The F-14 really needs no introduction. This powerful swing-wing fighter has been flying from U.S. Navy carriers for thirty years now, and is likely to continue on for several more years to come. The basic plane has stayed the same throughout this period, with most changes being in internal equipment. The most noticeable change with the F-14D Super Tomcat is with its engines, these being much bigger and more powerful than the original TF30s.
Iím not sure of the origins of this kit other than it is likely the same kit released by Revell Germany.† There are five sprues of light gray plastic parts and one sprue of clear parts, as well as a decal sheet with two options.† But what is unique to this release is the included book: Jet Fighters of the U.S. Navy Part 2: Going Supersonic.† This book is the second half of the series on U.S. Navy fighters, the first being included with a 1/48 Panther kit.† This is a very nice book, covering every single Navy jet fighter that was capable of flying faster than the speed of sound, including those that didnít enter service.† Aircraft covered include the F5D Skylancer, the F11F Tiger, the F8U Crusader, the F-4 Phantom, the F-111B, the F-14 Tomcat, the F-5E & F-5F, the F-16N, the F/A-18 Hornet and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.† In addition to the aircraft there is also a short section on Navy aircraft carriers and their progression from the first angled deck Essex class ship to the latest Nimitz class ship.† There are lots of great photos illustrating these aircraft, making this a nice synopsis of the last 40 years or so of U.S. Navy fighters.
In addition to the book you get a pretty decent little kit of the F-14D.† The kit comes with recessed panel lines throughout and has plenty of detail as well as lots to hang underneath.† Starting with the cockpit, you get two decent representations of the ejection seats, made up from four pieces.† The one-piece cockpit tub has detail molded onto the side consoles, with separate instrument panels getting a combination of raised detail and decal detail.† A pair of control sticks rounds out the interior, with the completed tub fitting on top of the nose wheel well insert.† The completed interior assembly is then sandwiched between the two nose halves, which also has separate pieces for the lower fuselage and the gun panel.†
The rear part of the fuselage is split into upper and lower pieces, with separate intakes and rear section.† Going inside these pieces are a pair of three-piece engine inlets, glove vanes, and the wings that are geared for moving.† Like other F-14 kits itíll take a bit of care to make sure all of this fits in there and still keeps its movement if that is what you wish.† At the back end you get a separate insert providing the larger exhaust section found on the F-14D.† This is obviously engineered for other Tomcat versions, as the back end is one of the most obvious changes between the earlier F-14s and the Super Tomcat.† The burners themselves are made up of two pieces and slide into the back end.† The stabilizers and vertical fins are solid, as are the ventral strakes.†
The landing gear is very sturdy just like the real thing.† The detail is a bit soft on these parts for some reason, but some careful sanding and filework should help out a lot.† The kit comes with options for either open doors or closed doors, with the open doors having all the appropriate hinges.† The nose gear has separate wheels and taxi light, while the main gear has separate main linkages.† Other final details include a full set of underwing and under-fuselage stores including AIM-54s, AIM-9s and AIM-7s as well as a pair of fuel tanks.
The decal options offer a pair of interesting F-14Ds.† The first example is that seen on the boxtop, an F-14D from VF-213 serving off of the USS Carl Vinson over Afghanistan in October of 2001.† This plane is painted in overall gray with a large lionís head on the nose.† The second example is a bit more striking, being finished in overall gloss black, with tail bands outlined in red and with white stars.† This plane was assigned to VX-6 at Point Mugu in November 1995.† The decals are very well printed by Cartograf and are in perfect register.
This is a very decent kit of the Tomcat, and coupled with the excellent book this makes an outstanding buy.† This is definitely one you wonít want to pass up.
Our thanks to Revell-Monogram for the review sample.