I don’t quite remember when I first saw the movie Top Gun, but it was a few years after it came out in the cinema. I’ve seen it again not too long ago and came to the realisation that it is actually quite cheesy. However, the air-to-air combat scenes are top-notch and I just love seeing Tomcats.
I’ve had LEGO models of Tomcats longer than some members of Eurobricks have been alive. One of my Tomcat models was in brickjournal a few years ago and the first MOCs I posted on Eurobricks almost five years ago were models of US Navy jets. Since then I have built several more. For instance, I have built a whole range of aircraft models representing aircraft that served with Carrier Air Wing 8 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in 2001. Despite having two Tomcats in my collection (an F-14A in the colourful 1978 markings of VF-84 Jolly Rogers and a black F-14D that was flown by VX-9), but felt I could do with one more, because none of the two I had were in the right markings for Carrier Wing 8 in 2001.
I chose to build an all-grey F-14A that was assigned to Fighter Squadron 14, also known as the Tophatters.
Toned-down Tomcats often had a very weathered appearance. Exposure to the moist and salty conditions at sea meant that maintenance crews fought a constant battle against corrosion, often patching up the paint scheme. It isn't immediately apparent from these pictures, but in order to recreate that look on my model I used both old grey and newer medium stone / light blueish grey parts for this jet. The mix isn't completely random. Most of the upper surfaces are old grey; most of the lower are new grey. Another reason for using two different colours was that the the parts I used to build my other Tomcats simply aren't all available in either old or new grey, which meant that unless I was willing to completely change the design I had to use both.
When the Tomcat first entered service with the US Navy it was exclusively used as a fighter aircraft with air-to-air missiles only. When the US Navy's A-6 Intruder long-range bombers were retired in the early nineties it left a gap that couldn't completely be filled by the F/A-18 Hornet, the only attack aircraft left in service. To make up for this gap. Tomcats squadrons started performing the air-to-ground mission as well. In the aircraft's last years in service, they mainly served as long-range attack aircraft. The weapons on my model are typical for attack missions. The jet carries two laser-guided bombs under its belly, two external fuel tanks under the jet intakes and a total of four air-to-air missiles (a single AIM-54 Phoenix, a single AIM-7 Sparrow and two AIM-9 Sidewinders). To guide the laser-guided bombs to their target, the jet also carries a LANTIRN targeting pod.
For flight at lower speeds and for maximum agility, the Tomcat's variable geometry wings are spread.
Here you can see the new model together with the older model in the colours of The Jolly Rogers.
More photos of all my Tomcats (including some really old ones) are on flickr. The design is basically a copy of my existing Tomcat models, but I wanted to share it regardless.
Edited by Rufus, 05 July 2011 - 06:17 PM.