F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash Book Review
|Date of Review||December 2014||Title||F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash|
|Author||Charles Stafrace||Publisher||Guideline Publications|
|Format||80 pages, softbound||MSRP (GBP)||£15.00|
Derived from the straight-wing F-84 Thunderjet, the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak aimed at "utilizing 55% tooling commonality" with the former.
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.
My sincere thanks to Guideline Publications for this review sample!