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Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922

Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2015 Title Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922
Author Marat Khairulin, Boris Stepanov Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2015 ISBN 9788363678487
Format 176 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $75.00


MMP illumines the riveting history of early Imperial Russian military aircraft markings in Russian Aviation Colours 1909-1922 – the first of four planned volumes.

Subtitled "Camouflage and Markings, the Early Years", the sumptuous study includes all known national markings – as well as a broad range of code styles and applications. Relevant civil and naval usage also enjoys exposure.

Hundreds of photos, color profiles, plan views and insets illustrate the evolution of every known Czarist flag, roundel and logo design. And supporting text – competently annotated and authoritatively researched from primary sources – chronologically recaps all key developments. Authors also include actual dimensions – where known.

Comments on contemporary French, German and Austro-Hungarian markings make appropriate appearances, too. And the comparative contexts prove equally fascinating. Just look at those early IFF illustrations!

By "mid-war", authors note, Entente ("Allied") nations chose "aviation emblems" in national colors. Central Powers, by contrast, preferred cruciform and, in Turkey's case, square designs in black and white. Photos of captured enemy aircraft pepper text.

February 1917's revolution deposed the Czar – but not most Imperial aircraft markings. "Red flags," authors report, "peacefully coexisting with the old symbols – the national flag and coat-of-arms, although the latter lost the royal elements." Much more substantive changes lay in the future. And those MMP will doubtlessly detail in subsequent volumes.

I, for one, cannot wait for those. If the first installment is any indication, MMP's series promises to be the definitive English-language reference on early Russian military aviation colors.

Literally every page proved enlightening. A.V. Kazakov's color plates are superb. And many of the previously unpublished photos come from private archives. But I think that Newport IV on page 49 wears a Cyrillic letter "R" – not a "P"!

Rabidly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate for this review copy.