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Sicily and Italy 1943-1945

by Mike Starmer

Published by the author, no ISBN, 31 pages.

Although the cover title is "Sicily and Italy", this book actually covers the British paint schemes used from April 1943 in Tunisia as well. As Mike Starmer writes in his introduction, the orders for the new scheme were published before the fighting in Tunisia was over and were applied immediately.
The preamble runs quickly through the basic schemes used in the Western Desert, to provide a background to the changes made. Then comes the complete official order for the change, with Mr Starmer’s comments and notes on the other camouflages seen on equipment that had not been repainted from their delivery schemes or had only been partly converted to the new scheme. These are very valuable, explaining as they do how the exceptions arose that are seen in photographs.

Next are 15 pages with cleaned-up versions of the original pattern drawings that accompanied the new order. These range from Sherman and Grant tanks to Jeeps, trucks, and even the correct pattern for artillery gunshields. Mr Starmer’s notes on each explain how they were used, including their application to different types of truck etc. Then comes the “meat” that many will have been longing for – notes on the actual colours used. Shades such as Light Mud have been the subject of debate for years, and here we get analyses of each of them with detailed conclusions allowing the reader to see why a particular colour match has been chosen. Individual paint swatches - not printed ink versions - show each of the official colours, and mixing instructions are given for Humbrol paints (readers unable to obtain Humbrol enamels will still be able to use these mixes by referring to several online paint charts for equivalents in their available makers’ ranges). Finally, there’s a note on mandatory air and ground recognition markings, which also includes the Canadian order for white stars on side surfaces to be painted skewed instead of with the top point vertical. It’s good to see confirmation that this practice was official!

Very highly recommended to anyone modelling British or Commonwealth vehicles in the campaigns covered – in fact, I’d say essential!

The book, like his earlier ones on the Caunter and Alamein schemes which are just as good, is available from several specialist booksellers, including John Rauscher in the US at www.boomersbook.com. They can also be bought direct from Mike Starmer at 18 Hillside Road, Piddington, Northants, NN7 2DB, England. Sicily and Italy, and Alamein, are £10 each and the Caunter book £7, in each case with P&P at £1 in the UK or £2 overseas. Cheques, IMOs, sterling or Euro cash and Paypal are accepted.

John Prigent