The Republic F-105 Thunderchief is one of the most recognizable combat aircraft of the 20th century. Designed as a supersonic fighter-bomber with the ability to deliver both nuclear and conventional weapons, its lasting legacy was that of a conventional fighter-bomber with a significant combat history in Southeast Asia and in the early years of the Wild Weasel suppression of enemy air defenses mission.
In 1982, Detail & Scale published its first book on the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. This new publication on the Thunderchief is not simply an expanded version of the original book with more color. The text and captions have been completely rewritten. All photographs that were originally taken in color are reproduced in color in this new book. The coverage in the form of text, photographs, and illustrations has been significantly expanded.
Following the Introduction, a Thunderchief History chapter briefly summarizes the development and service of the F-105, including its use in the war in Southeast Asia where it played a major role as a fighter-bomber while also performing specialized missions. The next chapter takes a closer look at each variant of the Thunderchief, starting with the very first YF-105As and concluding with the specialized F-105F and F-105G Wild Weasels.
The next chapter is called Arming the Thunderchief. The most common internal and external stores employed by the F-105 are covered in this chapter with no less than forty photographs and illustrations. From the two different Vulcan cannon arrangements to tactical nuclear weapons, from conventional bombs to napalm and CBUs, and from rockets to guided missiles, these weapons are covered in photographs and detailed illustrations.
The major focus of each title in the Detail & Scale Series is devoted to covering the physical details of the aircraft. The Thunderchief Details chapter includes nine different sections that provide an in-depth look at the F-105 with scores of detailed photographs and illustrations covering the cockpit, canopy and windscreen, fuselage, internal bomb bay, wings, pylons, fuel tanks, ECM pods, landing gear, tail, and engine details. What makes this chapter even more valuable is that more than ninety percent of the photographs were taken of Thunderchiefs while they were still in operational service. Additionally, more than ninety percent are in color.
As always, the final chapter in a Detail & Scale Series book is the Modelers Section. Several new scale model kits have been released in the forty-one years since Detail & Scale published its first book on the Thunderchief, and all of these, along with the older ones, are covered. As explained in the reviews, some of the older kits are better than the more recent ones when it comes to accuracy.