Painting begins with making sure the canopy frame is in black.
I then base coated the whole kit with black primer, which in this case is Mr Surfacer Black thinned with Mr Levelling Thinner, which results in a smooth and slightly glossy finish.
I wanted to build up the weathered finish layer by layer so I started with a marble coat using white. Note I have left the panel lines in black.
I then filled the panels randomly with more marble coats using Tamiya XF-6 Flat Blue, Tamiya XF-72 JGSDF Brown and more XF-2 Flat White.
I also filled various panel lines with white to simulate the repainting of panels when maintenance is done on a Tomcat that is underway.
This patchwork of colors should alter the main colors when they are sprayed on, which will leave me with the look of patchiness.
The paints were thinned quite a lot (almost 70% thinner) and sprayed over the whole kit without avoiding any panel lines. See how all the original marble colors are showing?
At this time period, the F-14 was painted in a 3-tone TPS color scheme of FS36375 for the bottom, FS35237 for the middle and FS36320 for the top side. I used Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey, Vallejo Model Air 71114 Medium Gray and GSI Creos Aqueous H307 Gray FS36320 respectively.
Even though I’d thinned the paint a lot, it still covered up a lot of the marbling work I did, especially on the bottom.
I do like how the top turned out though!
Based on screencaps, the walkways were not dark gray but was a warm light gray instead. I decided to mask and spray these. I used a mix of Tamiya XF-20 Medium Grey lightened slightly with Tamiya XF-2 Flat White.
At this point I also masked off and painted the wing leading edges, the ECS vents behind the walkways, the muzzle blast fairing, the sensor probes around the nose and the formation lights using Tamiya Flat Yellow mixed with a bit of Tamiya Flat White.
I then reviewed the work I’d done and decided that I need to work on the discoloring of the panels some more so I went back in with thin coats of blue, brown and dark gray panels before lightly coating with the main gray colors again.
It looks much better now I think.
I had originally planned to use a locally printed decals for Maverick’s F-14 but as I was finishing the kit, DEF Model released a much more complete sheet of markings from the film. This sheet has much better printing and includes Iceman and Cougar’s F-14 and Mig-28 markings.
The decals are very easy to use and work perfectly with Mark Softer and Setter. Note the painted on formation lights.
The F-14 markings in Top Gun were actually entirely fictional. In real life VF-1 was the ‘Wolfpack’ and used a red-colored wolf’s head for its logo. The logo used here was actually from VAW-110 ‘Firebirds’.
After the decals have cured I noticed that some of the paints were rubbed off by the Mark Setter. I’m not sure why only this area was affected though.
Thankfully this being a weathered aircraft, I simply sprayed over the areas that had rubbed off.
The F-14 finally looks the busi… oh wait, there’s one last detail before I can start the finishing process.
The decal sheet is missing the gray line that cuts across the rear deck of the fuselage. This was masked and sprayed with a mix of gray paints that match the shade of the decals.
NOW it looks the business!
Onwards to finishing this best…