Book Review
Japanese Battleships
Japanese Battleships 1897 - 1945
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Japanese Battleships 1897 - 1945

By R A Burt
First published 2015 by Seaforth Publishing &C Pen & Sword Books Ltd.
Copyright © R A Burt 1989 & 2015
ISBN – 978 1 84832 234 9
128 pages
MSRP - £25.00 / $39.25 US


R A Burt, draughtsman and illustrator and well-known consummate author best know for his work on the design, constructions and service histories of British warships has compiled a large collection of period photographs of Imperial Japanese battleships into a “Photographic Archive” with his book Japanese Battleships 1897 – 1945.


This book is a 128 page hardcover from pictographic look at every class of Japanese battleships created between the years, 1897 and 1945. As we know, many photographs of the Imperial Japanese Navy were lost, this was mostly during the Second World War. Mr. Burt has compiled over 130 of the majority of remaining photographs, reproduced and laid them all out in this book. Being this is a photographic reference and not a written accounting of all of the ships included in this book, the chapters are laid out by class of ship.

Table of Contents

• Introduction
• Fuji Class – Fuji / Yashima
• Asama Class – Asama / Tokiwa
• Shikishima Class – Shikishima / Hatsuse
• Idzumo Class – Idzumo / Iwate
• Asahi
• Yakumo
• Mikasa
• Kasuga Class – Kasuga / Nisshin
• Tsukuba Cass – Tsukuba / Ikoma
• Tango
• Suwo Class – Suwo (ex-Pobieda) / Sagami (ex-Peresviet)
• Hizen (ex-Retvizan)
• Iwami (ex-Orel)
• Iki (ex-Imperiotor Nikolai)
• Katori Class – Katori / Kashima
• Satsuma Class – Satsuma / Aki
• Kurama Class – Karuma / Ibuki
• Settsu Class – Settsu / Kawachi
• Kongo Class – Kongo / Haruna / Hiei / Kirishima
• Drawings
• Fuso Class – Fuso / Yamashiro
• Ise Class – Hyuga / Ise
• Nagato Class – Nagato / Mutsu
• Yamato Class – Yamato / Musashi

The book follows these battleships chronologically through the book. Many of the photographs have been beautifully rendered some spanning a two-page spread. Each of the photos are accompanied by text and do their best to explain which ship we are looking as well as location of the ship at the time the picture was taken when possible.

Each chapter on the specific classes of ships starts off with a short description of the class including displacement, dimensions and armament. Each ship of the class is listed next describing when the ship was laid down, launched, completed and fate.

There is a section towards the middle of the book that contains line drawing of several classes of ships. The section defines the appearance changes to Kongo, Fuso, Ise and Nagato classes of ships after reconstruction leading up to and into the Second World War.


R A Burt’s Japanese Battleships 1897-1945 is a fantastic look at these grand ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy spanning almost fifty years. Almost all of the photographs have been beautifully reproduced with the exception of a few grainy an out of focus shots as these were the only shots that still exist of a few of the battleships. The included line drawings is a nice addition showing the various changes made to the four major classes of ships that took part in WWII. There are some amazing shots of the earlier battlewagons such as the reassigned Russian ships after placement in the IJN. If you are into Japanese Battleships and from before and during the Second World War, you will enjoy the entire collection of archival photographs in this book! The book also serves as a great referencing tool for the scale modeler as there are some detailed and up close photographs of many of them.


I would like to thank Pen & Sword Books for providing this copy of Japanese Battleships 1897 - 1945 for this revie!

Pen & Sword
Highs: A fine collection of Japanese Battleships all in one publication. A nice reference for scale modelers of IJN ships.
Lows: There are a few editing typos within the book, but nothing that takes away from the photographic display.
Verdict: A great book for anyone how love IJN subject matter, specifically Battleships. A decent resource for referencing these big ships of the IJN.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN – 978 1 84832 234 9
  Suggested Retail:  £25.00 / $39.25 US
  PUBLISHED: Aug 23, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Pen & Sword Books!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


Wow, this looks like a must have for any Kaigun enthusiast! On my Christmas list!
AUG 23, 2015 - 07:22 PM
Looks like an inspirational book for IJN modelers!
SEP 12, 2015 - 12:25 AM

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