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Book Review
Focke-Wulf Fw 190D Camouflage & Markings Pt. 1

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

It's important to say at the outset that the book complements, rather than competes with titles like Squadron's excellent Walkaround; this volume concentrates on every aspect of the Dora's painting - and everything from primers, through camouflage to final stencilling and application of unit markings is covered in greater depth than I've ever found elsewhere.

The book is beautifully produced - hardbound with 207 pages printed on very high quality paper. The period photos are printed large and clear with extensive captions, while colour artwork is beautifully reproduced.

The exhaustive research which the authors, Marc Deboeck, Eric Larger and Tomáš Poruba, have applied to the Fw 190D is almost overwhelming for the casual reader and it's fair to say now that for anyone to gain the maximum from this work, they must be prepared to follow the detailed text as it traces a tortuous path. For those prepared to go the course, the book presents a fascinating study into the disintegration of the German aero-industry and the extraordinary lengths it went to in order to continue to successfully supply the Luftwaffe with combat-ready fighters in the final months of the war.

By the nature of the subject, the book is often quite technical - quoting from official specifications and intelligence reports - and this is particularly true of the first 74 pages, which broadly speaking, present a detailed background study of the production and painting of the Dora. This traces the various sub-contractors for each section of the aircraft, through the contractors for the major assemblies - establishing at each stage the disparate painting practices the individual companies applied. By comparing documents with dozens of period of photos (many presented here for the first time) the authors have been able to establish that four major sub-assemblies are critical to understanding any given Fw 190D camouflage scheme; namely the engine, the wings, the tail unit and the fuselage. All of these were delivered to assembly centres pre-painted to greater or lesser degree depending on their individual sources - and the extent to which they were integrated into an overall consistent painting scheme varied widely.

Following production painting, the book then outlines the operational markings in depth, covering Jagdgeschwader, Gruppenstab etc. identification symbols, along with various styles of spinner painting and theatre of operations markings and Werknummer typology.

Having established the basis for their research, the authors devote the second half of the book to an unprecedented series of case studies, which means in-depth analysis of over 50 aircraft spread over 6 Focke-Wulf (as against other Dora contractors) production batches, from the prototypes, through the D-9 to D-11. Most aircraft are illustrated with a series of photos and their appearance is reconstructed with excellent colour diagrams and a series of superb full-page colour profiles. A typical case-study takes the form of:

Aircraft - a description of the individual machine's manufacture, service history and ultimate fate.
Unit - identification of markings specific to the aircraft's unit and cross-referencing with other known examples
Camouflage - a detailed description of the paint scheme, including factory and unit application
Markings - the national markings
Stencilling - description of whatever servicing markings are visible in the photographs.

Depending on the number of reference photos available, the overall description can cover one or more pages per aircraft. Where there are a range of photos taken with different film-types and under different conditions, it illustrates the difficulties in drawing accurate conclusions from B&W photos, as the appearance can change quite distinctly. Particularly useful in a number of cases are some vintage colour photos, along with modern colour photos of recovered wreckage of W.Nr 210102 "White 3", 9./JG54, from which the pilot, Fw. Paul Drutschmann was lucky to escape when he was shot down during Unternehmen Bodenplatte on New Year's Day, 1945.

Rounding everything off, there's a 11-page table tracing the fate of known Focke-Wulf-built Doras and an extensive bibliography.

There are a lot of eye-openers for modellers - not least the use of late-war blue-green paint and the number of different styles of partially painted n/m undersides. The various subjects of the case studies provide enormous inspiration for some spectacular models - and serve to illustrate just how inadequate kit painting instructions are in the case of the Fw 190D. In view of the detail already presented, perhaps the scariest thing is that this is just Part 1 of a planned pair; the follow-up will include case-studies of Doras produced by other contractors, plus more detail on field paint applications and a study of the Fw 190D-15.

There has to be a catch... the book is quite expensive, but this represents a fair price for the remarkable depth of research into such a specialist subject. Nevertheless, the price may put off some potential readers, which is a great shame as the book makes for almost essential reading for anyone modelling a Dora who's interested in trying to replicate the original finish. If you're going to treat yourself to one book on painting the Dora, I recommend giving this very serious consideration - it's probably destined to become the standard reference for years to come.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on Aeroscale
One thing which never ceases to amaze me is the constant improvement in the breadth and depth of research into Luftwaffe WW2 subjects. Focke-Wulf Fw 190D Camouflage & Markings Part 1 is a case in point. Most of us with an interest in the Luftwaffe will be acquainted with the research of authors like Kenneth Merrick and Michael Ullmann, but this latest work takes the in the whole gamut of the latest colour research and focuses it on just one aircraft type - and the result is a study of unparalleled depth.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 688 019044
  Suggested Retail: £34.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 18, 2006

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Agreed, just come over .. I do not drink beer or other alkohol but of course I could manage to get you some of the severeal hundred beers we have in Germany :-) :-) :-) we have such meetings every 2 weeks here .. chatting over new kits, mags and books (sadly most of them aren't mine) I only try to keep up to date with Lw books, which is hard enough with a small budget ... good there is something like birthday and christmas as for the shelves: they are self made (28 mm wood) and barly stand the weight which must be some 100 kg (BTW I store most of my mags on another cabinet which almost breaks apart) best wishes Steffen
AUG 19, 2006 - 01:48 AM
Hi Steffen I wish I could say the same - but you're on... next time I make it to Germany, we MUST meet for a coffee or a soft drink! And if your IPMS.De colleagues can put up with an imposter, I'd love to meet them. Thanks for the tip on what thickness of wood I need for some proper shelving... I think a 1:1 scale project is approaching... All the best Rowan
AUG 19, 2006 - 02:05 AM
Hi Rowan you are welcome. We have a mothly meeting in Berlin. Date and place is on the mainpaige of our website (above the picture) usually the first friday in the month. Here in Schwerin we meet accordingly with a one or 2 weeks separation. BTW another good chance is our yearly exhibition in Berlin-Gatow in the Luftwaffenmuseum on 16th and 17th september 2006 hint, hint If anything fails stop by our table at Telford and say hello to our boss Volker and the others who can afford to go there... best wishes Steffen
AUG 19, 2006 - 01:42 PM
Steffen, ..that looks like a full collection of Prien's Jagdfliegerverbaende series ...now I've always resisted purchasing these having most of the unit histories ..just how much duplicated photo content is there ..? ..the JAPO book is first rate incidentally .. ..in fact I was lucky enough to be able to incorporate a little of the type of material that Eric Larger presents in the book in a recent 'FW 190 Dora' article I put together for Scale Aircraft Modelling..along with some equally rare pics..check out the article before investing in the book perhaps...
AUG 25, 2006 - 01:03 AM
Hi Steffan, So I am not the only tea-tottler left in the world???? How can trinken Sie nicht in Germany, I thought it was a law :-) Sober regards, Fred
AUG 25, 2006 - 01:41 AM
Hi Neil yes .. I have all of his books. As for duplication ... I am not sure, but there is some (much?) correction between the older Geschwaderchroniken and the new JV series but I still like the first ones better because of the personal recollections (I like a lot them if nicely put into histrical context .. at the lower left are some great biographies ... especially Rall, Meimberg (missing in the pic) and Falk are first class) I already got the JaPo as a birthday present and I like it a lot. Erich pointed me towards your SAM article, but I do not have many foreign language magazines ... too expensive. I have to ask my pal Volker if he has it and make a copy for my files ... just a few days ago I got the Bf 109 G-10 U4 booklet which is pretty good too BTW center, lower right tray ... JG 300 vol.1 .... great book though a bit "francophile" in my opinion but waaaaaay better than everything else on Jagdgeschwader 300 not to speak of that German crap (light blue books right of the Prien and Mombeek JG books) best wishes Steffen
AUG 25, 2006 - 01:48 AM
Hi Fred Actually I like tea ... in the past I liked Earl Grey a lot .. (just as our good captain John-Luck Pic .errr Formery :-) :-) :-) ) ... but now I prefer Darjeeling can you imagine I am in a fraternity .. really, no joke cheers Steffen
AUG 25, 2006 - 01:54 AM
I was wondering where that was ......Vol II due soon ...! ..for English readers there's a translation of the Mombeek histories on the way ..( JG 4 later this year..) However his forthcoming JG 2 history won't be published in German ..English/French only ....with plenty of new material from Meimberg... ..and in the meantime I'm trying to do a bit more modelling !!! PS - Kagero Air Miniatures bottom right ..? ..just got my copy of their JG 27 Vol IV covering the period 1943-45..great decal sheet in three scales....(NOT recommended if you have all the Prien/Ring titles ...) (apologies for going off topic guys...).
AUG 25, 2006 - 02:08 AM
Hi Neil thanks for the update ... have to save money then ... Vol2 and BC RS vol 3 should also be out this year (maybe ...) I prefer German books, not for myself but for the few survivors that give their material for the books probably do not read english very well Any idea on JG 5 vol.3 ... Eric has sent some special offer letter with the "plea" to buy much of his titles to finance vol 3. You are right on the Kageros ... good stuff ... (I keep the monografies in another book shelf) but as always with such "fast movers" to be taken with a grain of salt As for Meimberg ... I would like to model his a/c when he was GrKdr. of II./JG 53 ... of course supported by a pic or two ... Well, I can dream.. I do not think it is too off topic ... it is about books, is it :-) :-) best wishes Steffen Edit: I'll buy the Kagero anyway .. and if it is for the decals ... "Jäger und Sammler", you know ---- read: I am collecting the books, thats why I try to avoid new series .... or modelling subjects as recently tanks .. now i have to buy a whole lot of books on not domesticated cats ....
AUG 25, 2006 - 02:24 AM

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