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Suoemen Ilmavoimat I




by Kalevi Keskinen, Kyösti Partonen & Kari Stenman



S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: SUOMEN ILMAVOIMAT I
by Kalevi Keskinen, Kyösti Partonen and Kari Stenman
ISBN: 952-99432-2-9
Media and Contents: Hard Cover; 210 mm x 297 mm (approx. 8.5 x 12 inches); 192 pages plus inside of covers
Price: 46 Euros from Kari Stenman Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Excellent photographs with both Finnish and English Texts.
Disadvantages: English can be awkward, individual aircraft history only in Finnish
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

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Even though the aircraft of the first quarter of the Twentieth Century are not of primary interest to me, especially with regard to modeling (too ham fisted to deal with the rigging), I did look forward to this first volume of the history of the Finnish Air Force. One of the very first books I bought when I returned to modeling, nearly 20 years ago, was the ARCO-AIRCAM history of the Finnish Air Force, which evidently made an impression on me. 

But, if you are like me, upon receiving a new book that contains both text and a goodly number of pictures, you would take notice of the existence of the text, but you would be drawn into looking at the pictures over and over again.  The danger of doing that with a volume such as this is that you may give the text scant attention, which you should not do. 

Considering that there are perhaps more than 340 pictures, and that pictures take up the bulk of the volume’s 192 pages, it may be best to deal with the obvious first. 

Considering the age of the photographs, I was taken by the quality of both the printing of the images and the images themselves.  Many of the aircraft are clearly photographed from multiple angles, giving modelers a fine reference. 

The photographs often go beyond the mere recording of an image of a flying machine.  Two of my favorites include the picture inside the front cover, showing Hansa Brandenburg floatplanes lined up on land at an Aviation School.  The other is of a Stetinen flying boat being pushed down a snow covered street, after landing in a nearby field.  Looks like great winter fun, even to the children standing around.

Of course, pictures alone cannot tell the history of the Finnish Air Force.  The text provides a most informative and well presented account.  The text actually begins the story earlier than 1918, back to the beginning of the First World War, when Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire. 

What makes the text so interesting to me is that it is not just a discussion going from one aircraft type to another. Rather, the development of the Air Force and the aircraft used is tied to the historical events of the time period under review.  We learn of the involvement of the Germans, British and French in Finnish affairs in response to Russia and the rise of the Soviet Union. 

The text also clarifies some minute points, which I find interesting.  For example, I always thought that the Hakaristi (swastika) was applied by the Finns to their first aircraft as a way to honor Count von Rosen of Sweden, who gave the Finns the Thulin D.  I now know that Von Rosen himself had his “good luck” symbol applied prior to delivery of the Thulin D to the Finns. 

I also discovered that, but for a seized up engine, an SW 20 (Swedish modified Albatros B.II) supplied by “Finland’s Friends” in Sweden would have been Finland’s first aircraft. It received the designation F2, while the Thulin was designated F1. There is a picture of F2. 

The text is written in quite readable English, but there is an occasional issue of syntax and grammar, especially in the early going.  One of my favorite little gaffs is when two Finnish airmen were captured by the red army, “… and Nykänen being additionally killed.”  These minor lapses aside, there is much information contained in this book. 

There are a number of appendices giving information on aviation units and commanders, casualties, aircraft registration markings and serial numbers.  There is a history of each aircraft, but sadly there is no English translation.  There is also a brief discussion, in English, of aircraft color and markings and the origin of the Hakaristi.  Finally, there is a most helpful glossary of Finnish terms and word and their English equivalent.  OK, repeat after me, “Runko”, “Fuselage”. 

For those looking for the newest craze, profiles, there are none.  I do not believe that this detracts from the book in any way.  Given the caveats and information in the section on Camouflage and Markings, a modeler could make a reasonably educated guess, should one wish to model a specific aircraft.





Simply, Highly Recommended.


A selection of pictures contained in this book may be seen on the Kari Stenman Publishing web site at http://www.kolumbus.fi/kari.stenman/silI.html

Thanks to Kari Stenman  for the sample.

All Keri Stenman Publishing books are available direct from the publishers,
who now accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard).

Review Copyright © 2005 by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Page Created 20 June, 2005
Last updated 19 June, 2005

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