Finnish & German Seaplane Colours, Finland 1939-1945

Published on
July 5, 2021
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Kari Stenman and Karolina Holda
Other Publication Information
Hard Cover, Square Bound, A4 [8.63” x 11.94”], 224 pages
Product / Stock #
White, Rainbow 9146
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

One of the latest in Mushroom Model Publications’ White Series, Finnish & German Seaplane Colours, Finland 1939-1945 follows up an earlier volume on Finnish aircraft: (2018’s Finnish Jet Colours; 2018’s Finnish Bomber Colours, 1939-1945; 2015’s Finnish Fighter Colours, 1939-1945, Volume 2; and 2014’s Finnish Fighter Colours, 1939-1945, Volume 1). 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, Finland, Hungarian, 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 superb color illustrations.

Kari Stenman is the foremost authority on the Finnish Air Force in World War II, having written over a dozen books on the subject since the late 1960s. He is the co-author of the successful Aircraft of the Aces volume on Finnish fighter pilots and runs his own publishing company in Finland.

Karolina Holda has illustrated several books for MMP. Some of these titles include: Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945 Volume 1 (White); Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945 Volume 2 (White); Finnish Bomber Colours 1939-1945 (White); Finnish Fighters WWII (Camouflage & Decals 3); Messerschmitt Bf 109F (Camouflage & Decals 5); and Petlyakov Pe-2 & Upe-2 / Tupolev USB (Polish Wings 26).

This book describes in detail the camouflage and markings of the seaplanes used by the Finnish Air Force and by Germans from Finnish bases from 1939 to 1945. I should note that the inclusion of German seaplanes in the title is a reference to German seaplanes that were operated by Germany in Finnish territory as well as German aircraft in German markings that were leased and operated by Finnish aircrews. You will find that many of the aircraft are of German origin, but other countries’ aircraft are included as well, whether they were purchased or captured. This profusely illustrated book includes many historical photographs that are supported by illustrated profiles showing the colors and markings carried by the aircraft. Detailed color notes and precise description and illustration of national markings over the period complete a book that will be invaluable to aircraft enthusiasts, historians and modelers.

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 although there are a few spelling issues, it is quite readable. The front cover features a colour (or possibly colorized) photograph of a Heinkel He 115 seaplane in July 1942 at its normal base at Hirviranta on Lake Hoytianen [two black and white photographs are on page 135 along with a color side profile on page 134]. I counted 270 black and white period photographs to go with an additional 2 period color pictures. Karolina Holda, Andrzej Olejniczak, and Janusz Światłoń provide the 61 color side (full page, top to bottom) profiles along with several scrap color illustrations highlighting unit or aircraft specific markings along with some top and bottom color illustration views. The aircraft addressed in this book can be seen in the following contents:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Finnish / Abbreviation / English Terms [Table]
  • Building an Air Force
    • Float Trials [Page 008]
    • I.L.V.L. A.22 Hansa
      • Aircraft Factory
      • Into Production
      • Into Service
      • Colours and Markings [Page 036]
      • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Blackburn Ripon IIF
      • Use in 1931 – 38
      • Winter War
        • Lentolaivue 16
        • Lentolaivue 36 [Page 052]
      • Continuation War
        • Lentolaivue 15
        • Lentolaivue 12
        • Lentolaivue 6
        • Other
        • Units
        • Colours and Markings
        • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Junkers W 34 & K 43
      • Pre-War Use
      • Winter War
        • Lentolaivue 16
      • Continuation War
        • Lentolaivue 15
        • Lentorykmentti 4
        • Colours and Markings [Page 134]
        • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Junkers F 13
      • Colours and Markings
    • Heinkel He 115
      • Leased He 115
      • Colours and Markings [Page 132]
      • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Hover M.F. 11
      • Colours and Markings
      • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Beriev MBR-2
      • Colours and Markings
      • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Dornier Do 22
      • Lentolaivue 6
      • Colours and Markings
      • S/N / C/N / Delivered / Struck Off Charge / Remarks [Table]
    • Shavrow Sh-2
      • Colours and Markings [Page 185]
    • Heinkel He 59
      • In German Colours
      • Colours and Markings
  • German Seaplanes
    • Arado Ar 95
    • Arado Ar 196
    • Blohm & Voss Bv 138
    • Dornier Do 24
    • Heinkel He 59
    • Heinkel He 60
    • Heinkel He 114
    • Heinkel He 115
    • Sud-Est LeO H.246.1
  • Appendixes
    • National Insignia and Registration Markings
    • Colours
    • Winter War
    • Warpaint
    • DN-Colour
    • Eastern Front Markings
    • Finnish Air Force Seaplane Colours [Table]
    • Bibliography

One topic that I really enjoyed was in the section on the Junkers F 13ke (aka F 13ka), c/n 2069. Originally delivered to AB Flygmateriel in May 1930 under the name of “Gastrikland” (SE-ACK), she was later sold to AB Aerotransport in 1932. Originally powered by a 310hp Junkers L5 inline engine, she was converted to a Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial engine. She was brought to Finland by the Swedish volunteer unit Flygflottilj 19, in support of the Winter War of May 1940. She was assigned the Finnish civil code OH-SUO and utilized for liaison duties. July 1940 saw her sent to the Finnish State Factory for a full overhaul and was subsequently assigned the code JU-120 as it began service in the Finnish Air Force. It served as a transport, ambulance, and as a radio communication trainer. She made her last flight on February 17, 1945 when she was placed in storage after 4,143 flight hours. She was finally struck off charge in November 1948.

This is easily one of the more complete books available in the English language on Seaplanes in Finnish service. To really dig deeper on any one type, you will need to brush up on your Finnish and grab some of the Kari Stenman’s earlier books and journals, especially in the Suomen Ilmavoimien Historia series. I was extremely impressed with the coverage and quality of this title. Kari Stenman and Karolina Holda were able to incorporate a tremendous amount of information and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline for each type. To see a video of the book’s contents, check out:

My thanks to Casemate, Mushroom Model Publications, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!


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