Book Review Haynes Star Wars Rebel Starfighters Owner's Workshop Manual

Book Review | Haynes Star Wars Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual

“Let’s not waste time. This book is outstanding. From everything that we find and discover in the book, it is completely worth shelling out for”

Haynes workshop manuals are available the world over. They were originally written and printed for the automobile industry. I have lost count on exactly how many my family has owned over the years but I know it’s a lot. From Ford through to Toyota, it used to be standard to have one of the manuals for our current car. They always sat in the glove compartment along with the registration and insurance details and were fun to read on long journeys, learning what made the car tick and what features it contained. I knew the difference between a starter motor and a spark plug from the age of five, nowadays not so much. Then I started to notice that the manuals were coming into local bookstores but now, they were manuals not on cars but on vehicles featured in our favourite movies. I found manuals on the Starship Enterprise right up to our beloved Millenium Falcon. They brought back great memories for me along with a great sense of amusement. Why didn’t I think of that idea? It was so obvious!

Haynes Star Wars Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual | By Chris Reiff, Chris Trevas, Ryder Windham

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With that in mind, I eagerly opened the cover of the Star Wars Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual. The cover informs us all that the manual will contain both Alliance and Resistance models within its pages. Written by Ryder Windham and illustrated by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas, the book opens exactly as the old car manuals do but then we start to notice the difference. For a start, our introduction comes in the form of a classified Communique from Mon Mothma to Leia Organa, discussing the Rebel Alliance’s strongest Starfighter assets, liberating three Hammerhead Corvettes from Lothal and Captain Antilles’ rescue of some engineers and scientists from the Imperials who possess the technical knowledge in how to build brand new and better X-Wing fighters. We are shown a still from ‘Rogue One‘ across the page of an X-Wing on its way to participate in the Battle of Scarif. From here on in, we are thrust into the world of the Alliance’s and Resistance’s complete Starfighter fleet. And what fun it is.

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As we turn the page, we are greeted by the BTL-A4 Y-Wing Starfighter in all her glory. It is meeting up with an old friend. First seen in the Battle Of Yavin in ‘A New Hope‘, she returned once more in the Battle Of Endor against the Death Star II in ‘Return Of The Jedi‘, the aforementioned Battle Of Scarif in ‘Rogue One‘ and will be seen again this Christmas as she makes her final big-screen appearance in ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘. Accompanied by a speech by legendary Gold Leader Jon ‘Dutch’ Vander, we are told of exactly what makes the Y-Wing tick, of her durability and her advantage over TIE-Fighters. Over the next ten pages or so, we find out what she has under her armour. Everything from her specifications, her weapons and even her hyperdrive is revealed in fantastic detail along with colour photographs, drawings and technical specification drawings of her inner workings. What more could any Star Wars nut like myself want?

We now come to the RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor. Once again, we are given an introduction to the vehicle and what she has done in her time. Mainly seen in the Battle Of Endor, we are rewarded with a photo of the ship flying through the Death Star II superstructure before once again coming across photos, drawings, technical details and technical drawing of the ship. This now brings us to the A/SF-01 B-Wing Starfighter and another communique describing her features and benefits along with the data we require to know how she flies and performs. Again, she is a survivor of Endor and once more will appear in ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ this Christmas in what will again be her final big-screen appearance.

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And now we come to the reason many of us have bought this book. The main attraction if you will. Her sleek design and beauty have been a staple of the Star Wars vehicle universe since day one. And she was the first Star Wars vehicle in model form, diecast form and large figure playing form I ever possessed and as such, will always be one of my favourite vehicles. I’m talking, of course of the T-65B X-Wing Starfighter. I cannot put my finger on what makes me love her like I do. It may be for the way she locked her foils into attack position on her way to attack the first Death Star. It may be it’s because she is Luke Skywalker’s fighter of choice. I don’t know why she appeals to me alongside the original TIE-Fighter but for whatever reason, she is close to my heart. Once again starting with a description of her and her attributes, we turn the page and start to discover her origins. She is descended from the Republic Navy’s Clone Z-95 Headhunter ship, also referred to as ‘Snubfighters’. From there, she became the ARC-170 Starfighter used by the Republic during The Clone Wars, her S-Foil design coming into play to aid the ships shielding and stability during battle. After the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, her design was adapted by the Rebellion into the design we are familiar with. Although our first memories of her start from the Battle Of Yavin, she first came into her own in the Battle Of Scarif. The reader is treated to a quite extensive look into everything about her, her design, her engines and controls, her abilities, everything. Nothing is left out here and the reader comes away with a sense of satisfaction that she is awarded the recognition and prestige she deserves.

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We now get to meet the UT-60D U-Wing Starfighter. We encountered this ship in ‘Rogue One‘ as Cassian Andor’s ship of choice for the mission he, K-2SO and Jyn Erso undertake during the course of the film. We are given a briefing on the ship by General Antoc Merrick before we plunge headlong into her specifications and abilities. Again, nothing is left out. We now come to a whole section devoted to Resistance Starfighters. Starting off with another communique from Princess Leia, we start the section with the T-70 X-Wing Starfighter. A newer version of the classic X-Wing, the T-70 has faster engines, a whole new paint scheme and updated weaponry and systems. The first version we see of her in ‘The Force Awakens‘, she has a blue stripe along the sides instead of the Rebellion’s choice of red. Later, the ship has a dark design with a dark orange stripe and markings.  From what we see in the book, it appears that in the upcoming film, the ship will boast a white design with rust coloured markings decorating her. Again, no detail is spared from us as we look at this classic but redesigned craft. We also come across the T-85 X-Wing that is seen in the ‘Resistance‘ cartoon series. This version of the craft is mainly blue with black and white markings attached to her hull along with a large nose cone attached to her front.

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We now come to the RZ-2 A-Wing Interceptor. Seen in ‘The Force Awakens‘ and ‘The Last Jedi‘, this craft is again a sleeker, more up to date version of the classic craft from the days of the Empire alongside the BTA-NR2 Y-Wing Starfighter. This is the version we will see in ‘The Rise Of Skywalker‘ later this year. All the technical details and specifications are disclosed to us once again as we wave a fond farewell to the ship section of the book and come upon the Pilots, Training and Gear section. In this section, we are afforded a brief look at the Starfighter’s bases and hangers along with the maintenance and technical support crews charged with looking after all the ships we have encountered in the book. Across the page and we find Luke Skywalker on the first page, looking at us clad in his Rebel Pilot flight suit. Here we will discover what makes the suit tick and all the features it contains. On the opposite page, we find Poe Dameron clad in his Resistance Pilot flight suit. Although the capabilities of the suit are the duplicate of the classic Rebel one, the differences in colour and design are apparent but slight, the Resistance suit being a darker red compared to its Rebellion Counterpart. As we turn the page, we are given a ship size comparison chart across the final two pages of the book. It is a fitting final touch in the book.

Final Thoughts:

Let’s not waste time. This book is outstanding. From everything that we find and discover in the book, it is completely worth shelling out for. Windham’s research and text makes the book that much more readable and enjoyable with nothing left out for the discerning fan while Reiff and Trevas’ illustrations complement the written words perfectly, rounding out a volume that not only made me smile like a Cheshire cat at times but was a genuinely enjoyable and insightful read. I recommend this book to every fan out there and am honoured to say it takes one of the places of pride in my book collection.

 

Haynes Star Wars Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual by Chris Reiff, Chris Trevas, Ryder Windham is published by Insight Editions and is available to buy NOW!

 

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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!

 

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Editors Note: A big thank you to our friends at Insight Editions for the advance review copy.

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