Book Review
Colors & Markings of the F-102
Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger is one of two recent books for F-102 modelers and historians from Detail and Scale, a publishing company that has been producing high-quality technical and historical military aviation books since c.1978. Detail and Scale book formats are available in print, plus eBooks for the Kindle and iBook.

Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger covers every unit that ever flew the Deuce in 127 pages with over 325 photos (239 in color), 48 full color aircraft profiles and additional illustrations including paint diagrams. The wingman book is F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale, presented through 108 pages, boasting 285 photographs (230 in color), color detail drawings and a full color aircraft profile.

Authors Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak bring some 60 years of first-hand military aviation expertise into the Detail and Scale brand. Roszak, a retired Air Force colonel, creates the illustrations in the books. Both are modelers, too.

I've read some Detail and Scale books before and found them impressive and yet never comprehended just how comprehensive they are until I started this review. Please, let me tell you about this book.

Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger is presented through 17 chapters and sections:
    Delta Dagger Paint Schemes
      Aircraft Gray Paint Scheme
      Southeast Asia (SEA) Camouflage Paint Scheme
      Aluminized Lacquer Paint Scheme
    Air Defense Command (ADC) Squadrons
      ADC Squadrons Index Page
    Alaskan Air Command (AAC) Squadrons
      AAC Squadrons Index Page
    United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Squadrons
      USAFE Squadrons Index Page
    Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Squadrons
      PACAF Squadrons Index Page
    Air National Guard (ANG) Squadrons
      ANG Squadrons Index Page
    Miscellaneous Users

The author draws from an impressive range of F-102 experts to create this history and gallery. The first book is the nuts-and-bolts examination of the weapon system, the airframe, powerplant, and armament. This book is the eye candy.

Delta Dagger Paint Schemes is a short chapter discussing the evolution from camouflage to bare metal finishes during World War two, through the development of the Federal Standards system of paint and the use thereof to combat corrosion, to the actual practice of painting F-102s. Aircraft Gray Paint Scheme examines the cool gray scheme used through four pages, including graphics and photos. It is divided into two detailed subsections, Colors and Markings, both explaining technical characteristics of those topics.

Colors and Markings are the subsections of Southeast Asia (SEA) Camouflage Paint Scheme, another short (3-page) chapter that is long on detail. This chapter also explains the instituting of "tail codes," or officially Distinctive Unit Aircraft Identification Markings.

The final paint scheme subject is the remarkable Aluminized Lacquer Paint Scheme. Although this is a 2-page mini-chapter, it is one of the more interesting ones to me, perhaps because it is new information for me, or perhaps it is because a shiny silver F-102 is just too cool! The origin of the paint scheme is unexpected.

Beginning with the 38-page chapter Air Defense Command (ADC) Squadrons, the story concisely details each of those continental guardian units. Thirty-three ADC squadrons flew the Deuce and each is covered; I will not list each one. Each unit history includes nicknames or slogans, unit origins with aircraft types flown, operational theaters of war and stateside bases, deactivation and reactivation, and current status. Most unit histories are accompanied with a color F-102 profile (22 examples) and unit badges, and at least one photograph. Image captions often include unique information, i.e., non-compliant radome colors, rare arresting hook equipment, etc.

Alaskan Air Command (AAC) Squadrons follow the same format through five pages, detailing two squadrons, with two unit emblems and a color F-102 profile.

United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Squadrons is covered with 15 pages, detailing six Fighter Interceptor Squadrons, with nine color profiles and the six unit insignias. If you enjoy unique or peculiar trivia, you'll love the photo series of F-102 being examined and then "cocooned" in plastic for the purpose of shipping (by ship!) to Europe.

Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Squadrons are presented with seven color unit emblems and nine aircraft illustrations, through 12 pages.

A close second for content, the chapter Air National Guard (ANG) Squadrons is 37 pages of content. The author was busy and created eight color F-102 profiles and 23 unit insignia. This chapter features several of the uncommon silver Deuces. A concise overview of the origins of the silver Daggers is provided, as well as changes in markings, including rare "buzz numbers" on ANG birds.

This parade of colorful Delta Daggers ends with Miscellaneous Users. This four-page mini-chapter discusses Test & Evaluation Delta Daggers and those used a drones. It also introduces us to the author-illustrator in a short biography.

Books like this are more than a celebration of a specific aircraft and are valuable beyond the primary subject - the Delta Dagger - because they present a look at USAF and Century Series fighters in the early Cold War, a period that contained many other exciting aircraft. F-102 served in a colorful era and this expose of the paint that covered it inspires me to seek the colors and markings of other favorite jets of the time. Images of Deuces slipping the surlies over countries I never associated it with enhance the value of the book for my imagination. The colorful unit markings and the exterior color(s) cultivate my modeling desire to build an F-102; with this book I am primed to finish it to an accuracy level beyond what perfunctory publications can offer.

Photographs, Artwork, Graphics
This book covers the era of Kodachrome and many of the photographs are spectacular in their own right. For me, one of the more interesting color photos is the apron in Las Vegas, full of F-102s in a competition, as well as over a dozen other USAF aircraft, most wearing high-visibility red. Images of silver F-102s sparkling in the sun, and the range of weathering of Southeast Asia camouflage, are particularly useful for modelers. Remember, there are 285 photographs (230 in color) supporting your quest for information.

Not only can you draw from a gallery of photographs, the author created numerous illustrations and other graphics to impart the F-102's colorful career.

A. Artwork and Illustrations

Using USAF manuals and original artwork, the text is well supported with illustrations and other graphics. Detail & Scale also created four full pages of black-and-white line art for the:
    1. F/TF-102 Aircraft Marking Specification: profile and planform, showing marking with dimensions and airframe positioning.

    2. F/TF-102 Aircraft Marking Specification: profile and planform, showing marking with dimensions and airframe positioning, and the schematic of AFM 1-1-4 concerning Distinctive Unit Aircraft Identification Markings.

    3. Profile: F-102A 56-1123 (and unit insignia), 111th FIS, Texas ANG.

    4. Air Defense Command Squadrons Index: 33 unit emblems in full color.

    5. Alaskan Air Command Squadrons Index: 2 unit emblems in full color.

    6. USAFE Squadrons Index: 6 unit emblems in full color.

    7. Pacific Air Forces Squadrons Index: 7 full color unit emblems.

    8. Air National Guard Squadrons Index: 23 full color unit emblems.

B. Charts and tables
    1. F/TF-102 Aircraft Marking Specification: four characteristics (Marking, Location, Size, Color) of 10 items
      a. U.S. AIR FORCE
      b. Model Designation, Aircraft Serial Number, and Fuel Requirement
      c.& d. National Insignia
      e. USAF
      f. Call Numbers
      g. Conspicuity/Arctic Markings
      h. Anti-Glare
      i. Jet Warning Stripe

    2. F/TF-102 Aircraft Marking Specification: four characteristics (Marking, Location, Size, Color) of three items
      a. National Insignia
      b. Radio Call Numbers
      c. USAF

    3. F/TF-102 Aluminized Lacquer Finish: 32 aircraft identified by
      - Type
      - S/N
      - Date Out (of maintenance facility)
      - Assigned To:
      - Subsequent

    4. F-102 Delta Dagger Units in the Air Defense Command Timeline: bar chart of ADC F-102 units, 1956-1973.

    5. F-102 Delta Dagger Units in USAFE Timeline: bar chart of European-based F-102 units, 1959-1970.

    6. F-102 Delta Dagger Units in PACAF Timeline: bar chart of European-based F-102 units, 1959-1971.

    7. F-102 Delta Dagger Units in the Air National Guard Timeline: bar chart of Air Guard F-102 units, 1960-1976.

This remarkable book may not have an image of every F-102 made but it certainly supports modelers who want to build a Deuce beyond what the kit decals and painting instructions offer.

Colors & Markings of the F-102 Delta Dagger is a visual feast for modelers and historians of the F-102. Detail and Scale has published a remarkable set of F-102 books. Both are excellent in their own right and yet both are better as a companion to the other. With an extensive gallery of photographs and artwork, and informative text, modelers should have no trouble creating a scale representative of this colorful jet interceptor.

I have no meaningful complaint about this book and happily recommended it.
Highs: An extensive gallery of photographs, artwork, and graphics. Informative text.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: This book is a visual feast for modelers and historians of the F-102. One of two remarkable F-102 books, both are excellent in their own right and yet both are better as a companion to the other.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-7917566-3-5
  PUBLISHED: Oct 17, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Detail & Scale Aviation Publications!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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