Just Tomcattin' Around
A custom cool cat for a friend.
This is a model I actually started to build more than thirty years ago. I had just built the cockpit section and the kit sat in the box until about two years ago when I decided to finish it for a good friend of mine named Walter. The F-14 Tomcat is a favourite of his so it was an excuse to get it done. But, I got interrupted by other work and it wasn’t until just a couple of weeks before Christmas of 2022 that I finally got it done.
It’s made from an old 1981 Monogram release, but the decals of the original kit had degraded so I had to find decals from my stash that would make it into a different livery than originally intended. I had to sort of “make it up”, but found some decals that seem to have made it resemble real squadron markings. Some of the decals seem to have come from a different re-issue of the same kit or a similarly scaled one anyway. I tried to make it look like a “typical” Tomcat based on my observations. So yes, those of you who will say, “There was never an F-14 that looked just like that one!”, please realize I already know that. I was just going for an overall “aura” of the aircraft.
More pictures below.
Thanks for reading Small Art Works Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
The kit was intended to be built with its landing gear deployed and displayed in a landed configuration, so I had to modify it somewhat (landing gear doors and so on would not match as required) to put it in an in-flight mode which looks better in my opinion. The kit only came with one pilot figure instead of the required two for a Tomcat, but that at least allows for a better view of the interior of the cockpit’s rear seat and instrumentation. In hindsight, I should have taken some shots of that interior before I glued the canopy in place, as the canopy reflection obscures most of the interior detail.
I made a stand from some pine that I had lying around in my shop. It was nicely grained so I cut it out, sanded it down, and lacquered it using automotive clearcoat. I put some tubes into the engine exhausts to support the two pieces of wire used to plug the model onto the stand. The uprights are screwed and pinned/glued to give sufficient strength.
Studying pictures of real Tomcats, it is most apparent that no two are ever the same. Some are heavily weathered with a lot of repairs done to them as they were in service, and some were in almost pristine condition when re-painted or when new. I chose to take the more heavily weathered approach as this makes it look a lot less like a toy. But it’s actually not weathered as heavily as some real examples I’ve seen. Many modelers choose to enhance panel lines with black, but if you look at real aircraft, that doesn’t come across. Instead, there are just differences between panels and edges that get weathered and streaked. I used black Conte chalk dust put on with a small paint brush to achieve this effect which I think looks pretty reasonable. Some artistic license was also used. The missiles I left unweathered, as I figure they are “one-shot deals” and would stay fairly clean (until fired of course!) The exposure of the camera kinda blows them out as they are done in pure white.
Anyway, enjoy the following pictures of the finished model which my friend Walter got as a present this past Christmas.