«  »

Armada Books – Formats D, E, F, Other
Mass market paperback editions.


Armada Format D (1987 – 1991)


rmada redesigned the look of the series again. The new logo for this Format was a 'neon-sign' style font over a shield coloured like the American flag. There were 18 paperback first editions from 1987-1991, plus many reprints of earlier titles during 1987-1989.

Several artists painted these covers, many of them are unidentified. One artist, whose style is very ugly, did the first editions for #41-44, in addition to the reprints of 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 (Q).

The Witchmaster's Key

It is known that Kenny McKendry (K) painted the covers for volumes #45 and #46 , while another artist (who employed the same models to provide consistency in the look of the Hardy Boys, the blond one of whom looks remarkably like Prince William!) did #47-56, 84, 85, and reprints of 22, 31, 32, 57 and 58 (M).

Six titles appear to have been illustrated by three artists: 2 & 11 (S), 9 & 10 (U), 14 & 16 (V). Volumes 6, 8, 21, 82, and 83 also appear in Format D, but the artwork used is the same as that on the previous Format C editions (Z).

Due to a printing error, The Arctic Patrol Mystery and The Twisted Claw first appeared with the other's cover artwork! These were corrected for later Format D reprints. Interestingly, Danger on Vampire Trail is titled Danger on The Vampire Trail on the title page, but not on the cover. Also, the text of The Tower Treasure was completely re-typeset, for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

Table of all 39 Format D single volumes:

NEW #41 The Mysterious Caravan Q
NEW #42 Danger on Vampire Trail Q
NEW #43 The Bombay Boomerang Q
NEW #44 The Masked Monkey Q
#2 The Arctic Patrol Mystery S
#3 The Haunted Fort Q
#4 Mystery of the Whale Tattoo Q
#5 The Mystery of the Disappearing Floor Q
#11 The Twisted Claw S
#14 The Secret Of Pirates’ Hill V
#16 The Secret of the Old Mill V
NEW #45 The Shattered Helmet K
NEW #46 The Clue of the Hissing Serpent K
#1 The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior Q
#6 The Mystery of the Desert Giant Z
#7 The Mystery of the Melted Coins Q
#8 The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge Z
#9 The Clue of the Screeching Owl U
#10 While The Clock Ticked U
NEW #47 The Jungle Pyramid M
NEW #48 The Firebird Rocket M
NEW #49 A Figure In Hiding M
NEW #50 The Secret Warning M
#21 What Happened At Midnight Z
#22 The Sinister Sign Post M
#31 The Tower Treasure M
#32 The Mystery of the Missing Friends M
#57 Night of the Werewolf M
#58 The Mystery of the Samurai Sword M
#82 Revenge of the Desert Phantom Z
#83 The Skyfire Puzzle Z
NEW #51 The Mystery of the Flying Express M
NEW #52 The Short-Wave Mystery M
NEW #53 The Secret Panel M
NEW #54 The Secret of the Lost Tunnel M
NEW #55 The Witchmaster's Key M
NEW #56 The Sting of the Scorpion M
NEW #84 The Mystery of the Silver Star M
NEW #85 Programme For Destruction M

Format D omnibuses were introduced in 1987. Three years later, a 3-in-1 volume featuring The Shore Road Mystery, The Great Airport Mystery and The Sign of the Crooked Arrow was published with unique cover artwork (by artist M), which is recognisable as a scene from Crooked Arrow. Once again, this illustration cannot be found anywhere else except on the cover of this particular edition: Format D Omnibus page.


Armada Format E (1992 – 1993)

The Sky Blue Frame

The fifth and final artwork cover style – a revamp as the series entered the high-tech 1990s – features a logo at the top of a coloured strip, which runs down the left half of the cover and is 'torn' across the middle. The artists were Kenny McKendry for 4, 8, 11, 25, 26, 35 and 86, with David Browne for the remainder.

The majority of the releases in this style were reprints of earlier titles. However, two new editions were published in 1992 – volumes #86 The Sky Blue Frame and #87 Danger on the Diamond. These two books were the last new Hardy Boys titles to published by the Collins group (now named HarperCollins), bringing to an end a 19-year publishing relationship with the series that had started with the Hardbacks back in 1971.

Armada Collectors’ Club

A new marketing gimmick was introduced with this format – the Armada Collectors' Club. On the first page of each paperback (also known as the 'Half-title' page) a special promotion offered readers the chance to claim a 'Free Gift', by collecting six triangular tokens from the same series (this offer was not unique to the Hardy Boys, and the contemporaneous Three Investigators and Nancy Drew paperbacks ran virtually identical offers).

The promotion was open only to residents of the UK, New Zealand and Eire (Ireland), and the free gift invariably turned out to be a circular plastic badge bearing the Armada logo!

Table of all 32 Format E single volumes:

NEW #86 The Sky Blue Frame K
NEW #87 Danger On The Diamond DB
#1 The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior DB
#2 The Arctic Patrol Mystery DB
#3 The Haunted Fort DB
#4 The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo K
#5 The Mystery of the Disappearing Floor DB
#6 The Mystery of the Desert Giant DB
#7 The Mystery of the Melted Coins DB
#8 The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge K
#9 The Clue of the Screeching Owl DB
#10 While The Clock Ticked DB
#11 The Twisted Claw K
#12 The Wailing Siren Mystery DB
#19 The Sign of the Crooked Arrow DB
#25 Hunting For Hidden Gold K
#26 The Mystery of Cabin Island K
#15 The Flickering Torch Mystery DB
#16 The Secret of the Old Mill DB
#17 The Shore Road Mystery DB
#18 The Great Airport Mystery DB
#20 The Clue In The Embers DB
#23 Footprints Under The Window DB
#24 The Crisscross Shadow DB
#29 The Hooded Hawk Mystery DB
#30 The Secret Agent On Flight 101 DB
#33 The Viking Symbol Mystery DB
#34 The Mystery of the Chinese Junk DB
#35 The Mystery At Devil's Paw K
#36 The Ghost At Skeleton Rock DB
#37 The Clue of the Broken Blade DB
#38 The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp DB

Starting in 1992, Format E logos and artwork were introduced and, for the first time, Armada began publishing 2-in-1 omnibus volumes. Many of these paperbacks were published as late as 1995, shortly before the Armada imprint came to an end: Format E Omnibus page.


Armada Format F (1977 – 1979)

Only two titles, from the original series (While The Clock Ticked and The Wailing Siren Mystery) appear with photographic covers featuring publicity shots of Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy from Universal's The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries television series. While the Clock Ticked made its paperback debut in this format; although the copyright page on later editions of this title gives its first date of publication as 1974, yet others give the date as 1979 (the latter is undoubtedly correct).

The Wailing Siren Mystery first appeared as a Format A paperback in 1977, although that was quickly superseded with the Format F reprint, which initially bore a white cover. This 1977 white printing is considerably more scarce than the later red variant (first issued in 1978), making it one of the rarest Armada Hardy Boys releases of them all.

The novelisation The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (And Other Stories) also features a photographic cover – see Other Armada Titles.)

A boxed set with a Format F style slipcase was released around 1979 and contained a random selection of Format A paperbacks.

Armada Format F: three paperbacks and the boxed set.
© Title:
1977 #12 The Wailing Siren Mystery (White)
1978 #12 The Wailing Siren Mystery (Red)
1979 #10 While The Clock Ticked (Red)


Other Armada Titles

Ghost Stories

Other books released by Armada were The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (And Other Stories) in 1979 (featuring novelisations of three TV stories: "The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula", "Mystery of the Haunted House" and "The Flickering Torch Mystery"). This had a photographic montage cover featuring Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson and Pamela Sue Martin, with the house from the film Psycho (located in the Universal Studios back lot) dressed as it appears in The Hardy Boys TV episode "The House on Possessed Hill".

Advert for the Survival Handbook
Survival Handbook

An anglicised version of The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook was released (published simultaneously with the Collins hardback in 1981); Supersleuths (which was published in paperback in 1983); The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories (1984); and the six Be-A-Detective books (1985-1986). A paperback edition of Supersleuths 2 was scheduled for 1986, but it is unclear whether it was ever published.

The cover artist of Supersleuths and the first three Be-A-Detective books was the same unidentified artist responsible for all the Format B covers. The cover art for Secret Cargo is by another artist (identity unknown) and is based closely on the US edition. The artist responsible for the final two Be-A-Detective books is also unknown.

© Title:
1979 The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew
Meet Dracula (And Other Stories)
1981 Survival Handbook
1983 Supersleuths
1984 Ghost Stories
1985 B.A.D. #1 The Secret of the Knight's Sword
B.A.D. #2 Danger on Ice
B.A.D. #3 The Feathered Serpent
B.A.D. #4 Secret Cargo
1986 B.A.D. #5 The Alaskan Mystery
B.A.D. #6 The Missing Money Mystery

A Preddle / Regan Production (Copyright © 2004-2022)