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Vought F7U Cutlass

Vought F7U Cutlass Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2010 Title Vought F7U Cutlass
Author Tom Gardner Publisher Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
Published 2010 ISBN 978-0-7643-3529-7
Format 200 pages, Hardbound Pros First title of the subject published in some time
Cons Too painful to read (see text) MSRP (USD) $59.95


Schiffer Publishing is well-known for producing excellent aviation references and I don't even hesitate to order a new release when the subject is of interest. In the case of the F7U Cutlass, I wanted some good reference material to better understand the subject in advance of Fisher Models' upcoming 1/32 F7U Cutlass kit. When I saw the pre-order option on Amazon, I did so without hesitation.

Well there is a first for everything and when this title arrived, I looked forward to seeing some Schiffer coverage of the subject. What I found wasn't at all pleasant and I certainly hope this latest title doesn't reflect the future offerings coming from Schiffer!

I tried to read several sections of the book, but the lack of basic writing skill and lack of spell checking made this title more difficult to read than some of my old computer science textbooks. The writing style and use of some of the terminology was awkward at best and painful at worst. Perhaps the illustrations would make up for the narrative?

The title is well illustrated with excerpts out of Vought technical documents and NAVAIR flight manuals. The editing and printing of the black and white as well as color photos are not done well. Perhaps there are not that many photos of the Cutlass available for a book, but the black and white photos are especially grainy as if someone tried to over-sharpen the images with Photoshop and the color historical photos look like crude colorizations from years ago.

In the area of contemporary photos, the Cutlass shots from the Naval Air Museum were taken by the museum staff and the Cutlass under restoration was taken by a contributor. While the Navy shots were mostly clear with a few blurry images included, there were more blurred images provided of the restoration. Neither the author nor publisher replaced these bad shots during preparation and went to press instead.

A number of detail drawings are also provided and some of these look like they were drawn free-handed with a felt-tipped package marker.

I am really disappointed with this title and recommend you find the Naval Fighter F7U Cutlass title from Ginter Books instead. The Ginter title may be dated and all black and white, but you can read it and see details from its illustrations.