Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



BOOK REVIEW


99 Camelots: Fighter Squadron FOURTEEN, 1987-1990

Blurb.com



There have been many books written over the last 45 years on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.  Many of them cover much of the same territory and subject matter from testing and development, systems, carrier ops, combat operations, and so forth.  A new book by former F-14 RIO Bill “Pinch” Paisley joins a small but growing collection of memoir and personal retrospective-themed books on the Tomcat.  It features a richly illustrated and a unique perspective of life in VF-14 Tophatters at the end of the 1980s.  Fortunately for the rest of us, Paisley often brought his 35mm camera in the air with him documenting his time in this storied squadron.  When I was a youngster visiting Grumman’s Calverton plant, I was introduced to Bill Paisley who had just joined the Defense Plant Rep Office (DPRO) and was one of the Navy test pilots assigned to evaluate and accept the brand new F-14Ds rolling off the production line.  Since his retirement, he’s been flying L-39s at airshows with the Warrior Flight Demonstration Team.  Nearly 30 years after our first meeting, our paths crossed again as neighbors living in northern Virginia (seriously, what are the odds?!), and Pinch was kind enough to share a review copy of 99 Camelots for a review here at Detail & Scale.  Let’s take a look.              

(Return to top of page)

This 60-page book is self-published and printed through blurb.com, and the result is a high-quality, large-format hardbound.  It is best described as large, coffee table style photobook measuring in at 13”x 11.”  It contains what I consider to be an extensive photo essay that is joined by a set of narratives and stories from his three years in VF-14.  Every naval fighter squadron has its own callsign on the radio.  In many cases, they are intentionally quite different than the formal name of the squadron.  For example, The Jolly Rodgers are “Victory,” the Checkmates are “Nickel,” the Swordsmen are “Gypsy,” and so on.  The Tophatters are “Camelot.”  

The book starts with a heartfelt homage to his father, CDR John B. Paisley III, quintessential naval aviator, combat pilot, and former skipper of VF-43.  Pinch quite purposefully followed in his father’s footsteps, and while they never overlapped in their flying careers, a great full-page illustration featuring the outstanding digital artwork of Dorian Dogaru puts CDR Paisley in the air in poignant fashion with LT Paisley in Camelot 107.       

The text describes a bit of the history of VF-14 (today, VFA-14), that remains the longest-lived U.S. Navy fighter squadron of all time, first established in 1919.  Several narratives, anecdotes, and stories follow, including how Paisley earned his callsign “Pinch.”  He walks the reader through the ins-and-outs of aerial refueling in the Tomcat, a particularly humorous botched cat shot (not the aircrew’s fault!), the shenanigans surrounding a surprise delivery on the “mail buoy,” and an in-the-cockpit perspective during a FFARP evolution pitting his Tomcat against some “bad guy” bogeys in DACT training scenarios.    
 
While those may be the more lengthy narratives in this book, each caption that accompanies the photos goes beyond simple description of the image and represents mini-narratives in their own right, and I learned some new things from the captions alone.
           
It might be said, however enjoyable and informative the text, the real treasure in this book is the photos.  Pinch shot these on Kodak Ektachrome slide film when he had the chance, and a good number are from-the-cockpit, air-to-air photography.  Others are from the deck or taken from above the flight deck on the island.  These are not your typical F-14 photos by any stretch, and in fact, none of these images have ever been published before.  Every single photo provides a rich and detail-filled snapshot of what is now a bygone era – the time when the F-14 ruled both the carrier deck and the sky around the boat.  That is, this book gives readers a thoroughly unique portrait of late Cold War naval aviation and Tomcat operations specifically that is unavailable anywhere else.  Some of the most extraordinary and artistic of Pinch’s images span silhouetted Tomcats high above the clouds and carrier deck, scenes above Key West, exquisite over-the-shoulder shots of wingmen, adversaries such as the F-16N and Super Étendard, and many different views from the rear cockpit including aerial refueling and the moment before a missile launch.  Pinch possesses a photographer’s eye that really helped create some timeless and unmatched documentation of flying and fighting in the legendary Tomcat. 

(Return to top of page)

I’ve really got nothing.  This is an awesome book.  The only possible shortcoming is that a few photos are a just a little fuzzy when they were blown up to fit into this large format, but it’s not a detraction in the slightest, and frankly, these examples of 30+ year-old slide photography still shine brightly.    

(Return to top of page)

99 Camelots by Bill Paisley is a significant contribution to F-14 Tomcat literature.  Tomcat enthusiasts and aviation historians will count this book among the key contributions to F-14 literature that has come out over the last 10 years.  Without hyperbole, this is a “must-have” for Tomcat fans.  Scale modelers will also find great value, ideas, and inspiration here, from the varied paint schemes to airframe details.  For me, several diorama ideas come to mind.  Various photos appear in the book of Camelot 100 and 101 that carried their white-and-red tailed VF-14 70th anniversary scheme flown during their 1988-89 cruise aboard the KENNEDY, and at least Microscale produced these markings as decals in 1:48 scale (I have a few copies of that sheet, which makes me think…).  Overall, there’s nothing quite like this book anywhere, and it showcases and preserves a unique window on the F-14, the Tophatters, and naval aviation at the close of the 1980s.  The production on this book is quite limited, so get one while you can.     
           
Many thanks to Bill Paisley for the review copy, and you can order a copy at: http://www.blurb.com/b/8268854-99-camelots.  Retail is $83.99, but if you reach out to Bill Paisley (you can find him on Facebook), he has a limited stock of copies available for $60.00.   

*Postscript: in the month between the first print run of this book and my writing of this review, the author’s father, John Paisley, passed away.  This review is dedicated to the memory and accomplishments of the esteemed CDR Paisley.       

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale


(Return to top of page)


** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


 

 

(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

**********