S u m m a r y
||1 903223 30- X
||Hard cover; 224 pages; 9" x
12" in portrait format, more than 300 photos and 250 colour
||$56.95 plus shipping,
online from Specialty
||The most detailed
examination of camouflage and markings for Soviet fighter aircraft
in the English language; logically structured by aircraft type;
very helpful colour profiles, line drawings and camouflage plan
illustrations; interesting additional information on Soviet
fighter development and performance.
||Does not cover Lend-Lease
Reviewed by Brett Green
Classic Publications' "Soviet
Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-45"
is available online
Reference books in the English language on Soviet WWII fighters are
still quite rare, although the situation for VVS fans is improving. There is some coverage of specific types
in recent titles; and
Midland Publishing's "Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War
Volume 1: Single Engined Fighters" by Yefim Gordon and Dmitry Khazanov
is a helpful introduction to the overall topic.
Even so, the specific and complex issue of camouflage has not been
tackled in detail - until now.
Erik Pilawski has written the definitive English language book on
Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-45.
The book is presented in hard cover, with 224 glossy pages in 9" x
The text commences with a Preface which proposes that most
Western histories of the role and record of the VVS is dishonest,
wildly inaccurate and vastly underestimates the effectiveness and
importance of Soviet air power during the Great Patriotic War. The
author then goes on the assert that "...the Red Army Air
Force...accomplished infinitely more than all of the Allied Air Forces
combined". This, and a few other statements, seems to disregard
the sacrifice of other Allied airmen, and really requires further
evidence to sustain the argument. It should be kept in mind, though,
that this is a five paragraph section in a 224 page book.
The main subject matter is tackled first with a Glossary, then an
insightful table of VVS colours of the old and new systems. This table
alone serves as an aid to help understand the confusion about VVS
colours, as there were wide discrepancies between factory designations
and the multiple common field names. A further complication is the
lack of a single standard for comparison to these colours. Indeed,
some of the colours do not have equivalents in the FS, Pantone or
Methuen colour ranges.
Next, the colour schemes of the old and new system are described,
followed by a discussion about regional and naval aviation; and the
use of templates.
Armaments, powerplants and aircraft are also examined.
This helpful initial 30 pages is followed by the description of camouflage
schemes for each operational native Soviet fighter type. These
chapters are really the heart of the book, and they specifically cover:
LaGG-5, La-5FN and La-7
MiG-I-200, MiG-1, MiG-3
I-15, I-152, I-153
These chapters take up more than 160 pages and are a most valuable
and well-organised source of reference. The Soviet camouflage and
markings of Lend-Lease fighters is not included, but I do hope that a
future volume will cover this interesting subject too.
Each chapter kicks off with a description of the development,
operation and wartime record of the aircraft type. This includes
statistical tables, line drawings and variant explanations. This is
followed by a detailed description of camouflage colours and patterns
supported by captioned wartime photos and three-view colour diagrams
of all major camouflage pattern variations.
Forty colour profiles by Chris Banyai-Riepl are the icing on this
tasty cake, providing a wide selection of schemes as inspiration for
The format really is excellent. The information is equally good,
and quite surprising in some instances.
Erik Pilawski's "Soviet Air Force Fighter Colours 1941-45" is set
to become a classic reference for anyone interested in Soviet
fighter camouflage and markings.
With its groundbreaking text, ample illustrations and detailed
descriptions of individual aircraft and their colours, this should be
an essential companion to any modeller interested in Soviet fighter
Thanks to Karin from Specialty Press for the review
Air Force Fighter Colours",
and other Classic books, may be purchased through
specialist bookstores worldwide or from
Specialty Press Website
Review Copyright © 2004 by
This Page Created on 23 February, 2004
23 February, 2004
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