Reviews of products for scale ship models, including submarines.

Model Art Vessel Model Special No. 61, 2016 Autumn

Published: October 19th, 2016     
Model Art Vessel Model Special No. 61, 2016 Autumn
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Model Art Co., Ltd.

Model Art Issue 61 is typical of other Model Art magazines in that it is written entirely in Japanese, with occasional English words, usually in article titles or in captions. The Vessel Model Special is a quarterly issue that focuses on naval subjects. Each issue leads off with either short articles on a finished build or an in depth step-by-step ‘how to’ on the build and painting. The finished model photographs are of high quality in brightness, color, and depth of focus. Advertising comprises the inside covers (and back cover) along with another four pages showing what is available and new, always useful for building up that wish list. I counted nearly 600 photos (mostly in color) along with ten 1/700 scale drawings. You will find throughout this journal, period photographs of the real ships and aircraft involved in battle. Additionally there are a lot of color scrap drawings highlighting details in the Ship Construction series.

U.S. Navy Tanker

Published: October 8th, 2016     
U.S. Navy Tanker
Reviewed by: Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/525
Company: Round 2 Models

The Kit

Round 2 Model Company purchased the rights to the entire Lindberg line and they have been releasing selected kits gradually. In the past, “real modelers” disparaged the Lindberg Line as being inaccurate and simplistic, but these kits were never designed to be the be all and end all of accuracy, even at the time long ago when they were released. They were designed to generally represent the subject and do so in a kit that was easy to assemble and reasonably priced. By today’s standards, they are not what most ship modelers are looking for, however if you’ve got a youngster you’re trying to get involved in the hobby or maybe a Brownie or Cub Scout group, they would make great projects and teaching tools. Or, maybe you want to try out some new techniques. These kits would make great test beds for that.

River Plate, 1939 – The Sinking of the Graf Spee

Published: September 20th, 2016     
River Plate, 1939 – The Sinking of the Graf Spee
Author: Angus Konstam, Illustrations by Tony Bryan
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Company: Osprey Publishing

I was somewhat aware of the happenings at Montevideo, Uruguay some time in early WW2, but this book gave me a clear picture of what happened, and why it happened like it did. Mr. Konstam has put together a thoroughly researched book, with all of those details that make the history come alive. But the book is also very well written, to the point where I looked up and it was well past my bedtime, but the book held my interest so very well that I couldn’t put it down.

The Ship

The Admiral Graf Spee was one of three “Pocket Battleships” of the Kriegsmarine at the beginning of the war. The ship was limited by treaty to no more than 10,000 tons. There was no limit to the armament, so the Graf Spee carried six 11 inch (28cm.) guns in two turrets. In order to meet the 10K ton weight limit, the armor was pared back from the original design, leaving the ship well armed, but not heavily protected. I have heard the class characterized as “eggshells carrying hammers”. The ship was also different from the usual in having diesel engines instead of steam. This had the advantage of far better fuel efficiency.

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941 - 1945

Published: August 31st, 2016     
US Navy Light Cruisers 1941 - 1945
Author: Mark Stille
Reviewed by: Bill Kluge, IPMS# 45849
Company: Osprey Publishing

The latest New Vanguard naval edition from Osprey covers one of the least well-known class of modern US Navy vessels, the light cruiser. The operational lifetime of the Navy’s light cruisers spanned 50 years, from the commissioning of the USS Omaha in 1923 to the scrapping of the USS Roanoke in 1973. Their heyday occurred between 1941 and 1945. By 1947, most of those that had survived the World War II had been decommissioned. A few soldiered on either as gun platforms during the Korean War, or were adapted to missile platforms during the Cold War.

The first chapters detail the origin of the light cruiser, the influence of the London and Washington Naval Treaty restrictions, the evolution of their standardized 6”-gun armament, and advent of radar and its spectacular effect on their fire control. Completed just after World War I, the Navy’s first “modern” light cruisers, the 10-ship Omaha class, were intended as a scouting vessel for the main Battle Fleet. They would prove a disappointment, never adequately fulfilling the mission they were designed for, much less the heavier demands placed on them by the Second World War.

USS California BB-44

Published: August 10th, 2016     
USS California BB-44
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Ampersand Publishing

Thank you to David Doyle of David Doyle Books for choosing the IPMS Reviewer Corps to examine and report on one of his new titles, all of which may be viewed on the website listed above. I am very appreciative of the IPMS Reviewer Corps support, whose efforts make this review program so good.

Author Doyle’s treatment of the USS California strikes an excellent balance of book size and detail. The content is laid out in a picture-rich minimum-text format from keel-laying to cutting-torch life stages of the ship. Design concepts, politics, renaming, and many other facets of the California’s history are covered, in addition to her thoroughly-documented long and distinguished career, punctuated by survival and salvage at Pearl Harbor. The image-rich format is a wealth of information for the scale model builder, using hundreds of high-quality images, complemented by select line drawings and color renderings.