|The Thunderflash was the subject of an article on this site a few
years ago with a detailed history and photos of a former
West-German Airforce aircraft (RF-84F
at Hermeskeil). With the recent re-issue of the only available kit
in 1/72 from Italeri, there sure is a need for even more details!
Being a dedicated photo-reconnaissance machine, a production run of
over 700 airframes is quite impressing. Most of these served with the
USAF but small batches were also exported to different NATO countries.
Among those using the aircraft were Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium,
the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Greece. The two latter countries
bought their aircraft second-hand from Germany, Belgium and the
Netherlands. The Greek Airforce flew its last sortie in the RF-84F in
March 1991, not bad for a second-generation jet first flown in 1952!
The subject of this photo feature is a Belgian Airforce aircraft,
now residing in the very good museum in Brussels, Koninklijk
Legermuseum. Coded FR-28 in Belgian service, it is former 51-1945 of
the USAF. All photos were taken on Sunday, September 15 2002. (Battle
of Britain day with Manneken Pis dressed in RAF
Other kinds of Thunder in the Belgian Airforce
The Belgian Airforce operated all three main variants of the F-84
series; the straight wing Thunderjet, the swept wing Thunderstreak and
the very similar Thunderflash which is the subject of this article. All
three types are represented at the museum in Brussels.
RF-84F Thunderflash in detail
The photos have been divided into three sections linked
here. In this issue I have also included a short note on the subject of
painting and markings of Belgian RF-84Fs.
Nose and camera
gear, spoilers and air brakes
Canopy area and main
Thunderflash models and acessories
There is one big advantage when you feel the urge to build a
Thunderflash; you don't have to spend that much time when picking your
model! There are two available, one each in 1/72 and 1/48 scale! In the
smaller scale, there is the recently re-released Italeri kit which is
basic but a sound base for a good model. The Heller kit is equally
basic but the only game in town as well!
The cockpit in the Italeri kit can be upgraded using the Aires kit
for the Thunderjet, with a slight adjustment of the instrument panel to
accommodate for the photo sight. Apart from that, some sanding and
rescribing is needed.
The Italeri kit in its latest, and very attractive, boxing.
Four decal options are included; USAF, Italian, West German and French.
There are few books on the subject of the Thunderflash, two
that I know are the following:
- Republic F-84 Thunderjet, Thunderstreak, & Thunderflash -
A Photo Chronicle by David R. McLaren, Schiffer Publishing,
1998, ISBN 0-7643-0444-5
- Republic F-84 (Swept-wing Variants) by Kevin Keaveney,
Aerofax Minigraph 15, Aerofax, 1987, ISBN 0-942548-20-5
If I had to pick one of them, I would go for the Minigraph
since it gives a lot of information for a relatively low price.
However, the Schiffer book is quite nice as well! If you are into
Belgian aircraft, there is a nice book on the Thunderstreak which will
be of great help even for Thunderflash modellers:
- De Republic F-84F Thunderstreak in dienst bij de Belgische
Luchtmacht by André van Haute, Uitgeverij De Krijger, 1999,
This book contains good colour photos of all three paint schemes and
also lots of other valuable information. Its only disadvantage is that
it is in Flemish!
On the World Wide Web, one of the
must-visit web places for the Thunderflash enthusiast is f84thunderjet.com
which, even if it is named after the first aircraft in the
series, is a resource for any of the three main variants of
Burkhard Domke has a good walkaround of a
West German RF-84F at his
website. Also, Robert Lundin has a walkaround of the same
RF-84F as in this article at his Aircraft