what can you say about the Tomcat? Generations were born under great aircraft
such as the the F4U Corsair, the F8C Crusader, the F4N Phantom II to mention
a few. The Grumman F14 Tomcat is a plane few will ever forget. It's primary
responsibility to protect the Carrier Group as the Navy's front line Fighter/Interceptor
is currently unrivaled.
Swing Wing, in which the Tomcat is famous for, is a rarity in models and
have been a modelers nightmare for many years. Only until recently with
the current state-of-the-art Radio Systems, advances in Model Manufacturing
and Modern Composite Components have people started to truly look into
the once thought "impossible" projects.
Returning to Barbers Point NAS
after a successful sortie.
the DCU Tomcat
was, if I remember correctly, exactly how I remember Christmas morning
20 years ago. Joy! Joy! Presents! Gimme! Or something to that effect.
Well I'm sure the FedEx guy was happy just to get back to the office
and away from me! By the way, this thing came in 2 HUGE
boxes! it only (gasp) cost me about $100 bucks! (to Hawaii) I thought
it was a steal! Most other kits manufactures, like Yellow Aircraft,
charge me like $100 -$120 bucks for just shipping the F4E Phantom
Mark and the
people at DCU
were most accommodating as far as shipping with various carriers
The kit has almost
everything except for Dynamax Fans, Engines, Pipes, Radio, Glues
and Paint. It might be better to say what does come in the kit:
Custom Fan Mounts*, Scale Rotating Retracts, Struts, Brakes, Tires,
Wing Sweep Unit with battery and charger, Fiberglass Doors,
UEI Hidden Hinges (awesome stuff) and cockpit. The Wing Pivot
Blocks, Bearings and Wing Box (Spar) are preset in a jig and installed
at the DCU Factory. Hey even Decals from Aeroloft are included,
just name the squadron when ordering your kit and its in there!
Almost everything you need is there to build it as per instructions,
that is, if you build per instructions.
Actually, I only did
a couple of modifications to the plane:
1) I put in
a full scale gear door system ( which was left up to the modeler)
2) I changed
the rudder linkage and hinge system, I used 2 servos, one for each
rudder instead of one for both, mounted just behind each main gear.
I used a Sullivan Semi-Flexible Cable linkage to the control horn.
I also used the more conventional
Robart Pin Hinges for the Rudder installation instead of the
method used in the manual.
during construction is fairly easy, if not, calls and questions
to DCU are helpful and reassuring.
images to the left is basically how the fuselage looks out of the
box, molded in gray. All wood and screw parts are bagged separately
for identification. Pre-installed are the nose wheel bulkhead, Main
Wing Spar & Aluminum Pivot Brackets and a rear bulkhead
which is to reinforce the elevon and vertical fin areas ( the elevon
block is preinstalled against this bulkhead). Washing down the fuselage
with warm soapy water helps remove any release agents which may
still be present.
the Tomcat is pretty easy, just pay attention to where your equipment
is going or has to be. Think "ease of maintenance" too,
as it is a tight fitting bird. The only main difference I did is the
rudder modification I mentioned earlier and the gear doors.
closer! Tomcat being worked on at Duke's "Skunk Works"
sweep, the plane is a lot different, nothing bad or anything but
it is more responsive than with the wings out. Heck, there is only
1/4 inch throw for ailerons at this mode. Nothing bad as far as
habits. The Tomcat can be intimidating with the coals poured on
and the wings swept back. Very sinister looking during flybys down
the wings swept to the mid swept position, it is a lot more responsive,
and will probably be where most of my flying will occur, nothing abnormal
Fly this bird
SCALE. Which means watch the airspeed
and maneuvering and adjust wing sweep accordingly. She
is easy to land and sink is predictable, the brakes come in handy here.
Flying the Tomcat
can best be described in two sections, wings out and wings back.
take off, the plane rotates in about 175-200 feet, she has good power
when ascending. wing roll is slower than most would be comfortable. It
calls for 1 1/2 inch through but I increased them to 1 1 3/4 inch. It
help a bit, but you still have to fly the Tomcat around, its best to fly
it 3 steps ahead of what's currently happening.