Sunday, January 20

We review the F9F Cougar "Walk Around" from Squadron

Squadron/Signal Publications gave us a copy of their latest book in their “Walk Around” series – the book on the US Navy F9F Cougar. With this aircraft serving with the US Navy, Blue Angels and even the Argentinian air service we thought that this book would be an interesting read….
F9F Cougar “Walk Around”
By Ken Neubeck 
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications
Photos: 230+ photographs
Paperback: 80 pages -11 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches (A4 Landscape) 
Language: English
Softcover 978-0-89747-666-9
Hardcover 978-0-89747-667-6

There has been a subtle evolution in the “Walk Around” and the “In Action” Series of books from squadron/Signal publications just recently. A small broadening of these titles in subject matter and adjustment of featured content means that these newer series of books are pretty different to their older compatriots you may have – but does that make them better or worse?
This book on the F9F Cougar, written by Ken Neubeck comes in at eighty pages in soft – or hardcover A4 in the usual Landscape format. Whet is a little different straight away I have noticed is the absence of line drawings for each aircraft – but what is now in it’s place is a photograph of each variant in it’s own plate and then the changes and specifics of the type and what differentiates it from it’s brethren.
This approach I have to say is a little easier than looking at each of the types drawings with a magnifying glass to see what has been changed from one variant to another – each of the descriptions are easy to read and fluidly written.

After the brief history of the aircraft and the variant differences we are treated to several period and in theatre photos of this aircraft that flow in between the walk around sections. These small galleries are mostly in black and white but some in colour – especially in the later service life of the Cougar when she was being used as a target drone for newer types to practice their weapons on.  There are lots of pictures of the Cougar on carrier decks – as a colourful orange bird and even one of it being refuelled by a Skyraider!
 The major part of this book is of course the “Walk Arounds” - The F9F-6 was followed by the F9F-7 and F9F-8 also the two reconnaissance models - the F9F-6P and the F9F-8P - as well as a two-seater trainer version, the F9F-8T and there are some good gallery pictures here showing the few variants not explicitly covered in these pages.
The close ups and the pictures on the walk around detail sections are shot in a variety of locations and the photography is top quality throughout. You aren’t left guessing and the text to accompany each is usually a paragraph of interested knowledge about the mechanics of each part. The author has written well enough to keep my interest. A few times before this series has left me a little cold on interesting facts but this book kept my attention throughout – even though the Cougar wasn’t in my top ten lists of fighters I can appreciate it a lot more now I have read this book.
The modern shots of details use several aircraft as well as the sole exported version (erroneously apparently) to Argentina. From some sun burnt Cougars in Arizona through to some pristine versions in hangars to the excellent black and yellow Cougar on the deck of USS intrepid in New York harbour there are many different variations of this kite on offer – and most pictures have their own interest. Pictures of the landing bays and cockpits and canopies are always gold for modellers and they are shown off a lot here. The single and double seat and long nosed recon variants get their own look in. Nothing is left out.
Anyone modelling the Cougar should love this book – it gives a close up view to all of the intricacies of this cold war warrior and saves you trawling the internet all night for a picture of a refuelling probe! Some nice artwork on the front and back by Don Greer, some informative writing and good quality of the paper and the overall finish of the title make it worth the money.

A great addition to the series - well executed.

Adam Norenberg

We thank the excellent people at Squadron/Signal Products for this book.