For those of you who haven't seen them, SAM Publications has a series of books they call Datafile which are devoted to a particular aircraft and also have a modeling section. The newest one is No. 19 and deals with the General Dynamics F-111 series. There are 12 chapters dealing with all things Aardvark. The chapters are listed below:
- F-111A Alpha 'Varks and Vietnam Vets
- NASA Testbeds
- F-111B Sea Pigs
- FB-111A SAC "Varks
- F-111C, RF-111C, F-111G "Varks from Oz
- F-111D Cosmic 'Varks
- Warsaw Pact Central Heating
- EF-111A Spark 'Varks
- F-111F Laser 'Varks
- Modelling the F-111 in Popular Scale
- Walk Around
- Technical Diagrams
There are also three appendices - Technical Specifications, Kitography and Understanding the Subject. Overall, the book contains hundreds of pictures, drawings and diagrams of everything relating the F-111. The book starts with the initial competition for a swing wing fighter and goes through the navy competition. Time is spent on its Vietnam performance and Australian service. The writing is concise and well done. Specific air frames are discussed. The differences between versions is discussed at length. It is a superb reference on the F-111, its history and variants.
One thing that sets this series apart are the modeling sections. The first section contains 5 builds of the F-111. There are three 1/48th Hobbyboss builds- F-111D/E (twice) and the FB-111A. There is a 1/48th Academy build and one 1/72nd Hasegawa F0-111A build. The builds discuss the issues and problems with the kits, marking options and any other issues. This is great for modelers wanting to build an F-111. The second modeling section, the "Kitography" shows F-111 kits available, decal sheets available and aftermarket accessories. Pictures of box tops, decal sheets and photoetch are included. One thing I did note was that Scaledown was not mentioned in the aftermarket. Scaledown is owned by Ozmods and specializes in F-111 aftermarket. They make nice stuff such as wheels and were primarily formed around fixing the deficiencies of the Academy kit.
Do I sound biased about this book...yes! It is a great reference and is mandatory for anyone wanting to detail an F-111. it is highly recommended (as are all the datafile series!).
My thanks to SAM Publications and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this great book. Get one - you will be impressed!