It’s a superb kit, possibly the best Tomcat ever produced all scales taken into account that FineMolds have released a few months ago. At first, the design looks a bit complicated, and a bit like that of a Gundam kit, with a number of parts to be snapped together.
Given the scale, out of the box, the level of detailing is just out of this world: numerous bays can be left open to reveal the innards of the big cat and the cockpit (all plastic, with or without decals for the instrument panels) is really well furnished, with only seat belts to be added (some are available separately from FineMolds).
The canopy features a pesky mold line that will require sanding down and polishing, but on the other hand, is really nicely curved like it should be. This Kitty is only laden with external fuel tanks, one will need to look for another source of missiles somewhere else but do note that FineMolds do offer them separately too, along with other F-14 goodies such as the Alpha probes in turned brass. Markings-wise, two beautiful options in the form of a VF-84 ‘cat in 1978 and one from VF-111 in 1982. Simply beautiful!
KP has just released a number of 1/72 Dewoitine 500/501/510 kits. At the time of writing, two boxes deal with the D.510 (Ref. KPM 0179 & KPM 0185), one with the D.501 (KPM 0178) and the fourth one the D.500 (KPM 0177). At least two additional releases will cover more exotic aircraft: Dewoitine D.510 International (KPM 0180) et Dewoitine D.510J Japan (KPM 0186). More importantly, those are not re-releases, nor re-designs of the 1970s era Heller kits, but brand new offerings.
All the sprues in the different boxes are the same; whatever kit you obtain, you can build any variant of the D.500 series.
There are 2 sprues in light grey injected plastic, plus a clear windshield, for a total of 69 parts. Those parts includes the half-fuselages for the D.500/501 (they are similar) plus the half-fuselages of the D.510. There are three different propellers, three engine covers, two rudders, two main instrument panels and two sets of wheel covers with related undercarriage struts to cater for all possible variants. The open cockpit is well furnished; it certainly can be added to but as is, is absolutely fine.
The panel lines are finely engraved, they should satisfy most. Some might regret the absence of rivet lines (some represented by recessed lines), and of locating pins. Ejection marks will need to be removed from the inside of the wheel cover halves.
Decals obviously vary with each boxing: the D.500 has marking for three French aircraft, as has the D.501; KPM 0179 has markings for three French D.510, while KPM 0185, ‘D.510s in Foreign Service’, allows for the making of the sole aircraft in British markings, the sole aircraft in Soviet markings and of a Chinese (Nationalist) machine. KPM 0180 will offer markings for Spanish (Republican), Luftwaffe and Lithuanian D.510s, while KPM 0186 will have markings for Japanese D.510J aircraft. It can be hoped that Venezuelian and Turkish markings will follow. Colours and decaling instructions are, as usual with this brand, in colour on the back of the box.
Instructions are clear and easy to understand, with the various options pointed out and redundant parts clearly marked. A copy of the 13th book in the Les Ailes de la Gloire series, Dewoitine D500 – D-510 (and a certain command of the French language!) might come in handy to better understand the subject (Editions d’Along, 2004, ISBN 2-914403-18-6), the relatively minor differences between variants and to super-detail your model; besides, it also offers a wide range of possible alternative schemes through period pictures, profiles and 3-view illustrations.