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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (Hardback)

A History

Aviation > Aircraft Aviation > Royal Air Force Colour Books P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic Books

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473863262
Published: 17th July 2019


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The F-104 Starfighter is quite possibly one of the most photographed aircraft of all time. It is certainly one of the most iconic. Here, Martin Bowman offers up a well researched, comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining history of this impressive interceptor aircraft and fighter bomber.

First-hand insights gathered from pilots who have flown the Starfighter in a variety of international contexts make for a rich and diverse narrative, interspersed throughout with a good selection of black and white and colour illustrations that really bring the story to life.

Over the course of an eventful history, the Starfighter has been caught up in an extensive variety of conflicts across the world. This book not only acquaints us with the landmark milestones of a widely utilised aircraft type, it also illuminates our understanding of the dynamic history of aviation in the second half of the twentieth century.

To my shame, although I’ve made a few F-104 Starfighter models over the years, I’ve never taken the time to really look into the history of this aircraft. Now I have, and what a history.

Martin Bowman has created a complete Starfighter reference book full of quotes and colour images that will tantalise any modeller. It’s well written and well laid out with in-depth detail. It’s also extremely fascinating.

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Vintage Airfix

If you are a Starfighter fan or want to gain an understanding of the joys and perils of flying a high-performance but tricky fighter in the Cold War years, then this is the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a lot and cannot imagine that it will be easily surpassed as the go to read on this iconic type.

Ulster Aviation Society - reviewed by Guy Warner

The authoritative text is accompanied with a superb selection of black & white and colour photographs.

Vulcan News, Spring 2020

If you are a Starfighter fan or want to gain an understanding of the joys and perils of flying a high-performance but tricky fighter in the Cold War years, then this is the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a lot and cannot imagine that it will be easily surpassed as the go-to read on this iconic type.

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Flying in Ireland

Modelers will find the book of particular interest as it is lavishly embellished with color photos of F-104s in a wide variety of air force liveries. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the legendary Starfighter.

Aviation History magazine, March 2020 - reviewed by Robert Guttman

Great work very well documented and with excellent presentation.

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Miniaturas JM

As featured by

Fliegerblatt, 6/2019

It is a book that is highly readable and the anecdotes add to the interest of the title.


From prototypes to front lines, first-person accounts are inserted within the more technical aspects of the text.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This is certainly a worthy addition to any Starfighter library.

Air Forces Monthly, December 2019 – reviewed by Glenn Sands

From the trusted pen of a leading aviation historian, the story of a remarkable fighter aircraft. This book takes a careful look at one of the most successful Century Fighters produced for the USAF and sold successfully around the world – Highly Recommended.

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All-in all a great book of Bowman. Tons of pictures, also of which I hadn’t seen a lot. Beautiful air to air pictures and pictures of all users are included. The text is easy to read and I am happy with this book on my bookshelf!

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Aviation Book Reviews

I have to say that when I see a new book from author Martin Bowman I am always confident it will be good. This new book on the Starfighter lived up to my expectations and this is excellent.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured in

IPMS Magazine

This is one neat book and highly recommended.

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Martin Bowman is one of the most respected aviation historians in the world, and in this book he once again demonstrates his knowledge... The book follows the whole development with the various versions put into service. Through 11 chapters, Bowman leads us to know every little detail of this fascinating and fearsome plane, used in combat in Vietnam, in the War between India and Pakistan and in a singular confrontation between the Taiwanese air forces and those of the People's Republic of China. The photos are hundreds and almost all are in color. the charm of this "missile with a pilot" means that many photos look like fantastic works of art.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

This is an exceptional title, authoritative, many colour images and great reference for all scale modellers interested in this most famous Cold War aircraft and the many air forces across the world that flew it.

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Scale Modelling Now

The US airbase at Lakenheath is where I believe these iconic American fighter jets are based, and it is quite possible that it is Starfighters we see for days on end practising in the skies above where I live in North Norfolk. This terrific book looks at the history of the aircraft and celebrates its glory and achievements in ultiate style!

Books Monthly

The F-104 Starfighter is an iconic aircraft that is instantly recognisable by anyone with the most basic knowledge, and this book written by Martin W. Bowman is a great tribute to the aircraft and the people behind it. His writing style and distribution of images through the title make the book an easy and pleasant read without intimidating those who see a 300 plus page book and shy away. The quality of the captions with the photographs was especially well received by me as a modeller and it has to be remembered that it is the images and subject that often sell the book rather than the text.

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As featured 'on the shelf' in

Wargames Illustrated, November 2017

About Martin W Bowman

With well over 100 published books, MARTIN W. BOWMAN is one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians and authors. Specialising in Second World War history and post-war aviation, Martin’s interest in these subjects was driven by the prolific number of RAF and USAAF air bases that were established in his native East Anglia. His previous books have included works such as Legend of the LancasterConfounding the ReichDuxford and the Big Wings, as well as numerous titles in the exhaustive Air War series, which, between them, provide extensive coverage of operations carried out on D-Day and during the Market Garden offensive at Arnhem.

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