Camouflage & Markings: The Battle for Britain-RAF May to Dec, 1940

Published: June 30th, 2015     
Product Image
Bppk Cover
Author: Paul Lucas
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery - IPMS# 14003
ISBN #: 0-9539040-0-8
Other Publication Information: Softback, 92 pages, English text, Full Color illustrations, B&W images
Price: $16.71
Product / Stock #: No. 2
Product provided by: Guideline Publications

I am a "History of the Battle of Britain" enthusiast, and as an offshoot of that enthusiasm I am a follower of all things "RAF". When given the opportunity to review Guidelines Publications new "Camo & Markings" book I jumped at the chance.

As an enthusiast of the "historical aspect", I found this publication to be superb. As a scale modeler I found this book to be an excellent reference for colors and markings of the RAF. You will not be disappointed!

To begin, you will note that the title of this book is, "The Battle For Britain" and not the more common, "The Battle of Britain". The author provides a narrative in which he summarizes the main political, economic, and social history of the time, explaining a revisionist view that the aerial combat we call the "Battle of Britain" was more a battle of existence for Britain as an independent and sovereign nation, and perhaps, therefore, more correctly labeled as a battle of ownership for Britain. As a scale modeler, I most certainly overlook this aspect of the information I collect about the Battle of (For) Britain, but I found this discussion engaging and illuminating.

Looking at the table of contents, one can see the scholarly and documented approach that the author, Paul Lucas, chose as a foundation for the book. Two of the critical areas of modeling Battle of Britain subjects are camouflage schemes and aircraft markings. Chapters 1 and 2 take on those subjects using text, black and white images, and full color illustrations. The text provides a detailed discussion of the "politics of camouflage" (yes, politics!). For example, on page 7 the text describes a conference held in Feb. 1936, to determine the policy of camouflaging aircraft, what patterns to use, and other such details. There is also much "science" covered in the text. On page 11 there is a discussion regarding what type of material would be used on metal or wood parts for matt finishes and for glossy surfaces. It's all quite interesting and informative.

Another example of the detailed information that fills this publication revolves around "Shades of Sky" and "Type S". These are Chapters 3 and 4 respectively. For my own purposes, I was quite pleased to see an illustration, page 33, upon which the undersurfaces of a Hurricane and two Spitfires are shown, illustrating the color shifts between "duck egg green", Nu 1 Sky Blue, and the "correct" shade of Sky that began to appear on Mid-August of 1940. There is a very interesting narrative concerning the availability of the "correct" colors and how that impacted the colors applied to airframes that one saw in the field, and consequently, in the history books.

Other chapters address a variety of issues, and taken as a whole, provide the reader with a huge amount of material, both useful to the historian and to the scale modeler. Here is a brief list of the chapters by chapter number.

  1. Part 1 - Weaving a Tangled Web Feb 1933 to Aril 1940
    1. Development of camouflage schemes Feb 1933 to April 1940
    2. Development of identification markings Aug 1914 to April 1940
    3. Shades of Sky Nov 1936 to April 1940
    4. Type S Nov 1939 to April 1940
  2. Part 2 - Battle For Britain May to Dec 1940
    1. Dynamic Changes May to June 1940
    2. Duck Egg Blue (Sky Type S) May to Dec 1940
    3. Camouflage and Markings Policy Summer 1940
    4. At the Shard End Sept to Dec 1940
    5. Consolidation Nov to Dec 1940
    6. Exceptions to the Rule Sept 1939 to Dec 1940
    7. Materials 1939 to 1940
    8. Colours

Throughout the book, the text is accompanied by some full color profiles of various RAF aircraft. These illustrations by Peter Scott are excellent resources for the scale modeler. Each of the illustrations feature "color sample boxes" showing the color and the name for the color.

Conclusion

This book is highly recommended. This publication is 92 pages of informative text and helpful Camo & Markings guides in the form of black and white images and color profiles. Not only does the book provide excellent illustrations and markings guides, but the text also provides the historical and political background that led to the rollout of these RAF aircraft in the color schemes as we know them today. This publication will prove immensely useful to the scale modeler and should have a prominent place on the reference shelf of anyone who plans a Battle For Britain project. Thanks to Guideline Publications for providing this book to IPMS/USA for review.

  • Back cover
    Back cover
  • Contents
    Contents
  • Sample profile
    Sample profile
  • Sample profile
    Sample profile

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