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Chaps of a certain age will remember April 14, 1950 when the first edition of the Eagle blasted off with the galactic adventures of Dan Dare. Now everytime I see the first issue cover reproduced somewhere I glance down to the bottom left corner to the see the Kingfisher zooming away from the headquarters of the Interplanet Space Fleet and I'm back in 1950 (with a few coupons for something or other still left in my ration book).

The book is stuffed full of cutaways (I suppose it was a bit unrealistic to expect them all to be colour) of spacecraft from Dan's adventures over past decades. The illustrator Graham Bleathman has done a brilliant job creating these vehicles and a really nice touch is that they not super slick digital images as you would expect from, say, Daniel Simon but sort of up-to-date contemporary versions of those great Eagle centre-spread cutaways. All of them have numbers and captions explaining what everything does, there must be several hundred of these throughout the book.

Apart from the cutaways there are plenty of pages covering what's going on in space: Treen craft; alien identification; hand weapons, Space Fleet equipment; space stations; commercial craft (including one with pin-up nose art) and near the front of the book a couple of spreads with mug shots of the twenty-five leading characters, including Digby's aunt Anastasia.

Overall a lovely bit of nostalgia for those of a certain age.

***LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
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20 people found this helpful
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Being a true Eagle fan from inception, I was delighted to learn that Haynes had produced this manual. Amazon gave the very best deal and it arrived the next day. Everything I expected by the same wonderful, gifted illustrator - word for word and drawing for drawing as it was in the past. If you have any liking for science fiction, then this Spacefleet Operations Manual is pretty close to science fact! Definitely worth buying multiple copies for grandchildren and sci-fi advocates of all ages!
6 people found this helpful
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on 8 July 2013
A bigger format (I remember the size of the original comic) would have suited the illustrations better.
But for the sale price it's great stuff.
It shows just how good the original Eagle comic was, each relaunch of the comic or the Dan Dare stories getting progressively lower, in quality of the artwork and poorer in story line.
A real tour down nostalgia lane.
My only complaint is not about the book, but that it took a second attempt to get the order to me, still not heard what happened to the first one just disappeared once it was in the hands of the delivery (well none delivery) service.
6 people found this helpful
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on 18 January 2014
If like me you grew up with Dan Dare, then this book is a must. It extensively covers the period when the brilliant Frank Hampson was responsible for the saga, and also the less inspired post-Hampson period. There are cutaway drawings of the Anastasia, a Telezero ship, the Valiant. Tharl's flagship, Lero's starship, a Spaceshark, Galileo McHoo's Galactic Galleon, the Zylbat and the Tempus Frangit, just to mention a few. Space stations such as the Mars J-series and M.E.K 1 are included, and are space bases on Earth, the Moon and Mars. As one might expect from Haynes, the cutaways are superbly detailed, and would not have disgraced the middle pages of Eagle.
Space suits, weapons alien races and the major characters are well covered, and the history of the Space Fleet is very convincingly described. As might be expected, the author is well-versed in the Dan Dare canon, and readers will get a great deal of pleasure from the text.
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on 16 October 2013
I feel privileged to have lived in the era of The Eagle; it was a quality publication as it's price of fourpence ha'penny reflects. (Dandy and Beano were then tuppence)
It was a pleasant surprise to re-live the days of Dan Dare, Digby, Sondar the Treen, and of course the evil Mekon. It was even more surprising to see how futuristic the author's ideas were 60 years ago. Well done Haynes!

Gil Hughes
5 people found this helpful
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on 20 July 2013
Colour cutaways, character sketches of the human and alien protagonists (including the M*kon himself/itself/herself). Though firmly fixed in the 1950's, close reading may reveal technologies and themes which were carried forward into Startrek and Starwars and thus became immortal - not bad for a fairly obscure (it was expensive at the time) children's comic.
3 people found this helpful
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on 20 December 2013
It's a great book, full of cutaways of the spaceships and many other craft from the universe of Dan Dare, his Space Fleet chums!!!
The invention of Frank Hampson, the lead Creator/Artist at that time, just after WWII, was fantastic, just think, if the UK had continued with the Rocket projects, instead of being stopped by the bigger players. The ESA (European Space Agency) could have been first to the Moon! then maybe Mars! A better Future?
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on 27 April 2017
Bought for my father who read Eagle as a child when it first came out.
One person found this helpful
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on 9 April 2018
Nostalgic bliss
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on 25 June 2013
This volume lists all of the space ships and much of the equipment that features in Dan Dare stories. Good to have some 'technical back up' for some of the incredible capabilities described in the text and pictures of Dan Dare!
2 people found this helpful
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