Russian Aviation Colors 1909-1922 Volume 3


Marat Khairlulin


Mushroom Model Publications


£45.00 SRP


Scott Van Aken


Previously I had the opportunity to review volume two in this series, which covered the second half of WW1. This one continues on from where that one left off and is just as superbly done as that previous edition. This one covers the rather tumultuous time of the Russian Revolution. The entire book is chapter 5 and concentrates on the Worker-Peasant Red Air Force.

Initially, the Red Air Force had its planes marked the same way as they were at the end of WWI. But then so did the white forces and this caused some confusion, though it must be said that there were times when this worked to the advantage of both sides in not having planes shot down or having force landed planes able to elude capture.

Even in the chaos of the early days of the revolution, something had to be done so it was decided that all Red Air Force planes would have the Imperial markings overpainted with red. This was taken care of in a very haphazard fashion with some units only doing some, some not doing any, and others painting entire portions of the flight surface in this shade. Other times you would see things like the blue of the old roundel painted in red or a big red star painted over or inside the old insignia.

Eventually it was decided to use a red star as it was different enough to eliminate any recognition issues. Even here the differences were considerable. Some had the red star in a white circle, others had a variety of shapes of the red star from some that were very fat to those that were skinny or obviously painted by someone without a sense of proportion. To be frank, differences like this are what both enthusiasts and modelers love. The chance to do something outside the norm. I was amazed at how much variation there actually was. Like many I simply assumed that overnight the red star popped up and everyone had it in place in good order. Obviously good order was not the case and it makes for fascinating reading.

In line with the previous volumes, the book covers the aircraft of all the different units of the Red Air Force providing data on them in alpha/numeric order. One would expect a large number of types to be used during this time and that is very much the case. There are also some incredible photos of some rather risqué artwork that was put on the sides of some of these planes. Not surprisingly, these planes were frequently photographed!

Much of the appeal of books like this is the research. The book is absolutely jammed full of period photos and the huge number of full color profiles are based on the photos in the book. To say the least, this is a truly outstanding publication, one that I can easily give my highest recommendation, even if you are not an enthusiast of early aviation.

September 2017

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