The book is the third time Detail & Scale has published a book in its Detail & Scale series on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. It has also released five books in its Colors and Markings series, two earlier versions and three recent ones.
As is traditional with the Detail and Scale Series, the book starts off with a brief, but good overview of the development of the F-14A, B and D aircraft, including looking at the politics involved. The first chapter describes how the TF-30 engined F-14A was intended to be an interim version, with the F-14B, with a new advanced F401 engine, was to be the “definitive” Tomcat. Unfortunately, the F-401 advanced engine did not meet its expected performance and was abandoned by the Navy, resulting in the cancelation of the original F-14B, and retention of the TF-30 engine for the F-14. Ultimately, advanced engines were developed and installed in the F-14, resulting in the F-14A+/B and D. Mr. Klaus helpfully includes a production summary for the F-14 listing the production blocks, the number of aircraft in each block and the Bureau Numbers assigned to aircraft within each Block.
The next chapter discusses the operational history of the Tomcat from the standing up of its initial squadrons in 1972 through its retirement in 2006. The focus is on the F-14’s service with the US Navy, but Klaus does include a brief section on Iran’s purchase of F-14s. I did find a minor typo in this section as on page 17 the squadron names for VF-142 Ghostriders and VF-143 Puking Dogs are reversed.
The following chapter is a summary discussion of the F-14 variants and their systems, and how those changed over the service life of the F-14. There are charts in this section that discuss the performance characteristics of the F-14 A, B and D and include comparisons of the specifications and performance of the engines used by the F-14. There is also a chart summarizing the key production features of some of the production Blocks.
These chapters are well illustrated by mostly color photographs of the F-14, with some black and white ones thrown in where color ones were not available.
Following these introductory chapters is the meat of the book, and the stuff that Detail & Scale books are famous for, pages and pages of detail photographs of all parts of the F-14 Tomcat. The photographs are superb and the captions are very well written and informative, often including painting notes or details. There are sections on the different cockpit layouts for the F-14A, B and D showing not only the main instrument panels, but also the side consoles and circuit breaker panels, and the two versions of ejection seats used in the F-14. Other sections focus on the landing gear bays, canopy, engine intakes, control surfaces, nozzles, and weapons – both air-to-air and air-to-ground. I noted a few typos in the captions in the landing gear bays section where the caption identified the wrong side for the pictured gear bay. Just remember that the drag brace faces forward on each main gear strut.
The final section of the book is an examination of the 1/144 to 1/32 scale kits of the F-14 that have been released since the second Detail & Sale book on the Tomcat was published in 1982 and includes builds of kits in each scale.
If you are looking for detail photographs of the Tomcat for your next build, whether it be out of the box or super-detailed, this is the reference book for you. Highly recommended!
Thank you to Detail & Scale for the review sample.
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