Some of us modelers remember the days before the Internet. If you wanted research material, generally you bought it. The “Squadron In Action” series was very popular. The “Airco-Aircam” series were okay, but these were more life and times depictions of the aircraft’s service life. And, the Doubleday published “Camouflage and Markings” series contained a lot of very good material on numerous aircraft. I have a book they published that collated most aircraft used by the RAF Fighter Command in WWII. They had some very helpful three-views and profiles, together with some rather arcane stuff about various orders and directives issued changing roundel diameters, marking colors, etc. Very authoritative.
However, in the late 1980’s, along came “Detail & Scale”, a series authored by Bert Kinzey. This was a true game changer. Mr. Kinzey gave the modeling world just what it wanted. There were detailed photos of those items that differentiated one mark of an aircraft from another, and excellent photos of operational aircraft. True detailed walk arounds of museum examples. And the cherry on top of the sundae, a complete rundown of the kits available in all scales for the subject of the book.
If I had any interest at all in the subject, I picked up each new D&S as it was published. And over the years I have filled in a few gaps in my collection via Amazon used books and eBay.
These books were the best single sources available to the modeler. They were miles ahead of anything else being published at the time. I find myself constantly going back to them.
Last week, I was on the Amazon Kindle listings, and I saw one for the F6F Detail & Scale, and I took a look at it. I assumed it was the old D&S republished for Kindle.
Once again, I was proven dramatically wrong. Mr. Kinzey and company have been rewriting these books.
For $19.95 via Prime I had the book in two days. Basically they have taken the material from the 1987 edition and updated it. (There was an interim update in 1996 also, which I do not have.) The 1987 edition has 72 pages, while this one is 104 pages long.
The print editions are published “on demand” which is a concept I have trouble wrapping my head around. My order was on March 12, 2022. Printed at the bottom of the last page in the book it says “Made in the USA, Las Vegas NV, 13 March 2022”. How do they do that?
The book is beautifully printed and bound. There is a dramatic painting on the front cover in full color by Stuart Shepherd, noted aviation artist, depicting Alex Vraciu in the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”.
Many of the original excellent black and white contemporary photos are still in this edition, along with the interview of Capt. David McCampbell, USN (Ret.), the Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 confirmed air-to-air kills. There are also more color photos and beautiful color profiles by Rock Roszak of Hellcats in U.S. and foreign service.
And, as Mr. Kinzey notes in the Introduction, they had the benefit of being able to photograph a number of restored Hellcats which “placed a greater emphasis on historical accuracy than ever before”. (All too many restored aircraft and cockpits include many pieces of modern equipment and have been repainted in different colors rendering contemporary photos less than useful for modeling purposes.)
Last but not least, there are 16 pages of the best roundup of Hellcat modeling you will find anywhere, from a 1/144 scale AHM F6F-5 to the 1/24 scale Airfix F6F-5 plus a bunch of older kits by manufacturers and in scales you never heard of. The emphasis is on the kits you can find today that you might want to actually build.
This section alone is worth the price of the book, and when you go to your stash and get that F6F kit out on the workbench, you will have totally accurate and reliable information to make the model you have been dreaming about.
As I have mentioned before, my mission is to point out products that I think are truly worth having. I talk about products I bought for my own modeling use and became so pleased with them I want to share my opinion with others. (You will not find an article here that starts out saying something sucks. If I think it sucks, I won’t waste time writing about it.)
If you have any interest in the Hellcat, seriously consider getting this book, even if your library includes either of the two previous editions. I know I will be looking at the other revised Detail & Scale books they are offering.