Royal Canadian Air Force, Aircraft Finish and Markings,
1947 - 1968
by Patrick Martin with John Griffin
S u m m a r y
|Description and Catalogue Number:
||Royal Canadian Air Force, Aircraft
Finish and Markings, 1947 - 1968
||Spiral bound; laser printed, 290
||CAD $78.00, including surface
shipping and tax
Availability: through the author at:
||Excellent coverage of finish and
markings for the period; lots of revelations about background to marking
decisions; much inspiration for modellers; detailed description by
||Uneven quality of some photos;
somewhat crowded format; too much history of aircraft types for a "colours
and markings" book.
||Highly Recommend to modellers and
researchers with an interest in Canadian military aviation
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Martin is an evil man.
He takes a
subject near and dear to RCAF enthusiasts and shreds what were held as
common and simple beliefs. I thought I knew a fair bit about post-war
RCAF markings and this book shows the reality of how I’d only scratched
the surface of this complex subject. The book covers all standard
markings used by the post-war RCAF, starting from the first trials in 1947
and concluding on that black February day in 1968 when the RCAF ceased to
exist, becoming a component of today’s Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
This work is
a follow-on companion volume to Pat Martin’s first Canadian markings book,
which covered the CAF period from 1968 to 1997 (now in revision to bring
it up to today). At just about 290 pages it is chock-full of hard data
and insightful information. It is spiral-bound, allowing easy viewing
while researching your latest project. Laser-printing on good-quality
smooth paper greatly contributes to crisper photo and drawing
reproduction. It is definitely produced to a much higher standard than
the original ‘CAF 68‑97’ markings book.
There is very
little fluff in here to interrupt your reading pleasure of the six main
chapters: Introduction, Finish, Markings, Special Purpose Schemes, RCAF
in Colour, Aircraft Types, and Appendices. There are three main types of
information presented: copies of official RCAF drawings, a wide variety
of photographs, and a wealth of supporting text. Unit markings are
deliberately not covered in any detail. Given the broad scope of the main
subject, this was a wise decision, as this material could fill another
volume all on its own.
describes and details the four general markings’ periods for the post-war
RCAF. Here we find that logistical, economic, and practical realities
behind various markings’ schemes drove many of the changes towards a
chapter’s subsection on ‘Roundels’ walks you through from wartime
RAF markings through the various evolutions towards the definitive RCAF
roundel. What came as a major embarrassment to me was seeing some of the
abominable representations of the RCAF maple leaf that appeared on our
aircraft, making the worst artwork of Esci’s and Italeri’s decal designers
a lot closer to reality than some RCAF refinishers were.
also delves into some of the issues behind some of the changes to the
RCAF’s markings. There are interesting glimpses into the realities that
modellers don’t have to consider, for example, why new markings didn’t
change overnight – simple answer, the expense was too much to be absorbed
by the budget. Consequently we ended up with a huge variety of mixed
markings’ styles on a given fleet at a given time.
are rampant, as you are walked through the mire of official marking
changes, and the squadron-level interpretations of the sometimes-vague
directions given by RCAF Headquarters: the perplexing change from Red to
Day-Glo anti-collision markings, and then back to Red again is
well-explained. I’d always thought the current CAF roundel change was
driven by CF Unification, and Pat Martin makes it clear that this was not
the case. In 1965, Canadian flag decals were made available to units,
allowing a quick transition to the new marking, but the roundels were
slower to change over to the ‘new leaf’.
Colour’ is eight pages,
comprising 48 photos that have been well-selected to illustrate markings
over the 1947‑68 period. Some are inspirational for future projects; if
the metal/grey/Red/Day-Glo Lancaster 10DC with Firebee drones doesn’t get
you tearing the shrink wrap off a kit, then nothing will. Or, to quote an
old IPMS Ottawa friend, “No blood flows below your neck.”.
are useful colour illustrations of all roundels and fin markings to show
how our markings evolved, and representations of the main paint colours
used on RCAF aircraft. However, I found these laser-printed colour
samples to be not very helpful, primarily due to the limitations of the
printing process. The problem is that the Canadian colour standards are
all long out of production, and not many readers will have access to any
of the 1-GP-12 series of documents. Consequently, a 1-GP-12 colour
cross-reference with something like FS595 would have been more useful to
Types’ fills the last two-thirds of the book, going from the Albatross
to the Yukon. Minor types such as the Anson are covered in about a page,
while more diverse types get more space. Other examples are the Dakota
(9), T-Bird (10), and the lion’s share goes to the Sabre at 16 pages. It
is safe to say that each type is well and fully covered in the same level
of detail, allowing the modeller to do a fair extrapolation of a given
aircraft’s full finish from partial photographic evidence.
loved reading through this book, but there are a few negative points that
the subject of aircraft markings and finishes, for me there is too much
space devoted to aircraft type histories. While interesting, the
historical data does nothing to help the reader understand the main
subject matter. Perhaps this aspect of the book is a concession to the
less-informed reader, and not necessarily aimed at the more knowledgeable
researcher. Nevertheless, leaving out this material could have resulted
in a smaller book, or allowed more/larger photos and drawings to be used.
size and reproduction quality, while still being a vast improvement over
the author’s previous work, is a bit uneven, and even disappointing in a
few areas. It has improved dramatically over the ’CAF 68‑97’ book, and
most photos now show much greater detail, satisfying that need to always
know more about your next project. The photos do illustrate the markings
well, but some of them leave you wanting for bigger and better images.
This is perhaps a result of very few good images being available for some
of the more obscure markings illustrated.
of the text breaks on the pages leave the reader searching for where to
pick up and continue. This is partly because the use of white space is
not generous, and even crowded in some spots. But on the other hand, you
can be happy that you’re paying for ink and not blank paper!
information is frustrating to read, in that you can only get a portion of
the whole story. For example, finding out that our Red & Blue H-34
helicopters were used by civilian contractors in the same RCAF scheme, but
not in RCAF markings. A photo of this would have been great, but it was
outside the scope of the work, and it therefore remains a tantalizing
the amount of detail and information presented in this work is
mind-boggling, and worth the value to RCAF enthusiasts. The best you can
hope for is to read the book thoroughly, know what and how the topics are
covered, and then keep it handy on the reference shelf.
student of post-war RCAF markings, this is a book that you will find
yourself picking up and consulting over and over again – there is that
much solid information and background data to be found. I highly
recommend this book to modellers and researchers with an interest
in Canadian military aviation.
Review copy provided by the
Review Copyright © 2003 by
This Page Created on 25 July, 2003
Last updated 15 August, 2003
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