Detail & Scale Colors & Markings Series, Digital Volume 2, F-102 Delta Dagger

Published: December 4th, 2017     
Product Image
Author: Kinzey and Rock Roszak
Reviewed by: 
Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Detail & Scale, Inc.
ISBN #: ISBN 978-0-9860677-8-5
Other Publication Information: 303 Pages; Digital publication in iPad format
Price: $9.99

Thank you to Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak for continuing to bring back a tremendous resource for the modeler, in a digital format. Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to test out this new and exciting method of researching history, details, versions and markings of the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. The official title is Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale, by Rock Roszak, Colors & Markings Series, Digital Volume 2.

Overview

This review of an exciting format of a familiar product will be in two parts; 1) content coverage, and 2) how effective and useful the digital e-book format is from a modeler's perspective. I certainly would expect the first question a reader would ask is, "Why do I want an e-book format?" I like reading through traditional books as much as anyone else, with the page-by-page discovery of storyline or new information. I also have tons of books in my library, mostly in dusty residence on stoic-looking bookshelves. This new publication format provides many advantages for the modeler. I cannot imagine that this publication will not be a stunning addition to any aviation enthusiast's digital library. I evaluated this copy in the iBook/iPad format, but operations on the Amazon Kindle platform are nearly identical. At about $10.00, you can't beat the price!

My initial reaction to this new Detail & Scale ebook is even more positive than my reaction to the previous releases, including Colors & Markings Digital Volume 1, which is a beautiful compilation of USN F-14s in the Atlantic. There are many digital versions of print publications available, ranging from simple scanned images of typed pages to true multimedia blends. This digital volume from Detail & Scale is unquestionably positioned at the higher end of digital formats, with new material and excellent functionality. I ran numerous what-if research test runs developing information about F-102 colors and unit markings and found those test-runs to be fast, effective, and efficient without fail. I no longer buy hardcopy references if a digital version is available. If my tablet or computer gets damaged or lost, I can simply download the digital volumes to the replacement devices. Try that with a hardcopy! But Detail & Scale is taking advantage of print-on-demand technologies and some of their publications may be available in one-off, hard-copies for traditionalists. Everyone will be happy!

Reading a novel in e-book format, e.g., iBook, Kindle, Nook and so on, is generally a nice experience, with the advantages of portability, downloadable purchases, and reading in low light. In a reference book, these advantages are surpassed by the ability to search, add notes, screen capture or zoom into photos from the text for annotation, and have fingertip rapid access to information on your workbench without compromising space. A digital reference book allows greater amounts of high-resolution images to be used at a much lower publication price and a more manageable size. In other words, bench space doesn't get filled by a coffee table book. Furthermore, quicker searching and data collection are major bonuses.

In a similar manner to the first Colors & Markings digital publication from Detail & Scale, this volume focuses on the paint schemes used by all operators of the Delta Dagger. The volume contains 374 digital pages and most pages have 1 or more high-quality images, many of which are in color. The quality of the digital publication suggests that the digital delivery concept is the primary design parameter, while retaining the cherished look and feel of the original Detail & Scale series.

Best of all, the stellar quality of the traditional print-based Detail & Scale series is uncompromised in the new Digital Series. The new format builds on the excellence of the traditional format and includes many extra features.

Content Coverage

Front Matter: The cover screen features the familiar and colorful Detail & Scale practice of showcasing the subject in color. The cover plane is a F-102A in 1967, with an Alaskan winter background. The list of contributors and sources fills half a page, a testament to the thoroughness of the volume. On page iv of the Front Matter section is an excellent description of how to use the iBook format on an iPad. The author and illustrator's biography appears on p. viii.

Foreword: A very interesting description of the author and illustrator's experience with the Detail and Scale brand and his first foray into a solo publication production is followed by more shout-outs of particularly important contributors to this volume. The work in producing a volume such as this is truly a consortium of many people sharing a common love of the material.

Introduction: The beauty of a digital format is that print restrictions are nearly absent, allowing significantly more images to be included. This digital volume has large numbers of high-resolution photographs in both color and B&W, color diagrams, and full color aircraft profiles, all well-described in associated captions. The chapter highlights the overall layout of volume, giving the reader a great idea of what to expect and the organization logic.

Chapter 1, Delta Dagger Paint Schemes: Three major paint schemes were found on the F-102 through its operational history. Only prototypes were in natural metal finish, and the Air Force kept early operational aircraft in glossy aircraft gray (FS 16473). Camouflage patterns became common during the Vietnam era in the Southeast Asia (SEA) style, although it is believed that these camo examples did not outnumber the gray ones. In the following years, some 102s returned from maintenance in an aluminum lacquer finish that was sometime mistaken for natural metal. The remainder of the chapter has detailed subsections with thorough descriptions of the paint schemes. Sizes and locations of insignia are included, many color profiles show examples of the color scheme use, and most importantly, when and which aircraft and squadron used the color schemes.

Chapter 2, Air Defense Command (ADC) Squadrons: The bulk of the volume is contained within this chapter. Thirty-two interceptor squadrons make up the subsection topics, each subsection with a brief history, unit insignia, and images of Delta Daggers in unit livery. An excellent summary of the genesis, mission, operational history and deactivation of the ADC umbrella organization provides a backdrop for the squadron subsections.

Chapter 3, Alaskan Air Command (AAC) Squadrons: Unlike the ADC, the AAC had only two interceptor squadrons. The introduction describes the necessity of an ADC "branch office." If you consider the increased Soviet threat, coupled with the double concerns of Alaskan proximity to the USSR and remoteness from the lower 48, the need for the AAC becomes clear. If you have ever spent any time in Alaska, this will resonate immediately! As in Chapter 2, the squadron descriptions start with a brief history, unit insignia, and images of Delta Daggers in each unit's livery. It won't take many views of the AAC images to appreciate why Artic International Orange is so important.

Chapter 4, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Squadrons: Like the AAC squadrons, the European squadrons had a similar purpose, but also had an early airlift capability associated with one combat unit. Increasing tensions with the Soviet Union altered everything and interceptors became more important, necessitating the transition to combat-ready interceptor functions. Getting the F-102s to Europe involved quite a bit of sea transport, which required a considerable amount of unpacking to make the Daggers airworthy. Camouflage started appearing on some of these aircraft toward the end of their deployment. As in previous chapters, the squadron descriptions start with a brief history, unit insignia, and images of Delta Daggers in each unit's livery.

Chapter 5, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF): The Far Eastern Air Forces and its descendants, rooted in World War II operations, were the predecessors of the F-102 Pacific units. Shortly after the Korean conflict deescalated and the Cold War ramped up, the PACAF was formed Seven squadrons were active during the 20-some years that PACAF operated Delta Daggers. Vietnam operations were part of PACAF, and a wide variety of unit markings were present during this time.

Chapter 6, Air National Guard (ANG): Twenty-three ANG state units are described in this chapter, with squadron insignia and an operations timeline. A wide variety of color schemes and markings may be found here, reflecting the pride of each state. The only times I remember seeing the F-102 fly was at airshows featuring ANG flyovers. I don't remember the units of the planes, but I sure remember the shape!

Chapter 7, Miscellaneous Users: Test and evaluation, training and drone units are included here. A unique eye-catching Deuce in NASA markings is found on page 359, and is perhaps my favorite of the hundreds of markings found in this volume. An odd contrast of camouflage and high-visibility orange can be seen on some of the now-drones.

Chapter "8", More from Detail & Scale: As in previous Digital Volume Series releases, these pages may be characterized as trailers for current and upcoming digital volumes. This section also promotes a valuable resource website hosted by Detail & Scale. I expect that these upcoming volumes will be just as good a resource as the first digital ones. Make sure you have a bit of time on your hands when you visit the website; there is just as much research and sightseeing to be done there as anywhere else.

Content coverage summary: I found the volume's organization to be excellent. The common pattern of squadron timelines and logical geographic groupings really helps research into the aircraft and deployment. I appreciate the ability to look for a particular aircraft at a particular time. I was able to guess what Deuce squadrons might have been flying at those airshows long ago when I was much younger.

In terms of content, this is another exceptional publication. In addition to the tremendous wealth of photographs and other information, this volume is well written with an engaging style. The new artwork is spectacular, the photograph resolution is superb, and the depth and variety of markings and color information make Digital Volume 2 invaluable. As always, the ability of electronic media to effectively conduct research and find information reduces barriers to verify and/or discover other sources.

Digital Format for the Modeler

My review arrived in the form of an emailed purchase code which was then entered into the iTunes Store download area. The volume was ready to read and resident on my iPad in a little bit longer download time than typical, but there are a lot of large images!

An excellent guide to iPad operations with this publication starts on page iv. The Apple iOS signature taps, finger swipes, and finger pinch motions are easy to learn and are much the same as many touch tablet systems. The learning curve is a short bump to become proficient. You will soon learn to move quickly throughout the text.

Once you learn the finger motions, you will discover that a double-tap pull-down title bar is very helpful. On the left-hand side of the title bar are icons enabling you to return to the library (quit), find the table of contents (a chapter screen with sections), and locate a nice help screen for adding highlights and notes. On the right-hand side of the title bar is a screen brightness icon, but best of all, there is a search icon and a bookmark icon. I found both of these to be very helpful. These features really aren't conceptually different from marking up a traditional book but have significant advantages.

Highlighting can be done with different colors, perhaps for different topics of your interest.

Highlights can be easily changed or removed (ever try to erase those bright yellow stripes?).

Bookmarks may be added, removed or edited.

Taking screen shots or grabs can be very useful for specific planning. Pressing the sleep/wake button at the same time as the home button will capture the visible screen. This function is great for annotating and planning details. There are many free drawing apps that can import an image and let you enlarge, mark up, or otherwise edit. If you need to put some ideas together for detailing, you can digitally scribble on the photo!

An iPad has a very small footprint so it will take up minimal space on the bench. All of your reference material is in one place, ready to use. Several images of screen operations are included to supplement the many online tutorials that others have posted for iPad operations on YouTube and similar sites.

I am extremely positive about this publication, as I continue to be for all of the D&S digital publications I use. I found Colors & Markings Digital Volume 2 to be an exceptionally effective and efficient research tool. But as mentioned in previous reviews of digital materials, a problem I do have is that digital publications force me to abandon an old tradition of having authors and illustrators sign their books! However, I may have found a workaround with annotation software.

Overall Recommendation

Detail & Scale, Colors & Markings Series Digital Volume 2, F-102 Delta Dagger, has my highest recommendation. I can't see how anyone can justify not having this publication if he or she has any interest in the tremendous variety of F-102 squadrons and markings, whether for model building or for historical purposes. I am certain that the same functionality of the iPad exists for the Kindle platform. To the best of my knowledge, this publication is not available in any formats other than the iBook or Kindle versions at this time. The ability to examine the Delta Dagger within and beyond the printed page, the abundance of color images, links to external resources, search functions, ability to quickly bookmark, highlight and add notes, all combined with the inexpensive cost, make the Colors & Markings Series Digital Volume 2 an excellent value. This exceptional eBook is for all who appreciate the F-102 Delta Dagger.

I can't find any negatives in this publication or delivery format. Some could argue that the pages are too small (you can zoom), tablet devices are too expensive (prices are dropping), backups are impossible (cloud technology is pretty robust, even though it is stored on someone else's server), the content is static (no it isn't, look at the links and updates), and you can't fan the pages with your thumb and feel the heft of the book (OK, you got me there, but why would one want to feel the weight of the books I have on my tablet?) I love the format, and the learning curve is worth it.

Thanks again to the wonderful folks at Detail & Scale! I am very pleased to see the Digital Volumes continuing to be released, and I'm sure I echo the thoughts of the modeling community in saying I hope to see many more of the Digital Series published. Thank you again to the stalwart Reviewer Corps for your hard work in making these review opportunities happen!

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