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AK Interactive

Real World Colors of WWII - Aircraft Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2019 Title Real World Colors of WWII - Aircraft
Author Maciej Goralczyk, Gerald T. Hogl, Jurgen Kiroff, Nicholas Millman, Mikhail V. Orlov Publisher AK Interactive
Published 2019 ISBN N/A
Format 292 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 54,95€


As you've probably noted from the many features and resources throughout Cybermodeler Online, I've been researching paint colors for military subjects for many years now. Just as I think I have a grasp on the problem space, someone else uncovers new information that either clarifies or complicates the colors used on combat aircraft from before World War II through present day. This all started in the 1980s with the Official Monogram Painting Guide to German Aircraft by Kenneth Merrick, which has since been revised a few more times by that same author. Most of these titles and resources cover only one subject area, like Merrick's coverage of Luftwaffe colors. As a result, I have many titles stacked up around here, making me somewhat of a color nerd. What I really need now is yet another book...

AK Interactive, one of the three major paint brands from Spain (with Vallejo and Ammo by Mig being the other two), put together two color volumes earlier this year under the banner of Real Colors of WWII, one volume for aircraft, the other for armored fighting vehicles. I was initially going to pass on these given the stack of references weighing down my office, but I discovered that the authors of these titles had done something that most of my other references didn't - they dove into the archives and not only provided color photos of a given topic, but images of their reference documents and printed color chips (not paint chips, unfortunately) to illustrate the relative differences of a given color set. In addition, these titles provide coverage of U.S., Commonwealth, Luftwaffe/Wehrmacht, and Soviet colors and applications.

While I initially didn't know how useful these references were going to be, I sought out copies of both volumes. Even though they were published earlier this year, I was surprised to find that both volumes had sold out! I found them on eBay and waited for their arrival. Given that the Aircraft volume had inputs from Maciej Goralczyk and Jurgen Kiroff (who had previously worked with Ken Merrick on earlier Luftwaffe/RLM research), I knew that these would not be a waste of resources. The AFV volume had inputs by Stephen Zaloga, so again, no real risk here either. When these two titles arrived, they were far better than I hoped and helped resolve some ambiguities in my own research.

Like the aforementioned Monogram Luftwaffe title, this reference provides the RLM patterns used for specific aircraft camouflage patterns in the Luftwaffe section, and corresponding camouflage patterns for the U.S. (USAAF and Navy/Marine Corps), Commonwealth, and Soviet Air Force aircraft. Even at nearly 300 pages, they can't cover everything, but the vast majority of what you might wish to look for will be here, all inside one cover.

The two volumes that I purchased were the hardbound versions which are more expensive. If you visit the AK Interactive website, you'll find that both titles are still available in softbound form with the information above, and they are available in digital form from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

If you want to have a well-researched and well-presented full-color painting reference for your World War II scale modeling work, you'll want this title. If you're an armor/AFV modeler, you'll likewise want the other volume. Now that I have these two gems, I might just retire a few out of my color stack!

Highly recommended!