This massive tome landed in my mailbox courtesy of the fine folks at AK Interactive who have also provided us with multiple samples of paint, brushes, weathering media and the like. This is the icing on the cake for any modeler of American, Russian, Luftwaffe, or British aircraft of the WWII period. The book is divided into 4 sections accordingly, with sub-sections for the various branches (e.g. USN, USAAF and/or time periods such as pre-war, early and late war and again, where appropriate, operational theatres such as Tropical and Mediterranean areas).
The authors and researchers have gone above and beyond in providing accurate research and analysis of available images and documents from this global conflict. Supporting data include accurately reproduced color chips, copies of Luftwaffe painting directives, factory camouflage drawings, color images….and more. I’d especially point out the Soviet Air Force color research done by Mikhail Orlov as outstanding given the difficulty in retrieving this information. Where there are interpretations or disagreements on color hue and shade, the book goes into the rationale for presenting a particular color as valid – or explains why multiple paint sources applied by multiple factories or field shops make it just about impossible to suggest that one particular color sample is the Holy Grail. There’s also a great discussion around scale color effect. Bring this book to any contest or Chapter meeting when the Color Police insist that RLM 81 can only be this shade, and show them the three official variations of Olivebraun on page 71.
There are brief sections on interior/cockpit colors for each country’s aircraft as well, including color shots of unrestored museum aircraft.
The research that went into this volume is exceptional and gave me new appreciation for what goes into formulating an “accurate” shade of paint. Of course the reader is directed to AK Interactive’s wonderful line of paints and other media, but whether you use their product, someone else’s, or mix your own blend, you will appreciate this book.
I want to give my thanks to AK Interactive and IPMS/USA for giving me the chance to do this review.