1/48 Fujimi F-14A - VF-33 Starfighters

Gallery Article by Jim Ward on July 4 2003

  US Independence Day  

 

Having just got back into the hobby about a year ago, and being a huge F-14 fan, I decided to cut my teeth on what I thought was a relatively basic model. I should have known that NO 1/48 scale Tomcat build would be simple build! However, the only reason this model even resembles an F-14 is because of this website and the fine people who maintain and visit it. I appreciate all the help, advice, and fantastic models I see here daily.

This site has made the hobby much more enjoyable! Besides, where else could I learn how to increase my un-built stash to a ridiculous number without my wife knowing? Where else would I have learned that Future is NOT for floors! And the list could go on! Now on to the kit!

The Fujimi kit came out before the now famous Hasagawa F-14 series and was considered at one time the best Tomcat kit on the market. In my opinion, its still a good kit, despite some obvious flaws. For starters, there is little or no cockpit detail. To top it off, I was told by several people who I consider to be experts, that the aftermarket cockpits don't fit the Fujimi kit. Hence the closed cockpit. However, I did manage to
scratchbuild several cockpit items to "beef" it up some. I also placed two Revell-Monogram figures (Pilot and RIO) in the cockpit - more to hide the poor seat detail than anything else. There is little or no gear box detail, poor weapons (except for the phoenix missles), basic landing gear, and the list could go on. However, I was pleased with the finished project and it looks like a Tomcat to me!

 

Click on images below to see larger images

Building the Kit:
The overall fit wasn't too bad and required only minimal filler and sanding. However there were three major problem areas. The worst area being where the cockpit is joined to the airframe body. The misalignment was easily the worst I have ever seen (an eighth inch step-up from one part to another). Believe it or not, after I realized that the misalignment could not be sanded away without destroying all of the surrounding detail, I carefully melted the parts together with a very small flat knife heated on a hot
plate. I was then able to sand the area to create a seamless fit. Did lose some detail, but was able to rescribe what I lost. Pretty drastic, but worked well enough! The other problem area was the entire canopy/windscreen. It simply didn't align to the cockpit. I tried all sorts of filler, carefully sanding the canopy, heating and bending, but with
only limited success. Finally, the ventral strakes are horrible - completely wrong in shape and size. I scratchbuilt some replacements and was generally pleased with the result. There are other visible flaws, but please don't bother pointing them out. I build completely for my own enjoyment and relaxation. I frankly can't hold a candle to much of the work I see here daily, but then again, I'm not in a competition with anyone. I
simply love the process of building, improving my skills with each model, and seeing the end result.

The decals are from CAM depicting the "Batmobile" from VF-33 operating off the USS America in 1982.  The model was painted with Tamiya and Model Master paints.  I did some light weathering with pastels, an oil wash, and mechanical pencil to highlight panel lines.  Sorry there are no close-up photos, the ones I took didn't come out clear - guess the digital camera I used wasn't up to the task.

I hope you enjoy!

Jim Ward

      

Photos and text by Jim Ward