't own one.

 

Don

 

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1/48 Go Tamiya, 1/72 Go Academy. Both easy and accurate. Of course you can choose GWH in 1/72 as well, highly recommand thier limited versions, VF-41 A model with nose art and VF-31 D model with last flight decal and new parts.

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Don't bother with the "practice" - the Tamiya kit is so good, you don't need the practice.  Stuff fits and is nicely detailed straight from the box.  One can always add detail to any kit, but the Tamiya kit is pretty good as it is.

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If you get the Tamiya kit, you will have the one that fits your requirement. The AMK kit is pretty impressive, but having built a several Tamiyas and one AMK, I’ll be picking Tamiya for any future builds unless I need flaps, slats, spoilers, or speed brakes out.

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I recently build (well it‘s not 100% complete, still some of the decals missing) a Tamiya Tomcat as my second model since coming back to the hobby as an adult and it is amazing what result one even as an almost beginner with some care can achieve. The engineering and fit is almost perfect.

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Posted (edited)

Another related question----I've seen "ever better" techniques for doing a weathered TPS finish over the years.  If "level 1" is raw "35237 with pro modeler wash" and "level 6" is "pre-shading, post-shading, wash, spraying individual panel/access seams with a lighter color of the base, then salt, then a thin coat of the base color to fade it all out"---what would a "level 2" be?  As in, best bang-for-the-buck, one more step to add beyond just a basic panel-line wash, to make it more realistic, without going all-out into a multi-step multi-day process.  (Same goal as building it---want "maximum results for minimum effort" and willing to accept not-quite-as-good results in trade for easier and "harder to screw up"-----nothing seems to make it look real like salt, but I've also seen gorgeous finishes ruined at the very end by salt etc, requiring total repaints)  

 

In short---if there's one thing to do asides from the basecoat and a wash, for a weathered TPS finish, what should it be?  (that has low odds of going wrong/ruining the paintjob)  

Edited by David Hingtgen
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18 hours ago, David Hingtgen said:

Another related question----I've seen "ever better" techniques for doing a weathered TPS finish over the years.  If "level 1" is raw "35237 with pro modeler wash" and "level 6" is "pre-shading, post-shading, wash, spraying individual panel/access seams with a lighter color of the base, then salt, then a thin coat of the base color to fade it all out"---what would a "level 2" be?  As in, best bang-for-the-buck, one more step to add beyond just a basic panel-line wash, to make it more realistic, without going all-out into a multi-step multi-day process.  (Same goal as building it---want "maximum results for minimum effort" and willing to accept not-quite-as-good results in trade for easier and "harder to screw up"-----nothing seems to make it look real like salt, but I've also seen gorgeous finishes ruined at the very end by salt etc, requiring total repaints)  

 

In short---if there's one thing to do asides from the basecoat and a wash, for a weathered TPS finish, what should it be?  (that has low odds of going wrong/ruining the paintjob)  

I'm not particularly into heavy weathering, but nobody seems to be jumping in here. FWIW, on a recent F/A-18C build, in addition to applying Tamiya Panel Line Accent (black), I mixed slightly lightened and darkened versions of the 36320 and airbrushed a tight mottle of both colors, much the same way as I would for a Luftwaffe paint job. I then misted a thin coat of the original color over everything to pull things together. I'm pleased with the result and will use it again.

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Hmmm.  I've seen stencils for spraying Luftwaffe mottling, that may work (better for me than trying to freehand it). And instead of mixing, simply using different brands of the base color could give a similar effect.  (no two bottles of ghost greys are alike!)

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17 minutes ago, David Hingtgen said:

Hmmm.  I've seen stencils for spraying Luftwaffe mottling, that may work (better for me than trying to freehand it). And instead of mixing, simply using different brands of the base color could give a similar effect.  (no two bottles of ghost greys are alike!)

Suit yourself, but I don't see any need for stencils for this sort of job. The mottle isn't really going to be visible as such once you're done -- it just breaks up the monochrome surface and simulates weathering/dirt. As for using different brands, it's REALLY easy to add a drop or two of white to lighten and a drop or two of black to darken.

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In 1/72 I can also always recommend the Hobbyboss-kit. Never had any fit issues, and with its swept wing mechanism and the correct front gear strut it beats the current Academy - if you want something that´s really easy to model.

 

 

HAJO

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For the weathering bit, you might like oil pens/paints.  Just grab a few...grey, white, black, dust... randomly dot colors all over the surface then blend and lighten with thinners.  For me sanding very lightly over the flat finish with a high grit sanding sponge gives a realistic faded look and blends all the shades together.  Fairly easy, hard to screw up and takes the weathering to another level.  

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