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Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

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SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

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F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
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F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
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F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

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AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Furball Aero-Design FPE-001
F-14 Late Model Tail Reinforcement Plates -- 1:48

 

The twin-tailed F-14 Tomcat was a bit of a departure for fighter jet design in the late 1960s.  Since the dawn of the jet age (and even earlier) most fighters, from the P-80 to the F-4, had a single vertical stabilizer.  Even advanced mock-ups of Grumman’s Design 303E possessed a single tail, but very late in the design stage, two vertical stabilizers were added to provide enhanced stability. If you ever wondered why Grumman’s famous Tomcat mascot was drawn with two tails, it was a nod to this design feature. 

Early on in the Tomcat’s life, the vertical stabilizer fin caps demonstrated a propensity for structural cracking, and from a few stories I have heard, a handful of Tomcats landed missing a fin cap which had departed from the aircraft in flight. The solution was to add stiffener or ‘beef-up’ plates that also went through a few design changes before reaching their final “T” configuration in the 1980s, and were carried by all F-14s until the 2006 retirement.  These were incorporated into the production line and retrofitted to earlier airframes.

The 1:48 scale Tamiya F-14 Tomcat was one of the best kits of 2016, but as I noted in the Detail & Scale review of this kit (HERE), Tamiya chose to represent an early production Tomcat (Blocks 74 thru 76).  If the scale modeler sought to build a mid- or late-life F-14A, they would have to do some conversion work, making sure their chin pod, gun gas purge vents, and boat tails were in the right styles as well as having the correct vertical stabilizer reinforcement plates.  At least for the latter, Furball comes to rescue with a small photoetch metal detail set. 

Furball Aero-Design is well-known for their aftermarket decal sheets, and this release marks their first foray into photoetched metal parts. In terms of shape and configuration, Furball’s mid/late-life tail stiffener plates appear perfectly accurate to my eyes.  Three layers of thin photoetch metal parts build up into the three stepped layers of the stiffener plate.  So, while you do have a little assembly work here building up layer-by-layer, it is quite realistic and accurate.  Just use slow-setting superglue and make sure your alignment between the parts is correct.  To use these parts, you’ll need to sand off the small early-style stiffeners on the kit’s tail and lightly re-scribe a short panel line.  Also, the metal is very thin, so removing the parts from the fret should be almost effortless.          

These parts are superior to the earlier vinyl tail stiffener set produced by Steel Beach that is long out-of-production.  And while I have not had a chance to review it (so I cannot be absolutely certain), Steel Beach’s resin tail stiffener set for the Tamiya Tomcat doesn’t seem to match the surface quality and scale thickness that the Furball photoetched metal parts achieve.  The set is well priced and quite affordable.  Furthermore, the design and quality of these metal parts is objectively excellent, and if this is a portent of things to come, we can expect some really great photoetch parts from Furball in the future.  

Many thanks to Furball Aero-Design for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.furballaero-design.com/default.asp and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FurballAeroDesign

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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