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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2015 Title Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Author Jaroslaw Dobrzynski Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2015 ISBN 9788363678395
Format 176 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $39.00


Looking for a handy, lavishly illustrated history of the F-104 jet fighter? Look no further than MMP's latest!

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter – 6136 in the publisher's enlarged "Yellow Series" titles – follows the publisher's proven prescription. Contents commence with design, development and deployment details. Author Jaroslaw Dobrzynski helpfully recaps production and experimental variants – as well as license manufacturing and service.

Coverage then segues to "combat" use. F-104s proved principal players during the Cold War's iciest days. And over 40 years, Starfighters served in:

  • 1958's Quemoy Crisis between mainland China and Taiwan
  • 1961's Berlin Crisis
  • 1965's Pakistan-India War over Kashmir
  • 1971's Bangladesh War
  • the Vietnam War
  • 1991's Operation Desert Storm against Iraq
  • 1999's Operation Allied Force against Serbia

Accidents also plagued the Starfighter throughout its international career. And "Operators" sections dutifully detail these. Canada, for instance, lost 46% of its F-104s. Belgium lost nearly 2 in 5 machines. And West Germany – where F-104 calamities achieved international notoriety – lost 298 Starfighters over 28 years. Nevertheless, MMP reminds readers, German Starfighter attrition "was similar to that of the [Luftwaffe's] Republic F-84F Thunderstreak" – "which amounted to 36%".

Modelers will love this book. Color and B&W photos support the study. Technical-manual excerpts, close-up shots and 1:72-scale plans delineate Starfighter details. And MMP's excellent selection of color profiles – many with official color specs – offer plenty of project inspiration.

But how about US Federal Standard matches or approximates for those Belgian "SEA-type" camouflage colors? And given the Starfighter's size, why weren't those lovely profiles to 1:72 scale, as well?

Enough carping! What a cool, colorful, convenient compendium. Make MMP's Starfighter study part of your Cold War reference library!

With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.