Like all aircraft kits, I started with the cockpit. The details are basic but acceptable for 1/72. Control panels are recessed but Academy conveniently includes decals.
The ejection seat is made up of 4 parts. It doesn’t have any seatbelt details. This is handbrushed, washed and drybrushed to bring out the details.
I decided to use the decal for the front console.
The cockpit is then quickly assembled, painted and given a wash.
I then did a test fit of the fuselage and it looks to be good.
The kit comes with the option of lowered flaps, slats and pivoting wing. It also comes with rocket pods, missiles, bomb racks and bombs. I decided to keep it simple by closing the flaps, slates and wings. I also forgo with all the external weapons since the F-8 is known as the ‘last gunfighter’: only internal guns for this one.
This is my version of the RGM-79Q GM Quel operated by the Titans of the Earth Federation. It’s my entry into Plamo’s WOOB 07.
I’m combining the upper body and arms of the HGUC GM Quel with the bottom half of the HGUC GM Custom. Why? I find the lower portion of the HGUC GM Quel to be too blocky and it looks disproportionate. It’s a simple matter of swapping parts.
I’m doing some simple modifications to the kit. First up, I added plastic strips at the base of the torso to extend its height by 1.5mm.
I also added some plastic strips inside the torso to extend the neck by about 1.5mm.
I think I’ll swap out the GM Quel thrusters and use a different weapon too.
This one’s been in the backburner for awhile (what else is new?) so it’s time for it to see the light of day again. The plan is OOB with decals from TwoBobs Decals.
Back when the US Navy ran the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School aka ‘TOPGUN’, it operated A-4 Skyhawks in the role of the adversarys, ie. the bad guys. This particular Skyhawk took that role to the extreme by having an actual silhouette of a MiG-17 painted on it.
This project is heavily reliant on the excellent article by David Aungst at Hyperscale, who did all the research required to do up an accurate Top Gun #56. In fact, the TwoBobs decals are also based on this same research. The kit itself is the excellent 1/48 Hasegawa A-4E/F kit.
The cockpit is surprisingly detailed and with the canopy opening being so small, I think it looks more than adequate.
Based on the article, I needed to modify the cone shaped fairings that’s attached all over the airframe. The cone tips need to be cut off first.
Work is actually quite straightforward and I managed to get quite far in assembly. The kit also broke down into very easy subassemblies. The landing gear and landing gear doors were all handbrushed with white and given a wash of black gray.
Note : this post gets a lot of hits so I need to mention that I’ve lost the images for this preview. The only images left are low resolution ones you see here. I hope to be able to bring back the originals.
In 1987, the Grumman F-14A received its first major upgrade in the form of the F-14A+. The original TF30 engines were replaced with the F110, which provided a significant increase in performance, range and reliability. With these new engines, the F-14A+ could take off from the carrier deck without afterburner. The other major upgrade was internal, with the installation of the ALR-67 Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) system.
38 new aircraft were manufactured and 48 F-14Aâ’s were upgraded into the B variant. The F-14A+ was officially redesignated F-14B in 1991. F-14Bs will serve with distinction (with further upgrades) into 2005 with VF-11 Red Rippers and VF-32 Swordsmen being the last 2 US Navy squadrons operating the variant.
Since the 1980s, the best 1/48 scale F-14 you can get is from Hasegawa. The Academy and Revell offerings cannot begin to compare with it. It’s detailed, the shape is accurate and once completed, it simply catches attention on any display case. Now there’s a new entry that’s trying to dethrone it, and it’s Hobby Boss, a Chinese company.
Variants of the F-14 were a simple reboxing of parts by Hasegawa with some added parts. The effort, to me, is half-hearted as Hasegawa doesn’t include all the tiny details that make the variants different from the F-14A. Now Hobby Boss has released the F-14B. Since the base kit is the same as the first release, this preview will only look at whether they have captured all the minor detail changes from the F-14A.
The biggest and most obvious difference between the A and B variants are the engines and Hobby Boss obviously has gotten this right. I’m not sold on the complete engines though. While it’s nice that you can display the engines separately, how many modelers would really actually do that?
Here’s a list of items they got it right for the F-14B:
In addition to the above, Hobby Boss has included all the weapons that an F-14B can carry and various others that it won’t. Also included are:
In order to replicate these on the Hasegawa, you’ll need at least 3 boxes of their weapons sets.
The parts breakdown is very similar to the Hasegawa offering. There are however some differences. One, the wings can sweep in the Hobby Boss. Unlike Hasegawa however, they don’t include the parts to lower the flaps and slats. They also do not include the wing glove vanes as separate parts. Hobby Boss however, does give you the option to have the inflight refueling probe open and extended.
From what I’ve read so far on the Internet, the Hobby Boss kit fits quite decently. Frankly, this is more than I can say about Hasegawa’s F-14 which has fitting issues in the cockpit, front to rear fuselage and intakes.
Now the general consensus of the Hobby Boss F-14 is that even though it’s right up there, the Hasegawa F-14 is still slightly more accurate shape-wise, especially around the intake area. For me though, ease of build trumps the minor (for me anyway) issues with the intake.
The kit comes with 2 marking options:
There is also 2 sheets of stencils.
While the Hobby Boss does have a high MSRP, on the streets it’s quite competitive compared to the Hasegawa offering. And we haven’t included the cost of the minor scratchbuilding involved and the weapon sets you need to get to arm the F-14. Being a mold that has been redone over and over again, the latest Hasegawa F-14s also suffer from flash of some form on the parts.
If it turns out the Hobbyboss F-14 is really an easier build, I think the only conclusion is: if you want the best 1/48 F-14 Tomcat, get the Hobby Boss.
Preview courtesy of my wallet
Info from Macross Compendium
This kit was my entry into Plamo’s WOOB 06: Do you remember Macross? groupbuild. I’m actually not eligible to win anything but what I joined to support the forum. As per WOOB rules, the kit was built OOB.
As an aside, the kit markings represent a variable fighter fielded by ‘SVF-124 Moon Shooters’, a squadron in the UN Spacy. It’s, as far as I know, a non-canon unit that Hasegawa has created to sell more kits. Lovely markings though.
Like all of Hasegawa’s Macross kits, this one allows me to build it in subassemblies. Due to the design of the mecha, there isn’t any major seamline that needs to be fixed which is nice. I did deviate from the instructions in some cases which I think worked better to reduce the need for seamline removal. I also decided to build the kit in a wheels up position as I find Macross kits look better this way. Hence, this becomes the first time I have finished a kit in an inflight configuration.
The colors used for this project:
All in all, it was a pretty straightforward build although it won’t stand up to any competition-style scrutinizing. Some notes for posterity:
End of the day though, it’s not too bad! I’m quite happy with how it turned out.