Large Scale Warship Models

Large Scale Warship Models. From kits to scratch building. By Kerry Lang. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2019.

Reviewed by David Hobbs

Kerry Lang is a professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who builds model ships and Napoleonic War figures for fun and relaxation.  He sets himself high standards, winning a number of awards in both Canada and the UK, and his latest challenge is to build a submarine that both dives and surfaces under radio control.

If, like me, you have built model warships from kits you will have learnt that doing so is an excellent way of learning about the real ship.  Photographs only give a relatively distant view and even standing on the real ship does not always make it possible to judge the various fittings in their due perspective.  A well-crafted model, on the other hand, allows an observer to study a ships’ armament and fittings in a way that no other medium can.  Kerry Lang takes as his example a model he made of the Royal Navy ‘D’ class destroyer Daring which was launched in 1932 and sunk by a U-boat in 1940.  As he makes clear, however, the building technique he describes is generic and could apply to a number of similar ships including the series of RAN destroyers up to and including the ‘Q’ class or similar-sized frigates.  His model of Daring was approximately 66 cm long.

For anyone who is considering starting a model warship from scratch or even building that kit that has lain in the attic for years waiting for the right moment to start it, this book contains a wealth of useful information.  Lang gives examples of reference sources, kit and accessory makers in a variety of scales together with the materials, tools, glues and paints needed to give the most realistic and effective finish and then takes the reader on a journey through construction that is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs.  For those who want to go a step further than mere display, he devotes a chapter to radio-control arrangements that could provide propulsion, steering, rotating radar aerials and even moving gun turrets.  His advice on final assembly, painting a finishing touches leads to a beautiful model that gives a very clear impression of the real ship’s appearance before 1939.

The book is completed by a gallery of coloured photographs showing a variety of the author’s completed large-scale models.  These include the Type 45 destroyer Daring and the Leander class frigate Charybdis, both of which have helicopters on their flight decks which are outstanding models in their own right.  Seaforth Publishing has built up a very good reputation for its warship modelling titles over the years and the quality of this latest book is right up there with the best of them.  If you are thinking about a model warship that will portray its subject in considerable detail, this is the book for you and I thoroughly recommend it.  It has certainly given me the inspiration to get that kit out of the cupboard that I have been thinking about starting for years.     

Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2019

Reviewed by David Hobbs

Kerry Lang is a professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who builds model ships and Napoleonic War figures for fun and relaxation.  He sets himself high standards, winning a number of awards in both Canada and the UK, and his latest challenge is to build a submarine that both dives and surfaces under radio control.

If, like me, you have built model warships from kits you will have learnt that doing so is an excellent way of learning about the real ship.  Photographs only give a relatively distant view and even standing on the real ship does not always make it possible to judge the various fittings in their due perspective.  A well-crafted model, on the other hand, allows an observer to study a ships’ armament and fittings in a way that no other medium can.  Kerry Lang takes as his example a model he made of the Royal Navy ‘D’ class destroyer Daring which was launched in 1932 and sunk by a U-boat in 1940.  As he makes clear, however, the building technique he describes is generic and could apply to a number of similar ships including the series of RAN destroyers up to and including the ‘Q’ class or similar-sized frigates.  His model of Daring was approximately 66 cm long.

For anyone who is considering starting a model warship from scratch or even building that kit that has lain in the attic for years waiting for the right moment to start it, this book contains a wealth of useful information.  Lang gives examples of reference sources, kit and accessory makers in a variety of scales together with the materials, tools, glues and paints needed to give the most realistic and effective finish and then takes the reader on a journey through construction that is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs.  For those who want to go a step further than mere display, he devotes a chapter to radio-control arrangements that could provide propulsion, steering, rotating radar aerials and even moving gun turrets.  His advice on final assembly, painting a finishing touches leads to a beautiful model that gives a very clear impression of the real ship’s appearance before 1939.

The book is completed by a gallery of coloured photographs showing a variety of the author’s completed large-scale models.  These include the Type 45 destroyer Daring and the Leander class frigate Charybdis, both of which have helicopters on their flight decks which are outstanding models in their own right.  Seaforth Publishing has built up a very good reputation for its warship modelling titles over the years and the quality of this latest book is right up there with the best of them.  If you are thinking about a model warship that will portray its subject in considerable detail, this is the book for you and I thoroughly recommend it.  It has certainly given me the inspiration to get that kit out of the cupboard that I have been thinking about starting for years.     

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