Detail & Scale: Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant, expanded 75th Anniversary Digital Edition

Published: January 12th, 2017     
Product Image
Front Page
Author: author Bert Kinzey, art by Rock Roszak
Reviewed by: Rob Benson - IPMS# 44038
E-Book ISBN #: 978-0-9860677-6-1
Other Publication Information: Digital publication in iPad format
Product provided by: Detail & Scale, Inc.

Thank you to Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak for updating and enhancing an excellent historical recounting of the Pearl Harbor attack, coinciding with the 75th anniversary year. Thank you to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to review this updated volume. I truly appreciate the improved format, increased content, and the effective methods for researching new details and history of this world-altering event.


The 2016 new edition updates an out-of-print 2010 publication that was requested by the USS Arizona Memorial Foundation. A very significant plus of this updated digital version is the inclusion of a great deal of new material. The design requirements and other practical realities of the 2010 print copy required much omission of quality material. The new digital version has roughly six times more descriptive narrative, four times as many photos, double the maps, more color illustrations, and four new chapters compared to the 2010 print copy.

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 and enhanced 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.

Best of all, the stellar quality of Detail & Scale is uncompromised in the 2016 digitized version of the original 2010 publication. 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 $12.99, you can't beat the price!

Content Coverage

The cover screen features a color illustration by Stuart Shepherd, created specifically for the 2010 paper copy. This illustration is retained in the digital format as a chapter cover background. The title page photograph shows the exact moment of the explosion aboard the USS Arizona, in the correct orientation. Operational tips for using the digital edition are included in the front matter, along with background information about the author and illustrator. Following are some summary statements about each of the chapters, with new chapters noted.

Introduction: This chapter provides an overview of the new and improved materials in the digital edition.

Chapter 1, Why Pearl Harbor? (new chapter): The different reasons for attacking Pearl Harbor as part of a bigger strategic picture of neutralizing the U. S. Navy are told in engaging detail. The question of "why" is briefly addressed from two perspectives of why the attack at all, and more specifically, why attack Pearl Harbor? The focus of the publication is on the attack itself, but the bigger view adds greatly to understanding the complexity of the decisions. I found the "battleship" admiral mindset of both countries to be very intriguing, while the successes of carrier aviation fleet problems during the 1930's were largely ignored.

Chapter 2, The Japanese Plan: Operation "Z" was reluctantly authorized for development by Admiral Yamamoto in late 1940. Japanese naval doctrine and the unique problems of attacking a capital fleet in a shallow harbor are described. The execution of the attack is time-lined, with the chapter ending with another well-known quote, from Commander Fuchida, "Tora, Tora, Tora."

Chapter 3, The Commanders (new chapter): Biographies of Admirals Yamamoto, Nagumo, and Commander Fuchida represent the Japanese officers, and American officers Admirals Stark, Admiral Kimmel, and General Short (USMC). Both personal and military histories of each give fascinating glimpses into the lives of these men. I discussed some of the post-attack experiences of the American officers with retired USN veterans who verified the scapegoating described in this chapter.

Chapter 4, Japanese Aircraft Carriers: Ships of the three carrier groupings, the First, Second and Fifth Divisions, are described with excellent summaries of construction and design, photographs and data tables. The aircraft unit markings associated with each of the carriers is well-described and explained. Color aircraft profiles make the marking applications very clear. Overall aircraft colors are not described in this section.

Chapter 5, Japanese Supporting Ships of the Hawaiian Operation (new chapter): The capital ships, generally carriers, seem to garner the most attention, so I found this new section a welcome addition to help understand the magnitude of the operation. All the ships associated with the attack other than carriers appear in this chapter, from battleships through cruisers, destroyers and support vessels to the submarines. Primary, secondary, and support roles are detailed.

Chapter 6, Japanese Aircraft: All of the participating aircraft in the attack appear in this chapter with individual sections devoted to each type. Excellent color profiles of specific aircraft command markings and overall plane colors allow an excellent cross-section of gray, green, camouflage and other color schemes.

Chapter 7, Japanese Weapons (new chapter): The four different bombs and one torpedo type delivered by aircraft are included in this new chapter. The effectiveness and use of each is supported by narrative and photographs of results. The Type-99 800 kg bomb was developed for the attack and was not used again during the course of the war. Which aviation group used which weapon, how many of each, and where they were dropped, are all described in this chapter. The tactical target logic for each weapon also gives a good perspective on the attack's planning complexity.

Chapter 8, U. S. Navy Named Ships at Pearl Harbor and Senior Commanders: The criterion for ships included in this chapter is whether or not they were located with a 15 mile radius of Pearl Harbor. All but some PT boats and smaller yard vessels are listed here. A color location map of ship locations at the time of the attack is supplemented with a ship designation inset and explanations of other ship details.

Chapter 9, U. S. Navy Ships of the Pacific Fleet not at Pearl Harbor: The absence of any carriers at Pearl Harbor on 7 DEC 41 is often thought of as being key to how WW2 evolved. However a significant part of the U. S. Pacific Fleet was at sea or elsewhere on that day. The compositions of several task forces, convoys, vessels in port, Navy shipyards, etc., are listed.

Chapter 10, The First Shots - Fighting the Midget Submarines: A color profile of the first ships to engage starts off the chapter. The midget submarines were part of the Japanese "Special Attack Force". The unsuccessful attack by this force illustrates that there was some US awareness and preparation for a possible subsea attack. The sinking of the midget submarines is one of a few examples of effective defense in Pearl Harbor. Later recovery efforts and disposition of the submarines and their crew is described.

Chapter 11, The Air Attack: Of course, this chapter is what most persons think of in relation to the "Day of Infamy." Maps showing actions of the first and second waves are included here, along with details of the attacking groups. Torpedo attack descriptions appear in a separate section, followed by description of attacks other than torpedo. Many color maps complement the hundreds of photographs and stories of actions, heroism and events occurring during the attack and aftermath. This chapter is the longest and most thorough of all the other well-researched chapters. The reader will finish this chapter with a deep understanding of the sheer magnitude the Pearl Harbor air attack component.

Chapter 12, U. S. Aircraft: Many U. S. aircraft from all service branches managed to respond to the attack. The aircraft types and their crews, who were able to get off the ground or just happened to fly into the area, are well described and cataloged, with photographs and color aircraft profiles. A painting titled "Combat over Kaneohe" illustrates one of these counterattacks.

Chapter 13, U. S. Losses, Damage, and Recovery: The damage, repairs, scrapping or return to combat status of nineteen ships and a floating drydock are listed in a series of narratives, photographs, and tables. The numbers of ships returned to service is remarkable, in many cases, many improvements were made and capabilities increased.

Chapter 14, Japanese Losses: Japanese losses were mostly aircraft, followed by all of the midget submarines. This chapter has a number of photographs with detailed captions describing the losses.

Chapter 15, Japanese Mistakes: The Japanese chose not to bomb the fuel storage tank farms in the first 2 waves, and withdrew before launching a third. Similarly, the USN submarine force was left relatively unscathed. These decisions were deliberate, with important later consequences, but the absence of U.S. carriers at Pearl Harbor was a significant stroke of bad luck. Had one or more carriers been in harbor, the course of the war would likely have been different.

Chapter 16, The Awakened Giant: Admiral Yamamoto was correct in his prediction. By the end of the war, Japan's fleet was reduced to a training carrier, one of twelve original battleships, three of forty four cruisers, and virtually no destroyers. The surviving ships were virtually useless as combat vessels.

Chapter 17, Pearl Harbor Today: I have not been able to visit Pearl Harbor as of today. After I read this chapter, with color images of the present harbor, the oil slick above the Arizona, and this review done, I feel I have come as close as I can to an on-site visit without actually smelling the salt water of the harbor. I hope to get there someday, but Detail & Scale has done the next best thing for me.

"Chapter" 18, More From Detail & Scale: This is not a book chapter per se, but is a promotional area for the excellent modern Detail & Scale product line.

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 getting a snapshot for annotating, marking up or planning details on the captured image. The snipping tool included in recent Windows operating systems works in a similar fashion. 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 or later research, 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 this Detail & Scale Digital Edition, Attack on Pearl Harbor, 75th Anniversary update to be an exceptionally effective and efficient research tool and a major improvement on the already excellent print volume published in 2010. 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: Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant, expanded 75th Anniversary Digital Edition" has my highest recommendation. I can't see how anyone can justify not having this publication if he or she has an interest in the Pearl Harbor attack, especially in the bigger context of WW2. 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 entire history and a wealth of information about Pearl Harbor within and beyond the printed page, search functions, ability to quickly bookmark, highlight and add notes, all combined with the inexpensive cost, make the Expanded 75th Anniversary Digital Edition an excellent value. There is no bibliography or reference list, but material sources are credited to help with more research if needed. This exceptional ebook is an excellent addition to my reference library.

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

  • Combat over Kaneohe
    Combat over Kaneohe
  • Title page image
    Title page image
  • Example of search and note function page
    Example of search and note function page
  • Typical chapter cover page in table-of-contents
    Typical chapter cover page in table-of-contents
  • Sample Page 1
    Sample Page 1
  • Sample Page 2
    Sample Page 2
  • Sample Page 3
    Sample Page 3
  • Sample Page 4
    Sample Page 4
  • Sample Page 5
    Sample Page 5
  • Color Profile 1
    Color Profile 1
  • Color Profile 2
    Color Profile 2
  • Color Profile 3
    Color Profile 3
  • Color Profile 4
    Color Profile 4
  • Color Profile 5
    Color Profile 5
  • Data Table Example
    Data Table Example
  • Map 1
    Map 1
  • Map 2
    Map 2
  • Map 3
    Map 3
  • Image Example 1
    Image Example 1
  • Pearl Harbor Today
    Pearl Harbor Today

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