Thanks to Jake of Reid Air Publications and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review this astonishing book.
I do not use the term astonishing lightly. I have quite a few built-up F-18A and later models in my collection, dating back to a highly modified and corrected Testors F-18 in 72-scale, ca. 1982. I swore at the Italeri kit, released and built about 9 or so years ago in 48-scale. I started research on an EA-18G recently. Every single question, concern, and nagging detail consideration on any Super Hornet kit I’ve wrestled with is answered by this book. A modeler in research mode will find answers less in the chapter text, but more in a very thoroughly documented or captioned series of photographs, often referencing back to page numbers in the text. Reproductions of some tech data are included, for example, weapons and stores loadout charts.
This book serves the purposes of the modeler exceptionally well. There are indeed 969 color photographs as promised by the publisher on 168 glossy-paper pages in a 8.5 x 11 binding, All work appears to be properly referenced, and one will quickly notice that the majority of the photos are taken by the author. The “guide” title is well-taken, with the book organized into chapters covering aircraft examples and squadron operations, top, bottom, inside and outside views, a special chapter on the Growler, and an unusually detailed chapter for books of this type. There are 22 pages devoted to the weapons that the Super Hornet is capable of carrying. The “accidental” or unexpected detail information is great, such as weapons carts and tugs in the background, even the refueling drogue on a buddy store.
I found two very small negatives that may not matter much to most readers. Captions are sometimes a little bit tricky to tie to the correct photograph, but given the density of photographs and how one caption will occasionally address two or more photos, this is a very minor concern. I found myself annotating the book with arrows connecting the caption to the picture, so I wouldn’t get lost.
I really appreciate having a bibliography or reference list to follow up with more research and there is no such list. This is also a very, very minor point.
Reid Air appears to be a very specialized publishing house catering to a niche market. Some of their modern jet guides are out-of-print, or nearly so. So my suggestion is “take whatever action you feel is appropriate” if Super Hornets are of interest to you.
As way of summarizing this book, consider an attempt to win Nationals in two or three years. You could use this book as a major reference to build a Super Hornet large-scale cutaway perfectly, down to the level of the hydraulic pressure gauges being in the incorrect needle position, since naturally your model’s hydraulic pumps would not be operating. All dreaming aside, this is a book well worth having.
Again, thanks to Jake of Reid Air Publications and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review this book!