Luftwaffe Colours 1935-1945
|Author: Michael Ullmann||ISBN: 978-1-90210-907-7|
|Publisher: Hikoki, ©2008||Binding: Hardcover|
|Pages: 360||Price: $59.95|
The first edition of Michael Ullmann's Luftwaffe Colours was an incredible achievement in color research, providing a detailed analysis of the actual paints used on Luftwaffe aircraft. While many thought that the first edition would be the final word on the origins and composition of Luftwaffe colors, this new volume shows that research continues on. The author has added more information, and re-examined his original research, and has found that his theories on late-war colors continue to hold up. Other additions include the link between RLM colors and the RAL register and the inclusion of more primary source documentation. The result, while useful in the conclusions for the modeler, goes far beyond what most would expect and is, in fact, a richly detailed historical text that will likely form the foundation of all future Luftwaffe color research.
For those not familiar with the first volume, or for those who need a refresher, this book is about color and the use of pigments in a carrier liquid to present those colors on a solid surface. To properly understand the final result (i.e. paint on a plane), there needs to be a bit of background presented, and the first section does just that by answering the important question, “What is color?”. This is a short chapter, but of high importance, as without understanding this basic question, the rest of the book will be quite confusing. Following this introduction to color is a section on the regulations and documents of the German government concerning colors and finishes.
With that background taken care of, the rest of the book describes the paints themselves. This begins with those paints used on Lufthansa aircraft and the Zeppelins, then moves on to Luftwaffe-specific colors. A useful chronology outlines the progression of the standard colors used by the Luftwaffe from 1935 to 1945. Following the basic colors, separate chapters cover the special colors, such as maritime aircraft, tropical colors, and night camouflage. Other chapters cover markings and insignia, interior colors, and the late-war RLM 81, 82, 83 shades.
Spread throughout the book are many photos showing the specifics of what are described in the text, and in most cases these photos have been chosen for clarity rather than uniqueness. So most of these have been seen before, but they are nicely printed in this book and reveal quite a bit of detail. Also included in this book is a separate color chip sheet with the RLM colors individually printed. This was also included in the first edition, and it is a welcome addition to this volume as well. On the downside, though, the color chips stuck to the dust jacket on my copy, and even with careful removal several of the color chips are now covered with white paper from the dust jacket. I have not tried to clean those up, but perhaps some gentle rubbing with water or a mild cleanser will take care of that. It is a very minor issue in an overwhelmingly excellent publication.
For those who have the first edition, the additions to this second one are useful to have. If you missed out on the first edition, do not hesitate this time around, as you will not find a better source of Luftwaffe color research out there. My thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy.