Warpaint Vol 1
Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003.
TMMI 166 2010-03-29
IPMSUSA.org 2010-03-29Reviewed By Howie Belkin, IPMS# 16 Now that plastic kit companies have rediscovered British Army vehicles to model, Mushroom Model Publications offers this first of four volumes covering their colors and markings. Even if youre lucky enough to have one of several old, hard-to-find publications on the subject (see references below) or the fairly current Mike Starmer booklets on British camouflage and markings, author, veteran and modeler Dick Taylor offers you information that will still be new to you. In fact, even with four volumes, Mr. Taylor admits that his research, "?.whilst wide-ranging, is not necessarily complete." For no better reason than that, during his military career, Taylor was one of the troopers who painted these tanks as well as served as a tank commander and, because of this, has seen plenty of official and unofficial British Army colors. They include one-of-a-kind oddities such as a Challenger 1 done up for a regimental top gun gunnery competition with painted red flames rising up on the side skirts (among other things) much like the 1950s Hot Rods. Volume 1 covers: Color interpretation of photos and sources used; Paint and Camouflage thru 1939 and Registration; War Department Numbers and Census Marks. The first thing I noticed was there wasnt a color chip chart provided (though some are referred to) but, for many reasons, the color profiles and camouflage pattern examples suffice. If youve been modeling for any number of years youve heard some of the arguments about scale color, aging, dust and dirt and the difficulty of interpreting color from photos (even color photos lie). The author presents the case why color is not an open and shut case. A few well chosen photos including one of laborers washing down a WWI tank (proof that YES, you can model a clean war-weary machine!) and another of an early Mk V being painted (with a modern soldier and a Chieftain in the background revealing that this Mk V was being prepared for its close-up in a modern movie!) emphasizing the difficulty photos pose! Though the tank was invented during WWI, the British Army had lorries and wagons leading up to the war and Taylor documents as best he can that different shades of grey were first used. Many civilian vehicles were "called up" in their civilian livery, like the double-decker buses complete with advertisements, before they were repainted. Full-page color profiles depict weathered vehicles, so a "Works Grey" Little Willie appears predominantly grey but with a fair dusting of earthy-greens and streaked stains, highlights and shadows the serious modeler should try to emulate. Actual photos show some of the different schemes such as a splinter scheme on a Rolls Royce armored car, a spotted scheme on a Royal Marine Artillery lorry, an Austin armored car with a "horizon bleu" band wrapped around the upper vehicle and turrets, "the first genuine tank camouflage scheme" the Solomon scheme includes color chips of the patterns including a zigzag variation, an introduction of "tank brown" and other tank schemes. Artillery also appeared in plain grey that morphed into elaborate jigsaw multi-color patterns. After WWI the military scaled back "?and the whole future of the Tank Corps especially was in doubt." Tank brown replaced camouflage patterns, and, in turn, was replaced by shades of bronze and Brunswick green yet as early as the 1920s two-tone and multi-tone schemes appeared, even a scheme of silver with broad black bands appeared in Egypt. If ever model judges need to expect the unexpected, and modelers should provide copies of photos next to their entries, now is the time! Never say "never!" The balance of this volume documents all the numbers painted on vehicles, under the heading Registrations, War Department Numbers and Census Marks. Every vehicle was allocated identifying numbers and codes that the author provides an exhaustive listing explaining each prefix, showing the styles, positioning and virtually everything from 1903 to 2003. For example, every assigned serial number and the vehicles they were assigned to are listed so, for example, if you wanted to model one of the 435 Valentine Mk III and scissors bridges youll know what "T" numbers to choose from. The photos that illustrate this section also illustrate more camouflage examples. "By the numbers" you cover the entire time period, but the actual camouflage and markings stops just as the war begins. Volume 2 promises to cover (1) Paint and Camouflage in WWII, (2) sub-unit markings and call sign systems. Volume 3 will cover (1) Paint and Camouflage post WWII, (2) Arm of Service Markings, (3) Formation Signs. Volume 4 will cover (1) Ground and Air Recognition Systems, (2) Vehicle Names, (3) Miscellaneous Marking Systems. While Volume 2 will sell out quickly, Volume 3 and 4 are necessary to have the complete story. The four volumes have been set up to intertwine so you should plan on having to invest in all four volumes. Therein lies the modelers dilemma. With all four volumes in your library you should have the most up-to-date reference on warpaint for British Army vehicles from its beginnings to the present. On the downside, it will require a costly investment. MMP makes it easier to bear than if they had published one big fat all inclusive, expensive volume that might have made it prohibitive to many modelers. My only complaints include the fact that there is only one excellent color profile per page whereas I prefer Concord and Osprey publishers approach of displaying two or more on a page. For example, a Mk IV Male in solid "Tank Brown" shares its page with an inset b/w photo of a Mk II in the "Solomon" paint scheme but the photo is unclear as to the colors and their shapes a second color side view would have made better use of the page. Similarly a side view of plain "tank brown" Whippet named "Julians Baby" takes an entire page by itself whereas two, maybe three more side views, or a multi-view of "Julians Baby", could have been presented. Some Whippets had broad red/white/red stripes and, if Julians was indeed plain, then it would have been interesting to show one of the more colorful Whippets with the r/w/r colors, then the reader would be satisfied that Dick Taylor had indeed whipped it good -- especially since early on we were presented with a discussion about the difficulty in interpreting colors from black and white photos of dirty vehicles! This book is highly recommended for modelers interested in British Army Vehicles camouflage and markings of all modern periods. If you can afford the complete set you will have the latest, most comprehensive references available. Many thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy.
IPMS UK Magazine 2010-03-29
InternetModeler.com 2010-03-29By Kent Kirkpatrick This book covers the following chapters: * Colours And Sources * Paint And Camouflage Up To 1939 * Registrations, War Department Numbers And Census Marks Initially, looking over this book I was very pleased to find so many photographs that I had never seen before. Especially the one covering World War I armor. The quality of these photos are very clear and nicely reproduced. Included are some colorful illustrations of vehicles in their 'era' colors as well as camouflage color plates to give you an idea of what these schemes would have looked like if you actually viewed them in their day. The other thing I noticed was the plethora of information on vehicle marking that was presented in a concise but informative manner including photo examples with descriptive captions. Now on to the contents of this book. Colours And Sources The three (3) subchapters here go through the description and representation of colors based on shades and coloration. In other words, if someone told you a vehicle was 'green' how would you visualize this in your head especially viewing a black and white photograph. Also, discussed are the sources and interpretation of photographic / film sources. What colors do they represent of a vehicle through this visual media and how they are determined based on age, copy, condition, etc. Paint And Camouflage Up To 1939 This chapter is made up of thirteen (13) sup-chapters. It starts with the definition of what camouflage means as well as the paint color prior to and during World War I. There are some unique photos of wagons, motor transports, artillery and others. You will read on about the coloring of army equipment, both towed and motorized, during this era. Camouflage such as the Solomon schemes and the use of 'tank brown' are defined. The British used quite a few camouflage schemes, some authorized some not, that adorned some colorful vehicles during the war. Included are some very nice color chips and photo examples of these schemes. Finally, there is a short excerpt on the use of color between the world wars including the Middle and Far East Registrations, War Department Numbers And Census Marks The final chapter covers a somewhat obscure subject of vehicle markings and numbers. Today, the British Army uses a system called the Vehicle Registration Mark or VRM. Covered in twenty four (24) subchapters from the Civilian Registration Systems from 1896 through 1963 Referred to as consensus systems. Interesting to note here you find information to correctly mark a W.W.I tank in the proper range based on the type from a Mk I Female to the Mk VIII. Vehicle classifications are discussed in detail based on a type system, corresponding number ranges, styles and locations. Again, this chapter is full of quality photos and colorful illustrations. There are T, F, D and S number tables in the back that covers British vehicles that were in inventory. I'm curious why there isn't and L number table for truck / transport vehicles. Included in these tables is a post-1949 table for number more modern equipment. I recommend you review the list of references in the back for other documentation available on this subject. It may be worth you time. Conclusion This is a very informative book on an unique part of the British Army throughout their history. I highly recommend this to any AFV book library or modeler.
Hyperscale.com 2010-03-29Reviewed by Al Bowie FirstRead For the nation that invented the tank and one having such a military history interspersed with the employment of Armoured and non armoured vehicles, very little is published on British Military Vehicles. With Volume 1 of what will be a four part series Dick Taylor has added to the slowly growing library on the subject. Dick Taylor not only leans on his skill as an historian but adds to this his career serving on British Armour from the rank of Trooper upward. This intimate knowledge of British Army Vehicles is woven with meticulous and detailed research to provide an excellent reference on British Army Vehicles from their beginnings in 1903 up until 2003. The Acknowledgements list reads like a who’s who of all things British Armour. Warpaint Volume 1 Book Review by Al Bowie: Obviously a subject such as this spanning a century will contain a lot of information and the information will be in a four volume series of which this is the first. The volumes cover the following subjects: Volume One Chapter 1 - Colours and Sources Chapter 2 – Paint and Camouflage up to 1939 Chapter 3 - Registrations, War Department numbers and Census marks Volume Two Chapter 1 – Paint and Camouflage in WW2 Chapter 2 - Sub Unit markings and call sign systems Volume Three Chapter 1 – Paint and Camouflage post WW2 Chapter 2 – Arm of Service markings Formation Signs Volume Four Ground and Air Recognition Systems Vehicle names Miscellaneous marking Systems This Volume starts with an excellent chapter on Colours and Interpreting sources. This is an excellent chapter and one I hope most pedantic modellers and researchers will read at some stage. It details descriptions of Colours, the British Standard (BS) for Colours, how these may have varied, finish, effects of ageing, application, weathering etc. He expands this with a section on interpretation of photographic and film sources backed up by an excellent series of photographs to illustrate some of the traps. One particular photograph of an early Churchill alongside a colour shot illustrates how dangerous it can be to guess colours from a B&W picture. A small section is devoted to Sources and explains to the layman the differences between Primary and secondary sources of research and how that can affect accuracy. Following on from this is the chapter on Paint and camouflage up to 1939. This section is quite broad and has certainly expanded my knowledge on the subject. It is well supported by research, reference and excellent photographs and colour plates. It not only covers Tanks but also illustrates such diverse things as Artillery, traction engines, wagons and Motor transport. Dick has detailed the subtle differences in the official camouflage schemes of the time and illustrates some of the more unusual and colourful examples such as the Macleod Ross scheme or the the Jigsaw pattern. These are backed by excellent use of Photographs from a number of different regions that the British Army was garrisoned or served. The third part of the Book is devoted to Registrations, WD 7 Census Numbers. This is meticulously researched and covers a diverse and complex topic well and presents this in a readable fashion. It is a gain backed by photos and the author discusses some of the pitfalls with commonwealth variations. This section is rounded out by extensive tables indicating the Range of Numbers allocated to various types, Post 1949 registrations etc. The book ends with an excellent Bibliography and reading list including periodicals and websites. I am prejudiced in my enthusiasm for this title as this is my area of interest but I do not believe I am exaggerating to state this is one of the best references on the subject I have read. It is presented logically and in a very readable manner. It is well supported by many photos, plates and tables. If I had any criticism of the book it would be the captions. A lot of the captions tell you very little about the subject (Unit etc). One example is the Australian Stuart Light tank in the first chapter. The formation badge is clearly visible yet the author makes no attempt to identify the formation (2/6 of the 1st Australian Armoured Div), merely describing it as a Stuart in the Jungle. This is but an isolated example but one I feel would have really added to the title. I would recommend this book for those with an interest in British military vehicles whether as a modeller, Historian or collector. It is well written, superbly researched and presented in an easy to read manner. I eagerly await the follow on Volumes and one day hope for a hard backed title combining all of these. Highly recommended to the Collector, Modeller or Historian
Amazon.co.uk 2010-03-29Warpaint was no 1 at Amazon Bestseller list in Military vehicles category
ModelingMadness.com 2010-03-29Reviewer: Scott Van Aken Continuing with their larger books in the 'green' series, this one is on a subject about which I have seen very little written. As the title suggests, it is on the colors and markings of British Army vehicles from the turn of the 20th century to the Iraq invasion of 2003. As they say in the trade, the book is profusely illustrated with period photographs as well as a few color profiles to help show how these vehicles would have looked. There are going to be several volumes to this work as there is far more information as can be supplied in one book. This volume concentrates on colors and camo from 1903 until the start of WWII. It opens with a description of just what colors are and how difficult it is to interpret the exact shade. This is especially true of black and white photography, where development of the film and even the type of film would provide differences. The author states that verbal descriptions are often the most reliable when trying to determine early colors. This is the opposite of what many aircraft camouflage experts state, so you can see that there are differences in opinion on the subject. Of course, one can also compare the camouflage tonal quality with a known color in the photograph, but still even with some color film, determining exact shades without a standard is difficult. In addition to covering the camouflage and colors of this period, there is an extensive section on vehicle registrations, war department numbers and census markings. Much of this was totally new to me as I have never really paid any attention to these things when it comes to British military equipment. I knew that up to WWII, these vehicles needed a license plate much like automobiles, but that was about it. The full mysteries of the subject are brought to light in this final section, and one that is rather large as things go. It is completed with several pages of charts that show the various serial and series blocks and those vehicles that were assigned to that sequence. Quite useful for a modeler or enthusiast who is trying to determine the exact identity of a vehicle. In all, a superb look at the often black arts of color identification and registrations. One that needs to be on the shelves of any serious military modeler. June 2008
Cybermodeler.com 2010-03-29By Ray Mehlberger This new book in the Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) “Green Series” is the first in a 4-volume series describing the colors and markings applied to British Army vehicles in the 20th century. Volume 1 covers: The basics of colors and interpretation of photos, and the sources used in this study Paint and camouflage in WWII, two sub-unit markings and callsign systems Paint and camouflage post WWII, two arm of service markings, 3 formation signs Ground and air recognition systems, two vehicle names, 3 miscellaneous marking systems Overall, the series will be a complete description of British Army vehicle colors and markings, both official and unofficial. The books are an invaluable reference source for military vehicle enthusiasts and modelers. The author is a keen modeler, and wrote these books because he couldn’t find the information he needed elsewhere. All the volumes in the series are profusely illustrated with photos. This volume has: 10 color photos of modern AFVs and three of WWII vehicles. There are 53 black and white war-time photos from WWI and WWII. For color profile paintings, we get 5 that are of WWI vehicles. Added to this are color patches of camouflage patterns used on WWI vehicles too. 25 vehicle markings, used from WWI to 2003 are illustrated. The back of the book has 9 pages of T-Numbers (serial numbers) used on British vehicles, telling what vehicles these appeared on. There are 2 pages of F-Numbers and one page of D & S-Numbers. Markings for post 1949 are also shown on four and a half pages. On the last few pages there is a long bibliography. The author, Dick Taylor, joined the British Army as a junior Leader in 1976, and served as a tank crewman and commander in the 3rd, 2nd and 1st Royal Tank Regiments, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class One. He has served in many countries worldwide, and operationally in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Bosnia and Croatia, Macedonia, Kuwait and Iraq, as well as Kosovo where he was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service. He was commissioned in 2000, and his specialties have included tank gunnery instruction, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear operations. Psychological operations and lately, defense exporting. He has a first class degree in History, and is currently reading for his master’s degree at Dundee University. He is married, with two sons and lives in Blandford, Dorset. The book comes in a 11 ¾” x 8 ¼” soft cover format of 104 pages. The cover art shows a British modern Scorpion tank photographed from above while on trials on Cyprus. The book describes in great detail not only the official paint schemes ordered, but also many of the variations often seen in practice. Also, the individual and unit markings applied to tanks and armored cars, soft-skin vehicles, and towed and self-propelled guns. For the first time ever it offers a fully comprehensive guide to what many consider to be a very confusing topic. The back of the book cover shows the covers of two other forthcoming, related MMP books: “ISAF Vehicles, Afghanistan” and “T-34/76, Camouflage & Markings”. Highly recommended. I got my copy in a well padded, bubble pack lined, envelope from Stratus in Poland. Stratus is the sister company of MMP, where most of the MMP books on aircraft and armor are printed in English.
by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]
Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903 – 2003
Volume 1 by Dick Taylor
Mushroom Publications ISBN 978-83-89450-63-0
This is the first Volume in a series of 4 covering Colours and Markings f the British Army 1930 to 2003. Written and researched by Dick Taylor, this 1st Volume brings us 104 pages of interesting, useful and informative data covering British Army vehicles during early part of the 20th Century
The series is intended for the Military Historian, Military Vehicle Restorer and most of all for the Military Modeller, ie you and me.
A note on the Author: Dick Taylor is not only an established historian but an ex member of the Armed Forces, a keen model maker and a widely experienced researcher. He brings to this book all of those skills and knowledge making it a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read.
Acknowledgements and thanks
Introduction to Volume 1
Chapter 1 - Colours and Sources
Chapter 2 - Paint and Camouflage Up to 1939
Chapter 3 - Registrations, War Department Numbers and Census Marks
Series References and Bibliography
The book is an A4 size, soft back, colour presentation. Both the quality of the printing, photographs and presentation are what one would expect for the 21st centaury.
Obviously the scope of the book is vast, hence no doubt 4 Volumes being necessary, but it does for the first time start to bring a one stop shop to understanding and interpreting the wide and varied paint schemes used by the British Army across the decades.
The subject of British Army paint schemes and interpreting black and white photographs is one that is hotly debated across the net and by historians, modelling enthusiasts, and anyone who has delved into trying to model British Armour whether WW I, WW II or Modern will know the argument and debate that can flourish around the colour of for instance Olive Drab, or Light Stone!!
In the introduction to Volume I the Author give us a critical clue to understanding the subject covered in Chapter I Colours and Sources: Quote “.... it is this: strive to find the rules and regulations, but do not be surprised to find that they were frequently disobeyed.” Unquote
This sums up for me the essence and joy of modelling British Subjects, like Sherman Tanks, nothing is quite what it may seem and so is the case with British Camouflage and Paint.
Chapter 1 - Colours and Sources.
This chapter introduces the reader to the concept of the description and representation of colours, it tells us about British Standard (BS) and helps one to understand the variables that effect paint, such as hue, tone and glossiness, place and time of manufacture and the all critical Mk I eyeball. It covers understanding of primary and secondary sources for research and then leads on to the Interpretation of photographic and film sources and gives a startling example of just how wrong our interpretation of colour can be on page 12 showing us a Black and White image set beside the actual colour version (in this case a Churchill turret).
It closes with an insight into the type of film used and how this effected the result of the picture being taken. So again critical to all of this is the time period in which things happened and the where the event was being photographed. I’d recommend reading Chapter 1 a couple of times.
Chapter 2 – Paint and Camouflage Up to 1939.
This Chapter covers the paint and camouflage used up to 1939 and is a fascinating read, with some cracking photographic references. The Chapter opens with a short discourse on what camouflage is; this is followed by an introduction to paints used prior to WW 1. It then moves on to talk about Wagons and Motor Transport, these being the large majority of vehicles used during that period.
The Chapter then proceeds with detailed information about the paint schemes used on Armoured Cars and Tanks and looks in detail at the Solomon Scheme, the use of ‘Tank Brown’ and other schemes used during that period of time.
The closing part of this chapter covers the period between the wars up to 1939, showing the changes that were beginning to take place with an increase of vehicles all around.
There are some cracking examples for the modeller to think on and draw inspiration from, many of which I had not seen before.
Chapter 3 - Registrations, War Department Numbers and Census Marks.
This is a meaty chapter on a subject again hotly debated and talked about. It covers the Civilian Registration Systems between 1896 and 1963, Registration Plates, Pre WW1 Military Census Systems and WW1 Military Census Systems.
The Chapter then moves on to between the wars and the Prefix or Vehicle Role Classification Letter System. This is followed by The Vehicle Type System (A & B Vehicles), Number Ranges, WW2 Prefix Types, Location and Style of markings.
The remainder of the chapter is dedicated to an understanding of Registrations in Other Countries, including The Commonwealth, various miscellaneous Systems and looks at the1949 Vehicle Registration Mark System. In the closing pages we get information on the 1993 Vehicle Registration Mark System and more modern Miscellaneous Registrations.
At the end of the book are a series of Tables covering T Numbers, F Numbers, D & S Numbers, and the Post 1949 system. An explanation for these tables is provided on page 81.
Photographs and Plates
There are at least one or two good quality size photographs per page and a number of pates. These on their own would provide a valuable reference particularly for WW I and early WW II modellers and there are plenty on modern vehicles too. There are some absolutely cracking examples of unusual painting schemes to stimulate your imagination.
I hesitated to do a review on this book due to my own lack of knowledge on the subject which is a complex but highly interesting one. Also the time necessary to do the Volume justice. However, sometimes you have to bit the bullet as I feel this is the first of a highly important series of Volumes that will and can add a great deal of ‘light’ to this complex subject. No single book in itself can cover everything and the Author acknowledges gaps and areas of debate, but that does not detract in any way from the wealth of information it contains nor lessen its value to modellers, restorers and military historians alike.
This is a volume that I will be returning to time and time again. Dick Taylor’s passion for the subject is clear to see and he has given himself a daunting task which when complete will add a huge amount of information and detail to this fascinating subject.
There are a very useful set of References and Internet Sources contained between page 98 and 104.
I have Volume 2 of this series covering Paint and Camouflage 1939 to 1945 which I will try and bring you an over view on as soon as I get the time. It is an equally impressive publication.
What we have here Gentlemen is the first of a comprehensive work on this often confusing subject bringing into play, with clear explanations, all the elements one needs to consider around this subject. Couple that with excellent pictures and plates, and this Volume provides the base for some excellent projects and painting schemes, on top of a wealth of knowledge and valuable information for the reader.
The first of a comprehensive series providing insight, knowledge and inspiration for the reader, be they Modeller, Historian or Restorer.
None I can think of other than waiting for Volume 3 and 4
Highly Recommending reading for all with an interest in British Army vehicles from WW I to the Modern day
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