Review – Hot Toys 12″ F-14 Tomcat Aviator

3 12 2006

Finally got down to break out my Hot Toys F-14 Tomcat Aviator! Without doubt, this figure together with the F/A-18 Hornet Aviator was meant to take after the main leads of the movie, Top Gun. And so the Tomcat Aviator took after Tom Cruise’s character, LT Pete Mitchell, while the Hornet Aviator resembles Val Kilmer’s, LT Tom Kazanski!

As history would had it, many adrenaline-pumped American youths volunteered for the U.S Air Force and Navy after Top Gun became a hit at the box office. Recruiters even had booths at theatres to snare guys all excited about the glamourous life of a fighter pilot. And that was the year 1986.

You really cannot blame those audiences for volunteering for the military after watching this movie. Those dogfight scenes were the most acclaimed parts of the movie. Too bad the scenes without those F-14 Grumman Tomcat jets paled in comparison. If Tom Cruise was the star on earth, the F-14 Tomcat was the star in the skies. Sadly, this magnificient machine was officially retired from the US Navy fleet on September 22nd 2006.

Although the machine was retired, Hot Toys have at least brought back its aviators. Promo pics of the Aviator figures promised an amazing sculpt. Now that I have both in my keeping, let’s look at how the F-14 Aviator fare!

Bottomline:

The strongest point on this figure is the headsculpt. Even Mrs SWFToys could tell it was Tom Cruise when I held this figure up for her to see! As with most Hot Toys military figures, the details on the equipment are good. This figure is also extremely stable. It comes with bendy fingers which some may not like. The sunglasses is rather awful and is not like the version shown at the back of the box. Velcro on some of the waist pouches have little adhesiveness.

Overall, this is still a great figure to have. The sculpt, pilot helmet and nice equipment win my vote! And it is a pilot figure!

What’s good:

  • Good packaging – collector friendly. No knife needed.
  • The best Tom Cruise sculpt. It’s unbelievable that its mass produced!
  • Good equipment details.
  • Extremely stable figure! Learning point for Sideshow.
  • Pilots always look cool!

What could be better:

  • Sunglasses look awful. It’s different from that depicted at the back of the box.
  • Velcro flaps on some pouches failing.

Review Details

Packaging

This is one area Hot Toys has really showed quality consistency in its 12″ releases. Collector friendly packaging has become synonymous with the Hot Toys brand. Simplicity and a dash of human touch goes a long way in this department! Good packaging indeed!

Headsculpt/Resemblance

Hot Toys does an amazing job here by producing probably the best sculpt for Tom Cruise seen in the 12″ line. You have to see the pics itself to comprehend its beauty. That nose is definitely a Tom Cruise nose! And this sculpt has elevated the F-14 Aviator to be the most handsome fella in my 12″ collection! Yep, we are talking about pole position!

Somehow the pics below doesn’t do the sculpt justice. Better get a better reference from Hot Toys website!

Quality of Product

After the successful production of numerous military figures under its belt, Hot Toys’ F-14 Aviator continues the encouraging testimony in the quality department. The amount of gear a fighter pilot wears makes the usual trip to the lavatory seemingly impossible. As depicted on the F-14 Aviator, the CWU-27/P flight suit is the main first layer of the standard flight gear. Then there is the CSU-15/P anti-G suit. The waist is girded with a MA-2 torso harness with a survival vest secured above it. And the LPU-23/P life preserver tops it all. What a load of gear! Essentials of survival!

The details of these gear are all accurately depicted in Hot Toys’ F-14 Aviator. For example, the LPU-23/P life preserver has the D-rings, beaded inflation handle, flair pouch assembly and dye marker pouch assembly just like the real thing. The only part of the life preserver not modeled close to the real thing are the intricacies of flotation pockets. The real thing would have the CO2 cylinders. That is not a problem for me as the level of details for this 1/6 scale life preserver is already mind blowing!

The equipment on the F-14 Aviator is also well-crafted to fit together. For example, with the helmet on, visor down and the oxygen regulator secured, the entire setup showed a good fit that covers the pilot’s face. Sometimes we take for granted the fit between equipment. Hot Toys has done well to pay attention to this detail, making it so real that collectors may overlook the good work put into it’s manufacturing.

I could go on and on concerning how great the quality of this figure but I would prefer to let the pics do the talking. Hopefully, those who do get this F-14 Aviator will enjoy inspecting its details up close as well.

A minor gripe I have with the gear is that the small pieces of velcro seem to be losing their adhesive nature. This is especially true for the flotation pouches on the life preserver. In this case the amount of mass to secure seems to render the velcro on it ineffective. It comes off easily. They do not stick together unless you rub both sides of the velcro together. It helps to let the velcro hooks grab some velcro hair.

Stability

This F-14 Aviator is extremely stable standing upright. After placing both his feet down on the ground, you do not get the slightest notion that he will fall on his face. It’s that feeling you get seconds after your fingers leave the figure that is the first indication of the figure’s stability. And the feeling is firm with the F-14 Aviator!

Accessories

Hot Toys’ F-14 Aviator comes with quite a fair bit of accessories. And that is good. However, I did encounter a peculiar factory mistake on the oxygen regulator for my piece. Read all about it here. Anyway, I went to the local shop and got a replacement off the display piece.

While I do not have any complains concerning most of the accessories, I am rather disappointed with the sunglasses that came with the figure. It is awful.

Sunglasses are meant to be cool accessories pilots wear with their uniforms to knock out girls but the 1/6 scale eyewear included in this package made the pilot wearing it looked more like Doc Octopus! Compare the reference pic at the back of the box and you can confirm that what was advertised was different from the product in it! It’s like a Gucci was advertised but a knock-off was delivered! What happened?

Conclusion

This figure is too good to pass! You can pose it with or without the helmet. If you chose the former, you can swop out that Tom Cruise’s head to kitbash another movie character! That’s milking value out of it! Go get it!

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11 responses

10 12 2006
Review - Hot Toys 12″ F/A-18 Hornet Aviator « SWFTOYS - Reviews, Showcase and Musings

[…] With the review of the F-14 Tomcat Aviator earlier this week, it’s time for his compatriot – the F/A-18 Hornet Aviator! One noticeable difference between this pair is the helmet design. You should be able to spot it outright. Unlike the HGU-33/P Tactical Aircrew helmet worn by the F-14 Aviator, the F/A-18 Aviator’s HGU-68/P helmet spots a rather non-symmetrical visor. It does resemble a fly’s eye! […]

18 09 2007
ian

I bought this figure because of the cool helmet and yes… Tom Cruise. No surprise and not much excitement with this figure. It is a decent figure that lack of accessories and some fun factors. Bought it because it’s a Hottoys. I bought another aviator to accompany him but definitely no more pilot for me.

21 09 2007
swftoys

Hi Ian,
One main draw for aviators are their helmets. I bought it for the same reasons as you! But… somehow it’s not as fun as those Movie Masterpieces out of Hot Toys. I guess that’s why I’m not so into military… yet.

8 07 2008
Robert

I enjoy your site very much! THANK YOUr

8 09 2008
Cahyo

how much?

16 11 2008
Dave Starr

Although it is a very cool looking figure I found the price to be a bit high at almost $200.00 not worth wasting money on just to interchange his head
very cool figure though

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