Duke Hawkins is a series of aerospace books (plus the Occupation of Brussels) with amazing photographic detail in a walk-around format. HMH Publications describes the Duke Hawkins series,
“So, there I was, looking for a book that could show me the Jaguar in every detail. I didn’t find it. I found a couple of photos online, but I wasn’t really extatic (sic) about that… That’s when I decided to make a book for myself. I showed it to a friend and he said: “We should publish it! And make other books too!” And here we are.”
And we are all the better for the Duke Hawkins decision to produce, high quality, detailed photographic reference books. I knew about the F-104 Starfighter, its place among the Century Series, and being nicknamed “The missile with a man in it”. The F-104 Starfighter flew for 15 air forces, spanning over 50 years. While retired from active service nearly 20 years ago, there are several in civilian operation to keep the Starfighter alive in the skies.
While not a comprehensive history of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, authors Robert Pied and Nicolas Deboeck do a fantastic job of bringing this iconic, ahead of its time, aircraft to life through its amazing photographic journey. While there is no table of contents, the book is logically broken into the following sections, each with its treasure trove of photographs:
- Forward Fuselage
- Air Intakes
- Cockpit – Two Seat Jet
- Front Landing Gear
- Main Landing Gear
- Aft Fuselage
- Vertical Tail
- Horizontal Tail
This book covers the early versions through the F-104S-ASA/M and the two-seat TF-104G, but really focuses on the F-104F/G/J/S variants. Fourteen of the 15 countries that flew the Starfighter are included in this book: USA, Canada, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Taiwan, and Spain. Besides the comprehensive photos of details, both exterior and interior, there are plenty of in action photos of current remodels and flying F-104s from the Friends of the Starfighter in Norway, the Dutch Starfighter Association, the Canadian Starfighter Museum, and Starfighter Aerospace based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
This book is a boon for modelers seeking to build an accurate and beautiful Starfighter in service with any of the nations who flew them. The text primarily supports the excellent photos. While I wasn’t particularly a Starfighter fan previously, this book has opened my eyes and motivated me to find a F-104 model kit to build. With this book on the bench, the detailing options are exhaustive, references readily available, and weathering will be easier. Now which markings to choose from?
Profuse thanks to Casemate (https://www.casematepublishers.com) and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.
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