Upcoming : A tale of 2 ‘Cats (Tamiya and AMK)

Wow… there sure is a lot of hate being hurled right now at Tamiya ever since they announced their 1/48 F-14A Tomcat at Shizuoka Hobby Show 2016. Personally it does look like an F-14…

And since it’s a Tamiya kit, we can pretty much be assured that it fits better than most other brands (I’m looking at you Hasegawa) and will probably be more accurate than others (ahem, Hobbyboss). Apparently it has been rumored for years that Tamiya would release an F-14 in 1/48 scale. So finally everyone’s wish has come true right? But then the sprue shots turned up online too. And the rage began. It seems like the wings will all be one piece. No options for flaps and slats to be down. No options for the nose gear to be down either so there’s no way you can do this kit up in a nice catapult launch shot. Both of which are available as options in the Hasegawa kit. But while I did finish one before, it is generally known that the Hasegawa F-14 is a bear to assemble. It has major fitting problems with the cockpit, fuselage and intakes. It’s also an old kit so it’s pretty much safe to assume that the Tamiya one will probably be more detailed.

I like the fact that the wings will be one piece since to save space, I pretty much always display swing-wing kits with their wings swung in. It will also make assembly less complicated. But I can understand why some folks will want the ‘all down’ option. What’s more mind boggling is that the weapons will be a separate option (addendum: the weapons are now included)! Tamiya kits are already expensive, and I expect this kit will be more expensive than even the Hasegawa. And now the weapons (which look very good) are an option for additional money. Yeesh. This also looks to build up only as an early F-14A and looking at Tamiya’s track record, there’s no guarantee they will ever release all the other versions (still no 2 seat F-16s for instance).

Oh in the meantime, Avantgrade Model Kits (AMK) announced in October last year that they will also have an F-14 in all 3 variants out in 2016. They’ve been getting a lot of kudos for it even though they haven’t released any additional information or even a photo ever since. It’s weird seeing the treatment the 2 companies are getting right now.

A 1/48 F-14 was one of my first ever properly done model kits so I have a soft spot for the subject. I also already own quite a few F-14 kits in various scales but at this point in my modeling life, I’ll take pretty good engineering, good detail with good fit over great engineering, great detail with challenging fit any day. I think depending on the price I will probably end up owning one of the these…

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