Warships of the Great War era

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Warships of the Great War Era: A History in Ship Models.By David Hobbs. Published by Seaforth, Barnsley, 2014.
Reviewed by Tim Coyle
DAVID Hobbs, the former Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilot and author of several authoritative works on carrier aviation, has turned his attention to a pictorial study of warship models of the Great War. The resultant book is a real gem with which modellers, those who ever wanted to be modellers (as was this reviewer) and wider warship enthusiasts will find an instant rapport.

The models are from the collections of the UK National Maritime Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Australian War Memorial and the Australian National Maritime Museum. The model photographs were provided by the respective institutions’ picture libraries and private collections.

The book covers all Great War warship types, from battleships to river gunboats and examples of merchant ships. Each warship type has a specific section which features the ship models together with details of the model’s construction and features and a brief history of the ship itself.

The many close ups of superstructures show the exquisite detail in many of the models and are so good one feels that one could actually walk on board. Each warship section also has a representative model annotated with the respective type features.

In addition there are pictorial features on battleship superstructure, models of underwater weapons such as mines and torpedoes, guns and gun mountings, capital ship development 1914-1918, destroyer development and boats and boat stowage.

My favourite model is HMS Leviathan, an 1898 armoured cruiser. The model was made by the ship’s builder and the detail is quite breathtaking. There two fine views of the model and a further two page spread of close ups of the ship’s upper deck sections in superb detail.

This is one of those rare books which can be picked up at any time to lose oneself in the modeller’s art of a century ago. Needless to say Warships of the Great War Era is highly recommended.

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