Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I’ll be building my next Tamiya cat as one of the first in the fleet - VF-1 Wolfpack’s second 101 bird, which has been modeled a lot. Research is one of the things that really appeals to me in modeling, and this project has given me a lot to learn! 

 

For instance: the first VF-1 plane to be painted as NK-101 was this one, BuNo 158627. I believe it was a Block 65 machine. Note the radome without a tan front section, long gun muzzle trough (short cover), the black skunk stripe over the canopy and spine, completely white nose gear doors, pin striping around the NACA intake on the ventral fin, and “Wolf Pack” on the tail. These are all unique to the first NK-101, which was used for early squadron training; this plane did not go on VF-1’s first cruise. 

 

The next NK-101 was this one, BuNo 158989, a Block 80 (correction thanks to GW8345 - it was a Block 70). It can be distinguished by its long gun cover, black rectangles on the nose gear doors, radome with a tan section, no skunk stripe, different style of “NK” tail codes, and “USS Enterprise” painted on the wing glove. I could go on and on... Fightertown Decals have done both of these planes, but they kept the same BuNo for both - I think this is an error.

 

VF-1’s Tomcats had the early style of beaver tail, which has been released as an aftermarket part by Steel Beach and Phase Hangar. I chose the Phase Hangar item because it depicts the beaver tail without the dielectric panels. These covers apparently did not like being so close to the engine nozzles and it was common to see them removed. More specifics on the beaver tail here... Phase Hangar also makes the 7-vent early gun panel.

 

The Bits & Pieces

Tamiya F-14A #61114

Fightertown Decals #48080, Fightertown USA Part 2

Phase Hangar Resin Accessories #48060, Early beaver tail and 7-vent gun panel

Quinta Studios Interior 3D F-14A Decals.

 

I guess it’s typical to begin your build with a layout of the kit and any aftermarket, but I got a quick start on this kit and didn’t want to derail my progress. So I’ll put the bits together and take a photo of the mess.

 

193CTkX.jpg

 

V Phase Hangar 7-vent gun cover. This is a drop-fit replacement for the kit part. I like to fill the panel lines on the kit and aftermarket parts with Tamiya Panel Line Wash to see how they compare and find any lines that need to be restored.

 

UsOUab9.jpg

 

V Phase Hangar early beaver tail. The panel lines are indistinguishable from the kit ones.

 

O5L1Sva.jpg
 

tPfFtmm.jpg

 

 

Edited by andrew.deboer
Link to post
Share on other sites

Purely by coincidence, I recently went to Sprue Brothers site on the day they had uploaded the links to the Quinta detail sets. This is a new product that is 3D printed and is applied like a decal. Of course I had to jump on the F-14 one...

 

L8iTt1Y.jpg

 

I haven’t tried one yet - I’m about halfway through the process of scraping the detail from the Tamiya kit parts, and then need to spray the cockpit with FS36231 Dark Gull Gray.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite method for Gloss White is to start with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer from the square bottle. This is a fantastic flat white, highly pigmented and thinnable with lacquer thinner - I use Mr. Leveling Thinner. Once that base coat is down I follow up with Tamiya X-2 Gloss White thinned 50-50 with MLT. This gives me a gloss surface - or at least satin - which takes enamels like Tamiya Panel Line Wash very well. Wiping the excess PLW off with terpenoids has no effect on the Tamiya Gloss White.

 

Here’s the lower wing with a quick, imperfect application of Gray and Brown Tamiya Panel Line Wash. These colors are good for the light paint colors on this model - much better than black.

 

rALnXKr.jpg

Edited by andrew.deboer
Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple of details specific to early F-14s:

 

In this pic of NK-101 (looks like 158989), you can see an extra data probe of some sort below the windscreen. I need to create that; maybe it ended up on the other side farther aft on later production blocks? EDIT: this is part E12. The kit gives 2, but only directs you to use 1. Problem solved!

 

On the left tail above the rudder, early F-14s did not have an ECM antenna. I cut this off the Tamiya tail and smoothed it out.

 

I’m having a little trouble matching the red of the decals with paint in order to paint the outer side of the ventral fins and tips of the vertical tails. Model Master Insignia Red and Tamiya X-7 are both a little too saturated. Still working on that...

 

Here’s something I’d love to have: anti glare panel decals for early F-14s. I’ve never liked cutting that curve and masking and spraying it. Can I do it? Yes. Do I feel like it? No. Anybody make these?

Edited by andrew.deboer
Link to post
Share on other sites

If I may,

 

BUNO 158989 was a Block 70 and that probe on the port side nose is the TIT (Total Inlet Temperature) probe. Early Tomcat's (up to Block 85) had a TIT on both the port and starboard side. The port side probe was deleted starting with Block 85 aircraft and removed from the earlier Blocks once the Block 85's starting the fleet. All of VF-1 and VF-2 aircraft on the first cruise were Block 70's.

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, GW8345 said:

If I may,

 

<Gerry comes through again FTW - see above for the complete gouge>

Of course you may! [I knew the topic would get your full attention] Thanks for the clarification. It is good to know I was headed in the right direction, and fortuitous that Tamiya put two sensors in the kit. I just need to drill an additional hole in the nose below the windscreen and insert the part. 

Edited by andrew.deboer
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • andrew.deboer changed the title to Tamiya F-14A - VF-1 NK101

I scraped off all of the molded-in cockpit details, put the bits together, and sprayed the whole thing with Dark Gull Gray, then took a quick run at the Quinta Studios set. This is basically 3D printed in color onto decal paper. They don’t stick as well as decals; I used a drop of Future (gasp!) under each panel because it’s clear and very sticky.
 

The camera is not kind; when viewed with the eye, it gives a great impression with tons of knobs and switches shaped like the real ones. The gray color is very light, but I have decided I don’t care; that will keep the cockpit from looking too drab. I will dress some of the edges with black. 
 

I like it better than color etch for sure!

 

qofdHjb.jpg
 

q1IGLGN.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mr.Happy said:

:jaw-dropping: Andrew this new 3D raised “decal” is a real game changer.

I’m eagerly looking forward to your build and wanted to say thank you for going into detail on your build.

 

Best of luck on your project,

 

Mr. Happy


I do feel like the product is a game changer, and I’m glad I got one for this model, but I don’t think I would buy a set by default for every jet I do. Once the model is done it is rare for me to look at the cockpit in detail again, so adding almost $30 to a kit that retails for $90 (the price of the Tamiya Tomcat is worth it to me) is a rarity. The kit parts are really very good, and I have also detailed the kit parts with Fightertown Decals’ cockpit decals (48087), and considered that to be the best value for money yet.
 

I applied the panels according to the instructions, but since then I’ve been thinking about how I would do it the next time. Given the bright edges on most of the parts, I might try removing the parts from their paper backing and just letting them dry upside down. At that point I could pick each panel up and paint its edge black or whatever, then glue it in place with gator grip or some other adhesive. 
 

And just because, who likes some Tomcat pr0n?

Edited by andrew.deboer
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you on the price of what can quickly add up on a build.

 

But I’ve gotta say you did a great job with the Quinta set.

 

 The detail that Tamiya gives you out of the box is very good indeed. I’d say the only thing I’d add if I was trying to keep the cost down is some aftermarket seats or PE belts.
 

Its got some beautiful detail out of the box as is.

 

Andrew,  Let us know how the Quinta seat belts look once applied. That is if you plan to use them on the ejection seats?

 

Keep up the great work,

 

Mr. Happy


 


 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Having built 3 Tamiya F-14s now, we see eye to eye on the method to achieve that gloss white finish.

 

I have 2 F-14As left, but three Tomcats in a row is enough for me.... at least for a while. I did grab the Phase Hangar Resins "Chopped" boat tail and gun gas mod. The Quinta Studios 3D cockpit decals look intriguing and i'll give em a whirl when time comes to do Tomcat #4.

david

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2020 at 4:08 PM, GW8345 said:

If I may,

 

BUNO 158989 was a Block 70 and that probe on the port side nose is the TIT (Total Inlet Temperature) probe. Early Tomcat's (up to Block 85) had a TIT on both the port and starboard side. The port side probe was deleted starting with Block 85 aircraft and removed from the earlier Blocks once the Block 85's starting the fleet. All of VF-1 and VF-2 aircraft on the first cruise were Block 70's.

Interesting. I saw the probe on the L/H side of the nose just under the antiglare, but always assumed it was the only one. Lucky break that we get two TAT probes in the kit.

 

 

david

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/23/2020 at 12:28 PM, andrew.deboer said:

Here’s something I won’t be doing:

 

ciORQeP.jpg
 

This shorty glove pylon is pictured under 158989. 

One can make that pylon but you will need to do a lot of cutting.

 

If you take the standard pylon in the F-14 kits, glue the Phoenix Adapter (pylon) to it and then cut it down to match the pylon above you have the early Sidewinder pylon.

 

I don't have any documentations or dimensions for the pylon but going by the photos I've seen the early Sidewinder pylons were a one piece unit and the front had the same mold line of the MPP (Multi-Purpose Pylon, ie, regular wing pylon) with a Phoenix Adapter (Phoenix pylon) attached. The back looks like it was cut straight down at the trailing edge of the A station LAU-7 Adapter (upper Sidewinder launcher adapter/pylon). It looks to extend down from the A station LAU-7 Adapter about 8 to 10 inches.

 

From everything I've been able to gather it appears that this pylon was very short lived, only being used during the Tomcat's first cruise and was not seen after 1975.

 

Now some personal insight about the pylon. The MPP was a huge PITA to change, it required a Functional Check Flight (FCF) after it was changed due to flight controls having to be disconnected in order to remove the pylon. (the wingsweep swivels had to be disconnected, not something you wanted to do....ever) I've changed 2 MPP during my time in Tomcats and it took us a day to remove the old one and install a new on, that was working straight through, not going home at night (starting in the mid 90's the squadrons were not allow to change them anymore, it turned into  depot level maintenance). I can understand why that Sidewinder pylon was short lived, in order to put it on you had to remove the pylon that was already installed so you couldn't do a quick "deconfigure/reconfigure" like you can today. The Sparrow and Phoenix used the standard  MPP, only the Sidewinder (on the lower stations) used that special pylon.

Edited by GW8345
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/22/2020 at 7:17 PM, GW8345 said:

One can make that pylon but you will need to do a lot of cutting.

 

If you take the standard pylon in the F-14 kits, glue the Phoenix Adapter (pylon) to it and then cut it down to match the pylon above you have the early Sidewinder pylon.

 

I don't have any documentations or dimensions for the pylon but going by the photos I've seen the early Sidewinder pylons were a one piece unit and the front had the same mold line of the MPP (Multi-Purpose Pylon, ie, regular wing pylon) with a Phoenix Adapter (Phoenix pylon) attached. The back looks like it was cut straight down at the trailing edge of the A station LAU-7 Adapter (upper Sidewinder launcher adapter/pylon). It looks to extend down from the A station LAU-7 Adapter about 8 to 10 inches.

 

From everything I've been able to gather it appears that this pylon was very short lived, only being used during the Tomcat's first cruise and was not seen after 1975.

 

Now some personal insight about the pylon. The MPP was a huge PITA to change, it required a Functional Check Flight (FCF) after it was changed due to flight controls having to be disconnected in order to remove the pylon. (the wingsweep swivels had to be disconnected, not something you wanted to do....ever) I've changed 2 MPP during my time in Tomcats and it took us a day to remove the old one and install a new on, that was working straight through, not going home at night (starting in the mid 90's the squadrons were not allow to change them anymore, it turned into  depot level maintenance). I can understand why that Sidewinder pylon was short lived, in order to put it on you had to remove the pylon that was already installed so you couldn't do a quick "deconfigure/reconfigure" like you can today. The Sparrow and Phoenix used the standard  MPP, only the Sidewinder (on the lower stations) used that special pylon.

Thanks for the additional insight into the MPP. I have always had the impression that it was non-trivial to remove and install. I may change my mind about not doing that; it wouldn’t be a lot of work and it would be unique.

 

Quick progress report:

 

The seats are done but I haven’t taken a photo. More on that soon.

 

I wanted to tint the center pane of the windscreen, but I usually find that the blue-green color is overstated on many models. I took 1/3 of a bottle of Tamiya X-22 Clear Gloss and added ONE drop each of Tamiya Clear Green and Clear Blue. Originally I tried that with Future instead of X-22, but the Tamiya clears (especially the blue) would not dissolve cleanly in the Future. I applied a coat of the blue-green tinted Clear with a paintbrush, heavily enough so the layer leveled out without brush strokes. A couple of hours later I came back and decided to apply another coat. I like the effect – and I have enough left for about 300 more canopies.

 

I will be painting the canopy framing with black and then with the Gloss Gull Gray, so the “inside” of the canopy framing will be black. However, I applied Tamiya NATO Black to the inside of the clear part where it will be most visible to the left and right of the pilot’s instrument panel. After that, I applied a decal from Fightertown Decals to represent the Grumman data plate. 

 

ytvaUb4.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice work so far. Those cockpit decals are really cool looking. I've always enjoyed painting up the cockpits, I look at it as a challenge. Pretty cool that Brian even gives you the data plate for the cockpit, nice touch.

Keep up the fine work.

Steve

"TOMCATS FOREVER, BABY...!"

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/21/2020 at 5:51 PM, andrew.deboer said:

I’ll be building my next Tamiya cat as one of the first in the fleet - VF-1 Wolfpack’s second 101 bird, which has been modeled a lot. Research is one of the things that really appeals to me in modeling, and this project has given me a lot to learn! 

 

For instance: the first VF-1 plane to be painted as NK-101 was this one, BuNo 158627. I believe it was a Block 65 machine. Note the radome without a tan front section, long gun muzzle trough (short cover), the black skunk stripe over the canopy and spine, completely white nose gear doors, pin striping around the NACA intake on the ventral fin, and “Wolf Pack” on the tail. These are all unique to the first NK-101, which was used for early squadron training; this plane did not go on VF-1’s first cruise. 

 

The next NK-101 was this one, BuNo 158989, a Block 80 (correction thanks to GW8345 - it was a Block 70). It can be distinguished by its long gun cover, black rectangles on the nose gear doors, radome with a tan section, no skunk stripe, different style of “NK” tail codes, and “USS Enterprise” painted on the wing glove. I could go on and on... Fightertown Decals have done both of these planes, but they kept the same BuNo for both - I think this is an error.

 

 

 

I am not entirely sure if this is really completely correct and I also don't necessarly think that Brian (FTD) made an error here. About ten years back I was able to talk to some of the former aircrew that served with VF-1 on the 1st F-14 cruise and also during the trials and work ups prior to the cruise and according to at least two of them 158627 did indeed go on board as NK-101 in what at that time after many changes evolved into their standard scheme until they lost the white belly after their second cruise till '77. 158627 received the shorter gun muzzle with the six grill vent too just prior to the cruise.

 

I do have images / slides with stamped dates of all of them often with BuNo visible and I can count so far three NK-101s between June '73 and mid '77; there is 158627 in '73- late '74 or early '75, 158989 '75-'76 and 159459 as of around mid '76. Maybe there was another change during cruise or at least the workups?  I confess it is somewhat blotchy and I do have 8627 also as NJ-407 of VF-124 as of May 1975.

 

After 8627 eventually went through that myriad of design changes and also loosing the black skunk stripe pretty early, all three NK-101s looked absolutely identical from the gun muzzle and the grills to the boat tail down to the white belly, except for 8627 apparently having the dialectic panels still attached for some time at the beginning but had them removed as well. The IRST pod was interchangeable and there are images showing 8627 as well as 8989 with IRST straped on and wthout. 9459 apparently did not have that thing anymore. While the four NK-201s that sister squadron VF-2 had between 1973 and '77 would at least by some details of their design and/or the airframe modifications be discernable without seeing the BuNo, pretty much the only way to tell the VF-1 NK-101s apart are the crew names which also seemed to have changed. While 8627 had Sam Leeds and Frank Schumacher on the canopy rail prior to the cruise, the names changed to John Thaubald and Mike Marnane during the cruise. I do have two images (one color, one B/W) showing NK-101 on the deck of Enterprise. You can't admittedly make out the BuNo but the names on the canopy rail, which indicate it to be 8627. The images that I have of 8989 as NK-101 are from mid '75, late '75 and early '76 and have Jack Dantone and Denny Strole on the rail. (Jack Dantone apparently was on NK-107 during the first cruise.) 9459 had Howie Young and Craig Weaver on the rail.

 

According to Dan Pentecost (transferred 8627 from Calverton to Miramar in June '73 and flew it also during VF-1s first live trials with AIM-54 and AIM-7 as the squadron's weapons instructor; had his name on 8993 NK-111 during the cruise) the dialectic panels went off many of their ships just during the cruise.

 

Not that it would all matter that much in the end but thought it to be interesting trivia.

 

A very interesting and intriguing project indeed. Happy modelling; I will watch with great interest.

Edited by bushande
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...