WIP: The Final Countdown Zero dogfight diorama - Part 1: 1/72 Academy F-14A

JNordgren42

Active Member
Now that the cockpit is done I can start making progress on the main show. Today I glued up the nose section, put some primer on the intake tunnel parts, and started test fitting the fuselage. The fit is quite excellent, but there are a few minor problem areas to sort. One odd spot is the boat tail between the engine nacelles. It's both over engineered and under engineered at the same time. They made both parts separate, but completely unkeyed, making it difficult to align correctly. A simple strip of styrene glued to the inside where the joint is sorted it, but it seems like it would have been an easy inclusion to begin with. The other issue is that the landing gear doors aren't designed to be modeled closed. So for the nose gear, I trimmed all the hinges off put them all face down on a strip of masking taped and glued them together with a strip of styrene. Once that dired I ran some thin Tamiya cement on the outside seams and I'll re-scribe to get good lines. I'll do something similar for the main gear.

Nose glued up, seams are minor to nonexistent and will be easy to clean up.
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Fuselage fit is great!
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Fuselage to nose seam is very minor and should almost go away once glued.
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Bottom nose/fuselage seam. Virtually invisible.
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Primer on the intake tunnel parts.
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I can't fathom why they didn't put some sort of alignment tabs in this area, but it's an easy fix.
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Nose doors trimmed of the hinge points and glued together with a strip of styrene.
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Nice fit on the exterior. Some quick clean up and scribing work and they'll be good to go.
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JNordgren42

Active Member
I got a little package from Ukraine this morning! :) My resin Sparrows and Sidewinders from Reskit. They're really beautifully molded and the overall quality on everything looks top notch. I ordered them on July 5th, so that's just over 3 weeks to arrive from a war zone. I honestly am happy to support the Ukrainian people any way I can and I wouldn't have raised a fuss if they never arrived. The details are fantastic and a big improvement over the kit ordinance. I had to buy both AIM-9D's and AIM-9L's because for some strange reason they loaded one of each on the filming birds. I also need to figure out what to do about the AIM-54's. An AIM-54A is period correct, but no one seems to be making them any more. Hobbylinc Japan says they have a couple of the old Eduard ones in stock, or I may just order the current Eduard AIM-54C's from somewhere in the U.S. I really wish Reskit made a Phoenix, because their Sparrows and Sidewinders are fantastic and very reasonably priced.

Very nicely packaged:
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AIM-7E
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Fins and body are resin, with PE nozzle for detail:
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The decals are very comprehensive and nicely done:
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Kit part for comparison. The Reskit missile is much crisper and more detailed and the fins have a much thinner cross section:
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AIM-9L
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Resin body and aft fins in one piece and brass PE forward fins and nozzles. They also come with protective caps for the seeker heads which is a nice touch. I won't be using them since I'm modeling it in flight, but it's nice to have them for an arming diorama.
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Very nice decals on these as well:
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The Reskit 'Winders just blow the stock ones away:
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Fin closeup. The rollerons are tiny at this scale, but you can still just make out the detail:
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AIM-9D
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One piece body and aft fins, brass front fins and nozzles:
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Same great quality on these decals as on the others:
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The resin missile blows the kit part out of the sky again:
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Fin detail is just phenomenal on these as well. Also note how much thinner the profile is:
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JNordgren42

Active Member
I assembled one of each of the Sidewinders, they look great! The PE canards really look much better than the plastic ones. I may try to chop up some microscopic bits of plastic to glue on where the canard attachment hubs are, it's the one detail that the resin missiles don't have that the kit ones do.

Resin 9L & 9D:
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Resin and Plastic 9L:
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The PE canards are much thinner and better shaped than the plastic.
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9D resin vs. plastic:
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PE canards are much better again.
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Tail end, the D & L are virtually identical:
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PE nozzle on the resin gives that last little bit of detail and the fin cross section and rolleron details are much better.
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The Sparrows will take a bit more, the resin fins need careful attention to detail to trim up for attachment.
 

Analyzer

Master Member
Having glued on tiny plastic canards on Hasegawa detail sets, I cannot image having to work with PE that tiny (simply because I find CA glue not as easy to work with compared to the plastic glue as far as working time)

It does make a nice visual difference though
 

JNordgren42

Active Member
Having glued on tiny plastic canards on Hasegawa detail sets, I cannot image having to work with PE that tiny (simply because I find CA glue not as easy to work with compared to the plastic glue as far as working time)

It does make a nice visual difference though
These were not bad to assemble. The missile bodies have slots to position and receive the PE fins. I just put a drop of thin CA on a scrap of plastic then dipped the edge of each fin into it with a pair of tweezers. Pop it into the slot and make sure it's straight in the second or three it takes the glue to set. I did the opposite with the nozzles. Dipped the back of the missile in the CA and then carefully set the ring with the tweezers.
 

JNordgren42

Active Member
I haven't had a lot of time to build the last couple of weeks, but I managed to get a solid several hours in today. The the hard to reach bits of the intakes are painted and the main fuselage is assembled. One thing that was really bugging me were the super chunky trailing edges of the intake bleed air exit doors on the upper surface of the fuselage. They look extremely toy like and out of scale on an otherwise excellent model. Thankfully a Flex-I-File strip fits perfectly in the opening and I was able to sand them down to something more reasonable. The intake parts took some care and finesse to reduce gaps, I had to use a toothpick to spread the back half apart ever so slightly and I had to carefully sequence the glue joints with adequate drying time between each stage. But my patience was well worth it, there are almost no gaps or misalignment, and what little snuck through should be easy to deal with.

I also assembled one of my Reskit AIM-7E Sparrows, the fins are very finicky to trim down and glue, but the result looks fantastic.

The first of two assembled Reskit AIM-7E Sparrows.
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Compared to the kit Sparrow:
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The bleed air door out of the box on the left side, and after some quick sanding work with the Flex-I-File on the right.
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The Flex-I-File strip just fits in the gap.
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Both bleed air doors sanded down, it looks SO much better!
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Fuselage glued up, the nose is just test fit right now.
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Top side:
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Test fit of the tail fins. It's really starting to get that signature Tomcat look!
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JNordgren42

Active Member
It's still slow going, but I'm gradually making progress. I sanded down the ECM antenna fairing bulges on the wing gloves since this is a fairly early Tomcat (they definitely aren't on any of the filming birds) and I got the starboard main landing gear doors glued in. There was lots of trimming, sanding and test fitting involved, but I think I got a pretty good fit, escpeccialy considering that the kit was not designed to be closed up. I also glued some styrene strip to the inside of the gear wells to help get everything aligned correctly and to provide more bonding surface.

ECM antenna before sanding.
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ECM antenna after sanding.
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Main gear doors all glued up.
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Styrene strips glued in the gear well.
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Wheel doors glued in. I also glued a small styrene strip to the bottom of the inboard door to give the strut door a more solid connection.
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Outer surfaces of the trimmed doors compared to stock. It's hard to see but I had to very carefully shave down the lip of the outboard wheel door where it meets the inboard door to get a proper fit.
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Underside of the trimmed doors vs. untrimmed.
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I think I did a pretty good job getting everything flush.
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Analyzer

Master Member
Closing those gear doors up sure was a pain, My least favorite part of the build

Although I did leave the bulges on mine. Not sure which variants had them, but I just went with an out of the box build

at any rate, you did a great job getting rid of them

I know it is too late for this project, but if you ever feel the need to build another 1/72 F-14, especially one in landed mode or in take off configuration with slats and flaps, GWH (Great Wall Hobby) makes an excellent model

I recently got one and it is amazing, it even has position-able intake vents for subsonic vs trans-subsonic flight, radome can be positioned opened/raised. Basically just about anything that opens/closes, moves is configurable

The only thing missing is pilot figures
 

JNordgren42

Active Member
Closing those gear doors up sure was a pain, My least favorite part of the build

Although I did leave the bulges on mine. Not sure which variants had them, but I just went with an out of the box build

at any rate, you did a great job getting rid of them

I know it is too late for this project, but if you ever feel the need to build another 1/72 F-14, especially one in landed mode or in take off configuration with slats and flaps, GWH (Great Wall Hobby) makes an excellent model

I recently got one and it is amazing, it even has position-able intake vents for subsonic vs trans-subsonic flight, radome can be positioned opened/raised. Basically just about anything that opens/closes, moves is configurable

The only thing missing is pilot figures
It was between this and the GWH. I went with Academy, because I'm building it buttoned up in flight and all the bells and whistles would be wasted on this project (and would have made for a more difficult build). I'd like to build a version on the catapult at some point and I'm sure I'll use the GWH when I do.
 

JNordgren42

Active Member
Woot! My new air compressor arrived and I am closing in on being ready to to shoot some primer on the fuselage. I'm sure I'll have a few areas that need attention once I get some paint on it, but that's standard SOP so I'm not worried. The compressor is an inexpensive Chinese made one, but like the airbrush itself (same brand), I'm happy with the quality for the money. It's reasonably quiet and there are no discernable leaks out of the box. On a full air tank it will go for well over a minute continuously at 20 PSI before there is any discernable pressure drop (with power shut off). It will do about 25 seconds continuously before the auto-start kicks in with the power on. I'll have to spray in the garage until I get a spray booth, but I'm excited to get some paint on this model soon.

Amazon link:


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