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General Dynamics F-111

General Dynamics F-111 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2013 Title General Dynamics F-111
Author Anthony M. Thornborough Publisher SAM Publications
Published 2013 ISBN 9781906959111
Format 178 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £19.99 (Approx 32.50 USD)


In the early 1960s, then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was trying to reform the Pentagon and the wasteful spending on unique weapons systems where savings could be realized using common requirements and designs. Unfortunately, one of the more visible test cases for this reform became the TFX program, combining the requirements for a supersonic strike fighter for the Air Force with the carrier-based fleet defense fighter for the Navy. General Dynamics won the competition with what would become the F-111. Unlike most US aircraft, the F-111 didn't receive an official name though it informally known as the Aardvark due to its uniquely shaped nose. The F-111 had the distinction of being able to reach Mach 2.5 at altitude and well above Mach 1 on the deck. To operate safely at those speeds on the deck, the F-111 was one of the first with a terrain-following radar coupled to the autopilot allowing the aircraft remain at a selected altitude above ground level.

This title examine the F-111 from nose to tail with good coverage of all variants of this unique aircraft. The author breaks down this discussion as follows:

  • F-111A Alpha 'Varks and Vietnam 'Vets
  • NASA Testbeds
  • F-111B Sea Pigs
  • FB-111A SAC 'Varks
  • F-111C, RF-111C, F-111G Aardvarks from Oz
  • F-111D Cosmic 'Varks
  • F-111E Warsaw Pact Central Heating
  • EF-111A Spark 'Varks
  • F-111F Laser 'Varks
  • Modelling the F-111 in Popular Scales
  • Walk Around
  • Technical Diagrams

The author walks through the differences between variants including good imagery of external and internal differences of interest to the aviation buff as well as the scale modeler. One of the other nice features of this series is the modeler's section in the back. Here the author has listed the various kits available in different scales and variants as well as detail sets and decals that will help you take your build to the next step. Build reviews by guest contributors are included which highlight the pros and cons of selected F-111 kits such as the description of the Academy 1/48 F-111F which has challenging fit problems which are made up by the lack of accurate details and Pave Tack pod.

This title will definitely appeal to aviation enthusiasts as it provides a nice look at the subject with lots of nice details that will also please the detail modeler. Whether you're building one of the Academy, HobbyBoss, Monogram, or other kit, here is a great reference to help you detail your model accurately whether by recognizing and painting the kit details or adding your own.

My sincere thanks to SAM Publications for this review sample!