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Found 12 results

  1. BRITISH NAVAL WEAPONS OF WORLD WAR TWO, The John Lambert Collection Vol. 1: Destroyer Weapons Edited by Norman Friedman Seaforth Publishing, 2019 25 cm by 29.5 cm format 240 pages Suggested retail GBP 40.00 Verdict: Building any British destroyer models soon? Get this! John Lambert, who passed away in 2016, was one of those men with a singular passion that only a small number of people will ever appreciate, but that small group will really appreciate his work. Lambert's passion was creating draughts (English spelling retained as a nod to this volume's English roots) of British naval vessels and weaponry, and he drew a LOT of them. British Naval Weapons Vol.1: Destroyer Weapons (BNW1) is the first volume in a series of books that will eventually be released by Seaforth, and if the first volume is any indication, modelers will want to keep a sharp-eyed lookout for subsequent editions. The first 63 pages of this BNW1 are a narrative that covers the development of British destroyer weapons from World War 1 through the end of World War 2, along with a survey of the changing realities of naval warfare that dictated that development. As the role of the destroyer evolved, so did the types of weapons they carried and the manner in which they were arranged aboard ship. This is described by editor Norman Friedman in an engaging style and accompanied by many black and white period photos. The heart of BNW1 though, without doubt, is the immense number of highly detailed draughts done by Mr. Lambert. The first twelve of these are of ships and include shipbuilder's drawings of common weapons. Naturally, a drawing of every British destroyer that ever served, including the ever-changing armament of each, is beyond the scope of practically any book. The twelve pages of ships' draughts are intended to be representative of the group as a whole and give an overview of how destroyer armaments changed during the time period covered. The drawings range from HMS Whitehall 1924 to HMS Caesar 1944. The remainder of BNW1 consists entirely of drawings of the weapons carried by British destroyers, beginning with main guns, e.g. the 4 in QF Mk IV of 1916, and on down to AA weapons, torpedoes, mines, depth charges, and other equipment including paravanes, range finders, and fire controls. It's all there -- and in extraordinary detail. The subject of the 2-pdr quad Mk VII M came up in a recent post here at MSW, and to demonstrate just how much information is packed into this book, there are six plates of drawings for this weapon and mount combination alone. There are over 30 individual drawings of the Mk VII M, including front, rear, left side, and right side elevations; plan view; oblique views; details of wiring; and detail views of just about every subsystem -- sights, training and elevation gearing, ammunition trays, you name it -- that formed part of the weapon. There seems to be no stone left unturned. And that's just one system. For anyone wishing to super-detail any British destroyer of this era, this book looks to be a real must-have. Highly recommended! CDC
  2. GERMAN DESTROYERS Robert Brown Seaforth Publishing, 2019 64 pages, 21 cm x 29.5 cm format MSRP: $24.95 (GBP14.99) Verdict: Wow! (Apologies in advance for the perhaps odd-looking cropping of the photos that accompany this review -- it is really hard for this old guy to take photos using a digital camera with one hand while holding a stiff paperback open with the other hand!) Call me ignorant, but I had not previously heard of the ShipCraft series published by Seaforth. But after reviewing the most recent addition to this series, German Destroyers by author Robert Brown, suffice it to say that I will be alert for further titles. There is a lot of information packed into 64 glossy pages here, along with plenty of illustrations. Forty destroyers were built for the Kriegsmarine beginning in 1934 (of which 25 were lost), and they were essentially all built to the same design, naturally with some modifications to newer units. The book starts off with a discussion of the design elements incorporated into both the class as a whole and to individual vessels or groups of vessels within the class. This section includes a discussion of the inherent weaknesses of the basic design, these being the result of a lack of German shipyard experience due to limitations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles coupled with a lack of time for testing and improving the type -- a mere five years between the time the building program began in 1934 and commencement of hostilities in 1939. This portion of the book is accompanied by many B&W period photos. The next portion of the book was something quite unexpected: a survey of the various kits available for the subject, in everything from 1/1250 scale on up to 1/250. The described kits included both newer offerings from well-known manufacturers such as Revell, Trumpeter, and Dragon, along with 'classic' kits such as those from Eaglewall, Heller, and Matchbox. I was pleasantly surprised to see that two card kits (those from Wilhelmshavener and JSC) were included in this section. Along with the basic kits, this section also reviews the various aftermarket upgrades that are available. The next section is a gallery of some really well done models. It made me want to whip out my credit card and buy some kits and PE detail sets -- but I know my limits (both to my skills and to my line of credit). The gallery is followed by three pages of paint schemes, shown in black and white but including a key for the various shades of paint. Don't worry -- English translations are provided for the German color names. The last section of the book is a lengthy treatment of the appearance of the type. This includes both a discussion of general appearance and a section on variations and modifications made to the different classes within the type. Attention is even given to such variations and modifications made to individual vessels, so that the modeler is really very well prepared to attempt a portrayal of just about any of the 40 ships. This section is accompanied by four pages of crisp drawings consisting of side profiles and deck arrangements. Finally, a list of additional references is given, along with a list of the 27 other titles in the ShipCraft lineup. Might have to get me some of those other works! I can't say enough nice things about this book. The writing, photography, line drawings, and printing are all first-rate, making the book worth every penny of its US$24.95 price tag in this reviewer's opinion. CDC
  3. DESTINATION DUNKIRK: The Story of Gort's Army Gregory Blaxland Pen & Sword Books, 2018 436 pages, 16 cm x 24 cm format Verdict: Not all great historians are great storytellers. Destination Dunkirk is a reprint of a book first published in 1973. It is essentially a history of the BEF in France, starting with pre-war planning for a response to a German invasion in the west right up to the evacuation at Dunkirk that ended in June 1940. There's a certain kind of person who will enjoy reading this book, and I am not that type of person. Allow me to explain. The evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk was a remarkable accomplishment. Like any monumental struggle on the battlefield, it consisted of thousands of heroic actions carried out by thousands of individuals. These represent a trove of potentially gripping stories for any historian to mine (although you may not have gathered that from the, IMO, horrible Christopher Nolan movie that hit the theaters in 2017). Good historians who are also great writers, such as Barbara Tuchman, Stephen Ambrose, Nathaniel Philbrick, or Stephen Bungay, manage to paint an engaging and thorough big picture while also weaving in some of the fascinating individuals and actions that played their parts in the larger narrative. This, however, is not Gregory Blaxland's style. Mr. Blaxland, who passed away in 1986, was a meticulous researcher, and this is obvious in his descriptions of events. The problem with this volume is that it is entirely too meticulous about the wrong kinds of details. Blaxland spends page after page telling the reader that the nth Division moved here or there, with the X regiment on the left and the Y regiment on the right where it linked up with such-and-such division along the left bank of the (insert name here) River, where it took fire from the German XYZ Division, losing x number of (Bren gun) carriers and y number of casualties. In the meantime, the reader learns precious little about the men in those units. Who were they? Why did they fight? What was their experience in France like? The author himself provides clues about why the experience of the everyman in the Battle of France is largely ignored within the pages of his book. In his introduction, Blaxland describes The History of the Second World War, the official history of the British armed forces in that conflict, published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, as "the framework round which I have built," and I'm guessing that there are precious few accounts of individual British enlisted men in the Official History. In the sources section, the reader also discovers that Blaxland availed himself of little additional material other than the official war diaries, notes, and minutes published by various units and officers (much of which first became public in the late 1960s) -- and not very much of it, either. So it should not be too surprising that Destination Dunkirk reads very much like an official history since it is, in effect, a repackaging of various official histories. The people who do tend to garner ink in this volume are the various officers within the combatant armies. This fact is evident not only within the narrative but is also seen in the selection of illustrations. There are 53 black-and-white photographs, which is actually a pretty good number, but of those 53 photos, 37 are of officers. Only one (!) shows any units actually engaged in combat operations Sadly, for me at least, Blaxland tosses out so many names and numbers and dates, and in such a matter-of-fact delivery, that it becomes impossible to keep track of all the dramatis personae. And since so little is divulged of their back stories, it is rather hard to form much of an attachment to them either. It's a style that is fine for anyone who might be primarily interested in who did what and when, but it's not exactly compelling storytelling. There's no hook, and very little in the way of page-turning suspense. Through dogged perseverance, I made it to page 104. Your mileage may vary.
  4. THE WORLD OF THE BATTLESHIP Bruce Taylor (Editor) Seaforth Books, 2018 440 pages, 24.5 cm x 26.5 cm Suggested Retail: GBP44.00 Verdict: It's a good read, as long as you aren't expecting it to be something it is not. I have to say that this large, coffee-table book was not exactly what I expected after first seeing its title. That's not to say that it's a bad book, just something unexpected. First, this is a book about battleships, but it is not a book about battleships in general. Rather, the authors have chosen to focus on specific battleships to create their narrative. The World of the Battleship consists of 21 chapters, each written by a different historian and dedicated to a discussion of a single battleship. Each warship is from a different country. In order to get 21 such ships, as you can imagine, the definition of the word "battleship" gets stretched a little bit. For this work, it is essentially an armored capital ship with 8" main guns or greater. The ships were chosen based on their historical significance for each country, and some are those the reader might predict, but others are initially surprising. Britain is represented by HMS Hood, which is a no-brainer, but Germany is not represented by DKM Bismarck. Instead, the book discusses DKM Scharnhorst on the basis of her more significant contributions to the German war effort. In a similar manner, Japan is not represented by IJN Yamato but IJN Nagato, the first Japanese battleship to significantly depart from British design principles. So, if you are interested in the ways in which individual warships impacted their respective nations' national identity, industrial development, international relations, and ability to wage war, this book might be for you. If you are looking for a book to use as a modeling reference, you might not be as satisfied. The book is profusely illustrated with B&W photographs, but there are no line drawings, color plates, cutaways, or other visual references. If you are looking for a book that gives a broad treatment of what we more usually think of as battleships, i..e. dreadnoughts and super-dreadnoughts, with plenty of examples of each of the different classes, you probably will want to pass on this as well. The ships covered in The World of the Battleship are: Chen Yuen 1882 (China) Garibaldi 1895 (Argentina) Iena 1898 (France) Eidsvold 1900 (Norway) Slava 1903 (Russia) Peder Skram 1908 (Denmark) Minas Geraes 1908 (Brazil) De Zeven Provincien 1909 (The Netherlands) Georgios Averof 1910 (Greece) Yavuz Sultan Selim 1911 (Turkey) Viribus Unitis 1911 (Austria-Hungary) Australia 1911 (Australia) Almirante Latorre 1913 (Chile) Alfonso XIII 1913 (Spain) Sverige 1915 (Sweden) Hood 1918 (Great Britain) Nagato 1919 (Japan) Vainamoinen 1930 (Finland) Scharnhorst 1936 (Germany) Littorio 1937 (Italy) Missouri 1944 (United States)
  5. SUBMARINES OF WORLD WAR TWO: Design, Development, and Operations Erminio Bagnasco Seaforth Books, 2018 288 pages, 24.5 cm x 26.5 cm Suggested Retail: GBP40.00 When I was in middle school, way back in the day, some of my favorite books to check out from the library were books about military hardware -- planes, ships, etc. -- that were broad surveys of different types and included lots of pictures. I still enjoy such books today. Submarines of World War Two fits that description nicely, although it is (happily) more detailed in its descriptions than a middle-school book. Originally published in 1973, this book is literally a survey of just about every class and variant of submarine deployed by every WWII combatant, from major powers like Germany right on down to the smaller fleets of lesser combatants such as Latvia. Neutral countries are covered, too. First written in Italian, the English edition is very readable and gives very few hints of being a translated work. The book begins with a 32-page introduction that covers the origins of submarines, their subsequent development, and their coming of age as significant weapons of war during WWI. This portion of the book is well-written and worth reading in its own right, so don't skip the introduction in this work! The main portion of the book is divided into two sections, the first and necessarily larger section covering the major combatants, and the second devoted to lesser and neutral powers. Within each section, countries are presented in alphabetical order, and the various classes of boats are presented in the order in which they were first built. Each country is introduced with a short overview that cover various aspects of its development of submarines and use of them during the war. The description of each class of submarine begins with a wealth of statistical data, including number of boats in the class, names, dates and locations of builds, dimensions, complement, and performance data. The design and development of each class is discussed and its significant contributions are covered. The final disposition of every boat in the class is listed, and, if lost, the means by which it was lost is given. In some cases, as for instance with Germany's Type VII boats, these lists can be very lengthy -- a grim reminder of the appalling human cost of WWII submarine warfare. Submarines of World War Two is printed on glossy stock and profusely illustrated with line drawings (in the form of cross-sections and outboard and inboard profiles) and black-and-white photographs. It rewards the casual page-turner as well as the serious student of naval history. I think that I can safely say that the casual fan of WWII naval operations is broadly familiar with Kriegsmarine submarine efforts during the Battle of the Atlantic, and possibly to a lesser extent with U.S. operations in the Pacific. This book was, for me at least, a real treat in that it describes the not inconsiderable submarine operations of the other combatants, who don't generally get nearly as much ink in big-picture descriptions of the larger conflict. For this focused treatment alone, Submarines of World War Two is a worthy addition to the libraries of submarine fans everywhere.
  6. I received for Christmas (and just finished reading), “Erebus” by Michael Palin (yes THAT Michael Palin!). A fascinating account of the history of that enigmatic ship. While the author is not the first person you would think of when it comes to naval historians, he nonetheless manages to weave a brilliant nautical narrative. He covers, in some detail, as much of the human stories surrounding the various voyages of the Erebus, culled from various journals and letters written by the various participants. Starting with some details of her initial construction and her early deployment in the Mediterranean, to her conversion for polar service, and her two polar operations. The first being the successful voyage to the Antarctic, led by Sir James Clark Ross, and her final fateful journey. A recommended read for anyone interested in polar exploration, Sir John Franklin, and maritime history. Andy
  7. The Hayling Hoy of 1759 -1760 by David Antscherl Distributed by: Sea Watch Books, LLC, Florence, Oregon 8 1/2” x 11”, hardcover, 200 pages, bibliography, index ISBN 978-1-7320162-0-0 On the dust jacket of David Antscherl’s latest book, “The Hayling Hoy of 1759—1760” it states “A first fully-framed building project.” Indeed, the author certainly delivers on that statement. In his opening remarks Antscherl reinforces this claim by declaring that the book is intended to introduce the ambitious model-maker to building a fully framed model while avoiding some of the complexities of a British man of war. The author goes on to offer some reasons for choosing the hoy for this project. They include the fact that these craft had a less complex framing system, they also lacked gun ports or sweep ports, and the rig was comparatively simple. This vessel also makes an intriguing subject since it is not commonly modeled. In spite of the fact that the Hayling Hoy was an everyday, knock-about service vessel, she possessed some graceful features. The scroll head is only one of two carvings on this model, the other being located on the tafferel. Nevertheless, they add a very pleasing quality to this small craft, especially the scroll head, which flows into the cheeks and cathead supports. Antscherl makes a valiant effort to provide the reader with some historical background on the hoy, but admits that a true distinction of this vessel is blurred by other craft similar in size, rig, or even what the local populace might have considered a hoy or lighter. The only true difference that the author could offer was the fact that only hoys carried passengers as well as cargo. The reader is then provided with a brief history of the Hayling, which can trace its origins back to the same shipyard that built Agamemnon and Indefatigable, both 64 gun ships of the line. The third vessel to bear the name, she would go on to have a very lengthy career of 22 years. The modeler is also provided with information on the drafts obtained from the Royal Museums Greenwich that were used to research this vessel. In numerous cases, he had to utilize drafts of other lighters and hoys from the same period, which provided details not included in the Hayling drafts. It’s interesting to note that “as designed”, this hoy would have carried a compliment of eight swivel mounts. The “as launched” draft, which was the primary reference for this model, does not reflect this feature. To the untrained eye, the hull of the Hayling may appear to be pretty straight forward, but this is not necessarily true. The author provides the reader with many notable differences. One example occurs back aft where this hoy features a square stern and a timber loading port. Almost all of this workboat’s frames are doubled, and lack chocks or scarfs, which simplifies construction. The one exception is the dead flat frame, which is composed of a single layer that requires reinforcing. Antscherl provides an easy means of scarfing and chocking this frame. The main hatch with its coamings, ledges, battens, and perimeter framing may appear to be a simple structure, but this is not the case. Antscherl provides a fair amount of detail in describing how these were constructed. His technique for fabricating the hatch cover triangular shaped ring-bolts is simple, yet effective. Antscherl offers some excellent hints and tips concerning planking the exterior of the hull. The main wale consists of three parallel strakes, and the author provides some first rate suggestions for laying them out accurately. Keeping with the theme of a less complex model, they do not possess anchor stock or top and butt timbers. This is primarily due to the fact that Hayling was intended for harbor service, and was not expected to withstand enemy gunfire. Bottom planking starts with the garboard strake, and works its way up to the wale. This first strake can be key to an excellent planking job, and the author provides some important advice. He then describes his technique for “lining out,” which provides reference points for laying out thread battens that provide a visual hint as to how the strake runs will look. He goes on to explain how he utilizes these planking aids. The most prominent and massive fitting on this craft is the windlass, which measured just under 15 feet in length on the actual vessel. Unlike most modelers who might break this component down into segments, David Antscherl demonstrates his modeling mastery by constructing this piece out of a single blank. A vertical line at the appropriate location on the drafts indicates that the Hayling carried a capstan, but none of the drafts provide the necessary details. The author was forced to refer to other sailing lighter drafts for the required information, which bore some surprising results. His research indicated that their features differed from those found on larger vessels in terms of the number of whelps and the size of the upper chocks. As stated earlier, the scroll head, lower cheeks, upper cheeks, and the cathead supports provide a pleasing appearance to Hayling, but they are also some of the more tedious pieces to construct. Compared to other aspects of this treatise, the author devotes considerable attention to their fabrication. Antscherl admits that he has never seen another draft featuring the passenger awning, which is so prominent on Hayling. Although rather simplistic in appearance, this piece presented some challenges, which included how to represent a canvas cover. One of the final hull sub-assemblies discussed are the stern lights. Like many other components, the author explains how patterns are used to fabricate these fragile pieces. Of the three displayed on Antscherl’s model, no two are the same, which makes the use of these templates even more advantageous. Being sloop-rigged, the Hayling differed from most vessels of her type. The cutter rig was a more common application. Antscherl states that one of Hayling’s drafts indicates that this hoy’s rig was much loftier than would be expected. In spite of this, he decided to omit the jibboom, topgallant mast and topgallant yard. The dimensions for these spars are provided if you wish to show them. All in all, the segment on rigging accounts for approximately 30% of this book, and is quite thorough. Antscherl states upfront that this latest work is designed to be used in tandem with Volume I of The Fully Framed Model, HMN Swan Class Sloops 1767-1780. However, references are also made to Volumes II and IV. The model can be built without the help of these books, but they will certainly expedite the process. This treatise features 8 pages of color photos, and a packet of plans consisting of three sheets. At a scale of 1:48 they will produce a model with an overall length of 26”. This review has touched on only a few of the many aspects this work has to offer. “The Hayling Hoy of 1759-1760” would be a noteworthy addition to any ship modeler’s library. This book is highly recommended. Reviewed by BobF
  8. This book is subtitled ‘The last British sailing coasters’. I would recommend it to anyone interested in these vessels. Almost anything of interest is accompanied by detailed drawings, done by the author. There are 15 chapters: Introduction Shoes and ships and sealing wax Alert Brooklands Hulls and builders Anchors Deck fittings Variations in rig Masts, spars and standing rigging Sails and running rigging Engines Food Schooner models The vessels Conclusion The first 2 chapters provide a brief introduction, briefly describing the ships and the sort of trade they were involved in at the end of the age of sail. The next 2 chapters cover the times the author spent crewing 2 of these vessels. Interesting reading about life on these small craft, but more importantly for the model maker interesting details like what sails were set to leave and enter port. There is interesting detail like this throughout the book. Chapters 5 – 10 are then filled with just about every detail of these vessels the model maker could wish for. All supported by numerous drawings. For instance the chapter on deck fittings covers: the galley, companions, sidelights, dolly winches, water tanks, skylights steering gear, wheel houses, cargo gaff, pumps, boat, motor winch and hatches. With drawings of every detail and variations. I could write a lot more, but to put it simply these chapters contain all the details required to make a model at any normal scale. Possibly more details may be required for a model at 1/24 scale (hull 4 feet long) or larger. To emphasise it, I repeat there are drawings that accompany everything. Chapter 11 deals with the internal combustion engine. It does not deal with just the mechanics of an engine, but its effect on the trade supported by these vessels in terms of stockpiling and uncertain delivery dates and the way this affected the crew (more accurately the reduction in crew that this allowed). This brought about the end of the age of steam as well as being the final nail in the coffin for the pure sailing ship. It also details the effects an auxiliary engine had on the vessels themselves. To quote, ‘Topsail yards were sent down, flying jibs dispensed with, bowsprits cut short and topmasts, when not removed altogether cut down to short stumps…’. All things to bear in mind if making a model of a ship fitted with an auxiliary engine and much more. Chapter 12 deals with the diet on these vessels. Probably not that important to the model maker, but interesting. Chapter 13 is to me one of the most interesting in the book. It deals with how to take the lines of a vessel from a photograph. Obviously some photographs will be better than others. Ones taken when the vessel was light and the more photographs available the better. There is some deductive thinking involved which is all explained. Chapter 14 proceeds to list over 300 vessels that are potential subjects for models. Most of which just contain the minimum of details, however some contain pages of information. There are lines, deck and sail plans for 28 of these. They are reproduced at small scale, not sure how well they could be scaled up on a photocopier, but if they turned out fuzzy it should be possible to trace over the lines. Finally the conclusion gives some of the authors’ thoughts about where sailing ships will go from here. Time will tell. Altogether a very enjoyable read and well worth the small effort of obtaining a copy. Having got the book I think I would have liked to have paid more for a better copy, not that there is anything wrong with the copy I obtained, no torn pages just a few rounded corners; it still contains its library card. After reading this I feel I am well on the way to becoming an expert on schooners, though in reality I know that is not the case, just the effect of reading the book. I am sure a very reasonable model could be made from just the information contained within. The only problem being fitting it into the list. Would recommend to anyone interested in this type of small vessel. Glenn
  9. I just finished reading this book. Subtitled “Traditional Sailing Skills for Classic Boats,” it is actually an exposition of the author’s experiences sailing gaff rigged boats. The book is loosely divided into four sections: a general discussion of the gaff rig, details of the rig, sailing a gaff rigged vessel, and an appendix with useful bits of information and glossary. To illustrate all of this, the author uses a cutter and in some cases one of the large schooners such as the Altair discussed on the forum’s scratch building section. The author explains that in the context of the book the term “Cutter” applies to any single masted vessel with gaff main, staysail, and jib set from a movable bowsprit, regardless of hull form. The book is a high quality paperback profusely illustrated with color sketches and the author’s own color photos. The writing style is informal and is enhanced by the author’s understated humor. So what does all of this have to do with ship modelling? There are now two quality gaff rigged “Cutter” kits on the market and another on the way (Cutter Cheerful, 1:48 Royal Navy Longboat, and 1:24 Royal Navy Longboat). While Steel has instructions for rigging single masted vessels, there is little or no explanation of why rigging is run the way it was. Furthermore, few of us will have an opportunity to sail on a gaff rigged boat. The author’s vast experience fills this gap even though the ships and boats that we are usually interested in building sailed 250 years or so before this book was written. While today’s sailors have access to different materials, the mechanics of the gaff rig remains unchanged. While this my not provide the modeler with an exact plan to rig his model it will provide an understanding of how the various lines worked to control the rig, the action and interaction of the various sails, and their contribution to the boat’s performance. Highly recommended. Roger
  10. World War II American High Speed Transports (APD) Colhoun Class (Wickes Hulls): A Study in Blueprints by Duane D. Borchers Annapolis, MD: Maryland Silver Co., 2001 11” x 17”, softcover (Acco-Press type covers), viii + 133 pages tables, plans, index. $60.00 I came across this book while researching a model of the WW II high-speed transport USS McKean (APD 5), a converted WW I era flush deck Wickes class destroyer. The book is one of a series of similar reference books in Maryland Silver Company’s A Study in Blueprints series covering primarily 20th century US Navy ships. This volume contains the following information: table of contents tables of ship characteristics for selected ships of the class (dimensions, displacement, capacities, manning, armament, etc.) ship’s history for each ship in the class, drawn primarily from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships (DANFS) ships plans, taken primarily from booklets of general plans for selected ships of the class, augmented with a large scale body plan index The book is printed on 11” x 17” copier paper. Tables and text are reproduced well, but drawing quality varies, no doubt based on the quality of the originals. See samples below: I found the book to be a very useful reference source and can recommend books of the series to others in need of similar information.
  11. Dictionary of British Naval Battles By John D. Grainger Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2012 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xiv + 588 pages Maps, glossary, bibliography, index. $90.00 ISBN: 9781843837046 John D. Grainger has presented readers with a thorough and accessible reference source on British naval encounters in his book, Dictionary of British Naval Battles. Focusing on British naval encounters from the Middle Ages through modern day, Grainger offers a new resource for naval historians and those with a casual interest in naval warfare alike. Addressing not only on the major battles of British naval history but on small naval encounters as well, Grainger offers an interpretation of Britain’s naval prowess rarely covered in other accounts. In doing so, Grainger presents the development of a diverse and influential naval force that became the dominant power on the sea throughout much of history. Grainger’s central objective is to demonstrate the breadth and multiplicity of British naval power throughout British history. Highlighting the widespread influence of Britain across the globe and its use of naval power to obtain this supremacy, Grainger aptly portrays the British navy as an active and disseminated entity almost continuously utilized. Using largely secondary sources, Grainger discusses each naval encounter in a clear and concise manor, detailing the vessels involved and their outfits, in addition to discussing the details of each event. Grainger organizes his work by naval vessel and individual battle, allowing him to discuss even small naval encounters largely overlooked in many British naval histories. Grainger begins his work discussing the meaning of the expressions “British”, “naval” and “dictionary”, effectively describing his definitions for the words as they pertain to the topics included in his work. Maintaining that “British” must include any navy under British rule, in one volume, Grainger effectively is able to discuss naval encounters ranging from the northern Irish attack on the Hebrides in 580 AD to Britain’s naval endeavors in the Persian Gulf. Focusing on each naval battle in turn, Grainger maintains a level of detail in each entry that surpasses many other works of the same nature. Grainger has produced detailed and well-crafted entries on a wide range of British naval topics, spanning from the medieval period to modern day. While his research is comprehensive, his scope remains very large, which at times can seem overwhelming. Though his general outline takes a logical and systematic approach, the wide range of topics covered has the potential to lose a reader. At times, the chronology of events is lost due to the alphabetical organization of the work, taking away from a more liminal understanding of Britain’s naval history. Despite this, Grainger clearly addresses his organizational technique in his introduction, and provides readers with additional references at the end of each entry for those interested in learning more about specific topics. Overall, Grainger has produced a well-researched and skillfully written addition to the canon of British naval history. Grainger has developed a valuable source of knowledge on British naval events, effectively producing an important reference source on British vessels, battles, and naval warfare. Caitlin Zant East Carolina University
  12. Message in a model Stories from the Navy Room of the Rijksmuseum by Ab Hoving Distributed by: Sea Watch Books, LLC, Florence, Oregon www.seawatchbooks.com, seawatchbooks@gmail.com This book grabs your attention with a catchy title and a beautifully illustrated dust jacket, and never lets go! When you first open “Message in a Model”, your first impulse will be to thumb from page to page, studying the nearly 400 remarkable photos, stopping briefly to read a caption before going on. Only after completing your photographic tour through this book, will you start to read Ab Hoving’s many stories, which are truly intriguing. It starts in 1889 when the Dutch Department of Defense donated some 1400 models and maritime heirlooms to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A substantial number of the artifacts would remain in storage, unseen and unappreciated by the public. Not designed to last hundreds of years, many pieces would suffer from the ravages of time. Realizing that time was not on their side, the Rijksmuseum brought Ab Hoving onboard in 1989, as head of the Dutch History restoration workshop. For the next 23 years, Mr. Hoving would work with a small team of colleagues and volunteers, painstakingly bringing the collection back to it’s former glory. These efforts would culminate in the reopening of the Rijksmuseum in 2013. This would be the first time since 1927 that the public could visit the Navy Model Room. Along the way, Ab Hoving added to his knowledge of these artifacts, which he shared with visitors to the museum. It was during these tours that he noticed how the demeanor of the attendees changed from one of interested surprise to one of enthusiasm. It was this observation that would be the inspiration for this book. “Message in a Model” deals with 54 subjects that represent a wide range of artifacts, or artifact groups. With such a magnificent collection at his disposal, you would think that the majority of them are magnificent sailing ships, such as the example featured on the book jacket, and in the photo to the right. This is not the case. One particular model selected by the author is anything but magnificent. In fact, it is referred to as an enigma. This vessel actually existed, but what was its purpose? Hoving offers some compelling theories as to what it’s possible use may have been. He also gives reasons why this strange craft could have contributed to a war being declared! Many of the subjects chosen by Hoving involve technological innovation and inventions that were submitted to the Navy Board in the form of models. For numerous reasons provided by the author, many of these ideas never went any further. The motives may have included political jealousy, ambition, economics, a lack of understanding, or merely that some were ahead of their time. This brief review touches on only a few of the diverse subjects this remarkable book contains. They were chosen as a brief sampling of what awaits you inside “Message in a Model.” The lavish illustrations, coupled with Ab Hoving’s stories will entertain and intrigue you, while stimulating your imagination. This book is highly recommended. Reviewed by Bob Filipowski

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If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

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The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

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