The Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual is a logical follow up to Imperial volume and is constructed in much the same way. If you were to pick up both books you might be able to some way to answering the question, “Which side has the coolest ships in Star Wars?”
Much like its Imperial counterpart, the Rebel Fighters Owner’s Workshop Manual details the form and function of many of the classic fighter ships that feature on the side of the Rebels in the Star Wars films. Most notably, of course, the X-Wing.
That’s not where the book starts, however. It opens with what might be my favorite rebel starfighter: the Y-Wing or the “BTL – A4 Y-Wing,” to be precise. This “Haynes” manual is filled with the annotated cutaway diagrams that one associates with the publisher. There are a number of different angled views of the ship, as well as a detailed overview of the cockpit controls and computer screen mask. Finally, for the Y-Wing, there is a description of the hyperdrive unit and its weapons and defenses, including the various permutations of gunner positions (who knew there were so many?).
For the X-Wings, we are treated to the origins of the X-Wing, including the ARC-170. The book has stills from films including shots of X-Wings flying over Scarif and taking off from Yavin 4. Again, this section has annotated cutaways and multiple aspect views of the X-Wings. There is also a description of the workings of the iconic laser cannon.
As well as X and Y-Wing fighters, the A, B, and U wings are described, including, for Rebels fans, the B6 prototype that features in the series. Resistance Starfighters get their own section that includes Poe Dameron’s P70 X-Wing.
After all the ships, the end of the book features pilot training and gear, my favorite part of which includes descriptions of hangars and starfighter bases. Just like the Imperial Starfighter book, there is also a size comparison chart between various starfighters and rebel cruisers. Want to know the difference in size between a Corvette, a Mon Calamari cruiser, and a Y-Wing? This diagram is for you.
I’ve never been able to decide which my favorite fighters in the Star Wars series are. Imperial or Rebels, the original dogfight between X-Wings and TIE fighters is probably the main reason Star Wars left such an impression on me. I also remember joining the Star Wars fan club and receiving my first glimpse of a Y-Wing in the form of a still from The Return of the Jedi. I thought they were soooo-cool. They did other letters! I was blown away. (I must confess, this childhood memory may be entirely fabricated!)
I love the Star Wars Owner’s Workshop manuals because they capture the excitement of the movies’ dogfights and they do it with awesome diagrams. Rebel Starfighters also showcases the depth of background writing that goes into the Star Wars universe. The man-hours of history created to explain the world so many of us are enthralled by.
The cynical side of me will often be heard muttering that they need to change the ships each movie so they can sell more toys, but when the Star Wars creations are collected in volumes such as Rebel Starfighters it’s hard to begrudge each ship its day in the sun (or at least shadow of the Death Star). It’s impossible not to read this book and not get caught up in the visceral thrill of the titanic space battles between Rebels and Empire, First Order and Resistance.
The holiday season is almost upon us, and if you have a Star Wars fan in your house, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t love these Haynes manuals. Whether you like the Empire or the Rebellion, Insight Editions have got you covered!
If you enjoyed this post, do check out my other Word Wednesday reviews.
If you want to pick up the Rebel Starfighters Owner’s Workshop Manual, you can do so here, in the US, and here, in the UK.
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to review.
This post was last modified on November 12, 2019 8:20 pm
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