Detail & Scale Series Digital Volume 3 F2H Banshee Part 1

Published: July 25th, 2016     
Product Image
Cover Art
Author: Bert Kinzey & Rock Roszak
Reviewed by: Rob Benson - IPMS# 44038
E-Book ISBN #: 978-0-9860677-3-0
Other Publication Information: ebook publication
Price: $9.99
Product provided by: Detail & Scale, Inc.

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 McDonnell F2H Banshee. The official title is Detail & Scale Series Digital Volume 3, F2H Banshee, Part 1: Prototypes Through F2H-2 Variants.

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 fifth Detail & Scale ebook is even more positive than my reaction to the four previous releases: Digital Volume 1, F3H Demon; Digital Volume 2, F9F Cougar; Digital Volume 5, SBD Dauntless; 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 fifth 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 F2H versions and found those test-runs to be fast, effective, and efficient. I hope to fill in some gaps in my USN jet display and am very pleased with the planning and research I can accomplish. 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 fifth-to-be-released volume focuses on historical development, aircraft variants, details, colors, operators, and a modeler's section. However, this is part 1 of 2 parts and covers F2H prototypes through F2H-2 and sub-variants. Part 2 will cover all later versions of the F2H. Part 1 contains 301 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 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 a colorful F2H-2P aboard the USS Lake Chaplain in 1956. 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.
  • Introduction: A brief overview of the Banshee allows a quick perspective and history of the F2H. Contributors and collaborators are credited here, and there is a subtle hint that the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) might be a good place to visit! The section describes what elements of the Banshee are detailed in the publication, and just as important, what elements are not covered.
  • Chapter 1, Developmental History: The comparatively diminutive first Phantom is the ancestor of the Banshee, with excellent treatment of the evolution from the FH-1 to the F2H. The material in this chapter would be a good asset for research and construction of a FH-1 Phantom model, not just a Banshee. Beautiful 4-view line drawings of all the Banshee variants in Part 1 are included in this chapter.
  • Chapter 2, Banshee Variants: Prototypes from the XF2D-1 through the F2H-2P, -2B, and the -2N are covered here. The XF2D is not a typo, since the designation was changed early in development prior to XF2H. On p. 65 is an image of a F3D Skyknight, just add to the confusion created by the designation change! Specifications, diagrams high-resolution images, and data tables about the variants appear throughout the historical narratives.
  • Chapter 3, The Banshee in the Korean War: The U. S. Navy and Marines both operated Banshees during the Korean conflict. The chapter is full of squadron and operational narrative, accompanied by many images.
  • Chapter 4, Banshee Details: There is an astonishing number of detail images of all variants in this chapter, with excellent clarifying color diagrams. Detail pictures are mostly in black and white, with many color images of a -2P in the NNAM. This section is an absolute treasure trove of detail that will help make a scale model Banshee be truly stunning. An example of how a modeler could easily pop an accurate detail onto a model may be found on p. 122. A fully-open canopy does not sit on fuselage rails when slide completely aft, but rather is raised about 8 inches on tracks, leaving a noticeable gap. I hope that an accurate model kit will be released with this now available information taken into account.
  • Chapter 5, Banshee Paint Schemes: Those readers in search of colorful aircraft will not be disappointed. In addition to the sea blue schemes, a number of light gull gray over white, high-visibility and other treatments are shown. Examples from reserve and test aircraft appear in addition to the carrier examples.
  • Chapter 6, Banshee Squadrons: All of the squadrons that operated the Banshee have descriptions and images that may be easily located within the chapter by clicking on the squadron insignia artwork, with a return button to the squadron insignia page. Color profiles often accompany images and descriptions.
  • Chapter 7 Modeler's Section: This chapter is the meat of the volume for the modeler. Sadly, there are no modern kits of the Banshee. Several older and fairly well-engineered kits are available in 1/144 scale. A much greater choice is available in 1/72 scale, and several builds are described in hallmark detail. Links to full build reviews and photos are available for some builds. Only one venerable kit is present in the 1/48 world, and it is very primitive by today's standard. A masterful build of the 1/485 kit is well-documented, and is inspirational to those who take on the challenges of older kits. One manufacturer may release some F2H-x versions in the future, but delays have been reported for a while. There are no larger-scale kits released, or in the offing. Haagen Klaus has compiled a listing of aftermarket items by scale and manufacturer through March 2016, which will allow assessment off the available materials to complete the F2H you want.
  • Chapter 8, 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 early Banshee versions, 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 am not an expert on USN early jets, but this volume is as complete as any I've seen. Furthermore, the ability 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 3 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 3, F2H Banshee Part 1, 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 F2H-x, 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 Banshee 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 3 an excellent value. This exceptional eBook is for all who appreciate the F2H Banshee and naval jets.

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!

  • Series 1 showing chapter contents: Color chapter 1 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1 showing chapter contents: Color chapter 1 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 3 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 3 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 4 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 4 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 5 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 5 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 6 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 6 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 7 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 7 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Series 1: Color chapter 8 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
    Series 1: Color chapter 8 header, with pages below for selection by tapping
  • Excellent annotated photo for detailing (zoomable)
    Excellent annotated photo for detailing (zoomable)
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Color drawing for detailing purposes
    Color drawing for detailing purposes
  • Drawings with scale for dimension
    Drawings with scale for dimension
  • Drawings with scale for dimension
    Drawings with scale for dimension
  • Drawings with scale for dimension
    Drawings with scale for dimension
  • Loadout diagram
    Loadout diagram
  • Modeler Section cover page with examples
    Modeler Section cover page with examples
  • Aftermarket listing
    Aftermarket listing
  • Series 2 demonstrating Highlighting, bookmarking, notetaking, and links: Highlighting
    Series 2 demonstrating Highlighting, bookmarking, notetaking, and links: Highlighting
  • Series 2: Notes can be added to pages
    Series 2: Notes can be added to pages
  • Series 2:  Demonstration of links
    Series 2: Demonstration of links
  • Series 2: Demonstration of links
    Series 2: Demonstration of links
  • Example of color scheme photo
    Example of color scheme photo
  • Series 3 to demonstrate ebook features: Typical page with photo
    Series 3 to demonstrate ebook features: Typical page with photo
  • Series 3: Photo from previous page selected for viewing in ebook
    Series 3: Photo from previous page selected for viewing in ebook
  • Series 3: Photo selected above zoomed for detail
    Series 3: Photo selected above zoomed for detail
  • Tap on the insignia to go to the relevant info
    Tap on the insignia to go to the relevant info
  • Typical color image as appears in book
    Typical color image as appears in book
  • Chapter cover showing typical detail images found within book
    Chapter cover showing typical detail images found within book

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