United States Camouflage WWII

Published: May 6th, 2018     
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Author: Richard Marmo, Jay Frank Dial
Reviewed by: 
Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Company: Richard Marmo
Other Publication Information: eBook, 55 pages
Price: $9.99

This is the 2nd eBook provided by Richard Marmo that I have had the opportunity to review recently.

United States Camouflage WWII, is not a book written by Richard, but rather is a book compiled and published by Jay Frank Dial in 1964. Richard restored and enhanced it, and then converted it (with small additions) to PDF format in 2008. According to the promotional blurb, the original book has/had been difficult to locate and was expensive when found. I did a quick search on abebooks and was able to locate a few copies, some cheaper than others (none cheaper than this eBook). The original book had only one production run in 1964 and was never reprinted.

Essentially, the original author analyzed and clarified the military tech orders issued during the war that documented camouflage practices. There are a few introductory pages explaining how and why he came to publish this book, and then some 'notes at random' on various interesting colors and markings. Following this is the meat of the book - namely, the actual tech orders describing camouflage and markings employed by the USAAF and USN on aircraft during the war. While the original book had no table of contents nor page numbers, Richard has thoughtfully added an index that refers to the page numbers within the Adobe reader. There are still no labeled page numbers within the book, but within Adobe Reader one can type in the appropriate page and be brought to that section.

There are pages devoted to any specifics you might need, with the technical order describing the exact method of application, demarcation, etc. with respect to camouflage. And more tech orders describing the insignia styles (with dates of the different types) and application. Here is an example of the painting directives:

"COUNTER-SHADOWING - the effect of shadows cast by the horizontal airfoils on certain areas of the fuselage may be minimized by lightening the color of the areas were they normally fall. The vertical or curved surfaces of the hull or fuselage between the NON SPECULAR SEA BLUE of upper surfaces and the NON SPECULAR WHITE of lower surfaces shall be graduated in tone from NON SPECULAR SEA BLUE to NON SPECULAR WHITE by means of the following methods:...."

And an example of the insignia directives:

Until 15 May 1942

"The insigne (sp) design shall be a RED circle inside a WHITE five-pointed star inside a BLUE circumscribed circle. This construction is obtained by marking off 5 equidistant points on the circumference of the circumscribed circle and connecting each point to the non-adjacent points. The outer parts of the lines thus drawn form the outline of a star. The small inner circle shall be concentric with the larger circle and its circumference shall be tangent to the sides of the pentagon formed by lines connecting the inside points of the star." Whew...

As you can see, this is very specific info, and should indeed be very helpful to any modeler of WW2 US aircraft.

Toward then end of the original publication there are some color chips which are reproduced here as well. Finally, Richard has added several photos from his personal collection to illustrate some of the concepts described in the book.

I did note that it seems much more space is devoted to US Navy schemes, but I think that can be explained by the fact that the USAAF essentially went from Olive Drab/Neutral Grey to 'unpainted' with little in-between. There is, in fact, mention of some of the more obscure USAAF colors such as sand and sea green, so really this is not a complaint, just an observation.

Despite its age, I found the information to be very useful. Here is all you really need to know about US aircraft camouflage during WW2. You can print out the eBook for your own use, or just keep it handy on the computer to refer to when needed. I can recommend this without reservation to those with interest in this area. While I do like the idea of physically holding a book and turning through the pages, there are times when an eBook just makes sense. As in "republishing" something that has long been OOP. This is one of those times, and at the MSRP I think it represents excellent value.

Thanks to Richard Marmo for offering up the review copy (and for re-issuing this book!), and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it!

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