Finnish Bomber Colours 1939-1945

Published on
May 13, 2018
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Kari Stenman
Other Publication Information
Illustrator: Karolina Hołda; Hard Cover, Square Bound, A4 [8.6” x 12.0”], 224 pages
Product / Stock #
White 9140
Front Cover

Kari Stenman has authored, or co-authored, aviation books for the past 49 years. He ran his own publishing company in Finland, focusing on Finnish Aviation History. Many of them were in his Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia series that were originally in Finnish only, but later re-released with Finnish and English text. including:

  • Ilmavoimien Historia 5 - Curtiss Hawk 75A - P-40M (1975)
  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 6 - Messerschmitt Bf 109G (1976)
  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 7 - Venalaiset Havittajat (1977)
  • Red Stars: Soviet Air Force in World War Two (1993)
  • Finnish Air Force 1939-45 (1998)
  • Ilmavoimat Väreissä - Finnish Air Force in Colour (2001)
  • Lentolaivue 24 (2001)
  • Luftwaffe Over Finland (2002)
  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 19 - LeR4 (2002)
  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 22 - Koulukoneet (2003)
  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia 10 - Bristol Blenheim (2004)
  • Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2 (2010)
  • Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945: Volume 1 (2014)
  • Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945: Volume 2 (2015)
  • Camouflage and Decals:Finnish Fighters WWII: Part 2 (2016)

Karolina Hołda has illustrated many aviation books, including:

  • Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945: Volume 1(2014)
  • Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945: Volume 2 (2015)
  • 263 Squadron: Gladiators Over the Fjords (2015)
  • Camouflage and Decals: Messerschmitt Bf 109F (2016)
  • Camouflage and Decals:Finnish Fighters WWII: Part 2 (2016).

Following up the first two in this series, Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945 Volume 1 and 2, comes MMP’s latest tome on Finnish aircraft. Kari Stenmanleaned heavily on the Finnish National Archives, as well as the Finnish Air Force Museum, the Finnish Aviation Museum, and the Finnish War Museum. Many of the photographs came from the Finnish Defense Force collection with support from many personal log books and photo albums. The book is a nice hardbound, with a glossy cover, and 224 pages on high-quality stock with a matt finish. The text is in English and quite readable. I counted 322 black and white period photographs to go with an additional 18 period color pictures. There were 103 color side profiles and another 82 color drawings highlighting markings details.

MMP is calling this book part of their “Rainbow Series.” I’m guessing that refers to their large format camouflage and markings set of books in their “White” series that have addressed Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and Sweden. This series seems to share a commonality of discussing the specific topic of the evolution of a countries’ evolution in markings. To that end, this book utilizes many previously un-published pictures and focuses in on individual aircraft to supplement with Karolina Hołda’s superb color illustrations. The aircraft addressed in this book can be seen by the following contents:


  • Acknowledgements
  • Fokker C.X
    • Winter War
    • Continuation War [Page 9]
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings
  • Bristol Blenheim I, II, & IV
    • Purchase
    • Winter War
    • Continuation War
    • War in Lapland
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 59]
  • Ilyushin DB-3M & DB-3F
    • Continuation War
    • War in Lapland
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 94]
  • Douglas DC-2
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 107]
  • Westland Lysander I
    • Continuation War
    • [Table] [Page 111]
    • Camouflage and Markings
  • Tupolev SB
    • Continuation War
    • Lapland War
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 134]
  • Dornier Do 17 Z
    • Continuation War
    • Lapland War
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 162]
  • Petlyakov Pe-2 & Pe-3
    • Continuation War
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings [Page 179]
  • Junkers Ju 88 A
    • Continuation War [Page 188]
    • [Table]
    • Camouflage and Markings
  • Appendices
    • Appendix 1 - Bomber Camouflage and Markings
    • Appendix 2 - Table with the Types of Colours Identified by Codes
    • Appendix 3 - Colours
    • Appendix 4 - Mannerheim Cross Holders
    • Appendix 5 - Regiment Missions

Kari Stenman addresses each Finnish bomber type with how they were obtained and how they served. A table (see the example below on Page 111) that addresses the aircraft by their serial numbers, delivery date, struck off charge date, flying hours, and other remarks helps provide a complete picture. Page 162 (see attached scan) provides a good example of what you will find inside this title. A crisp photograph of the aircraft is well supplemented with captions, a full page color profile, and a scrap color illustration of the badge featuring a bison. Some of the illustrations include top color profiles along with scrap underwing profiles as depicted on page 179.

I found the information in the chapter on the Douglas DC-2 to be very interesting. The introduction discusses a Swedish Douglas DC-2 that was donated to the Finnish Air Force by Count Carl Gustav von Rosen. Nicknamed “Hanssin-Jukka”, this DC-2 served throughout the war and now survives in the Finnish Air Force Museum. This chapter includes nine sharp black and white photographs and four color profiles.

I was extremely impressed with the coverage and quality of this title. Kari Stenman and Karolina Hołda have combined to incorporate a tremendous amount of information and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline for each aircraft type.

My thanks to Mushroom Model Publicationsand IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!


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