SBD-Dauntless, Volume 5

Published: May 10th, 2016     
Product Image
Cover
Author: Bert Kinzey, Art by Rock Roszak
Reviewed by: 
Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Detail & Scale, Inc.
E-Book ISBN #: 978-0-9860677-5-4
Other Publication Information: Digital publication in iPad or Kindle format
Price: $9.99
Product / Stock #: D&S Digital 5

Thank you to Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak for bringing back a tremendous resource for the modeler, this time in 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 Douglas SBD scout/dive bomber. 

A very significant plus of this updated and digital version is the extensive review of many, many SBD modeling products released since the hard-copy publication was published in 1995.  The original modeler's section was 8 hardcopy pages, and the new edition has a 45 page modeler's section followed by a beefy 15 page catalog of aftermarket materials.   Furthermore, restorations of full-size SBDs are described, along with exquisite color profiles, a whole new chapter on SBD colors, and many more color photos.  I own the hard copy volume published in 1995, and I am very pleased to see that many of the BW photos in the original volume have now been reproduced in color in the digital volume!

Overview

This 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 the fourth Detail & Scale ebook is even more positive than my reaction to the three previous releases, Digital Volume 1, F3H Demon, Digital Volume 2, F9F Cougar, and Colors and Markings Series Digital Volume 1 U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part 1. There are many digital versions of print publications available, ranging from simple scanned images of typed pages to true multimedia blends. This fourth 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 SBD 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 fourth-to-be-released volume focuses on historical development, aircraft variants, details, colors, and a modeler's section.  The volume contains 183 digital pages and more than 220 high-quality photographs and images, most 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 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

The cover screen features the familiar and colorful Detail & Scale practice of showcasing the subject in color. The cover plane is a very weather-beaten SBD-3 in the latter part of 1942.  On page iv of the Front Matter section is an excellent description of how to use the iBook format on an iPad.  Also in this section, the revival and rebirth of the Detail & Scale series is chronicled, a storyline modelers seldom hear.  A brief introduction describing the SBD centers on full-size restorations.  Several color operational photos of the CAF Dauntless are simply thrilling to see. 

  • Chapter 1, Historical Summary:  The entire Dauntless development and operational history is described in this chapter.  Many excellent photographs are included, as well as color profiles.
  • Chapter 2, Dauntless Variants:  All seven of the major SBD types are described, including the A-24 Banshee.  In addition to the excellent variant description and photographs, I particularly liked the scaled drawings in the last section of the chapter.
  • Chapter 3, Dauntless Details:   A very large number of photos supplemented by engineering drawings provide a rich source of detailing inspiration!  A mixture of restored aircraft and U.S. Navy images allows comparison of many different features and options for developing a complete understanding of the SBD. 
  • Chapter 4, Dauntless Colors:  This entirely new chapter is packed with color photos and profiles of many different SBDs.  The colorful yellow-wing SBD-1 is shown in this section, and that alone made me think about pulling out an Accurate Miniatures kit given to me many years ago.  Whoo hoo!
  • Chapter 5, Modeler's Section:  This chapter is the meat of the volume for the modeler.  Dauntless kits in scales from diminutive 1/144 ones through the mammoth Merit 1/18 version are discussed in terms of quality, accuracy, availability and other important considerations.  A listing of aftermarket items by scale and manufacturer through March 2016, compiled by Haagen Klaus, is a tremendous resource for additional materials to complete the SBD you want.  Perhaps as importantly, this chapter allows you to decide what to avoid, or to at least understand what you are in for.
  • Chapter 6, More from Detail & Scale:  As in previous Digital Volume Series, these pages may be characterized as trailers for upcoming digital volumes.  This section also promotes a valuable resource website hosted by Detail & Scale.  If the F2H Banshee is on your project list, hold on for the next two digital releases, a 2-volume set is on the way!  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 Dauntless, this volume is well written with an engaging style.  The new artwork is spectacular, the photograph resolution is superb, and the modelers' section invaluable.

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. 

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 4 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 Series Digital Volume 5,SBD-Dauntless I can't see how anyone can justify not having this publication if he or she has any interest in the SBD, 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 Dauntless 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 5 an excellent value.This exceptional eBook is for all who appreciate the SBD Dauntless.

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!

  • Chapter 1 Cover Page
    Chapter 1 Cover Page
  • Chapter 2 Cover Page
    Chapter 2 Cover Page
  • Chapter 2 BT-1 Photos
    Chapter 2 BT-1 Photos
  • Chapter 2 Sample Data
    Chapter 2 Sample Data
  • Chapter 2 Color Sample
    Chapter 2 Color Sample
  • Chapter 3 Cover Page
    Chapter 3 Cover Page
  • Chapter 3 Overview
    Chapter 3 Overview
  • Chapter 4 Cover Page
    Chapter 4 Cover Page
  • Chapter 5 Cover Page
    Chapter 5 Cover Page
  • Chapter 6 Cover Page
    Chapter 6 Cover Page
  • Hangar Deck Detail
    Hangar Deck Detail
  • Color Art Example
    Color Art Example
  • Color Art Example 2
    Color Art Example 2
  • Color Art & Photos
    Color Art & Photos
  • Engineering Drawings
    Engineering Drawings
  • Restored CAF in Flight
    Restored CAF in Flight
  • Modelers Section
    Modelers Section