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Canadian Silver Stars

Canadian Silver Stars Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2020 Title Canadian Silver Stars
Author Patrick Martin and Bryan Volstad Publisher Double Ugly Books
Published 2019 ISBN 978-3-935687-97-3
Format 236 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 44.95€ less 7% VAT for non-EU customers


If you've been reading my book reviews, you know how much I appreciate a thorough, in-depth title on a given subject. Any title from Yefim Gordon covering Russian/Soviet aircraft fall into that category. Well here is another, published by Double-Ugly Books, this is an impressive in-depth and thorough look at the Canadair CL-30 or CT-133 Silver Star, the license-built Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. When Canadair worked with designer Lockheed Corporation to build the T-33, they also wanted to make design changes to meet the operational needs of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). One of those changes was to replace the American-made Allison J33 engine with the Rolls Royce Nene, creating an aircraft that was more reliable and would outlast the T-33s in active duty service around the world.

When Canadair embarked on the CL-30, they were already producing the F-86 Sabre as the CL-13, though the Mark-1 through Mark-4 retained the General Electric J47 engine, but as the CL-30 was being designed around the Nene, the CL-13 was transitioning to the Orenda engine which was, in turn, a license-built Rolls Royce Avon engine. Both the Sabre Mk.5/6 and the CT-133 were well-known for their engine performance and reliability. These CT-133 trainers entered service in 1952 and would serve through 2005, with some exported examples serving even longer. The authors chronical the development of the CL-30 from the requirements documents to first flight and carry on that coverage through the aircraft's lengthy service. Check out the coverage in the table of contents:

  • Shooting Star
  • Selection
  • Getting the Program Going
  • Production
  • Canadian Conversions
  • Canadian Service
  • Canadian Finish & Markings
  • Exports
  • Airframe
  • Unit Histories

With the variety of units and operational roles performed by the Silver Star, the aircraft featured the greatest variety of color schemes worn by any of the T-bird series and the authors have collected color photographs of nearly all of those schemes. In addition to those beautiful color photos, there are color profiles of selected schemes in the appendices. One aircraft jumped out while reading this title - did you know that the Skyfox Corporation's twin-engine prototype to replace the USAF's T-37 was not a T-33 but a Silver Star? When I say thorough and in-depth, this title not only examines every unit and country that operating the Silver Star, the appendices also has summaries of the history of each Silver Star, by tail number, and its last known fate. There is no wasted space in this title, even the inside covers have reference photos.

If you're a T-33 (CT-133) fan or aviation historian, this is the most detailed reference you'll find of this subject in print. If you're a scale modeler, you have at your fingertips the greatest reference for color schemes and details for this aircraft.

Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to DoubleUgly! Books for this review sample!