OK it’s time to finish this kit and I can call another one done.
I painted the missiles on the side while everything was going on. Hobbyboss provides black missile bands for some odd reason but I’m now used to simply mask and spray them instead.
Wolfpak only includes the markings relevant to the subject so common stencils will need to be taken from the kit. The slimelights on the wingtips are from the Hobbyboss kit and need to bend around the edge.
Some didn’t quite make it even with liberal doses of Mark Setter and Softer and tore up. The others that fit also didn’t quite look symmetrical so these required some careful fixing with paint.
I mixed up a batch of Model Color Deep Yellow lightened with Model Air Insignia White and handpainted the lights.
I messed up the position of the stars and stripes on the port wing and decided to use the kit’s instead. But it didn’t look right as it was a colder dark blue hue vs the warmer dark gray of the Wolfpak markings (the ‘107’). Apparently VF-41 also carried slightly longer bars for their stars and bars during this period so this Hobbyboss decal looked different from the others. Luckily I have a spare copy of the sheet so I used 1 of the stars and bars decal from there instead.
I added the intake warning decal before attaching the gear door which was a mistake: it partially blocks the intake warning. Checking references, it’s clear that it shouldn’t be this way. Since I’ve already raided my extra sheet for the stars and stripes, I went ahead and took the intake warnings too.
I took some time to run Mark Softer and water over the already cured decals and carefully scraped them off with a toothpick. The area was also carefully resprayed before I added the now correctly positioned markings.
The gear door edges were painted with a red Sharpie pen which is a lot easier than using a paintbrush.
I decided to forgo with the standard stencils as 1) I’ve partially used some from the kit for my F-14A+ Kai build and 2) most are printed in pure black which contrasts too much with the dark gray that Wolfpak uses. Since the last time I’ve used their decals, Wolfpak seems to have improved in the quality. The decals now lift off the backings quite quickly and they went well with Mark Setter and Mark Softer. After a day of curing and forgetting to wipe the kit down, I sprayed the whole kit a satin coat to prepare for weathering.
The panel wash was done with thinned Abteilung Starship Filth oil paint.
After about an hour of drying I wiped everything down with a slightly damp paper towel.
The panel wash really pops the panel lines and other details. It’s not really realistic but I think it helps with the overall look of the kit. Without this step a kit really looks flat.
VF-41 was only weeks into its tour during this time period so I’m not planning to do heavy weathering but the bottom around the exhausts were given some slightly heavier weathering by stipling Starship Filth.
The left side of the nose gets crew foot traffic so I weather the area slightly. I then gave everything about a day of curing but didn’t bother with a final satin topcoat this time.
The canopy masking was removed and luckily it wasn’t too bad. There’s only some cleaning and touching up required around the front windshield. I’m glad that the Aurora sticker over the HUD projector is somewhat visible.
The landing gear is finally attached at this point.
The thrusters are also attached. As usual with the F-14A, the left one is closed while the right remains open.
Time for the final touches. First I painted the lights on the wing gloves, wingtips and tailfins with Model Color Transparent Red and Blue over a base of Model Air Metallic Silver. These were all given a drop of Future to get them shiny.
Working from inside out, I then attached the fuel tanks, AIM-7 Sparrows then the lone port AIM-9 Sidewinder.
With all the reinforcement work done internally, the horizontal stabilizers friction fit into their holes and stay in place without cement.
The pitot tube and the 4 AOR probes around the nose were next. I of course, managed to ping away 2 of them in no time at all.
Normally I would have moved on but I had some unfinished Hasegawa F-14 kits lying around so I donated 2 probes from there. These were all painted Mig AMMO Matt Aluminium.
The wings are last on and I carefully snapped them in place. These will be kept folded to save space.
So I’m done. My 4th Tomcat and 3rd in 1/72 scale. Not bad at all. I really like the look of the F-14 and I think having a fleet of them would be an amazing sight. If only they were easier to build…