F-14A Big Ed Interior, Seat Belts, Canopy Mask, Exterior, and Engines

Published: June 26th, 2017     
Product Image
Art
Reviewed by: 
Michael Novosad, IPMS# 36721
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $74.95
Product / Stock #: BIG49169

Introduction

Much has been published on the Tamiya 1/48th scale F-14A Tomcat already. Finally an F-14A kit that is fun to build, with outstanding detail, fit and engineering. By itself, out of the box, the kit build will result in an amazing model. However................many of us cannot leave well enough alone and need to add some aftermarket accessories. Eduard offers aftermarket accessories that are hard to resist no matter the quality of the base kit. With the Tamiya F-14A they have done it again.

Personally I prefer to add add photo etch and some resin aftermarket items to many of my builds. When I aquired my Tamiya Tomcat I began to purchase several aftermarket items. When the opportunity arose to volunteer to review the Eduard Big Ed set of photo etch, canopy mask and seat belts I could not resist.

An excellant reference for this project is Danny Coreman's "Uncovering the Grumman F-14 A/B/D Tomcat". The reference images contained therein will provide an excellent source for painting details that will compliment the already fine Tamiya kit as well as the Eduard photoetch parts. If you are going to build it might as well do it right.

First, I placed the Eduard instructions along side the Tamiya kit instructions and went back and forth between the two to make certain that I did not miss any of the construction steps and PE placement as the work progressed. This is a big and complex kit to start with, and the addition of the aftermarket sets make the work all the more challenging.

Contents Description

This Big Ed set includes three packages of photo etch parts, one canopy mask, and one set of steel seat belts.

  • F-14A Interior Set Number 49805
  • F-14A Seat belts Set Number 49806, and
  • F-14A Canopy Mask Set Number EX540
  • F-14A Exterior Set Number 48909
  • F-14A Engines Set Number 48910

Purchased separately these sets would cost $107.00

Eduard packages their photoetch, seat belts and masks in a plastic envelope, reinforced with a loose sheet of heavy card stock. The instructions are also included in the sealed envelope. All the envelopes are enclosed in a sturdy card stock envelope, sealed with clear tape. I have never obtained an Eduard product that was damaged or missing parts. This says a lot for Eduard's quality control.

Interior Set 49805

This set includes color panels for the cockpit side consoles and instrument panels, and bare brass for the rudder pedals, detailed sidewall panels, canopy side rails and canopy frame details.

First, the molded on raised detail must be removed from the plastic parts. I first fixed the side consol panels to the cockpit tub. I felt it would be easier to work on the smaller parts if they were in place rather than loose. Other side panels were left on the sprue while the raised detail was removed. Several different tools were used for this task ranging from hobby knife blades, micro chisels, sanding sticks and files. The surface was last finished with medium to fine sanding pads to provide a relatively flat surface for the photoetch.

Once the kit plastic parts, but not the instrument panels were glued in place the unpainted PE parts were fixed in place. I used Gator Glue for this. Once brass parts were in place I airbrushed the cockpit tub and instrument panels flat black. When the black primer dried I airbrushed a Tamiya acrylic paint mix for FS 36231 grey into the tub. This was allowed to dry for 24 hours before the painted PE parts were fixed in place. The PE parts do not have an adhesive backing, so I used Gator glue to fix them to the cockpit tub.

This set also includes parts to enhance the canopy clear parts. After cleaning the attachment points from the clear parts, and removing the molded on latches from the kit's grey styrene parts I cemented the two side rails (parts H8 and H9)to the canopy using Tamiya Thin Cement and clamped the parts together using mini clothes pins. I used Gator Glue carefully applied with a tooth pick to mount the canopy frames that include the pilot's handhold to part J5 and the rear view mirrors to part J6. PE parts 46, 47 and 53 were then cemented in their respective locations again using Gator Glue. The internal frame PE part 57 was fixed in place on the interior side of the canopy. The canopy clear parts assembies were set aside to cure for 24 hours before the assembly was dipped in Future. I was hoping the Future would enhance the bond between the plastic and PE parts.

Steel Seat Belts Set 49806

This is my first experience with Eduard seat belts. The parts were fittted to the seats and bent as required. Gator Glue was used to fix each part in place. After completing the first seat my iniial reaction was "wow, this look great!" This set really makes the ejection seats outstanding in detail and appearance. Beware: due to the number of small and delicate parts extra care is required when handling the completed assemblies. The effort overall is well worth it.

Canopy Mask Set EX540

Many canopies can be masked with low tack masking tape cut to fit, however having a product that is specifially precut for a model makes things a lot easier and quicker. I have heard some complaints that the individual masks are hard to remove from the main sheet. By using a set of needle nose tweezers the effort is made easier. The needle nose tweezers are also a great way of maneuvering the longer masks in place. Burnishing the edges is always recommended. And finally the needle nose tweezers make for an easy removal of the masks once the painting, weathering and clear sealing of the model has been completed.

I will always recommend the use of the precut Eduard masks for any model.

F-14A Exterior Set Number 48909

A single fret is included in this package. Some details on the instructions are a bit confusing, but with a little study the placement of the PE part can be determined. Some individual parts that require forming to comply with the kit's surface shape will require annealing. There are some replacement parts for the gear doors that are much thinner than the kit parts, along with grilles that will require the removal of some of the kit's recessed detail. This is not for the faint of heart! Planning, careful cutting and carving is the order of the day here. There are several conduit/piping features that may be added to the wheel wells. Although these conduit assemblies are two-dimensional I gave them a go and was more than pleased with the results once painted.

Included are the interior panels for the open crew boarding steps. The steps also inlude a textured surface. In both instances the kit parts are without detail. This is a vast improvement for those wishing to show this feature.

F-14A Engines Set Number 48910

I was also given the opportunity to review the Eduard Brassin exhaust set for the Tamiya F-14. The resin set also comes with its own PE set. I used the PE from the BIG ED review set to detail the Tamiya kit exhausts to show how the parts fit, however I used the Eduard resin exhausts in the actual model build.

The kit's exhausts consist of two types of nozzles (two open, two closed--take your pick), single piece burner assemblies with raised details and the burner cans.

The PE fret was first primed with Mr. Metal Primer and allowed to cure for 24 hours. I did not remove any of the parts from the fret other than parts 3 for ease of assembly. Parts 3 were removed and annealed, then rolled for short tube. I super glued a small styrene disc in the center of parts 5, which is the base of the after burner assembly. The parts 3 tube were then super glued to the base using the disc as a location guide and to reinforce the attachment point. Parts 1, 2 and 4 are quite delicate and after removing them from the fret were fitted over the center tube. These parts were held in place by friction. A light application of super glue was applied to the miscellanious parts to hold everything together.

I airbrushed the parts with Alclad Aluminum, and allowed this to cure for 24 ours. The next step was to airbrush highly thinned Tamiya X-26 Clear Orange onto the metal parts. How much of this will be visible down the exhaust tunnels is anyone's quess, but it looks pretty cool on the workbench.

The PE afterburner assemblies were carefully inserted into the kit's burner cans and fixed in place with super glue.

Conclusion

As noted before the Tamiya F-14A Tomcat kit will stand on its own for quality and detail, however for those of us willing to accept a bit more effort in our modeling hobby the addition of the Eduard photoetch details will raise the level of detail all that much more. I was a bit apprehensive about removing the molded on Tamiya details, but once the Eduard replacement parts were in place I was more than satisfiied with the product.

I would like to thank Eduard and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this product. It is highly recommended to improve an already outstanding Tamiya model kit. I am very pleased with the product and the end results.

  • Cockpit Panels
    Cockpit Panels
  • Cockpit Details
    Cockpit Details
  • Seat Belts
    Seat Belts
  • Cockpit Top View
    Cockpit Top View
  • Cockpit Left
    Cockpit Left
  • Cockpit Rear
    Cockpit Rear
  • Cockpit Left Front
    Cockpit Left Front
  • Cockpit Right Rear
    Cockpit Right Rear
  • Painted Seats With and Without PE
    Painted Seats With and Without PE