Trumpeter | 1/32 F-14A Tomcat
Reviewed by Allan Christopher Agati
The kit is molded in the usual gray plastic with recessed panel lines and rivets, well molded with a little bit of flash and ejector pin marks. The kit also comes with PVC tires and cast metal inserts for the landing gear struts (discussed more below). An examination of the parts of the test shot provided shows this is an F-14A kit. There are no parts to convert it to a B or a D, but the parts breakdown indicates that these versions may follow.
The test shot reviewed included a pair of the familiar 267 gallon external tanks, pallets for the AIM-54 Phoenix missiles, and underwing pylons. No ordnance was provided, however.
The front fuselage is broken down into the typical left-and-right halves and nose affair. The left half has open access panels on the gun- and LOX-bays. The crew boarding steps may be posed in the open position. There is a curious looking raised panel surrounding the RIO's boarding step, but an examination of pictures of actual F-14s do not show this panel.
The nose has parts for the AWG-9 radar assembly as well as a bulkhead for the nose, so the modeler can choose to pose the nose cone in the open position. The open access panels mentioned above have been given attention as well; there are parts for the M61 Vulcan cannon. The gun is broken down into individual barrels and rings which opens up super-detailing opportunities.
The cockpit tub and instrument panels have raised details that ought to make this area of the plane busy. A comparison with actual photos of the F-14A cockpit shows that the details, i.e., the dials, switches and gauges, look right where they should be.
The canopy is provided with plastic parts representing the locking devices and canopy ventilation couplings, normally represented in smaller scales by photo-etched parts.
The example given provides for Martin Baker GRU-7A ejection seats, with each seat broken down into 9 parts, consisting of the seat frame, cushion, ejection handles and related parts.
The fuselage, as molded, appears to represent a D version, which did away with the glove vanes. A model Cats still had the vanes. A close scrutiny of the insides show an area of thinner plastic on the upper wing glove half which can be shaved off to provide a slot for the glove vanes.
The kit provides intake ducting for the engine, however, the modeler needs to fill up the ejector pin marks found on the inside walls. Not a difficult thing to do considering the size of the kit.
The wing gloves are molded separately from the main fuselage, and there are details that show beneath the gloves once they are removed. Parts 39 and 40 appear to be bulkheads for the wing glove which would allow the modeler to open up the area for details.
Two sets of landing gear doors are provided, one for the in-flight position and one for gears down position, which have actuators.
Trumpeter provided cast metal landing gear struts which are actually inserts to halved plastic landing gears. The idea is to glue the metal struts into grooves in the center of the plastic gears to reinforce them.
The landing gear wells themselves are interesting. The nose landing gear well is broken down into 4 walls. There are different details on the right and left walls, and a comparison with pictures of the real Cat shows that the plumbing in the kit well appear to closely resemble those of the real thing. This is especially true of the forward gear well bulkhead. The main landing gear wells, are likewise superbly detailed.
The wings are molded in upper and lower halves, with separate leading edge slats, trailing edges and actuators, and separate, individual spoilers. The spoilers, unfortunately, look too thick even for the size of the kit. A plus is the fact that the trailing edges are molded into sections, and the bulkhead and actuators (which, even at this scale, appear too fragile and easy to break) ensure that there is sufficient detail even with flaps down and spoilers up.
There are no parts to make the wings swing, which means the modeler will have to choose whether to pose the plane with wings extended or swept. There are two sets of inflatable bags appropriate for either choice.
The test shot given provided only Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines, with both open and closed nozzles. And two complete TF30 engines are included in the kit for those who want to build a diorama or who want to add even more detail to the kit.
While many may have hoped for options for a B or D model Cat, this new Trumpeter is certainly a much improved rendition over previous offerings of the F-14 in this scale, and is therefore very much welcome. With the reinforcing metal inserts on the landing gears and the added details, Trumpeter obviously engineered this new F-14 with the modeler in mind. No need to cough up more money to come up with a super-detailed, attention-grabbing Tomcat; the new Trumpeter kit thoughtfully provided nose, access bay and cockpit/canopy details right inside the box.
About the Author
Allan Agati has been a member (in good standing) of IPMS Philippines Bert Anido since the 1990s. A lawyer by profession, he is an accomplished modeler whose works have garnered awards in national competitions. His favorite modeling subject is the F-14 Tomcat though he also dabbles in various subjects.
© Allan Christopher Agati 2008
This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016