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Fighting Colors: The Creation of Military Aircraft Nose Art Paperback – July 28, 2010
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Top customer reviews
I should have listened to my gut.
I should probably preface this with the fact that I am a lifelong military aviation aficionado who spends an inordinate amount of time doing historical research in the midst of my work as an aviation artist - with either the tenacity of a junkyard dog, or just an overdose of OCD, take your pick. If you are a novice on the subject of military aircraft nose art, and you have absolutely nothing else in your library on the subject, this book may not be a bad starting point. But, for anything other than a beginner, it's a complete write-off.
Where to start?
Typos, beginning with the Contents page, where one segment is labeled "510th Fighter Group" (there was no such animal in the Army Air Forces), but properly labeled 510th Fighter Squadron (part of the 405th "Thunder Monsters" Fighter Group) on the actual pages.
The reproductions are generally muddy.
The paper is cheap.
There isn't really a logical layout to the format; there's a plethora of B-24 nose art (with a billboard-sized fuselage, it begs for some sprucing up), and a dearth of fighter noses. Additional information - like units of assignment, or assigned pilots - is haphazard at best. To add insult to injury, the final portions of the book are devoted to the author's own efforts at reproducing nose art on some of today's restored "warbirds" and museum display aircraft. All executed with workmanlike quality, but does it really have a place alongside "the real thing?"
If you are a serious nose art enthusiast, take a "pass" on ordering this book. If, by some chance, it shows up under your Christmas tree from one of your kids, or Aunt Gertrude, smile sweetly, say "Thank You" - and take it to the local used book store for something you really can use.
"NOTE ON COLOR: This book was originally printed in hardback with color. This version is black and white so references to color may not apply. To see color versions of nose art restoration, visit fighting colors.com."
And if that's not bad enough, the reproduction of the now black-and-white photos in this edition is terrible! And they dare to charge a color-book price for this piece of trash? And what's the shame is that Velasco's editorial content is excellent, but it's wasted here.
I am returning my copy for credit. I urge anyone contemplating buying this paperback edition to turn the other way as quickly as possible, and try and hunt down a good copy of the original hardcover editon instead.