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F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash

F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2014 Title F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash
Author Charles Stafrace Publisher Guideline Publications
Published 2014 ISBN n/a
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (GBP) £15.00

Review

Derived from the straight-wing F-84 Thunderjet, the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak aimed at "utilizing 55% tooling commonality" with the former.

Well, almost.

Suffering engine issues and prolonged gestation, the final Thunderstreak configuration eventually retained only superficial elements of its straight-wing F-84 antecedents.

But upon reaching design maturity and operational service, R/F-84Fs became potent warplanes.  In NATO use, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Turkey flew F-84F variants.  Taiwan ROC also operated RF-84Fs.

French variants saw combat during the 1956 Suez Crisis.  Turkey's RF-84Fs served during the 1974 Cyprus invasion.  And Taiwan's Thunderflashes tangled with MiGs over China.

Now Charles Stafrace celebrates the 100th "Warplanes" installment with a colorful, compact chronicle of this Cold War classic.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it – right?  And Guideline's Centennial monograph follows the publisher's familiar format.  Capable coverage of R/F-84F design, development, deployment and disposition.  And lots of eye candy over 80 lavishly illustrated pages.  Everything in one spot.

It's a fitting tribute, too.

Alan Hall's Aviation News magazine developed the original "Warplanes" concept – direct ancestor of Guideline's current series – in 1976.  And the very first "Warplanes" surveyed the "Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash in European Air Forces"!

Then, "Warplanes" titles ran just 24 pages – and sported Zipatone line drawings by pioneer profilers like Ian D. Huntley and Mike Keep.

Guideline's study, by contrast, sports plenty of color and B&W photos – and dozens of color plates by the ever-excellent Richard J. Caruana, who also drafted the book's 1:72-scale plans.

Contents cover Thunderstreak and Thunderflash development, production, service and worldwide use.  Fascinating segues include FICON "parasites", F-84H "Thunderscreech" experimental turboprop fighter, and Operation Musketeer service – the 1956 Anglo-French attack on Egypt.  That profile of a French F-84F in Israeli markings might give you whiplash!

A two-page spread offers Thunderstreak close-ups for detail enthusiasts.  And a concluding list recaps dozens of R/F-84F model kits, decals and accessories.  Start planning your next model project.

Some nitpicks.  I don't think it "may be safely said that the first examples of the US 'X' series of experimental aircraft were descended directly from Luftwaffe designs."  The X-1, X-2 and X-3 certainly refute that contention.  Belgian Thunderstreaks and Thunderflashes reportedly wore local paints – not Federal Standard Vietnam colors.  And they missed Kinetic's 1:48-scale Thunderstreak on the model kit list.

But – hey – I quibble!  When I was three, my Dad plopped me in the bang seat of a 112th FG F-84F during a base Open House.  What an indelible experience.  And I've loved the "World's Fastest Tricycle" ever since.

I loved this book, too.  Pondering HobbyBoss's 1:48 Thunderstreak?  Monogram's or Italeri's ancient offerings?  Make this cool, convenient compendium your reference.

Strongly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Guideline Publications for this review sample!

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