A Book Review. And Consequences.

by John

In common with many other males, (whoops. Possibly females as well, although I know of none.), I have long had a fascination with battleships. Of all eras from the ancient Greeks and Romans, Nelson’s, dreadnoughts, WW1 and WW2. Read the novels, made models from kits and from scratch. I have quite a library of books.

Recently, I purchased this book…

It was not cheap. But absolutely worth every cent. Available from various vendors. I got mine from Amazon.

336 pages. 350 colour views, including some original photographs, and lots of details. 1020 scale drawings of excellent quality. 43 pages of history and specifications. The bulk of the book is superb quality pictures and drawings.

These battleships, at 72,000 tons, were the largest ever constructed. And they mounted the biggest guns ever used on a battleship at 18.1″. Each of the 3 gun turrets weighed as much as a heavy destroyer, 2500 tons. They were 250 meters long, and 50 meters from keel to the top of the superstructure. Their 4 turbine engines drove the ships at 30knots/50kph. Each ship had 25,000 tons of armour, up to 560mm thick!!

“Awesome”, seems insufficient.

The Imperial Japanese Navy had them built to outgun the most powerful battleships of the US Navy and western powers. However they were dinosaurs, and both were sunk by aircraft. Neither fulfilled their intended role of fighting other battleships.

The book is divided into 4 sections….

Section 1: Introduction, Superbattleships and Summary of Service. 43pp.

Section 2: Primary Views. 25pp.

I cannot overstate the quality of the drawings. Just magnificent.

Section 3: The Drawings. Subdivded into general arrangements, Hull structure, Superstructure, Rig, Armaments, Fire Control, Fittings, Aircraft, Boats, Author’s Model. 252pp

18 pages are devoted to the 18.1″ guns.

Section 4: Yamato and Musashi at sea, Remains of Yamato and Musashi 12pp. The pictures “at sea” are computer constructions, using the author’s model, and incredibly convincing. Initially I took the pictures to be of the originals.

Both ships were sunk by massive US air power, with the loss in Yamato’s case of 90% of its crew of 3,300 sailors. Almost as sad, almost all of the original construction plans and details were destroyed by the IJN after the Japanese surrender.

So, if you have any interest in battleships, massive marine engineering, WW2 naval history, or ship modelling, this book is an absolute must.


After reading the text, and going through the pictures multiple times, and being captivated by the wonderful lines of the ships, I decided to make a model of Yamato. Kits vary from 1:1000, to 1:100, with the larger scales being in the thousands of dollars.

I made plastic assembly models when I was a kid, and once as an adult when I was laid up for 6 weeks after an injury (see later photo). In this case I settled on this kit. Tamiya is a well respected brand. The kit is 1:350 scale. Cost about $AUD150. I hope to interest a grandson to get involved.
The paints required cost almost as much as the Tamiya kit!
The ABS plastic components look excellent, with hardly any flashing, detailed instruction booklet. There is provision for batteries and remote controls, but I doubt that I will go that far. The hull is big! 751.5mm long.

The following is the only surviving plastic model of mine. Another ship with wonderful lines.

Cutty Sark. Even after blowing off most of the dust, it looks more like Shackleton’s “Endurance”. And needs some TLC.

A question to my readers….. would the progress of making the model Yamato be of any interest?