Detail & Scale Series Digital Volume 6: F-102 Delta Dagger

Published: April 25th, 2017     
Product Image
Title Page
Author: Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak
Reviewed by: 
Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Detail & Scale, Inc.
ISBN #: 978-9860677-7-8
Other Publication Information: Digital publication, line drawings of all the F-102 production variants, illustrations of details from official Air Force manuals, plus two full-color art profiles of the F-102A
Price: $9.99

Thank you to Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak for continuing to bring back a tremendous resource for the modeler, exclusively 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 F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale, Digital Volume 6.

Overview

The review of an exciting new 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.

My initial reaction to this new Detail & Scale e-book is even more positive than my reaction to the previous releases. 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 high end of digital formats, with new material and excellent functionality. I ran numerous what-if research test runs developing information about F-102 versions and found those test-runs to be fast, effective, and efficient. I no longer buy hardcopy references if a digital version is available. If my tablet gets damaged or lost, I can simply download the digital volumes to the replacement device. Try that with a hardcopy!

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 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 digital publications from Detail & Scale, this volume focuses on developmental history, armament, aircraft variants, first hand pilot narratives, deployment in Southeast Asia, details, a little-known drone program, image gallery, and a modeler's section. The volume contains 293 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. I evaluated this copy in the iBook/iPad format, but I would expect the Kindle version to be similar. At about $10.00, you can't beat the price!

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 an immaculate Wisconsin Air National Guard F-102 participating in the William Tell Weapons Meet in Florida during 1972. 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 revival and rebirth of the Detail & Scale series is also chronicled in this section, a storyline modelers seldom hear.

Introduction

A comparison of the print format Detail & Scale, published in 1990, with the new digital version highlights the significant improvements and new material. The digital volume has significant additions to photographic content, expanded and updated chapters, entirely new chapters, and new color photographs and illustrations. I had very little understanding or appreciation of the Delta Dagger prior to reading this volume. I now have a much better perspective on the F-102, and a greater insight on the operational and development aspects of the aircraft.

Chapter 1, Developmental History

The evolving needs for a fighter-interceptor are described in the chapter, in the context of a post-war political climate of decreasing war-making ability contrasted with needs for increased defense. Early designs such as the F-86, the F-89, and the F-94 are described as initial attempts to fill the USAF interceptor requirements. The experimental delta wing design, and supersonic flight needs gave rise to the what would eventually become the F-102. The Delta Dagger had a developmental history of problems, changes, further changes, and eventual operations, no different than any modern aircraft today. In spite of a narrow vision, the F-102 had a long and useful operational history.

Chapter 2, Arming the F-102

This chapter provides an excellent evolutionary history of jet interceptor armament, as well as the challenges of adding effective weapons to the Delta Dagger. There are many excellent detail color photos throughout this section, often paired with superb color dimensioned drawings of the various missiles used. I particularly appreciated the detail photos of the weapons bay and the missiles.

Chapter 3, Delta Dagger Variants

Every variant of the F-102 is described in this section, including the prototypes. Several data tables are found in this chapter. Many color detail drawings and comparisons of the prototypes, production variants, and the training versions enhance a wealth of color photos. Color line drawings of every variant will enable accurate modeling of this aircraft.

Chapter 4, Flying the Deuce

Eight operational narratives from F-102 pilots range from matter-of-fact, through humorous, to terrifying. I found this section to really add to the volume. Aircraft can be designed, tweaked, polished, and so on, however the stories of actually flying in unexpected conditions, with malfunctions, or just for the fun of it are what bring completeness to the history.

Chapter 5, The F-102 in Southeast Asia

The F-102 was not a major player in the Southeast Asia conflict, but proved to be more adaptable than envisioned. A wider variety of ordnance was used and aerial refueling was developed in Operation Thirsty Camel. The modifications, camouflage color schemes and other specific theater operational details are found in this chapter.

Chapter 6, Delta Dagger Details

There is simply an astonishing amount of material contained in this chapter. Multiple diagrams and color artwork are often paired with black-and-white and color photos. Interior and exterior views of multiple aircraft examples from nose to tail will be both a boon and bane to the modeler! The trainer variant is well represented, as is the engine and various wells and bays.

Chapter 7, Pave Deuce Drone Program

This short chapter describes the useful end of the Delta Dagger, somewhat ironic as a target to improve the mission that the F-102 was intended for. The "new pilots" or black boxes and a controller station are shown along with some of the extra equipment and modifications for the drone mission.

Chapter 8, Delta Dagger Gallery

This photo section is grouped into active-duty Air Force squadrons, and Air National Guard section. The chapter starts with a block diagram/histogram showing the general distribution and numbers of F-102s through the branches. There is also a great preview of an upcoming Color & Markings volume to be published soon. All of the images are in color and have detailed descriptions.

Chapter 9 Modeler's Section

This chapter is the meat of the volume for the modeler. The general comments in the beginning are invaluable for producing an accurate replica. Markings for the correct time frame will need to be considered, as well as what type of wing was in use. Options for each wing type have been produced in 1/144, 1/72, and 1/48 scales. Planning will allow you to purchase the correct kit, decals, and aftermarket materials. Quite a number of smaller detail concerns are also described, before the scale-by-scale kit reviews.

There are a surprising number of kits released, but without much diversity. There is no 1/32 scale kit yet. Sadly, given the importance of the Delta Dagger, only one quality model kit has been produced, in the Promodeler line by Revell/Monogram. No trainer versions have been produced in any scale. A detail listing of aftermarket parts and decals rounds out the chapter.

Chapter "10", 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

In terms of content, this is an exceptional publication. In addition to the tremendous wealth of information about the Delta Dagger, this volume is well written with an engaging style. The new artwork is spectacular, the photograph resolution is superb, and the modelers' section invaluable. I know little about the F-102 before I read this volume, but I feel quite a bit more knowledgeable than before. As always, the ability of electronic media to effectively 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.

  1. Highlighting can be done with different colors, perhaps for different topics of your interest.
  2. Highlights can be easily changed or removed (ever try to erase those bright yellow stripes?).
  3. 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 continue to use. I found the Detail & Scale Digital Volume 6 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

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale, Digital Volume 6, 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 F-102, 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. 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 Detail & Scale Digital Volume 6 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!

  • Title Page with navigation aids
    Title Page with navigation aids
  • Ch. 1 Development History
    Ch. 1 Development History
  • Ch. 2 Arming the F-102
    Ch. 2 Arming the F-102
  • Ch. 2 Arming the F-102
    Ch. 2 Arming the F-102
  • Ch. 3 Delta Dagger Variants
    Ch. 3 Delta Dagger Variants
  • Ch. 3 Delta Dagger Variants
    Ch. 3 Delta Dagger Variants
  • Ch. 4 Flying the Deuce
    Ch. 4 Flying the Deuce
  • Ch. 5 The F-102 in Southeast Asia
    Ch. 5 The F-102 in Southeast Asia
  • Ch. 5 The F-102 in Southeast Asia
    Ch. 5 The F-102 in Southeast Asia
  • Ch. 6 Delta Dagger Details
    Ch. 6 Delta Dagger Details
  • Ch. 6 Delta Dagger Details
    Ch. 6 Delta Dagger Details
  • Ch. 7 Pave Deuce Drone Program
    Ch. 7 Pave Deuce Drone Program
  • Ch. 8 Delta Dagger Gallery
    Ch. 8 Delta Dagger Gallery
  • Ch. 9 Modeler's Section
    Ch. 9 Modeler's Section
  • Ch. 9 Modeler's Section
    Ch. 9 Modeler's Section
  • Ch. 10 More From Detail & Scale
    Ch. 10 More From Detail & Scale