Colors, Markings, & Variants.
|Illustrations by Thomas A. Tullis|
It seems as if there are a lot of 109 fans in modeldom. One thing we love to discuss are the camouflage schemes carried on our favourite aircraft. From Eagle Editions is a super book by Brett Green on the last versions of the ever-popular Bf-109. For those who wonder what the attraction is of the Bf-109, this book will easily give answer to that question.
Most of you know Brett Green from Hyperscale, an on-line resource for many modelers, especially those whose penchant is for things Luftwaffe. In fact, much of what you will find in this book has had its beginnings in various articles and features found in Hyperscale. Not to suggest that this is just a rehash of what you will find there. That information has not only been compiled into a very nice volume, but has been expanded upon with additional material and images.
Adding to the usual high quality of Eagle Editions books are the superb illustrations of Thomas Tullis. To my mind he is right up there with Eddie Creek, who illustrates the highly regarded Monogram books. You can see examples of his work on the cover art of this and other Eagle Editions Ltd books.
So, what's in the book? First of all, it is card covered and 80 pages. There is quite a bit of color in the book other than the illustrations. Some rare period color photos (grainy, but useful in showing camo schemes), are on the back cover and also the preceding page. The book itself is, as they say, profusely illustrated with very clear images. Those that are period pieces are mostly quite clear and crisp, the author obviously choosing the best that could be found.
The book covers the period from June 1944 to the end of the war. This is a period when German aircraft camouflage underwent quite a change and when strict adherence to color regulations started to fall apart. It is the deterioration of accepted policies and inability to get required materials that leads to so many interesting schemes.
Here is a rundown of the various sections offered:
An overall look at the background of RLM colors and the changes they went through as the war situation changed. As you can imagine, most of the photos in this section were taken after the war. These aircraft are often in poor condition, but are really all that the color researcher has to go on. Very few quality photographs were taken while the war ran its course. Other things were much more important!
Two pages of color profiles. Combined with the two on the inside front cover give a total of 10 profiles.
Two pages of color RV tail bands.
A photo essay on the now-famous Bf-109G-6 held by the late Sid Marshall in Australia. Many detail color photos.
Several pages of right and left side line drawings of the Bf-109G-6, G-10, G-14 and K-4 in 1/48 scale
A historical essay on the ex-Marshall aircraft. In this section, the author goes into detail on specific areas of the aircraft. This includes anomalous bits and pieces of the airframe as well as the colors used. There is a chart on the various colors showing FS equivalents as well as rather detailed commentary on these colors.
The final section is a detailed commentary with photos on the nose cowling of a Bf-109G-10 undergoing rework. There has been much discussion about the 'asymmetrical' cowlings put on various G-10 versions. This helps to give more information.
A couple of pages of reference material.
OK, now for the subjective feel of the book. If one wants a very good primer on late war Bf-109 colors, markings and variants as well as a super collection of images of late war 109s, then this is a book you should seriously consider getting. It is very well laid out, and offers material that should whet the appetite of those getting into the subject. The images are well chosen, the writing is clear, easy to read and understand, and the illustrations do an excellent job of reinforcing the rest of the material in the book. It seems as if this is the direction that the authors and publishers wanted and it definitely hits the mark in that regard.
If you have already amassed a large library of books about the 109, then this will be a nice addition to your library, but it is not the ultra-detailed look at the subject as you might find from, say, the JaPo books on the 109K, for instance. Though it is hard to put it in these terms, this is more a book for the 'masses' than the obsessed!
One of the purposes of a review is to offer suggestions for improvement. Again, this is purely subjective and you have to take into consideration that I am one of those obsessed that I mentioned! There are a few things I would like to have seen. First of all are more color profiles. It is something that I like and I just can't seem to get enough. If you think back to the old ARCO-AIRCAM books, you got a TON of profiles. True, they weren't to this high a quality, but you easily got 40-50 of them. Secondly, I'd have liked to have seen more images of 109s (which would have provided fodder for the more profiles I mentioned). As a final observation, there is a rather interesting difference in the amount of detail given in the writing between the first section on colors (which is brief and to the point, relying more on images) and the final parts which go into minute detail of the subject 109. This gives the book more of a feel of a selection of essays, which I guess it really is!
None of this really detracts at all from the book. It is still quite well done and deserves to succeed. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about the 109 or late war camouflage colors, then I'd recommend picking up this book.
Review book courtesy of Eagle Editions and Brett Green. Thanks very much!
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