Top Gun F-14s Take Two

crackerjazz

Sr Member
Hey, guys, thanks! Really appreciate the encouraging words : ) Hi PHArchivist, regarding the engine nozzles.. I divided it into 4 areas: A, B, C and D:

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The feathers on Area A look burnt to a toast. The petals on the "B" area sometimes remains partly shiny and the others largely burnt or heat-stained to a somewhat bronze look. Area C looks like a brownish/rusted color, and "D" is actually shiny bare-metal at first but I see they turn matte and weathered after years of service.

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That "D" slab is is shiny on this F-14

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Here the "D" slab looks faded and weathered.

The way I painted it is as follows: I started out with Tamiya gray primer (rattle can) all over. Then I used a black sharpie marker and drew dots at random all over area "A" and "B" with more dots on "A", which is darker. Then I handbrushed Alclad bronze over that. The sharpie dots and primer kind of mix up with the lacquer Alclad unevenly and creates the effect below. After that I sprayed on a very faint mist of Alclad Burnt Iron over area "A". And after that I weathered it lightly with some Abteilung gray oil paint for area A and Abteilung Grease and Bitume on Area "B"

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The "C" area is Semi-matte Alumiminum weathered with Abteilung Grease, Gray and some Starship Filth. I used grease not to bring out a grease color but because it's the closest I could bring out a burned or heat-stained color with.

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For the other Tomcat I also experimented on spraying the B-petals with semi-matte aluminum and "burned" them with Abteilung Grease and Bitume oils, leaving some petals partly shiny like in some F-14 pics I see. Unfortunately there's no close-up shot of the engine nozzles in the movie.

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I then later found out that I could dry-brush a few areas of the "B" petals with Gaianotes Mirror Chrome but I was very careful not to overdo it - just a few petals here and there.

For Area "D" which is the slab on top, I used Alclad semi-matte aluminum. I then tried weathering it with gray oils but I find it just doesn't blend in with the bare-metal color. I also tried mottling it with a darker metal shade which kind of worked but I still wasn't happy with the tonal variation. In the end, I hate to admit it but I just weathered it using a regular graphite pencil : )

All in all I think the various layers bring out a nice weathered TF-30 nozzle -- the kind that looks like you don't want to lean against accidentally lest you get soot on your clothes : ) The newer F-14Bs and D's used the more powerful GEF110 engine with cleaner looking petals. F-14 pilots won't agree with me, but I think the TF-30s on the F-14A I think had more character -- just because they're grubbier -- like the Millennium Falcon : )
 
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crackerjazz

Sr Member
Nice! 1/48 -- same scale as the Tamiya kits I used. It may not have the same level of detail and accuracy as the Tamiya but you will see that it will look like the Top Gun filming jet once you've done the patchwork - the corrosion-control panel touch-ups in lighter gray. These were done by hand using aerosol cans on the real aircraft without the use of masking tape and can be replicated by airbrushing them freehand (using a very fine spray pattern so the edges remain soft but still have definition). Do this as the final step -- after painting/weathering/panel-lining and your Top Gun F-14 will look the business : ) I think the patchwork contributes even more to the battered look of the filming jets than the weathering. The weathering and tonal variations are only visible up-close but the patchwork is clearly visible from afar. And it's important to do them as the final step and not before panel-lining because panel lines tend to cancel them out.
 

PHArchivist

Master Member
Nice! 1/48 -- same scale as the Tamiya kits I used. It may not have the same level of detail and accuracy as the Tamiya but you will see that it will look like the Top Gun filming jet once you've done the patchwork - the corrosion-control panel touch-ups in lighter gray. These were done by hand using aerosol cans on the real aircraft without the use of masking tape and can be replicated by airbrushing them freehand (using a very fine spray pattern so the edges remain soft but still have definition). Do this as the final step -- after painting/weathering/panel-lining and your Top Gun F-14 will look the business : ) I think the patchwork contributes even more to the battered look of the filming jets than the weathering. The weathering and tonal variations are only visible up-close but the patchwork is clearly visible from afar. And it's important to do them as the final step and not before panel-lining because panel lines tend to cancel them out.


Oh wow - so yours are 1/48 as well - had it in my mind that they were 1/32.

Again, excellent information, tips, and insight!
 

Analyzer

Master Member
Nice! 1/48 -- same scale as the Tamiya kits I used. It may not have the same level of detail and accuracy as the Tamiya but you will see that it will look like the Top Gun filming jet once you've done the patchwork - the corrosion-control panel touch-ups in lighter gray. These were done by hand using aerosol cans on the real aircraft without the use of masking tape and can be replicated by airbrushing them freehand (using a very fine spray pattern so the edges remain soft but still have definition). Do this as the final step -- after painting/weathering/panel-lining and your Top Gun F-14 will look the business : ) I think the patchwork contributes even more to the battered look of the filming jets than the weathering. The weathering and tonal variations are only visible up-close but the patchwork is clearly visible from afar. And it's important to do them as the final step and not before panel-lining because panel lines tend to cancel them out.

Interesting

Supposedly with F-14s you almost get the reverse effect around panels (or maybe is is just dependent on the FS paint color used for some low vis schemes?)

i.e. They seem to have darker shades of paint in the middle of panels and lighter on the edges, the reverse to normal. I believe this is because when they remove a panel and re-attach it for maintenance they apply fresh touch up paint over the join. This touch-up paint is newer and looks lighter than the older dirty paint
 

crackerjazz

Sr Member
Hi JNordgre42, 3D impact, thanks!: ) Exacty, Analyzer -- fresh paint over the weathered paint. I guess the color difference serves some purpose, too, in that it's easier to spot which areas were worked on during post-inspection. But, yeah, these were post-cruise jets with 6 months at sea and have been worked on and touched up so much. And I guess Paramount took what they can get and didn't have the luxury of choosing shiny F-14s and it somehow worked for the better as they came in all weathered up : ) I'm not sure why but that dilapidated look on fast jets looks mean : ) I guess it goes back to the ILM ships and the Millennium Falcon. Actually, my paintjob is quite controlled -- I didn't really go overboard with the panel touch-ups, because they really will look like jalopies : ) But the best indicator I've come across yet is when I showed the F-14s to my wife and she said my paintjob sucked and they just look "patched up". She probably expected a hurt look on my face but instead I let out a "Yes!" with a clenched fist, lol.

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Just look at those horizontal stabs:
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I think as long as you can get the patchwork patterns correctly on the top-side, you're in business. There's just two main cats to choose from -- I call this the Lego cat, because of that patch on the starboard side that reminds me of Lego blocks. And it's got that white panel on its back.

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Copy these touched-up panels onto your model and it will look like Mav's jet : )

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And this is the "Plain" cat. I notice it's actually a mirror-image of the real plane in this photo based on the patchwork --- they had to make it look like the two jets were headed in the same direction. I used this for Iceman's jet :

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But the jet was also used for Mav and Goose scenes:

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Don't worry about the modex numbers (104 and 114), which kept switching between shoots.

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These aren't the movie jets but these are worse. And you can see what the touch-ups look like:
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Analyzer

Master Member
Great pics of the real weathering

While you did not go nuts as you say, I think your end result is amazing and perfect for the scale.

You've inspired me to try painting up an F-14 like that

It's funny because people will often dismiss or give a dig at weathering on military jets. They say things like "the officer would never let jets be that dirty" etc...

It's probably true if you only see the jets in a museum or at an airshow when they are looking their best, but out at sea or sitting outside on a runway in the desert it is a different story

Maybe that is true for some of the fancy CAG or CO birds, but for the typical ones they can get pretty weathered

Sure some people can go overboard weathering and theses are not necessarily rusty junk piles like some Star Wars stuff (the patching shows they try to avoid any type of rust at all costs), but they do get dusty, sandy, grimy, and dirty

Also love that stand!
 

PHArchivist

Master Member
On that white panel behind the canopy...

During filming of the "...hit the brakes, and he'll fly right by!" shot, a piece of cowling or fairing detached from the jet.

Is the white panel the replacement?


In that nose-on shot of 114, with a body of water beneath - is that the Salton Sea?
 

Analyzer

Master Member
On that white panel behind the canopy...

During filming of the "...hit the brakes, and he'll fly right by!" shot, a piece of cowling or fairing detached from the jet.

Is the white panel the replacement?


In that nose-on shot of 114, with a body of water beneath - is that the Salton Sea?


that is pretty wild. I know the F-14s were prone to mishaps which lead to them being grounded at one point


although one of the known problems I think is that they had a stall risk on certain maneuvers, or at least that is what I think they blamed for the crash at the Willow Grove Airshow in 2000

I remember watching the routine ending in horror as the smoke went up
They were doing a landing wave-off maneuver
The pilot was supposedly able to drop it in just the right spot to miss the houses back there and instead go down in the wooded area behind them

They were also too low and at the wrong angle to eject safely at that point

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