HMH Publications | Aircraft in Detail 025: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

Reviewed by Kevin Williams

Publisher: HMH Publications
Author(s): R. Pied, Nic Deboeck
Publishing date: 2022
ISBN: 978-2-931083-17-8 (Softcover)
Pages: 178

This particular volume (No. 025 in the series), covers the sleek and beautiful Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Everything the Starfighter enthusiast could want, and gobs of it, is featured in this book. If it isn't presented in this volume, it probably doesn't exist! Both single seat and dual seat aircraft are covered here, and specimens from numerous nations as well.

HMH originally set the bar pretty darned high, and seem to delight in raising it ever further. Such is the case with this volume, and I wholeheartedly approve.

As with the majority of titles from this publisher, this is very much a collaborative effort, using photos from many varied sources, each with appropriate photo credits given, and there are quite a substantial number of them in this magnificent volume. Printed on good quality semi-glossy stock, the photos are nothing sort of magnificent, highlighting many areas of the air-frame, giving both modelers and aviation enthusiasts alike, a wealth of eye candy on this fascinating plane. If there's a detail of the Starfighter that you'd like to see, it's more than likely in this book.

While I certainly should be used to it by now, flipping through the pages of a new HMH title, still fills me with awe. The quality and variety of images, is truly mesmerizing. Having been a big fan of the Starfighter (as well as the entire Century series) for years now, a book of this nature was just the ticket for me. (Now I'll need to chase down a good kit to start on.)

Photo Samples

As is readily apparent. the images are really quite magnificent. Photos are broken down by section; types, forward fuselage, air intake, fuselage, wings, cockpit (many pages), canopy, front landing gear, main landing gear, aft fuselage, vertical tail, horizontal tail, maintenance, engine, ordnance (naturally including the GE 20mm Vulcan rotary cannon), and finally, Action!! Certainly enough material is presented here, to satisfy even the most ardent Starfighter enthusiast, with gobs of beautiful, crystal clear, sharp colorful imagery.

The myriad photos obviously form the backbone of this book, and for me, this is a true blessing, as I can never seem to get enough details, and this book certainly has them in great abundance. Generally, text is very informative as well. Photos are razor sharp, revealing incredibly nice color details. HMH certainly has filled a much needed/desired niche here, and I hope doesn't let up any time soon. To have an entire wall of books from this publisher would be much to my liking.

Fortunately for those of us with a passion for larger scale aircraft models, kits do exist in 1:32 scale of this machine (Revell, Hasegawa and now Italeri), so being able to build a representative example should prove to be a snap.

For those with a passion for the Starfighter, I can highly recommend this volume. Buy a copy, you will not be disappointed


On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate this book as a solid 10, no question about it. Topping out at a very respectable 178 pages of F-104 excellence, it's just packed wall-to-wall with details, details, and more details, and is therefore highly recommended.


I'd read over the years that the leading and trailing edges of the Starfighter wings are really quite sharp, requiring that a red guard be placed over them when on the ground, but was somewhat skeptical...until I saw the real thing at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Sure enough, you wouldn't want to smack your head into one (quite easy to do too with the pronounced anhedral of the wings). I was actually quite amazed at how sharp they really are, and could see how they could easily ruin your day!

Note: Book cover image directly from HMH Publications (used with permission).

My review copy compliments of Casemate Publishers. Thanks a ton to Casemate, it's truly an outstanding reference book for the various F-104 Starfighter variants, really top-notch stuff.

© Kevin Williams 2023

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This review was published on Tuesday, April 18 2023; Last modified on Sunday, December 31 2023