by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The following introduction is as supplied by the publisher:
The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, these drawings represented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, these highly detailed plans were drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes that represent the acme of the draughtsman’s art.
Today they form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality. This book is one of a series based entirely on these draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail – complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design.
The subject of this volume was one of the last battlecruisers, elegant ships which combined a powerful armament with high speed, but much criticised for their light protection. Throughout their existence, they were controversial – three were sunk at Jutland – and Repulse herself was famously lost to Japanese air attack at the outset of the Pacific War. Nevertheless, the type was highly prized: Repulse and her sister Renown were the only capital ships given sufficient priority to be designed, built and completed during the course of the First World War; and substantial sums were spent on large-scale reconstruction during the 1930s. Both these phases of the ship’s life are fully documented in two separate sets of plans, which allows this novel form of anatomy to cover the whole life of the ship.
This offering from Seaforth Publishing is a hard backed book which feels like quality as soon as you look at it. This book covering the Repulse is written by John Roberts; this author is an authority on British warships and their design and is also a draughtsman in his own right, so he knows what he is doing with this title. Over the 160 pages in the book we are guided in a visual manner and great detail into almost every nut and bolt of this vessel during its life.
The text in this title is informative and spread throughout the title. I like the approach of spreading the text out, as a book of this size can be a little off putting if confronted by pages of text covering history and the like. By spreading this out it can be read while also perusing the glorious draftsman’s drawings of this vessel.
The drawings being those of the draftsman contain an exceptional level of detail that cannot in my opinion be bettered. If a modeller wants to produce a segment of the Repulse in any scale, then this book has all of the answers needed. It may not contain every nut and bolt of the boat but it does provide the route taken by every element of the vessel, be that the engines, the guns or the boilers it is all here in incredible detail. Another aspect that will appeal is that the drawings are done using coloured inks and so are easy to follow what relates to what as you work your way through the title.
This offering from Seaforth courtesy of Pen and Sword covers every element of the Battle Cruiser Repulse to a level of exactitude of detail that I do not believe can be bettered. The Draftsmen who produced these drawings did a fantastic job with the coloured ink allowing the eye to easily follow details through the drawings. This book should enable the modeller with the requisite skills to reproduce in extreme detail any aspect of the Repulse or for those who are not faint of heart the entire vessel.
Darren Baker takes a look at a Seaforth offering courtesy of Pen and Sword looking the the 'Battle Cruiser Repulse Detailed in Original Builders' Plans'.
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