Reviewed by David Hobbs
NUNMBER 21 in Seaforth’s Ship Craft series, this book follows logically on from number 11 which described the ‘A’ to ‘I’ and ‘Tribal’ classes. Although aimed primarily at ship model-makers, the book is well illustrated with black and white photographs of the actual ships; colour photographs of models and accurate coloured profile drawings showing representative wartime camouflage schemes.
There are also line drawings in plan and profile and technical details for each class including text descriptions of their equipment fits and armament.
I have often thought that accurate scale models can give a better idea of a ships’ fixtures and fittings than the real vessel since you can see the whole thing in perspective and this book underlines that belief; some of the illustrated models are superb, especially that of HMS Vigo which could taken for the actual ship against the right background. Surprisingly, given the level of detail, it was originally intended to be a powered, floating model for use on a boat pond but it was completed without machinery and is now on display in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
There is a fair amount of Australian interest with ships of the ‘N’, ‘Q’ and ‘Battle’ classes having served in the RAN. This book will be of interest to those who want an easy reference book that covers the British and Australian destroyers of this period, especially with regard to camouflage and overall appearance in service.
Anyone who might have considered making a model destroyer will find the section listing kits and accessories invaluable and the illustrations of completed models really do give a level of sophistication and skill to strive for. Overall this is good book that will appeal both to modellers and a wider readership interested in the ships themselves. I thoroughly recommend it.