Saturday, 23 October 2010

Bf 109 Late versions- camouflage and markings (MMP books) - Krzysztof Wotowski

Now this was a nice surprise from MMP books (Mushroom). 'Bf 109 Late versions' is a large A-4 format, card-covered 112-page volume of Krzysztof Wotowski's superb artworks covering the later versions of the Bf109. If you have Banyl-Reipl's Warpaint 'book' then this is similar - although minus all the appalling errors in the B-R Warpaint booklet! Wolowski's new volume is much more carefully compiled and exploits the latest research and picture 'finds'. Starting with Günther Specht's G-5/AS, each late variant is given a page or so of text, scale side-views, three or four pages of photographs and up to eleven pages of very nicely rendered profile artwork (in the case of the K-4). Captions are lengthy and include full discussion of the likely colours. The artworks are reproduced mostly at around 1/32 scale (ie large !) at a guess, including top views, lower surface views and 'offical' camouflage schemes. The text introducing each variant details developmental differences and some operational highlights while providing information on manufacturers and Werknummer blocks and includes decent photographic coverage including some colour images. Are there errors in his artwork - well of course there are! I have yet to come across a 'profile artist' who doesn't fill his artwork with 'errors'. Perhaps it is fairer to say that interpreting colour information from black and white photos is a pretty subjective 'science' so some of the artist's choices will inevitably come under discussion (see below).

Unfortunately the odd photograph is not very well reproduced, being rather too dark and I would say that a majority of the pictures portray abandoned and wrecked aircraft. This certainly doesn't detract from the conviction of the overall presentation since this book is primarily about Krzysztof's artwork. As I mentioned, one or two of his colour choices will raise eyebrows, for example the well-known 'Green 7' of JG 300 (P73) has here become a III./JG 6 machine - 'because JG 300 were never based in Prague' - when we know that the rump of this unit was indeed in Prague, thanks to the accounts in Lorant and Goyat's JG 300 history quoted in this volume's bibliography. However this is pretty minor league criticism. To conclude the profile artist presents a wide range of reasonably convincing profile artworks that will be indispensable viewing/reading for late-war Bf109 enthusiasts and modellers.Certainly one of the better profile artwork books I've come across and an excellent incentive to check out some of MMP's other recent Luftwaffe titles. More info at

Sadly author/illustrator Krzysztof Wotowski passed away shortly after the publication of this book.