Grumman F9F Panther

Published: July 6th, 2019     
Product Image
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Author: Kev Darling
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Guideline Publications
Other Publication Information: Soft Bound, 8.25” x 11.625”, 52 pages
Price: $25.00
Product / Stock #: 119

Kev Darling is an aviation historian, writer, and publisher based in South Wales. He served in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer for nearly 30 years, from June 1973 to March 2003. He has written at least 30 books since 1987, working in the RAF Illustrated series, Crowood Aviation series, Crowood Combat Legend series, Specialty Press' WarbirdTech series, as well as Guideline's Warpaint series.

Richard J. Caruana, who lives and works in Malta, is best known for his technical and colour drawings which appear regularly in magazines in the UK (Scale Aviation Modeller International), Italy (Elicotteri e Aerei Militari, Aerofan) and Greece (Model Expert). His aviation art, specializing in the history and colours of the Regia Aeronautica, has also been published in the US, Canada, Australia, Portugal, Argentina and Israel. He also has over 21 books to his credit as author. Check out his website at: https://sites.google.com/site/rjcaviationart/home

Warpaint's latest is their standard A4 format softbound publication that is 52 pages (excluding covers) on the Grumman F9F Panther I counted 117 clear black and white photographs, 11 color pictures, along with 41 of Richard J. Caruana color side profiles. Richard J. Caruana also contributes the centerfold (eight A4 pages) that features twelve line drawings, all in 1/72 scale. The front cover features a color side profile of the Grumman F9F-2KD Panther (BuNo 126275) circa 1960 at NAF Barbera Point.  On the lower half of the front cover is a color photograph of a VMF-223 F9F-2 Panther on the side elevator of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The upper back cover features a color photograph of VF-114 F9F-5 Panthers lined up aboard the USS Kearsarge featuring their bright orange noses that is repeated on the wingtip tanks.  The center color photograph depicts a VF-51 F9F-2 on the deck of the USS Essex

Kev Darling starts out with the development of the Grumman F9F Panther, ably covering the intricacies of the design and development of Grumman's first jet 'Cat'. Being the USN's first entry into the jet age, the Panther suffered from underpowered engines, as did most early jet designs.  First flight was achieved on November 21, 1947.  The Panther saw extensive use with the US Navy and the US Marines, notably in the Korean War.  Lessons from the Korean War prompted the Panther to switch its straight wings for swept wings to keep up with MiG threat, evolving into the Grumman F9F Cougar.  The Blue Angels also transitioned from propeller aircraft to their first jet with the Panther.  Outside of the USN and USMC, the Panther also saw service with Argentine Navy, although, interestingly, the Argentine carriers did not have enough power in their catapults to launch the Panther.

One of the more interesting testbeds was the replacement of the four 20mm cannons with a nose turret carrying four 12.7mm machine guns.  Kev Darling includes two photographs showing the turret facing foward with the second photo showing the turret rotated to the upper left and the guns fully deployed at a right angle to the fuselage.    The Chapters include:

  • Grumman F9F Panther Color Schemes (1/72) by Richard J. Caruana [Page 13]
  • Designing the First Jet 'Cat'
  • Grumman F9F Panther Production [Table]
  • The Jet Cat Enters Service
  • Second Line Panthers
  • The Blue Angels
  • The Panther Under the Skin [Page 24]
  • Grumman F9F Panther Scale Plans [Page 26]
  • The Panther At War
  • Grumman F9F Panther Korean Deployments
  • The Panther with the Marines [Page 42]
  • USMC Panther Training Units
  • The Panthers of Argentina
  • Grumman F9F Panther Operators
  • Grumman F9F Panther Specifications
  • Grumman F9F Panther Kits, Decals, and Accessories [Table]
  • Grumman F9F Panther In Detail (Photo Essay) [Page 50]

Kev Darling provides a very readable text that is supplemented with clear photographs and color illustrations from Richard J. Caruana. This is a very good reference on the Grumman F9F Panther and would be a valuable addition to your reference library. Whether you are building 1/72 or 1/48, I would consider this edition essential as an aide to your build. I was able to read this tome easily over two nights. If you own any of the previous releases in the Warpaint series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Guideline Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great monograph.

Highly recommended!

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