The Academy F-14A came out about the same time as the first Hasegawa Tomcats and its scribed detailing is every bit as nice. Assembly of the kit is more like building the Revell-Monogram F-14 – a no-brainer. This is an ideal combination if you’re looking to build up your collection of fleet colors without having to deal with all of the engineering required for the Hasegawa kit.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus separate upper and lower fuselage halves, and a small clear tree containing the windscreen and canopy. As I mentioned earlier, the surface detailing is all finely scribed.
The cockpit is nicely detailed and, like the Hasegawa kit, can be displayed empty or with a pair of nice crew figures seated in the ‘pit’. Unlike the Hasegawa kit, the Academy F-14A can be posed with the radome open revealing the radar underneath.
The wings of the Academy kit are designed like the Revell-Monogram kit with a sweep mechanism that will allow the wings to be moved after completion. If you want to display the aircraft in the take-off or landing configuration with the flaps and slats all out, then you really want the Hasegawa kit. If you are going to simply park the aircraft with the wings swept, the Hasegawa kit is major overkill and this kit is what you’re looking for.
Academy engineered the gun area of the nose as a separate part, but to date have not done anything with this innovation. Out of the box, this F-14A has the early styled gun gas vents, but the fleet was updated with the later-styled vents that were fielded with the F-14B and F-14D. It would be nice if Academy (or someone) would offer an updated panel here.
The Academy kit, like the Hasegawa, feature engine faces visible down the intake trunks, though the afterburner chambers are a bit shallow on the Academy kit. There are several replacement sets for the TF30 nozzles and A/B chambers out there including a nice set from Aires. The kit does provide a pair of open or closed nozzles allowing you to pose your aircraft in a variety of conditions.
Unlike the Hasegawa kit, the Academy Tomcat comes with a nice set of external stores including:
2 x AIM-9
4 x AIM-7
6 x AIM-54
1 x TARPS
2 x External Fuel Tanks
Markings are included for only one example:
F-14A, 159434, VF-143, AE/100, USS America CAG aircraft