Author Topic: Jasta Colors: Markings and Painting Schemes of German Jagdstaffeln in WW1 Vol 1  (Read 400 times)

Offline Dave W

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Jasta Colors: The Markings and Painting Schemes of the German Jagdstaffeln in World War I, Volume 1

Research and Sources for Historians and Modelers
ISBN 978-1-953201-00-3
Format: 8½ x 11. 274 pages, 223 photos, 61 documents, 55 color profiles, 4 color paintings.

Author: Bruno Schmälling, with cooperation of Jörn Lecksheid
©Aeronaut Books, Publisher
Design & Layout: Jack Herris
Color Profiles: Bob Pearson
Cover Design: Aaron Weaver
Cover Painting: Russel Smith

Retail Price: $69.99USD. Available at

Review by Erik Whipple

Overall impressions:
The large paperback format, standard for Aeronaut books, lends itself to large photographs, aircraft profiles, and other imagery all reproduced in high resolution. A real deep dive into research methods and the detective work required for  Great War aviation literature, recounting the author's journey from initial discovery to his objective conclusions regarding the color schemes and markings of the subjects. Each aircraft featured, the pilots, the units, logbook extracts, family photo collections, and other documents are carefully brought together to provide the reader with a comprehensive picture. This books appears to be a solid foundation for the subsequent titles planned for this series.

NOTE: Sample imagery included in this review has been scanned, resized, and reorganized. With the exception of the cover and the profile of one of Baumer's triplanes, the layout of the elements in these images does not reflect the layout published in the book. The parts that have been moved and combined with others are denoted by a light blue border.

Reviewer's Comments:
In this title, Bruno Schmälling provides the reader with an illuminating glimpse into his decades of research into Great War aviation which includes his many contacts and associations with veteran pilots, their peers, descendants, and pioneering expert historians in his field of research. Unlike most other books on the subject, the author shares in-depth, specific information on how, where, from whom, and from what documentation he obtained his extensive knowledge of the subject. The profiles cover various pursuit and scouting types, including Albatros, Fokker, Halberstadt, Pfalz, and Siemens-Schuckert models. These are beautifully-rendered by Bob Pearson and are supported by documents such as logbook and squadron diary extracts, pilot's letters, notes, and sketches either drawn by the pilots themselves, by the author during interviews, and other notable aviation historians. There is also a section that illustrates the challenges inherent to the analysis of colors based on greyscale imagery.  The author does an excellent job of describing the pitfalls of such endeavors whenever attempted in the absence of reliable supporting documentation.

The order of the contents is interesting and somewhat unusual. I was expecting to see yet another table of contents that started with something like “Jasta 1” or “Staffeln of Jagdgeshwader I” and proceeding thenceforth in numerical order. For this title, the author has organized the chapters on the nature of his sources and references, an approach which surrounds the aircraft in a wealth of context and depth of detail not often seen in other literature.

Some of these profiles are bound to stir up some lively discussion among modelers, artists, and aviation enthusiasts alike. Wherever the association between specific aircraft and pilots or the colors and layout of camouflage and markings differs from long-held and oft-repeated literary dogma, Schmälling presents clear evidence to support his conclusions. The imagery and documentation packed into this title are bound to provide the reader and enthusiast with many hours of discovery and food for thought. Even the markings of aircraft that are well-known and depicted frequently in other literature- such as Paul Baumer's Fokker triplanes- are analyzed and presented in such depth as to significantly enhance the reader's knowledge of those familiar examples.

On the basis of the author's findings, I've already corrected some of the data & name tags associated with my own humble Great War model collection- a striped Fokker D.VII and an Albatros covered in Bavarian diamonds, in particular. I may also have to add about a dozen more kits to my stash for several of the very interesting subjects introduced by the book which were hitherto unknown to me.  I did notice a few passages that made for a little bit of rocky reading owing to awkward sentence structure, presumably minor artifacts of translation, but nothing that made comprehension difficult or compromised the information presented.

Reviewer's opinion and recommendation:

For modelers and Great War aviation buffs with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, this latest book from Bruno Schmälling and Aeronaut should be a tall, cool glass of fresh water which bodes very well for the upcoming titles in the series. This is a truly enjoyable book from cover to cover which I expect to refer to often in my own little quest for information whether as a cross reference or in support of my future endeavors in scale modeling. This title is a very welcome addition to my library and has earned my highest recommendation.

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