1/32 F-14 extended wing bladders

For Trumpeter kit

Product Article by Steve Bamford on Sept 24 2020



These new resin F-14 extended wing bladders from Zactomodels offers replacement parts for the nasty rubber bladder parts included in the Trumpeter 1/32 F-14 Tomcat kit.  The rubber parts are difficult to glue, difficult to paint and some have even had them weep oils that ruined their paint. As with rubber wheels, there is the fear that they will deteriorate and completely fail in time.  While there are basically 3 positions for the wings, extended, swept and over-swept, Zactomodels decided to only offer two, extended and swept. Those who want to do over-swept will have to do some filing and sanding.  Each set includes 2 detailed resin pieces designed to fit with no kit modifications.  These bladder parts force the wing glove sealing plates to fit properly, raised at the rear corner, not flush like when using the kit provided bladders. 


Click on images below to see larger images

The bladders inflate using air pressure from the engines so there is some variability as to how much they inflate. Zactomodels found pics at cat-launch where they appear over-inflated while in others they have relaxed and the ribs in the under-structure show. They have made the (extended wing) bladders slightly relaxed to where the sub-structure barely shows. Those who want it to be more prominent can sand away material and those who want them more inflated can add material.

The stock kit has the wing glove sealing plate intersection with the forward section of the fuselage flush and have the rubber bladder notched to allow this. In reality the intersection should not be flush the full length, but flush at the front and raised at the rear.
Zactomodels made the bladders without the cut-out notch forcing the parts to fit properly. The parts in the previous pics are just sitting on the kit. Here you can see how they will look when everything is glued: 

Also note that the gap between the sealing pates and wing in the previous photos shows the parts just sitting on the kit with only a little tape holding things together. The gap will be tighter on a fully assembled kit.

The actual bladders are a Teflon coated canvas. They do get scuffed up and show wear. In some cases slight wrinkles show and in some pics it appears as though they have had large sections patched with slightly different colored canvas. Check your references for the plane you are building. 
Zactomodels chose to make the bladders smooth and clean. You can add scuffing, wrinkles and patching if you choose or just (have fun and) replicate this and the weathering with paint.

Resin casting is of a very high quality and all the detail is very well done with no air bubbles.  This new resin set from Zactomodels will permit modelers to improve this area on their 1/32 F-14 and avoid the rubber kit parts and get more accuracy in this area.

You can buy this set directly from Chris at Zactomodels  and he also has a separate set for the swept wing bladders.

Steve Bamford

Photos and text by Steve Bamford