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Flying Tigers Colors

Flying Tigers Colors Book Review

By Kelly Jamison

Date of Review June 2016 Title Flying Tigers Colors
Author Carl Molesworth Publisher Model Centrum Progres
Published 2016 ISBN 978-83-60672-26-6
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $41.95


The first thing that caught my eye about this book is three absolutely gorgeous aircraft profiles of Flying Tigers on the front cover. The next think that caught my eye is most of the book is done on black pages with white print. I really liked this. Easy to read and the pages have weight to them. You just feel the quality on each page. The table of contents covers:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • AVG 1941-42
  • 23rd FG 1942-43
  • 23rd FG 1944-45
  • Aircraft finishes
  • Unit markings
  • Personal markings
  • Appendices
  • Color plates

Author Carl Molesworth, known for his expertise on the P-40 and the Flying Tigers and the China-Burma-India Theater of operations, starts the story in chronological order. Beginning with the obvious appearance of the Flying Tigers in the CBI Theater in 1941 and continues to excite you with photos that are rare to say the least. Amazing photographs! Some we have seen before but help to complete the story the author is trying to give us. Keep in mind that this book is not about P-40’s in use by the Flying Tigers but aircraft used by the group to include the lowly P-43’s and the marvelous P-51’s.

Now for the thing that pushes this book to the top of my favorites list. In the chapter labeled Aircraft finishes. Mr. Molesworth goes into great detail on colors used on all the aircraft of the Flying Tigers with some great black and white and color photos. A breakdown of period color codes and their FS 595 near equivalent fills the texts. Photo after photo perfect for us model builders are splashed all over the pages with delightful explanations of what is depicted in the photos.

Further breakdown of information in Unit markings chapter helps to clarify aircraft paint schemes clearly. You will soon be able to identify P-40B aircraft in photographs of the Flying Tigers within seconds. More wonderful photographs that I have never seen before sprinkle the pages and logically continue to “Personal markings” chapter.

Here comes another gift for the nerd researcher in me. The Appendices has a tail number/Chinese AF Number (where applicable), Squadron/Pilot list that I have never seen compiled before.  Done in a spread sheet fashion so you can clearly see each aircraft and its short history, it really added to the story of the Flying Tigers. I was stunned at seeing the whole picture of aircraft, squadron assigned and pilot.

The color plates are marvelous and also done in 1/48 scale by Mr. Arkadiusz Wrobel according to the cover page credits. He should be commended for wonderful renderings of the subject matter.  The final page has color wheels covering the majority of the paint schemes and as noted within the text should be used for reference and not color matching due to the limitations of four color printing standards. This is a perfect endcap to an absolutely beautiful book. I don’t know if Mr. Molesworth is a model builder but he sure thinks like one. He appealed to the historian, researcher and model builder in me with this book. If you have an interest in aircraft of the CBI or the Flying Tigers, Carl Molesworth is the author you should seek out. I consider him the undisputed champion on the subject matter. I highly recommend this book for your research library.