Detail & Scale | F9F Cougar

Reviewed by Floyd S. Werner, Jr.

The new Kitty Hawk F9F Cougar is a really nice looking model but until now there were very limited references on the aircraft. Detail & Scale’s newest digital book is the perfect one stop shop for this kit and this aircraft. Everything, and I mean everything, you could want to know about the Cougar is included in this book. Detail & Scale has become known for their extensive research and this book is no different on that aspect. With the price of printed material being so high and with the benefits of computer digital books, this is the perfect marriage of information and technology.

There are things that you can do with a computer/tablet that you can’t do with a book. Because it is a digital book, it can be updated as new information becomes available. It also allows Detail & Scale to put a lot of information into one area for a minimum cost. This particular book features 408 pages of information with over 530 photos with more than 200 of them being in full color most of the time. Speaking of photos, one of the features is that you can blow up every photo throughout the book. You can skip quickly to any portion of the book.

The chapters are broken down into developmental history, Cougar variants, Flying the Cougar, Cougar Details, Paint Schemes, Squadrons, and the Modelers’ Section.

The developmental history follows the Cougar from its Panther beginnings to the ultimate Cougar F9F-8P (or TF-9J). Each version is covered in detail to include the side and plan view drawings. All the changes between the versions are covered in detail.

The Cougar variants further details the deployment of the Cougar throughout its history. Some interesting variants existed such as the F9F developed to be deployed on a ‘flex deck’. That is an interesting idea that never panned out for the Navy.

Flying the Cougar section talks to a couple of pilots who flew the aircraft in testing and in service, including a photo recon pilot and a drone pilot.

The third section is the heart and soul of Detail & Scale books are known for, the detail section. The chapter is lavishly illustrated with photos of the various details of the F9F. This section is where a digital book comes in handy. You can zero in on parts for painting and detailing. The other thing about the digital book is that the author can include ALL the cockpits and armament, things that could not be covered with this level of detail and size of the photos. This is the best reason to buy this digital book. You can have this on your tablet sitting on your workbench with the pictures in large format.

The Cougar wore a variety of paint schemes throughout its history. Starting out in overall gloss sea blue to white and fluorescent red-orange, my favorite, to drone international orange. There is something here for everyone.

The squadrons who used the F9F are a included in the next chapter. Every Navy and Marine squadron is illustrated by Rock Roszak. All the squadrons are supported with photos and the profiles. Even test and evaluation squadrons are included in this section. Again there is something in there for everybody. The Blue Angels are even included.

The Modeler’s Section is a special section that reviews all the available models on the market. Also aftermarket items are used on the appropriate kits and an honest review of all of it.

The final section is an advertising section for the other Detail & Scale digital books available and in the future. It also has a preview of Furball Aero-Design decals.

Detail & Scale previously released a book on the Cougar in 1983, but let me tell you this digital book ain’t your daddy’s soft covered book. The old book had 72 pages with 168 photos, with 29 being color. The new digital book has 400 pages, more than 530 photos with over 200 color ones. Besides that the new digital book offers Pilot Reports and 43 color profiles. Still not convinced? How about the price? The old book on the secondary market costs between $18.50 and $37. The new digital is just $9.99

If you want to buy just one book for the Cougar then look no further this is your book. This book and the previous one on the Demon are THE reference book on these aircraft. The digital format allows so much information to be included for a fraction of the price. If they printed this book you would be paying over $70, so it is a bargain. The ability to enlarge the photos and illustrations is a valuable feature that you can’t do with a ‘real’ book. I look forward to the next release on the Banshee, which should coincide with the Kitty Hawk release of that model.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Detail & Scale for the review copy. You can obtain yours by purchasing it through iTunes. It is really a bargain.

© Floyd S. Werner, Jr. 2014

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This review was published on Thursday, December 04 2014; Last modified on Wednesday, April 20 2016