Following the release of Tamiya’s recent ate F-14A kit in 2021, Furball Aero-Design has released a new installment in their Colors and Markings of US Navy Tomcats decal set series. Part XII (#F/D&S-4825; MSRP: $19.99). was made possible with research materials provided by Detail & Scale. It is designed to complement Detail & Scale’s digital and print reference books, Colors and Markings of U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part 1: Atlantic Fleet Squadrons, and Part 2: Pacific Fleet Squadrons. Part III (Prototype, Test, Evaluation, and Adversary Aircraft) is soon to become available. These books were written by Bert Kinzey with art by Rock Roszak (and find out more about these books, including how to order them, HERE). In the interest of transparency and impartiality, I wish to disclose that your reviewer had nothing to do with the development of this sheet. Further, I have been a Tomcat guy since I was a kid growing up by Grumman – so if I see any mistakes, I will let you know.
In this set, there are decals for ten different late F-14As. Also included are stencil and data decals for one overall Gull Gray jet and one TPS gray jet:
- F-14A BuNo. 162604, VF-2, USS RANGER, 1991
- F-14A BuNo. 161855, VF-14, USS EISENHOWER, 1994
- F-14A BuNo. 162705, VF-33, USS AMERICA, 1991
- F-14A BuNo. 160381, VF-33, USS AMERICA, 1991
- F-14A BuNo. 161160, VF-41, USS KENNEDY, 1997
- F-14A BuNo. 162602, VF-51, USS KITTY HAWK, 1991
- F-14A BuNo. 162610, VF-51, USS KITTY HAWK, 1991
- F-14A BuNo. 160897, VF-74, USS SARATOGA, 1985
- F-14A BuNo. 161605, VF-101, NAS Oceana, 1988
- F-14A BuNo. 162599, VF-213, USS KITTY HAWK, 1995
As is to be expected, these decals are standard Furball – they are of the highest quality decals available. They are carefully sized to precisely fit on the Tamiya kit, but most of these can be adapted with little to no effort on the Hasegawa, Academy, Revell, or Hobby Boss F-14A kits. Where some shape variation can make a difference is in the geometry of the vertical stabilizer trailing edges, which are indeed a bit different between these various manufacturer’s kits. Tamiya, incidentally, appears as the most accurate.
The outstanding quality of both the decal design/artwork by Furball is matched only by the printing by Cartograf. They are both superlative. An elevated standard of research also shines through on the accuracy of these decals. The choices in schemes are both diverse and unique, including a few subjects that I believe never have been covered by a decal sheet before. This set contains several “classic” late 1980s and early1990s higher-visibility CAG birds along with a few TPS schemes spanning CAG, CO, and XO birds. These include the “Tophatters” 75th anniversary scheme, high- and low-viz “Starfighters” and “Screaming Eagles” jets, an early “Be-Devilers” scheme, and other contributions from the “Grim Reapers,” Black Lions,” “Black Aces,” and “Bounty Hunters.” These schemes span 1985 to 1997 when multiple (and sometimes subtle) configuration changes occurred on the Tomcat (e.g., presence or absence of the AN/ALQ-67 and -126 antenna fairings, short or tall TACAN antennas, two-vent or NACA vent gun inlets). Furball did their research, and each of the airplanes on this sheet are accompanied by accurate airframe configuration notes. The stencil set is also outstanding, providing a comprehensive range of both high- and low-viz data for the F-14, from national insignias to NO STEP markings, ejection seat placards, low-voltage formation lights, and pretty much everything in between.
Furball Aero-Design continues to produce very impressive ensembles of Tomcat markings that faithfully translated the source material from the Detail & Scale Colors and Markings books. Tomcat fans will be among a broad range of scale modelers that will really enjoy this set.
Many thanks to Furball Aero-Design for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.furballaero-design.com/default.asp and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FurballAeroDesign
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale