Book Review
General Dynamics F-111
General Dynamics F-111 A comprehensive guide
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by: Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]

General Dynamics won the US Department of Defense contract in 1962 to develop a supersonic aircraft under a program called TFX. This airplane, later designated F-111, would be the first in history to incorporate specific design features to make it capable of performing in multiple roles.
The F-111 is the first production airplane with a variable sweep wing—a wing configuration that can be changed in flight. The wing provided outstanding aerodynamic efficiency. With wings fully extended, the F-111 could take off and land in as little as 2,000 feet. With wings fully swept back, it could reach supersonic speeds at high or low altitudes. At high altitudes, the F-111 could fly more than 2.2 times the speed of sound. At low altitudes, the F-111 could fly supersonic speeds hugging the ground with its terrain-following radar. The F-111 could also fly transoceanic distances without refueling.
The F-111 was flown for the first time on 21 December 1964. In October 1967, the first version was delivered to the USAF Tactical Air Command at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Two years later, the first production bomber version was turned over to the Strategic Air Command at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas. A total of 562 F-111s were built. The first rolled off the production line on 15 October 1964. The last was produced in 1976.
About the book
Title - General Dynamics F-111
Author - Anthony M. Thornborough
Publisher - SAM Publications
ISBN - 9781906959111
Format 178 pages, softbound
  • F-111A Alpha 'Varks and Vietnam 'Vets
    From design to combat in South East Asia
  • NASA Testbeds
    AFTI,TACT and MAW programs
  • F-111B Sea Pigs
    The US Navy's failed fighter
  • FB-111A SAC 'Varks
    Silver bullet bombers'
  • F-111C, RF-111C, F-111G Aardvarks from Oz
    RAAF service
  • F-111D Cosmic 'Varks
    The digital age'
  • F-111E Warsaw Pact Central Heating
    AMP'ed Varks
  • EF-111A Spark 'Varks
    Electronic warfare Ravens'
  • F-111F Laser 'Varks
    Libyan raiders and Desert stormers
  • Modelling the F-111 in Popular Scales
  • Walk Around
  • Technical Diagrams

Appendix 1 - Technical specifications
Appendix 2 - Kitography
Appendix 3 - Understanding the subject
Fold out plans - 1/48th and 1/72nd scales.
Inside the book

The General Dynamics F-111 A comprehensive guide book starts off with a introduction from the author, Anthony M. Thornborough, whos states that this book is a "labour of love" and credits many people in helping him.
The first chapter covers the F-111 from conception to combat in South East Asia, and anoungst the many pictures are black and white photos of the plane on the assembly line. Schematics for various systems are also scattered throughout.
Nasa's testbeds covers aircraft used for various aerospace technologies, such as the Mission Adaptive Wing (MAW) built by Boeing which was a variable camber wing.
The Sea Pigs covers the doomed naval variant of the F-111B, and ended up as the testbed for the Phoenix missile system which ended up on the F-14 Tomcat. Black and white photos of the cockpit for this variant.
SAC Varks covers the Strategic Air Commands F-111A's that were supposed to replace the ageing fleet of B-58's and tall tail B-52's. From the intial number of 263 machines this was then cut to just 76, with the B-52D's and some F's given a reprieve. The F-111A was SAC's only operational supersonic during the 70's.
Pictures of some of the nose art adorning SAC's F-111A's aircraft are shown in this section.
Aardvarks from Oz is an interesting chapter which encompasses the 37 years the F-111 was in service with the RAAF.
The rest of the book features the ongoing devolopment of the aircraft from the Nuclear detterent based in England to the EF series of the Electronic Warfare aircraft.
Hundreds of photos of the various machines in the air and on the ground are in colour and black and white.
Six pages of colour artwork for various machines closes the main chapters, with USAF, US Navy and RAAF machines shown in the side profile view.
Britains F-111K variant, to be named Merlin, is only mentioned a couple of times in the book, and no pictures of the two near enough completed airframes are shown.
One of the most helpful chapters for the Modeller is the "Modelling the F-111", which covers models in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales. The Italeri 1/72nd F-111A and Academy's and HobbyBoss's 1/48th F-111A/D/E and F variants are all covered with the builds. Helpful text and pictures within each article show the improvements and pitfalls of each subject.
At the back of the book is a "Kitography" section which covers all the kits, aftermarket and decals sheets that are available at the time the book went to press.
The walkaround section has numerous photos of the cockpits, wheel bays and just about every other part of the aircraft which can be seen from the outside of the aircraft, and all the pictures are in colour.
The technical diagrams explain what certain systems on the aircraft are and also tell you the names of the various gauges and switches on the instrument panels.
At the back of the book are scale plans in both 1/72nd and 1/48th scale, which pull out to reveal the aircraft in four profiles, top, bottom, side and head on.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A very good book that delivers near enough every thing you need to build an accurate F-111.
Lows: Very little on the F-111k version, buts thats just nitpicking really.
Verdict: If your serious about building the F-111 then you can't go far wrong with buying this book. I now need to buy a kit of this aircraft to do the book justice.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: MDF 19
  Suggested Retail: £19.99
  Related Link: General Dynamics F-111
  PUBLISHED: Dec 15, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to SAM Publications!
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About Andy Brazier (betheyn)

I started modelling in the 70's with my Dad building Airfix aircraft kits. The memory of my Dad and I building and painting a Avro Lancaster on the kitchen table will always be with me. I then found a friend who enjoyed building models, and between us I think we built the entire range of 1/72 Airfi...

Copyright ©2021 text by Andy Brazier [ BETHEYN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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