This is actually my 4th go at the ‘new’ mold Hasegawa F-14 kit. The less said about the first 3 disasters the better. Anyway I hope to break the cycle with this one. The kit includes all the parts for the various iterations of the F-14 through its 30 years of service so I’ll be basing the configuration of the F-14A+ Kai on what I can see on the screencaps. Here we go…
My copy of the kit has old-ish decals so I decided to go with the PE control panels instead.
These are just a tiny bit too wide and the recesses for the boarding steps on the left fuselage get in the way of the control panels from fitting flush.
I added some plastic plates to raise the angle of the control panels so they clear the recesses.
The boarding steps required a bit of sanding to fit flush. The NACA-style gun vents are… not great.
After carefully trimming the flash, sprue marks and thinning the parts, I managed to get them to fit OK. The corners on both NACA door parts aren’t sharp though so will need to be addressed.
I used plastic plates as guides so the 2 parts align properly.
Like almost all my Macross kits, I will be building this kit gear up. I decided to ‘close’ each of the gear doors before putting both fuselage halves together.
Again, plastic plates are used on the inside to use as alignment guides.
A dryfit shows a gap in between the doors. Something to fix later.
A lot of plate work for alignment.
I dryfit the nose section to the fuselage and like all 3 of my previous failures, there is a small gap right where the 2 parts join. I used to simply slap on a lot of putty and sand everything away. I’ll see if there’s another way to fix this.
I attached the wing glove vanes closed. These will need to be blanked off after both halves of the fuselage come together.
Before the 2 halves can fit together though, parts of the molded on main gear well need to be trimmed off.
The kit comes with the F-14A/B wing glove ECM fairings molded on. These need to be trimmed off.
The screencap shows however that the other fairing is present on both sides so these were attached.
The top and bottom speed brakes were trimmed and fitted into the aft fuselage.
Once fitted together I added the beaver tail. The F-14A+ Kai uses the modern version with the ECM bump and fuel dump pipe.
I decided to drill out the the fuel dump pipe. The hole is wider in real life but I’m afraid my limited dexterity won’t be able to pull it off.
This is proving to be a long build. Yay.
Brand: Tamiya 60788
The Lockheed Martin (originally General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter. It currently serves in no less than 25 nations, with over 4,400 aircraft built. Commonly known as the ‘Viper’, it features innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It is also the first fighter to be built to sustain 9-g turns.
The F-16CM is the USAF’s designation for its fleet of Block 40/42 F-16CG/DG and 50/52 F-16CJ/DJs that have gone through the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP). The program seeks o standardize all the avionics and hardware configuration to simplify training and maintenance. With CCIP, the CM (DM for the two-seaters) can now carry the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, employ GPS-guided weapons, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), employ the AIM-9X Sidewinder and radar upgrades.
The build depicts 92-3884, an F-16CM Block 50P in 35th FW Wing Commander color markings from the 13th Fighter Squadron ‘Panthers’ in 2010. The squadron is part of the 35th Fighter Wing, 5th Air Force, flying out of Misawa Air Base, Japan. The 13th FS F-16s carry the ‘WW’ tailcode, which refers to the ‘Wild Weasel’ Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) mission the squadron specializes in. With the transition from the F-16CJ/DJ to the F-16CM/DM, there is now the additional Destruction of Enemy Air Defences (DEAD) capability. 92-884 wears the more colorful markings of the 5th Air Force commander.
In 2014, Tamiya release an all-new tooling of the F-16CJ. Curiously though, it came without the ’things under the wings’, not even the ubiquitous fuel tanks and pylons. Then in 2015, they released the same exact kit but with ‘full weapons’. This is a popular kit of a popular subject and there are tons of previews already online so I’ll just add some observations:
- It’s a proper Tamiya kit so as expected, details and molding are very nice
- With parts swapping, you can build a pre or post CCIP Block 50 F-16C
- Kit is missing the JHCMS sensor inside the canopy but that’s a very minor detail
- A nicely molded pilot is included but it lacks the JHCMS helmet
- The canopy is clear instead of tinted which is accurate to the modern F-16s
- Like its 1/48 brother, there are 2 panels on the rear fuselage that are molded separately. I still have no idea why this was done
- Weapons include: 2x AIM-120 AMRAAM, 2x AGM-88 HARM, 2x AIM-9X Sidewinder, 2x AIM-9L Sidewinder, 2x HTS pod (left and right mounted versions), ALQ-184 ECM pod, Sniper Targeting pod (in clear plastic)
- 3 fuel tanks are included (2x wing and 1x centerline)
- Various minor ejector pin marks on the landing gear doors and missiles
- Markings are included for 3 F-16s and all the stores. The color call outs are wrong though as at least 2 of the F-16s depicted have switched to the simpler 2-tone gray camouflage
- Option for an open canopy
- The intake is detailed for 1/72 but overly engineered because of it with quite a few seamlines to deal with
- A very nicely done information sheet about the F-16 is included
Whlle the breakdown of parts indicate that other F-16 versions would be forthcoming, Tamiya hasn’t done so as of this writing (2019). In any case, this is a superb kit.
It’s a Tamiya kit. Nuff said.
Out of the box, there are parts to replicate the SEAD/DEAD capable F-16CM although it lacks the smart bombs to be ‘accurate’. I added a BRU-57 dual resin bomb rack from Reskit for this.
Construction was painless for the most part. Some problem areas for me:
- The intake assembly is over-engineered and required a bit of planning to get right. In the end though, I didn’t manage to do a flawless job with it. But so long as you don’t stare into the intake, it’s fine.
- While it makes for a stronger fit, I don’t like assembling the landing gear from the beginning. It’s just asking for trouble really.
- Compared to the rest of the kit, the ejection seat is simplified but I think it’s because Tamiya really wants me to stick the pilot on it.
- There’s a hole on the starboard fuselage that needed to be opened so I can stick a small vent into it. It’s small and quite a handful to attach properly though because I also needed to putty over some panel lines around the area.
These aren’t major issues with this build. In fact, I’d take this kinds of problems any day (looking at my Hasegawa F-14 kit grimly).
Colors & Markings
As mentioned above, the color call outs are wrong. The 2 CCIP F-16s (with the ‘bird slicers’ in front of the canopy) should be in 2-tone gray instead of 3-tones. Tamiya still only lists their own colors on the instructions but the F-16 doesn’t require any special colors so it’s quite straightforward to find the colors from other brands.
I went for a more subtle marbling coat using gray instead of white and I think it suits a 1/72 subject better. The results still look quite patchy though so it’s something to look at in later builds.
For the panel wash I went back to using diluted raw umber oil paint as I didn’t want to deal with Mig AMMO Panel Wash’s smell. After cleaning the panel wash, I think I prefer the deeper brown of my bottle of Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Wash. Let’s see how I can replicate that same shade with odorless oil paint. I did some random dot filtering using white oil paints to add more variations to the finish. I also used the white oil paint to try to lighten the lighter gray tone on the nose.
Once cured and given a flat coat, it was time to add the things under the wings. First the landing gear (which was detailed but finicky), then the sensor pods, then the pylons and lastly the wing stores. Each was given some time to cure before the next one was attached either with cement of Gator Glue.
Last on as usual were the antennas (only 1 thankfully) and the pitot tube.
So this build has been slow but it’s just due to the many parts of this kit. It fits great and I really like the details especially compared to the much older Hasegawa F-16. If only all the kits in the stash are like this one.
While waiting for the gloss coat to cure, I decided to tackle the exhaust. After a base of black and painting the inside white, the outside is painted with Vallejo Model Color Pale Burnt Metal.
I then masked off the exhaust petals with both 1mm masking tape and liquid mask. Yes each individual petal. The edge was masked off with vinyl masking tape.
Using Vallejo Metal Color Jet Exhaust, 20 minutes of masking and 20 seconds of painting later…
The small square shaped edges were then handpainted with the same color. After a gloss coat and a wash this should look nice enough.
I wanted to model the F-16 with the WW tailcode so the only option I have is the kit decal. These are quite thick but went on OK. It took a while for them to react to Mark Softer though. The tail marking also seem to be slightly oversized.
For a modern aircraft, the F-16 has relatively few stencils and I went ahead and added about 95% of them.
The top of the tailfin needed to be painted to match the fin flash.
So I handpainted Game Color Fiery Red and Model Color Deep Yellow over a base of white.
I decided to attach the intake lights at this point and once everything has cured and given a quick wipe down, I sprayed another coat of gloss to seal everything in. By this point, it had dawned on to me that the Mecha Color Medium Grey I used looks to be darker that what FS36270 should be. Unfortunately it’s too late to go back to fix it now.
The fuel tanks and weapons were also decaled and I think the stencils definitely add some ‘pop’ to the missiles and pods.
I went with using Raw Umber oil paint for the panel line wash.
The effect is subtle. I think next time I’ll need it to be closer to a black color.
I dotted white oil paint on the light gray color to try to lighten it a bit.
Once dried, I blended it with a damp paint brush.
I noticed in pictures that the area in front of the exhaust on the bottom tends to be dirtier than usual so I added some patchy filtering using raw umber here.
The landing gear are then attached. For 1/72 I think the details look great. Certainly more detailed than Hasegawa.
I then attached the rail, the ALQ-184 and the Sniper pod. The rail requires some shimming although I think it’s because I messed up the plate below it during construction.
I then attached all the pylons under the wings.
Working from inside to outside I attached the fuel tank, AGM-88 and AIM-9 using Gator Glue on the port wing. I worked slowly giving each store to cure a bit before attaching the next one.
With the same sequence, I attached the fuel tank, CBU-105 and AIM-9 for the starboard wing. I attached the wingtip AIM-120s only after all the other stores have been given some time to set.
I then removed the masking tape over the canopy. I notice that besides the belts, the details I added on the seat can’t really be seen. Hah!
I then attached the pitot tube and the nose antenna last. These were handpainted once in place. I also added a drop of Future onto the intake navigation lights to give them a shine.
It took a while with final assembly but I’m done!
I’ve always wanted to build the F-14 that appeared in the Macross Zero OAV. Based on some research it looks like this particular boxing of the 1988 molds has all the necessary parts to depict an almost 100% replica of the F-14A+ Kai. The Tomcat that appears in the anime is officially designated F-14A+ Kai and is basically an F-14D that has an F-14A cockpit. It’s armed with 2x AIM-9 Sidewinders and 6x AIM-120 AMRAAMs and flew without external tanks during it’s appearance in episode 1.
Hasegawa did release an official F-14A+ Kai kit of their own. But that kit is based on the 1977 molds so it’s simplified and has raised panel lines. Hasegawa also didn’t bother with the details of the F-14A+ Kai as it builds into a bog standard F-14A. I never did manage to get my hands on the Hasegawa Macross Zero F-14 but after I managed to track down an aftermarket set of 1/72 decals off eBay, I decided it was time to build my own more accurate version.
I try to build my Macross kits wheels up so the first thing I tried is to cram 2 pilots into the kit. The pilots come from the Hasegawa US Pilot/Ground Crew Set. I’ll need to modify the pilots to be more ‘accurate’.
I used both epoxy putty and 0.25mm plastic plate to upgrade the helmet. The oversized pauldrons are also replicated with plastic plate.
After some sanding and shaping, I think my mods look OK. They should look fine once painted and under the canopy.
After re-checking references, I realized I got the shape of the pauldrons wrong so I went back to fix them. I also cut the pilot’s lower legs off so it’s be easier to fit the cramped cockpit.
I trimmed the pauldrons, res-primed then re-checked the figure. Good to go!
On a whim, I decided to test-fit the pilots into the cockpit. The RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) fits OK but the pilot didn’t fit correctly: in fact, the instrument coaming touches the pilot. It looks like Hasegawa got the dimensions wrong here and it’s both disappointing and surprising.
So I took it as a challenge and try to open up some space. Looking at the front cockpit, the back panel is very thick.
I replaced this panel with 0.25mm plastic plate.
The coaming requires thinning on the inside before it fit properly.
In the RIO’s cockpit, there’s a big gap between its coaming and the instrument panel. I added plastic plate to cover this up.
The kit includes both GRU-7 and NACES ejection seats. The F-14A+ Kai uses the GRU-7 ejection seat but compared to the NACES, it takes up more space which amplifies the limited space inside the front cockpit.
With the NACES seat, it’s better now but the pilot still seats too low: his view is blocked by the coaming.
I cut off the molded straps and the canopy breakers then added the GRU-7 ejection handles on the NACES seat. At this point, I’m very happy that this F-14 is a fictional variant.
added plastic plates on the seat to raise the pilot. I also sanded the bottom of the coaming to slightly lower its height.
The coaming looks too big and bulky for 1/72 scale.
To make it look more to scale, I thinned the edge of the coaming.
Another test-fit and I think it looks much better now.
I also thinned the pilot’s back slightly so he sits closer to the seat.
It’s a lot of work just to cram 2 pilots into the cockpit but at least it worked out.
After fixing the few gaps, it’s time to put some color on this kit!
First, the stealth coat with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black.
Then a marble coating with Tamiya XF-12 IJN Gray.
The instruction sheet made a mistake in calling out 3 gray tones for the camouflage. By 2010, this jet only has 2 gray tones: FS36118 and FS36270. I went with Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey for FS36118. The nose is actually uncolored and change color naturally so any shade of medium gray would have worked and be ‘accurate’. I went with Model Air Aggressor Grey.
I then masked off the nose and the darker gray for the lighter gray color. It’s usually SOP to paint the lighter colors first then go progressively darker. I did it the other way around this time as it will be easier.
For FS36270, I went with Vallejo Mecha Color Medium Grey which after researching matches the FS color.
The bottom is one solid shade of medium gray.
Using the XF-12 as a marble coat gives off a subtler effect than using a pure white color. I also cut the colors with Vallejo Glaze Medium that reduced their opacity.
The weapons were given a base coat of XF-1 Flat Black. I decided to paint the bands instead of relying on decals so I sprayed XF-2 Flat White for them.
I handpainted the bands with Game Color Bloody Red, Model Color Deep Yellow and German Cam Med Brown then masked these off with 0.7mm masking tape and 0.4mm tape for the red band on the AGM-88’s rear section.
The CBU-105s were painted Model Air USA Olive Drab (FS34079) for the body and Mecha Color Medium Grey for the tails. The AIM-120 and AIM-9Xs were painted Mig AMMO Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375). Other details lile the fins and seeker heads were handpainted. While it looks white in photos, the AGM-88 is actually a very light shade of FS36622. I thought my bottle of AK Camouflage Grey was too ‘gray’ so I replaced it with Model Air Insignia White instead.
The stores, rails, pylons and ALQ-184 were all the same color as the bottom of the F-16: FS36270 ie. Vallejo Mecha Color Medium Grey. The Sniper pod however is Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey (FS36118). Not pictured is the Model Air Insignia White I handpainted the HTS pod’s tip with.
With a deep breath, primary painting is done. Time to finish this thing!