Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

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Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:34

Hi, I've been building this since Monday, so I hope you don't mind me posting my build threads up here.

The last plane I built was the delightful 1/48 Hobby Boss Me262, and this kit is proving to be no less delightful and enjoyable to build so far.

This kit has had been much maligned for various reasons: Intakes are slightly off, the mad-riveter has struck, the fuel tanks aren't off centre, too much detail in odd places (two entire engines) etc. etc. Now, while this may be true, there is a HUGE amount going for this kit as I'm finding out.

Firstly, the cockpit; you would only be able to beat this cockpit with a resin cockpit, and even then some of the resin pits are not as up to date in terms of MFD's and the RIO's sidecontroller.

Secondly, the main gear bays; these fit together extremely well and don't clash with the intakes. The undercarriage installation calls for the gear legs to be inserted during the bay construction, but this isn't necessary.

Thirdly, the details; this is the first kit I've seen with such a detailed Vulcan, most especially the detail in the cannon port, outstanding. The weapons load is superb and varied (bizarrely including AGM-88 HARM and AGM-84 Harpoon?!) and , yet unfortunately the kit only provides two ADU-703 and BRU-32 bombracks. Minor, but annoying.

Other great details, off the top of my head, are the inclusion of the reinforced area around the RIO's step, the GPS dome for the spine, the internal side panels for the cockpit, LANTIRN pod, LAU-138 BOL Sidewinder rails, the engine fan faces and exhaust fans and flame holders, exhaust petal construction, arrestor hook detail... You might get the impression I like this!

Anyway, in between finishing some of my stalled builds, I bought this off Charley420 and decided to get it started and hope it wasn't going to be a putty black hole. So far, so good.

The kit:


Decal options in the box:

VF-101


VF-213


Reference material


The Tomcat 'Bible'


TwoBobs 'Felix in the Fight ' VF-31 OIF (I'm going to model '110')


W&D Studio pitot and AOA for the Hobby Boss kit


Eduard Canopy masks
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:35

One of the perks of using this kit for the VF-31 OIF bird is the inclusion of the IFR (VF-31 removed the IFR large panel, as experience showed that there was a good chance the panel would be dislodged in the high and murky conditions over the Persian Gulf and Iraq and then become a FOD hazard). With a bit of fettling, it looks good.


I had to hack away at the interior to allow it to stow


And with the forward panel in place


The impressive Vulcan assembly (it's being dry fitted here, so it's not lying correctly)


The cannon muzzle


The intakes have the fuel tank mounting points in the centre, I drilled two holes to the outer side of the intakes and then filled the old holes.


Intake trunks mount as another major manufacturers do


The awesome cockpit primed and ready for detail painting


The main gear bays. Easy to assemble and very robust.


Fits like a glove!


The intake fan, very well detailed, it provides the fan and the compressor fan behind it.


Dry fitting the painted up pit
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:36

More progress! This kit wants to be built. Laughing

The exhaust petals are provided as a separate assembly, which assembles around a ring. Sounds very complex, but surprisingly it is easy and has a very positive fit.




Hobby Boss have also provided the exhaust internal ceramic plates. This attaches to the end of the exhuast tunnel and the option is provided for either 'open' or 'closed' petals with corresponding plates. Once again, this level of detail is usually only seen in resin A/M sets.


The main gear is next-level detail. Comprising of 9 pieces per gear leg, it is begging to be 'jazzed up' with brake cables etc. Honestly, this level of detail isn't even available in A/M sets! Oh, and make you sure you have a copy of Mr Danny Coremans' finest work as reference as the instructions are a bit vague. I would not have been able to construct these without Mr Coremans' and Mr Drendel's works!






Cockpit after a matt spray. I also painted the RIO's panel shroud in two colours, as the pictures of the real thing often show inconsistent fading, so one side looks almost purple and one looks beige for example. I went with Humbrol 98 Chocolate and 155 Olive Green for this RIO's shroud.






The intake trunking has been sanded to death, but as ever, the camera never lies! Frustratingly you can see the seam, so I'll wait till the paint is dry and sand it down again... ](*,)
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:39

Built up the SJU-17 seats and added the provided etch. Not a great etch master, but this went on pretty easily as the brass is quite soft. Interestingly, the seats come with small 'dog ears' (canopy breakers), so are correct OOB for the RIO, but both seats sprues have the larger dog ears for the pilots' seat, so it's a matter of cutting off one pair and replacing them. Easy.


Also built up the armament and stores. This plane will be carrying the typical mid/late OIF load of 2 x AIM9-L, LANTIRN, Phoenix rail and 2 x GBU-12.

AIM9-L's are really nice, great details.


The LTS or ,as it is incorrectly but commonly called, LANTIRN pod is pretty good, but the instructions would have you mount the seeker head upside down according to what images I can find. Most of the time the seeker head is 'stowed' to the rear anyway, but worth pointing out if you want to display it with the optics showing.


Last edited by Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:42; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:41

More progress today. I tackled the wing assemblies which are another load of great detail, but do require a bit of work to build swung to the rear. The wing has better detail for the flaps and slats and some really positive locating nubs than another vaunted F-14 kit. This really makes it easy to display the wings with everything 'hanging out' in the forward position. This will be a boon if you are contemplating a launch dio or similar.

On to the wings; these come in 6 pieces. The slat, the wing upper and lower, the 'bottom' of the flap and the flap halves. Note also the solid ring for the wing pivot, more on this later.


The F-14 flap is a complex affair; I'm not sure how best to describe it, but it swings to the rear and down, it doesn't just pivot on a central axis. To allow the air flow to continue, what I call the bottom of the flap hinges up. Hobby Boss have this part represented, which needs to be glued in flush with the wing surface to avoid a gap between the wing and the flap. I you were displaying the wing with flaps deployed, this would be angled to allow the airflow to flow under the wing and over the top of the flap.


The underneath (not yet glued) to show the area filled by this flap part.


And with the flap in position


The wing pivot is a complete circle, which would necessitate attaching the wing during construction, which can be a pain. So, a quick snip and just over 2/3 of the circle remains, allowing one to slide it into the model after painting.


Masking the typical intake interior markings. The patchwork of paint and filler in the trunking is invisible when observing from the front, so I'm not going to spend ages smoothing it further.


Got the SJU-17's painted up a little, quite impressed they include the blue leg restraints on the seats.


The arrestor hook was next, a real little work of art. I did carve the hook furrow a little deeper though.






Finally, made up the GBU-12's and applied the ablative coating - used liquid poly cement and a toothbrush to texture the bomb body. Not to unhappy with the first time result here. By the way, the kit comes with GBU-16's, not GBU-12's despite what the instructions may call them...
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 09 2013, 16:44

And some more progress -

The oval pipe on the bottom of the arrestor hook assembly didn't want to stick together too well, so rather than fill it as it is so small, I drilled out a small length of sprue which I will then trim down to shape.




And with the arrestor hook housing now modified:


And a truckload of clamps, pegs and tape to hold it all together! In hindsight, I'd leave the ventral strakes off until after the fuselage is glued to allow more elastic bands to be used without worrying about damaging the strakes. Fit is good and there is only an issue around the beaver tail area, due to the airbrake recess mouldings, but nothing too much to worry about.


And the nose glued on. The fit is actually good, despite my explosion of filler. There were one or two small gaps and a very slight step on the port side. Clamping helped, but my clamps were too strong and pushed the fuselage in too much, so I took the hit and will sand the step down.
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Sun Aug 11 2013, 08:17

Looking great, Cool 


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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Sun Aug 11 2013, 08:33

Thanks Josh, more to come in the next few days...
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Wed Aug 14 2013, 17:23

Some progress on this, been filling and sanding a little (not as much as the Hasegawa F-14, thankfully!).

Got some paint down on the weapons, burner cans and stabilators. The bombracks are a little bit of a let down - they come in halves, that have a step on either half, which creates a furrow down the centre when glued together. Not too terrible, but a tricky one to fill and sand.





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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Thu Aug 15 2013, 08:59

Looking good, looks like a nice kit, lots of detail Cool 

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Thu Aug 15 2013, 10:21

Thanks Josh, yes, there is a lot of detail and the fit is very positive. I've just finished pre-shading this beast now, no photos unfortunately as the camera battery is flat! Going to work on the bombs now, tricky to maks GBU-31's...
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 16 2013, 12:46

Some progress made here, I have pre-shaded the plane and in consultation with the resident Tomcat SME (that's you DaveJL ) have concluded that the VF-31 F-14D's were a dirty bunch of weathered birds. I'm going to make an effort to make this really grimy and weathered. (Actually makes it easy to hide my poor airbrush skills as a bit 'thin' here, 'too thick' there is just what this needs! [:banghead:] )

Today's fun was masking the GE petals. I decided to mask rather than use decals or try and paint the demarcation overlap on by hand. Bonkers, but the results are really worth it. On the ground, the GE petals are typically splayed (though there are a few pics of them closed on the ground) and reveal the demarcation of the outer petal and the darkened edge of overlap. Lost you yet? Pictures paint a thousand words...

Using the DACO book for reference, I started out with some 1.5mm AIZU tape...


Then...


All done...


A quick spray of black...


And the reveal! It was worth it (masking took about 45min) and though there are one or two areas that need a touch up, it's minor.
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Fri Aug 16 2013, 15:04

Great masking, I really need to use my airbrush more, too lazy to clean it everytime though Embarassed 

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 16 2013, 15:17

joshdaarmyboy wrote:Great masking, I really need to use my airbrush more, too lazy to clean it everytime though Embarassed 

JOSH
Tut tut! Buy yourself a cheap tin of cellulose thinners from a hardware store, get some kitchen roll and some earbuds and you will have no problems cleaning it!
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Fri Aug 16 2013, 17:56

I keep meaning to get it out, hopefully I will soon with my Humvee that I am building Very Happy  Looking forward to seeing this develop,

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Fri Aug 16 2013, 19:13

Cheers Josh. Annoyingly, a seam that was sound has now revealed itself under the first coat of paint - it didn't under primer, but there it is, proud down the wing gloves. So, off to fill and sand...
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Sun Aug 18 2013, 15:28

Getting some paint down finally. The Eduard canopy masks are great, saves so much time!

I'm going for quite a weathered look, and, not being bold enough to go for the hairspray technique, am going using the chromatic effects technique. I'll be spotting and overlaying, cutting with white, splodging and mottling.

Anyway, on with the show;






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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Sun Aug 18 2013, 17:53

Looking good, always liked the like of pre-shading, must give it a go Very Happy 

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Mon Aug 19 2013, 11:39

Going over the underwing stores, I had sprayed the LTS (LANTIRN) pod Gunship Grey with a Light Ghost Grey panel (the LTS pods were delivered in Gunship Grey, but later piecemeal sprayed in Light Ghost Grey. LTS pods would frequently have odd parts swapped during maintenance) to add another dimension to the build, but the only two pics I find of 159618 during OIF showed an all-over Gunship Grey LTS. http://images2.jetphotos.net/img/2/3/5/7/27438_1082191753.jpg


I then also noticed that Hobby Boss had incorrectly moulded the cooling fan intake on the top of the rear of the body, rather than below, so a fill/sand and rescribe was in order. Not actually a bad thing, as the cooling fan intake is wrong anyway (too deep).


The actually pretty darned good OOB SJU-17's with the kit provided headbox stencils;


Having an off-ish morning, I managed to disfigure the HUD screens, so it was out with the acetate.


Annoyingly there was a small gap in the join of the cockpit windscreen, so my old buddy Squadron White got to get in on the action.


A slightly more toned down Tomcat as the mottling gets more subtle.
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Mon Aug 19 2013, 16:37

Good progress Very Happy 

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Tue Aug 20 2013, 20:04

While waiting for the paint to dry and other trivia, I decided to put some of the prominent cabling onto the main gear scissor linkage. I also added some brake cabling, but when I put the wheel hub on to check, it gets completely hidden. Cest la vie, I know it's there!





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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Wed Aug 21 2013, 12:58

Now, on to some further painting:

Decided to mask and paint the roughened walkway area on the top of the intake. This area gets quite worn, so the solid decal most kits and A/M decal sheets provide are not actually that useful when portraying a grimy line jet. Masked off and sprayed some lightly thinned matt black to get a stippled effect.




Et voila!




Also masked and sprayed the gun muzzle, intake dorsal vents and swing wing 'bags'
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Sun Aug 25 2013, 08:30

Time for some decals!

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  Parabat on Mon Aug 26 2013, 20:37

Nearly there now...

Remember the lead shot and PVA nose weight earlier in the build? I stupidly didn't put in the radar backing plat/bulkhead, so when I was wet and dry sanding the forward fuselage and washing the swarf off, the PVA ran into the cockpit and into the windscreen.  Evil or Very Mad Luckily, with a bit of coaxing with a cut down damp toothpick, you can barely see the evidence of it having been there. Almost a good thing I hadn't installed the HUD!

So, lesson being, if you're going to use PVA to secure the nose weight, make sure you install the bulkhead between the nose and the cockpit!

Anyway, here's we we stand tonight. Decals on, matt coated, wheels on. Just the undercarriage doors, weapons, ejection seats, wings, HUD and canopy to go, with some varuous bits to pick out in little bits of colour.

I shortened (horizontal breadth) and thickened the steps to better match the real steps.








The arrestor hook needs shortening by about 2-3mm to bring it into the correct length. The best place to cut is just after the round 'bumper' on the dorsal side of the hook rod.


The fuel tanks are mounted too far forward, by about 4-5mm. This is really noticeable as the tanks then stick out ahead of the intake lip. Make sure you bring the mounting holes rearwards early on in the build (not like this callsign  Rolling Eyes   )
The LTS (LANTIRN pod) is the kits own and the decals are also from the kit. I used some artistic license and cut the '21' from the VF-213 kit ventral strake decals to better mnatch the VF-31 LTS pod markings over the kits silver '17'.


And the grimy underneath... Frutratingly, Hobby Boss only provide sufficient sway braces to equip two BRU's (Bomb Release Units), though they provide four BRU's... Evil or Very Mad   Still, if you model a late bombcat (2005/06), most of the time they only used the front two pallets and flew with the rear clear.
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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

Post  joshdaarmyboy on Tue Aug 27 2013, 06:16

Wow, that looks amazing Cool 

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Re: Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14D VF-31 'Tomcatters' (80368)

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