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  1. F9F Cougar Walk Around Book Squadron Signal The Grumman F9F Cougar was the US Navys first swept wing aircraft. The aircraft was in fact a Grumman Panther with the straight wing replaced with a swept one. The USN considered the Cougar an updated version of the Panther hence why they are both designated F9F with the Cougar starting at F9F-6. The aircraft was developed by Grumman in a fairly short span of time, first flying on 20th September 1951. Deliveries commenced in mid 1952 and ran to 1954 with 646 being built. In addition a further 377 two seat trainers were delivered between 1956 and 1960. The type was too late to see combat in Korea but did have a fairly short combat career with the TF-9J trainer being used as a fast FAC in Vietnam between 1966 and 1968. Cougars were withdrawn from front line service in 1958/59 to be replaced by F11F Tigers and F8U Crusaders. Trainer versions lasted until 1974. The book is on the standard Squadron Signal format of landscape A4. The author is Ken Neubeck and most of the photographs in the book are his as well. The pages are glossy and most are in full colour (except where Black & White pictures are used), there is some great artwork from Don Greer on both the front and back covers. The book starts with a one page introduction to the Cougar, and then follows with specification pages for the different designations. Following this there is a page showing all the different nose and canopy variations of the aircraft. The book has photos mainly of aircraft preserved in museums so the modeller needs to bear this in mind. All photos are captioned so you are in doubt what you are looking at. The cockpit photos are very clear and some are from the Grumman archive so there can be doubt if they are authentic. Conclusion I had not seen one of these books for a while and this one was very good. I like the layout and the quality of the photos (Well done Ken!). With all the details, internal and external; you are presented with an overall comprehensive look at the Cougar. This will be of great help to the modeller, interest to the US Navy fan, or general aviation buff. These books are the next best thing to having access to an actual aircraft. Highly recommended Available in the UK from Hannants. Review sample courtesy of
  2. USS Texas Squadron At Sea book Squadron release another great book on one of the United States’ seemingly endless number of preserved warships. The USS Texas is the oldest remaining dreadnought in the world. Construction began in 1911 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, in Newport News, Virginia. Launched on the 18th May 1912 and commissioned on 12th March 1914 she took part in only one engagement during World War One, but went on to serve throughout the interwar years in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. Reconstructed and modernised during 1925 and 1926 she was fitted with a catapult on turret No3. The outbreak of World War Two saw the Texas in the Atlantic where she would spend most the war. Whilst engaging shore batteries off Cherbourg she was hit by a two 8” shells, fortunately without too much damage. Much modernised throughout the war, she looked a different ship, bristling with light AA weapons and the addition of radar antenna. In the Autumn of 1944 she was refitted and sent to the Pacific where she took part in shore bombardments of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. At the end of the war she made four round trips from Pearl Harbour to Los Angeles repatriating US troops, dubbed Magic Carpet. In Early 1946 she transited the Panama Canal and sailed back to the East Coast to be laid up. In 1948 she was towed from Newport News shipyard to La Porte, Texas to be preserved as a memorial ship. In 1988 it was found that the ship was suffering from terrible deterioration of the hull and decks. She was dry-docked and given a thorough refurbishment and was transferred to San Jacinto Battleground Historic site to be opened to the public in 1990. This book covers the whole life of the Texas in photographic form, from her building to the present day, which, considering her length of service requires all the 152 pages. Whilst about 95% of the photographs are in black and white they are a fascinating insight into the changes of not only the ship, but of technological improvements through times of both war and peace. The Texas was also painted in an unusual and interesting array of camouflage throughout her life with several colour plates showing the different styles. The black and white photographs are also annotated giving the different measures used where changes were made. The other photos all have notes associated with them giving the dates and whereabouts of the ship along with other useful information on equipment, aircraft and weapons fitted. Conclusion It’s a shame that there are no models of the Texas as it’s a good looking ship, but it would take a book such this one to help with researching whatever era the model would be built in. Here’s hoping that a nice model manufacturer releases one soon. As it is, this book is a great piece of reference material for those interested in a battleships life and its evolution. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of http://www.squadron.com'>
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