Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

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

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Steel Beach Accessories #48975
F-14A/B Update Converstion Set -- 1:48 Scale

 

The F-14 Tomcat was the U. S. Navy’s premier interceptor since 1972, and beginning in the 1990s, it also served as an exemplary ground attack aircraft until its retirement in 2006.  Most of the F-14s that were built were F-14As, powered by the Pratt and Whitney TF-30.  These were always considered as interim powerplants to be replaced in production jets with the F401 engine.  It’s a long story, but the F401 was plagued by many costly development and production delays.  As a result, the entire production run of 557 F-14As was fitted with the TF-30.  While it was a generally good engine for the F-111 and A-7, there was an airframe/powerplant mismatch with the F-14 that generated (among other problems) compressor stalls and catastrophic engine failures especially in the first decade of Tomcat operations. 

By the mid-1980s, the General Electric F110 was selected for all forthcoming F-14s.  This was the engine the F-14 needed, providing substantially greater thrust, climb performance, exceptional acceleration, and pilots could enjoy unrestricted throttle movements throughout the entire flight envelope.  The first production aircraft powered by the F110 flew from Grumman’s Calverton, New York, facility on 11 December 1986.  This was the F-14A(Plus). A total of 38 new build F-14A(Plus) jets were manufactured, while another 48 F-14As were upgraded to A(Plus) status.  On 01 May 1992, the F-14A(Plus) was redesignated as the F-14B.

Late F-14As and F-14Bs both received a range of upgrades over the years leading up to the retirement of the Tomcat.  These included the LANTIRN targeting pod and other features related to the ground attack mission, such as the large PTID (Programmable Tactical Information Display) screen and left-side hand controller for the RIO.  Between 1997 and 2003, the F-14B was fitted with a combined glass SparrowHawk HUD for the pilot.

In this set, Steel Beach Accessories provides resin cast parts to convert the exemplary 1:48 scale Tamiya F-14 kit (see our review HERE) to late F-14A or F-14B configuration.  This set includes 29 cast resin parts and two self-adhesive vinyl sheets to simulate surface details. The resin parts cover the most noticeable external characteristics of the F-14B, from the carbon fiber engine shrouds and F110 afterburner nozzles to the NACA-style gun gas purge vents, the ALQ-126 mid- and high-band ECM antenna fairings on the wing gloves, and the ALR-67 ECM antenna on the boat tail.

The Steel Beach set also includes the LANTIRN pod and its wing glove adaptor pylon, two LAU-138 BOL AIM-9 launch rails, and two BRU-32 bomb racks with the ADU-703 adaptors used on the AIM-54 missile pallets.  Other resin details include the PTID and RIO hand controller, TCS chin pod, GPS antenna dome, and the F110 engine’s first stage compressor blades and flame holders.  The pre-cut vinyl parts represent the late-style vertical stabilizer fin cap braces and the reinforcement plate that showed up by the RIO’s boarding step in the later years. 
           
Overall, Steel Beach has done quite a comprehensive job in representing the late F-14A and F-14B configuration.  These resin parts are well detailed.  The instructions are clear and well-illustrated.  With these parts added to the 1:48 scale Tamiya kit, you’ve got a certain winning combination here.  While I am more predisposed to using photoetched metal parts for the reinforcement plates, the vinyl does the trick. 

Of course, if you’re shooting for a late F-14A, just don’t use the parts for the F110 engines. If you’re looking to do a late F-14B with the SparrowHawk HUD, you’ll have to find those parts elsewhere.  If you plan to build an F-14A(Plus)/B before 1994, leave out the PTID display, hand controller, BOL rails, bomb racks, and LANTIRN pod.  

Steel Beach casts their resin under lower pressure, and some parts tend to have a bit of a grainy texture.  A little light sanding is always a good idea, but these are some of the smoothest parts I’ve seen Steel Beach produce.

The only issue here is that the NACA gun gas purge vent part in my review sample seems to have come out of the mold a little early and was warped. A little hot water and gentle pressure bending it back into the correct shape should correct this.   

Many thanks to Darren Roberts of Steel Beach Accessories for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.steel-beach.com/ and this set, along with the rest of the Steel Beach product line, can be purchased at http://spruebrothers.com.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

(Return to top of page)

** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


 

(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


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

**********