Warpaint Vol. 2
Colours & Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003
This book, Volume 2 in a series of four, describes and illustrates the colours and markings used by the British army on its vehicles during the 20th century. The major sections in this volume cover the following topics:
PAINT AND CAMOUFLAGE 1939 – 1945. Detailed description of the paints used, and the colour schemes applied to wartime vehicles in all theatres. SUB-UNIT MARKINGS AND CALLSIGN SYSTEMS. A comprehensive guide to this complex topic, covering the whole period up to 2003
The book is profusely illustrated with photos, colour profiles, and detail drawings. It describes in detail the official paint schemes, the variations often seen in the field, and the individual and unit markings applied to tanks, armoured cars, lorries and smaller vehicles, and towed guns. As with all the volumes in this series, invaluable information for military enthusiasts and modellers, making sense of a very confusing topic!
Dick Taylor is a serving British Army officer who has been deployed in many areas of the world. Since being commissioned in 2000, he has specialised in tank gunnery instruction, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear operations, Psychological Operations, and lately, defence exporting. He has a First Class degree in History, and is currently reading for a Master's degree at Dundee University. He is married with two sons and lives in Blandford, Dorset.
An invaluable reference source for military historians and enthusiasts, and scale modellers.
Reviewed by Al Bowie
Title: WARPAINT – Colours & markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003 Volume 1 by Dick Taylor, Mushroom Model Publications Green Series No. 4104
Media and Contents: Soft Cover A4 portrait style with 176 pages including Colour plates and B&W and colour photos plus extensive tables and a superb Bibliography/ reading list
Price: GBP15.99 available online from Mushroom Model Publications
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: First to cover this topic to such detail. Excellent reference for the modeller or collector of British Military vehicles post 1903
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
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. Continuing on the strong foundation of Volume 1 Mr Taylor has added another important title to the slowly growing library on the subject.
Dick Taylor not only leans on his skill as an historian but also 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 colour schemes and Squadron and callsigns from their beginnings in 1903 until 2003. The Acknowledgements list reads like a who’s who of all things British Armour, while the Bibliography looks like the catalogue for the Army Records office and a dream library.
This volume covers the subjects of painting & camouflage of WWII and sub-unit markings and callsigns. These are subjects of great debate and whilst other titles exist that cover these I can think of none that handle it in such detail and in one title.
This Volume is thorough and Mr Taylor's research has been extensive, broadly encompassing the subject paint and camouflage in a mere 100 odd pages, with callsigns and sub unit markings and callsigns in an additional 75 . Text is presented in sensible groupings and well supported by copies of official schemes and many great photos of actual examples. Miscellaneous and local schemes have been covered in addition to the official schemes, which was a pleasant surprise.
The Author has not confined his research to Army equipment and vehicles but includes RN & RAF vehicles alongside the more common Army Schemes. A chronological listing of schemes and a thorough section on the paints including the various standard and non standard families of paint used provide a wealth of information to the reader.
One snippet of information unearthed from an Australian Middle Eastern War Diary regarding the much debated Caunter scheme I found particularly interesting given the debates that rage amongst the modelling community on colours:
“There is no real check (i.e. quality control) on actual colours to be used for camouflage, and the present colours supplied are just copies taken many times by different local manufacturers. The result is that the colours supplied vary a lot”.
The section concludes with colour plates of various AFV’s in a variety of schemes.
The second half of the title is devoted to what many consider a black art – British Sub Unit markings and Call signs. This is highly welcome and covers not only World War II but spans the period WW 1 through to 2003 Iraq.
This section has many tables illustrating the very confusing array of Squadron and Troop markings used and explain a lot in an easy to understand format. The reader will need to take their time with this title as the amount of information is enormous. Despite many claims by confused modellers over the years, the British used a system and it does make sense. It is like Cricket – it makes sense once you know the rules and have watched it a few times.
Non-standard (2 Digit) callsign systems are covered in great detail and the listing for a few of the formations that used these is very welcome. It also illustrates that these were not transferrable between formations with differences quite apparent. The only error I found in the book was in the captioning of a well known photo of a 33 AB Sherman I (Hybrid) labelled as possibly a Staffordshire Yeomanry vehicle (They used Sherman III’s and were in 27 AB). The actual vehicle is either 144 or 148 RAC.
Mr Taylor has gone to the extra mile and included The Royal Artillery System and ultra rare listings for softskins where callsigns were used such as RASC DUKW’s in the Normandy Campaign.
Post-war callsigns and geometric signs are given equal time to the extensive WWII coverage and individual conflicts and the official callsign systems of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are documented. Iraq 2003 and Batus end the section but are followed by References & Bibliography which include official documents and published references which give an insight into the thoroughness of research undertaken.
The title is filled with clear images and diagrams of the official schemes and many of these are supplied in colour with many colour illustrations of the various Geometric and vehicle markings. This balance really lifts this book above its peers.
I claimed in my review of Volume 1 that I thought it is one of the best references on the subject I have read. After reading Volume Two I am more than happy to add this title to the same pedestal and look forward to Dick Taylor’s Vol III & IV but also his title on British Army AFV Crewman of WW2.
If I had any criticism of the book it would again be some the captions. A little more information would reinforce the information in the text. For instance there is a well known picture of a Guards Armd Sherman which is labelled as “Guards Sherman Firefly 2C using the later system” I believe it would have been more beneficial to identify the Tp, Vehicle CS and Sqn shown thus illustrating the system.
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 believe this will become an essential title for modellers of WW2 British Armour and I eagerly await the follow ons.
Highly recommended to the Collector, Modeller or Historian
Military Modelling Vol 39 No 12 2013-03-23
Amazon.co.uk - customer review 2013-03-23
By Mr. W. J. Smithson (England)
This book follows on from his first volume and quite simply is excellent. A full examination of all the camouflage used by British(and Commonwealth) forces on vehicles - hard and soft- in a very reasonably priced book. Not just ' Army Green'( what ever that is - but he tells you!) and all their variants such as Mickey Mouse and the dreaded Caunter Scheme, but also the markings, whether sub-unit or Regt, and call signs. Full of illustrations - B/W and colour - this book is essential for any modeller of British and Commonwealth AFVs and soft skins during this period. BTW - The first volume is excellent too!
by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]
This is the second volume in a series of 4 covering Colours and Markings of the British Army, 1930 to 2003. This book was written and researched by Dick Taylor.
I reviewed Volume 1 here on site: British Vehicle Colours
The series is intended for the Military Historian, Military Vehicle Restorer and most of all for the Military Modeller.
A note on the author: Dick Taylor is not only an established historian but a 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.
Table of contents
Introduction to Volume 2
Chapter 1 - Paint and Camouflage 1939 - 1945
Chapter 2 – Sun Unit Markings and Call-Sign Systems
References and Bibliography vReview
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 century. The book contains 176 pages.
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 gave us a critical clue to understanding the subject covered in Chapter I Colours and Sources:
“.... it is this: strive to find the rules and regulations, but do not be surprised to find that they were frequently disobeyed.”
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.
Volume 2 continues this theme and for many will be an invaluable reference when working with British and Commonwealth vehicles, whether 1 to 1 or 1/35 scale.
Chapter 1 – Paint and Camouflage 1939–1945:
This chapter is broken down into many subsections covering painting and camouflage throughout the war years. The chapter opens with an Introduction to Paints – Systems, Specifications and Supply. It then moves on to an explanation of Gas Detector Paint and how it was used and applied and is followed by a General Section covering crew applied schemes.
Next is a section on Britain and North West Europe 1939 to 1943 and reference to, and explanation of Military Training Pamphlet No 20 (1939-1941), with examples of the various schemes and thinking being used at that time.
This is followed by a section on Miscellaneous Schemes used over the period 1940 – 1941 and data on painting Canvas Canopies and Tilts. Next Dick takes a look at Military Training Pamphlets No 46 Part 4A (1941-1944) and the principles, colours, and schemes it introduced. The Foliage Pattern, The Dappled or Mickey Mouse Pattern and Dry Brush Pattern are all covered in detail.
Vehicles Markings 1942 & 1943, the Introduction of SCC 14 and schemes and paints for the African and Mediterranean theatre of operations 1939 to1940 are also covered as is the Caunter Scheme 1940 – 1941. The book then moves on to look at the Post Caunter Schemes of 1941 to 1943 and then takes a look at other Mediterranean camouflage schemes used in Malta, Eritrea and Syria.
Miscellaneous Schemes in North Africa also get covered and the book then goes in depth at the schemes in use in Sicily and Italy during 1943 followed by what was happening in Sicily and Italy during 1944 and 1945. Finally miscellaneous paint schemes used in Italy get looked at.
On page 86 Dick moves onto the European theatre of operations with an opening sub chapter on Europe 1944 – 1945. Also included at the end of this section are details of miscellaneous schemes used during that period of the war. This section may be of particular interest to modellers given the theatre of operations, and many fine examples and detail explanations are given.
The Far East gets some brief coverage on page 93 and Vehicle Signage is mentioned briefly on page 94, but this subject will receive in depth coverage in Volume 3. To round up, the author touches briefly on the colours and schemes used on RAF and RN vehicles during the war.
To complete Chapter 1 there are a series of Annexes showing Chronology, Paint Details, and end notes to the chapter.
Pages 103 to 106 contain a number of plates showing some of the schemes mentioned in the preceding chapter. It should be noted that each sub section of Chapter 1 is fully supported by detailed explanation, official documents, official camouflage diagrams and examples of both plates and actual vehicle markings in the various theatres of operation. In other words, an absolute bounty of supporting and useful information.
Chapter 2 – Sub Unit Markings and Call Sign Systems:
This is another area of contentious debate. Dick opens the chapter with an introduction to the purpose of these markings and also an explanation of the terminology used. As these Warpaint Volumes cover the period 1903 to 2003, this chapter begins by looking at the RN and Army markings used in WWI, the introduction and marking of early tanks and the first use of symbols on vehicles. The between the war years are then covered and the introduction and development of Geometric Markings are discussed and displayed.
The chapter then moves onto World War II markings and again looks at those in depth. Good clear examples of the type of marking used are given along with detailed explanations. A section is given over to the Royal Artillery System of markings, both standard and non standard.
The Standard Individual Call sign System is looked at and discussed as are Colour, Size and Position of these markings. Non Standard (two digit) Call sign Systems are also examined. Post war Geometric Signs are included in this section as well as Korean War Markings and Call signs.
Also included in this Chapter are details of the 1960 and 1970 call sign systems. Good tables and charts are included for easy reference and good photographic examples of their use provided.
Both Iraq 2003 and the Batus Sub Unit Identification System are also included.
References and Bibliography:
At the rear of the book starting on page 170 is a comprehensive listing of the sources and source materials used in the book.
Perhaps the conclusion is best left to a customer, in this case our own Jim Hand. I borrowed this from one of Jim’s posts:
”If you do much in the way of modeling British vehicles I can't say enough good things about Dick Taylor's Warpaint: Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903 to 2003. It's to be a 4 volume set. Books 1 and 2 are currently out. I'm not sure of the release for 3 and 4. They have been reviewed here which is what led me to seek them out, but they surpassed anything I could have hoped for.
Initially I was only going to buy volumes 1 and 2 which covered pre WWI to the end of WWII, my main sphere of modeling, but the books are so well written and full of great information all 4 are on my "must buy" list. Some information is shared across all the volumes as best as I can tell which also justifies having the full set. They have already answered many questions that I had about various WWI tank colours and WWII Middle Eastern colours. It's a bit of an investment but any good tool is.
I would love to see a similar set done on German vehicles!”
This is quite simply another cracking volume from Dick Taylor that provides a comprehensive insight into the fantastic and often confusing world of British Army Vehicle Colours and Markings. This volume is thoroughly researched, has excellent charts, diagrams and original documents to help in your understanding of this fascinating subject, and will be of particular value to those modelling British and Commonwealth Tanks, Vehicle and Artillery. There are many real examples of the various schemes provided to support the documentation.
Reviewed By: Steve Allen
This is the second of four softbound volumes covering British AFV colours and markings from the very beginnings of AFV's right up to Op Telic 2003 in Iraq. Not since the 1978 Arms and Armour Press book 'British Tank Markings and Names' by B T White has such a detailed look been taken at this important subject and the publication timing of this set is perfect as my 32 year old copy of Mr Whites book is falling apart!
This volume comprises of 176 pages packed with excellent photographs in both colour and B&W accompanied by very detailed and informative text. There are also a number of official documents such as 'General Orders 4th December 1942' issued by General Alexander, CinC The Middle East Forces reproduced , which add greatly to the interest and authenticity of the text.
The scope of the book is vast as a look at the index shows....
and, though a few of the photographs have been published before, the information contained in the captions is generally far more detailed than normal.
There are also a large number of official camouflage scheme instruction sheets issued by the MoD which I found particularly useful as most photographs only show one side of any given vehicle and the 'between wars' era which receives scant attention elsewhere is also covered in some detail.
Another part of the volume has a section devoted to colour artwork of various vehicles and the last few pages of the book include tables of vehicle radio callsigns (which are also used as painted on identifiers) from various eras. I'm not sure about the 1970's table though....it doesn't look much like the one my regiment used in BAOR.... We had a 'Command & Support' Squadron. Thats not to say it isn't correct for other units however.
With the steady influx of British and Commonwealth subjects into the model market I'm sure these books will prove to be extremely useful to both modellers and historians. At present I'm unable to ascertain what the layout of the other three volumes will be but I'm pretty sure they will, just like Volume 2, prove to be 'must haves' for anyone interested in British Army Vehicle Colours and Markings. Get them while you can !!!!
Very Highly Recommended
Amazon bestsellers list 2013-03-23
By Ray Mehlberger
Date of Review April 2010
Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is based in the UK. They have their books printed in Poland by Stratus in the English language. MMP now has a U.S. distributor for their books, located in Pennsylvania by the name of Casemate.
This book is volume 2 in a series of four. It describes and illustrates the colors and markings used by the British Army on it’s vehicles during the 20th century. The two main sections cover the following topics:
Paint & Camouflage 1939-1945. Detailed descriptions of the paints used, and the color schemes applied to wartime vehicles in all theatres.
Sub-unit Markings & Call Sign Systems. A comprehensive guide to this complex topic, covering the would period up to 2003.
The book is profusely illustrated with 158 black and white photos and 32 color ones (including the cover). There are 32 rudimentary drawn color profiles (25 of which are 5-views). Two color profiles are 2-views and highly detailed. Another 8 single view profiles are also highly detailed. There are 17 black and white line drawings, to no particular scale and showing various camouflage patterns. Included too are 28 data lists, 30 illustrations of vehicle markings and 11 more of these in black and white, 5 division marking patches are done in color.
The book is 176 pages long in soft-cover with 8¼” x 11¾” page format (approximately stationary size).
On the back cover there are the covers shown of 3 other books in the Warpaint series.
Warpaint Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003 Vol. 1, 3 & 4.
These are all by Dick Taylor.
This book will be of great interest to military historians and enthusiasts, but especially to modelers of British AFV’s.
Amazon.co.uk customer review 2013-03-23
By Andrew Bookworm
This is absolutely fantastic and a must for any serious British Army Modeller. Simple schematics for painting kits. The layout is spot on. The guide to modern military units and their call signs is a revelation. Now I can understand all the photos and know what the markings mean. Can't wait to recieve Volume 3 and will preorder Volume 4. Anyone got a copy of Voulme 1?
Amazon.co.uk customer review (3) 2013-03-23
By Cold War Warrior (UK)
The first thing anyone considering purchasing this book should know is that this is volume 2 in a planned series of four. It therefore, naturally, does not cover the full spectrum of 1903-2003 as the title may suggest. Volume 1 has already been reviewed on this site and volumes 3 and 4 are still to come.
Volume 2 covers paint types, colours and camouflage schemes in use by British and Commonwealth ground forces from 1939 to 1945 for both Armoured and Soft-skin vehicles. Nearly every page has one or more photographs and/or diagrams to illustrate the various examples covered in the text.
The final third of the book covers sub-unit markings and callsign systems from WW1 up to the system currently in use, so if you ever wondered what those numbers painted on the sides of tanks mean then they are covered here. All in all an excellent work covering it's subject in some detail and at a very reasonable price. It would be invaluable to any modeller of British & Commonwealth Military Vehicles of the WW2 period or anyone who has an interest in the subject.
I look forward to the follow up volumes.
Amazon.co.uk customer review (6th) 2013-03-23
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 13 Feb 2013
By AnitafromBoro -
This review is from: Warpaint: v. 2: Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003 (MMP: Green) (Paperback)
Model maker Partner on WWII Army vehicles loved this book as a Christmas 2012 gift. I've seen it open on many days, so very happy that I managed to get a copy
Model Military International 12/2009 2013-03-23
MiniReplika 63 2009-10-08
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