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"Mal Wright's Hiding in the Open Book One" Topic

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2,082 hits since 14 Aug 2012
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sloophmsstarling Inactive Member14 Aug 2012 12:30 p.m. PST

While I was away for a relaxing if too short vacation, I had a chance to study Mal's "Hiding in the Open Book One WW2" in depth, and now that I'm back in South Carolina with access to the internet again, I thought I would add my praise to those who have already commented.

I found the book very helpful, and the more I studied it, the more I appreciated the many insights that Mal has provided us. The book succeeds on three levels. First and foremost, it provides a very comprehensive and detailed study of camouflage schemes for Commonwealth destroyers for wargamers, model painters, and artists, one of the main purposes Mal expressed in his introduction.

The second thing I especially enjoyed was the progression of the paint schemes as the war continued in stages and into different theaters of operations. For example, the very first ship shown is the Admiralty R Class destroyer HMS Skate and the first image of the ship is as a minelayer in 1939 with a dark gray solid color. Next is Skate as an influence minesweeper in 1940-1941 with a lighter gray solid color. Next up is Skate as a Short Range Escort in 1941-1942 in a light blue and white Western Approaches camo scheme for convoy runs between the UK and Iceland as well as the UK East Coast convoys. The fourth image is Skate as painted for the Normandy landings with the bold solid blue side panel approximately from the bridge aft to the new Type 271 radar tower, the purpose of this scheme is to make the ship appear shorter or farther away as explained in another image.

And that brings me to the third thing I enjoyed and that is the descriptions of armament and sensor fit as these evolved during the war. Skate starting out with rows of mines, then depth charge racks and throwers along with AA guns, then radar and more depth charge throwers along with more AA armament for the convoy work, and lastly more radar and a change in AA armament for the invasion work. This was really the icing on the cake for me, not only to have the basic color schemes that I need for painting my models, but also the progression of armament and sensors, as well as the appearance of the ship at different times for different games that I may be playing.

The next ships shown are four S Class again with four different camo schemes for different periods of time, as well as descriptions of sensor and weapons evolution and notes on performance and employment of these ships. In addition to the British ships, there are a number of Australian ships and also several Canadian ships included.

I have yet to try my hand at Mediterranean battles, but when I do, you can be assured that those actions set around the end of 1941 and into 1942 will have some destroyers in Mountbatten Pink! Some of the dark shade and some of the lighter shade as well! Also, there are several different camo schemes for ships intended for coastal work. And one of my personal favorites was the image of Defender in pre-war China Station with yellow topsides and white hull! There is something exotic about that scheme and you know there are many interesting stories to be told about any ship painted like that, some of them perhaps even related to operations at sea!

In addition to the comprehensive illustration of many different camo schemes with explanations of the purpose and utility of the scheme, and the progression of color, sensors, and armaments, Mal also includes an essay on the how the paints were applied by real sailors in real war. I was very happy to learn about the TLAR effect and how That Looks About Right came into play historically! That certainly gives some wiggle room for model painters at my skill level which is pretty much close to zero, and that would be Kelvin scale!

I could go on, but suffice it to say I was very pleased with Mal's first book on camouflage, and I'm looking forward with keen anticipation to the second. Not only is Book One comprehensive and detailed, it is an excellent bargain for the $20 USD price, and I would highly recommend adding it to any collection of resources on World War II ships.

Enjoy your games!

Some Chicken Inactive Member15 Aug 2012 3:26 a.m. PST

Thanks very much for posting this. I intend to buy volume one but haven't got around to it yet. Must do so now! Has Mal given any clues on what the next volume will cover? I'm hoping for RN/Commonwealth cruisers.


sloophmsstarling Inactive Member15 Aug 2012 12:39 p.m. PST

I haven't heard any clues from Mal yet, but RN and Commonwealth cruisers would be a good one!

Mal Wright Fezian Inactive Member15 Aug 2012 6:45 p.m. PST

RN and Commonwealth Cruisers is a volume part done.

The next will be British destroyer camouflage, J class to Battle Class. It will include Hunt class escort destroyers.
It just needs for me to find the time to finish it off.

Following behind will be German and Romanian warshps. That is very well advanced.

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