A Niner Lover’s Feast
At the Gate No. 1
Paperback, 80 pages,
ISBN 0-89747-516-X,Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrolltown, Texas, USA, 2007
Jodie Peeler needs no introduction to airliner modellers, being an active participant in hobby internet forums, and being cherished as one of the very few ladies among us. Those who know her are aware that she is a Douglas fan, enamoured of the style of Douglas airliners and of their involvement with her favourite airlines and flying experiences.
That the book is a labour of love is obvious. A professional, “jobbing,” author would have sat down, dug up references and photos, and served it all up in a professional manner, though one which would have been bland. Jodie (no stranger to writing as part of her day job) does all that, but she does it with gusto, and goes much further. She presents us with original profiles and other artwork on which no “jobbing” writer would have spent time. She selects her photographs with the care no “jobber” would devote.
The result is a slim and dense work which, while its author stresses is not encyclopaedic, distils all the material a modeller needs in order to sit down with a clear conscience and build a Niner. Or a “Mad dog.” Or an MD-90. Or a Boeing 717-200. Or even one of the “paper” Niners that fell by the wayside...
Though Jodie and her contacts (all of them well known within our hobby) have clearly expended much time and love on the book, one or two pedantic remarks can be made. The DC-9-20 and subsequent marks had six degrees of anhedral on their tailplanes (horizontal stabilizers): something the book fails to mention and the drawings in it fail to show. Also, the DC-9-34 and subsequent Niners’ modified belly fairing fails to make an appearance. A somewhat greater regret is occasioned by the absence of an underside view amid the wealth of drawings in the book.
Nevertheless. if you want an enjoyable, relaxing and handsome bedside read which is also a great reference compendium without the bulk, go for this book. Go for it even if you are not particularly excited by the Niner and its progeny: the book pioneers Squadron/Signal’s At the Gate series, and commercial success for it will direct more investment by the publisher into our minority hobby in the months and years to come.