FWD: Review of USAF Prototypes Photo Book


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22 June 2008
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USAF Prototype Jet Fighters Photo Scrapbook
By Terry Miesle - © 2009
Type: Softbound, 108p, 190 b/w and 126 color photos, ISBN 10: 1580071376, compiled by Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis
MSRP: $19.95 USD (~$24.21 CAN/€ 15.21 EUR) in softcover available from Specialty Press
Overall Rating: 9 - a treasure trove of visual reference


What can I say about US Air Force Prototype Jet Fighters Photo Scrapbook? If you're familiar with Specialty Press, you'll know it has become pretty much standard for them to gather too many photos for their original book.

They’ve released scrapbooks before, notably the X-15 Photo Scrapbook which is worth every cent of its cover price. The original book in this case is Experimental & Prototype US Air Force Jet Fighters. This scrapbook stands pretty well on its own, too.

Jenkins and Landis don’t spend much time on the successful fighter prototypes. Those are all pretty well covered in many other publications. If there’s a photo which catches their interest or provides a continuing of the lineage, they’ll include it here. Where they do spend a lot of time is covering the landmark experimental projects like the P-59, the unusual but ultimately unsuccessful designs like the XP-67 Moonbat, the XP-55 Ascender and the multitude of 1950s and 1960s designs.

As they mention in the forward, aircraft development has slowed significantly over the past decades. The F-100 flew in active squadrons 3 years after award of the design contract. The F-35 will take more than 2 decades. The reasons are multifold, electronics, stealth, materials science, multi-role expectations and vast testing regimes make new planes development a daunting project. The heady days of yesteryear are still interesting to revisit and they provide inspiration for modelers.

I like these books, the Specialty Press crew does a great job of presenting historic photos with pertinent information and commentary. This book is no different, it’s not just a scrapbook as the title suggest. It’s more of a tour – a virtual museum presenting the leaps and stumbles of fighter aircraft development. You don’t get extremely in-depth coverage of any design, but of course that’s not the point of a scrapbook.

I’m confident you will find this Scrapbook worth the price paid.
Many thanks to the folks at Specialty Press for the review sample.

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This tread ought to be moved to "Bookshelf and Marketplace" as the page deals with a book review.
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