If you had any doubts or reservations that newcomer Calibre Wings had the chops to do the F-14 Tomcat justice, then you may want to think again. The Company posted images for their second pairing of Tomcats, which are tentatively due out this coming August. The next duo include a US Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat Fleet Defense fighter that was attached to VF-142 “Ghostriders”, then embarked upon the USS America (CV-66) during 1976 (CA721404).
The second Grumman US Fleet Defense Fighter is also an “A” variant, this time around attached to VF-14 “Tophatters”, then embarked upon the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), during its last cruise in 2001 (CA721403). Both products show some of the craftsmanship that have gone into the F-14, which includes variable geometry swing wings, opening canopies, adjustable engine exhaust nozzles detailed crewmen, a full suite of ordnance and more, plus a novel display stand. More images for both aircraft can be seen on our web site. Pre-orders for both aircraft are moving briskly.
Perhaps looking to catch up with Century Wings in one fell swoop, newcomer Calibre Wings posted an intriguing graphic to their Facebook page indicating they plan to offer six more F-14 schemes within the “forseeable future.” They also also indicated that their first pairing of F-14s — announced in early 2016 — have been delayed until May of this year, no doubt running into some unexpected production snags along the way, and that their second element has been pushed back to August. Apparently, they are very confident that their F-14 mold and its attendant accessories will unseat Century Wings as the reigning king of Tomcat producers, so we will have to see if the proof is indeed in the pudding some time next month.
Announced over a year and a half ago, TSM Model Wings has confirmed that they are finally in receipt of a pair of 1:72 scale F-14 Tomcats that pay tribute to the feature film, Top Gun. One aircraft pays homage to the aircraft flown by “Maverick” and “Goose” (TSMWTP001) while the other models the one flown by “Iceman” and “Slider” (TSMWTP002). Both are now on allocation basis by the manufacturer/distributor, who has indicated the next batch aren’t expected until mid-2017. As a result, we won’t list them on eBay, Walmart or Amazon, and will simply sell off the remaining allocated quantities on our web site. All of the accessories and figure packs are still expected in early 2017.
On their web site, Century Wings recently announced plans to build a special edition F-14 Tomcat that celebrates their tenth anniversary of diecast modelmaking. To no one’s surprise, they have elected to produce another 1:72 scale VF-84 “Jolly Rogers” warbird to commemorate the event, this time around boasting:
Magnet attachment gear
With flap down wing for landing style
2 Arresting hook parts ( Normal style and Hook Down Style)
Fully opened jet nozzle
Special design package
No images or production numbers have yet been provided, nor has a definitive date of release been given. For more information on the announcement, you can visit their News Page.
In a year where there will likely be a deluge of F-14 Tomcats, its important we compare apples to apples and Tomcats to Tomcats. Hobby Master’s first release was based upon an “A” version, and was decked out in a standard naval scheme with squadron logos and insignia (HA5201). Their second release represents a completely different look at the venerable Fleet Defense Fighter, this time portraying a “D” variant in a low-vis naval grey aimed at making it blend in with the sky (HA5202).
Like its predecessor, the Hobby Master replica features swing wing variable geometry wings, so you can display your warplane in a swept back or forward positioned takeoff mode. Combined with the legendary “Felix the Cat” logo of VF-31 “Tomcatters”, a full load of ordnance, and the usual attention to detail, it looks like we have another winner on our hands.
At this point in time, Hobby Master could be considered an old hand in the modelmaking business, outlasting several recent newcomers and a number of older players. A visionary, to be sure, they’ve finally taken the wraps off of some of their early 2016 releases, giving them a leg up on the competition when things seem to be heating up in a big way. With Top Gun 2 on the way, perhaps their most important early 2016 product line is the Grumman F-14 Fleet Defense Fighter, the workhorse of the US Navy for well over three decades. Their first effort is this F-14A, which was attached to VF-211 “Fighting Checkmates” (HA5201). Unlike the comparable Century Wings F-14, the Hobby Master version features variable geometry wings, which means you can display the plane in either a launch or flat-out, afterburner-fueled configuration.
Also up for your consideration is their first US Navy Lockheed S-3B Viking Anti-Submarine Aircraft, another integral part of US carrier operations for the better half of the twentieth century. While it may not be as sexy as an F-14, the S-3B is a key member of the carrier air wing, designed to seek out and destroy nearby hunter-killer submarines that pose a risk to the task force. This particular S-3B was attached to VS-21 “Fighting Redtails”, then embarked upon the USS Independence (CV-62) during the 1990s (HA4901).
For the last few years, Century Wings seems content to rely upon a pair of replica aircraft to see them through the global recession, reaping the rewards of two toolings produced well over a decade ago. While the strategy has worked, other competitors have crept into their wheelhouse, offering similar, if slightly cheaper versions of their bread-and-butter mainstays to woo away some of their audience. Be that as it may, the Company has announced yet another F-14 Fleet Defense Fighter aimed at a holiday take off, this time based upon a “D” variant which flew with its final cruise with VF-104 “Blacklions”, then embarked upon the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) back in 2006 (CW001617). Thus far, only a line art drawing has been provided to the trade, so we anticipate a completed mock up in the weeks ahead.
Snowboarder, Shaun White, eat your heart out. Century Wings will soon be offering its own rendition of the ‘Flying Tomato’ – a F-14B Tomcat Fleet Defense Fighter (#CW01608) that was attached to VF-101 “Grim Reapers” way back in 1995. Even though their new Reaper Bird commands a price tag of almost double that of its first Reaper F-14, this diecast investment still seems sounds, with many older CW F-14s easily fetching double or even three times that price tag in the after market on eBay. Expect their newest blushing Tomcat some time in May.