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GERMAN DESTROYERS

Robert Brown

Seaforth Publishing, 2019

64 pages, 21 cm x 29.5 cm format

MSRP: $24.95 (GBP14.99)

 

Verdict: Wow!

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(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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

 

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