'In The Box Review'


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Reviewer: Andre Van Der Hoek  (taken from rec.models.scale)

Kit:  Revell "Economy Scale" F-14D, 1999 release

The new Revell 'economy scale' F-14D just hit the shops in Europe (June 1999). So far it's a slight disappointment.

The first thing that struck me after opening the box was the rather too heavily engraved surface detail. It ain't Matchbox, but it sure as hell isn't the fine panelling lines we've seen in the Tornado and recent WWII kits. It's actually heavier than the lines on the Italeri Tomcat also issued by Revell as an "A+" a few years back!

Cockpit detail is overall sufficient, but the ejection seats are rather bland in the cushion area. The instrument panels feature the correct MFDs for the D, but would benefit form additional detailing as well. 

In contrast with the three-part nose gear bay in the Hasegawa kits, Revell has this as a single piece. This means no details on the sidewalls, only on the horizontal top section.

Assembling follows the standard of all Tomcat kits I'm aware of: the cockpit tub is attached to the nose gear housing and sandwiched between the vertically split forward fuselage halfs. To this a lower fuselage panel, gun housing panel and the dual chin pods are attached.  The movable wings (no seperate flaps and/or slats) are trapped between the upper and lower fuselage, to which the air intakes (with separate trunking and fan blades on the inside), tailhook housing, ventral fins, and horizontal and vertical tails are added (the horizontal surfaces are designed to be moveable, but I never bother with that). To this assembly the forward fuselage and aft jetpipe (no seperate petals, just a simple one-part can) / boattail (airbrakes molded shut) assembly are mated, and there's your Tomcat. Add landing gear (with some nasty ejection marks) and stir. Serve with olives.

The external nasties are another slight letdown; the external standard six Phoenix, two Sidewinders and two Sparrows. Two external fuel tanks are also provided, but no TARPS pod. No redeeming LANTIRN or PGMs either, even though both squadrons for which markings are included (VF-31 and VF-2) are LANTIRN users.

As already mentioned, the kit has a choice for two birds: the '97 CAG aircraft of VF-31 in overall Light Gull Gray and hi-vis markings, including black tails, and a lo-viz TPS VF-2 example. The decals are standard Revell fare; slightly out of register (though I've seen worse) and the blue-gray for the lo-viz markings is too dark and too blue.

Overall impression: ten years ago this would have been a great kit, but my expectations were higher for this one. Especially with the new roles the Tomcat has these days, a lot of things could have been better with this kit. The parts breakdown suggests more variants of this basic mold are to follow, but I'll probably stick with the Hasegawa kits.

Andre van der Hoek


Related Reviews:  Revell 1/48 F-14D Tomcat 

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