Book Review: F3H Demon In Detail & Scale

McDonnell’s F3H Demon always seemed like little more than a blip in the history of US Navy carrier aviation in my mind. However, after reading Detail & Scale’s treatment of the subject, I realized it was actually a significant step in moving from a carrier force of straight winged, subsonic jets to  the swept wing, supersonic carrier force we know today.

Most importantly, it’s a very interesting read.

If you’re familiar with Detail & Scale’s previous books, you’ll be quite familiar with the format. Developmental history, operational history, squadron history, detailed photos, and a modeler’s section- all rolled into one. All in all, there’s 451 pages of F3H Demon goodness.

All for $9.99. You can’t beat that with a stick.

The developmental and operational history is very thorough, yet written in a way that is readable. All too often, I read books covering the history of an aircraft type, and the writer’s conveyance of the information is so dry, you wonder if there is any enthusiasm for the subject at all. No problem with that here- Bert Kinzey’s treatment of the subject engaged me and kept me turning pages.

And it’s not just “this happened and this happened and this happened” either. Examination of the factors that influenced the development and upgrades of the Demon are integrated in seamlessly, so that by the end, you feel as if you’re thoroughly versed on the F3H story.

Also interesting were the first hand accounts by pilots. Those really opened my eyes to how the Demon was an “almost” fighter that could have had a far greater impact if not for a few mitigating factors. The inclusion of these stories really bring the subject to life.

Of course, the big draw of the Detail & Scale books are the thoroughly documented photos and details of the aircraft itself, and the F3H is lavishly covered in this regard. Photos, diagrams, unit color schemes, and more will give the reader an in depth look at even the most minute details- all in color.

Rounding out the tour-de-force of Demon data is the modeler’s section. It goes through all of the current kits available as of publication, including the 1/48 Hobbyboss kits. In fact, if you’re going to build the Hobbyboss kits, I’d say this tome is an absolute essential to sort out an accurate reproduction. (Hint: Hobbyboss didn’t research their versions well… and what the box says may not be what you think is inside.)

I am normally not an advocate of “single sourcing” for aircraft research, but having read several publications about the F3H, I can give testimony that this book corrects things that were simply wrong in previous works, adds in details others missed, and so thoroughly treats the subject that there will really be little gained from buying anything else.

The book is available in both Kindle and iBook format, though there is no print version available. Yo can also find out more information at Detail & Scale’s website.

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