WIP : Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A+ Kai Tomcat Pt. 1 – Cockpit

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.

Build Log
Part 1 – Cockpit | Part 2 – Construction

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