by: Darren Baker [ ]
Finding good reference on ships is a problematic issue due primarily to their large size and so the difficulty of finding reference on a very specific area of a specific ship. Kagero Publishing has come to the rescue when it comes to the Japanese Destroyer Shimakaze. The Top Drawings book series is aimed very specifically at the modeller in a number of fields and they usually do the job of getting that information across very well.
The book is a duel language offering in English and Polish, English on the left and Polish on the right. This offering is a soft backed book offering with 24 pages and a large fold out sheet. The cover is a soft glossy card that could do with being thicker from a protection aspect. The pages within are a semi gloss good quality paper that provide the visual information very well. The print quality is also of a very high standard which is a big plus when covering the rigging required in areas of the boat.
The book starts with a couple of pages of text on the Shimkaze Destroyer. This is the only dedicated text in the book and covers a very brief history and dome differences to sister ships. The text also offers a data chart on the vessel looking at dimensions, weapons and crew numbers amongst other data.
Moving onto the heart of this book and the glorious visual reference. The drawings in this book cover the vessel in great detail from stem to stern and in portions. The drawings that look at the rigging on the vessel have to be the biggest plus as I feel that this book would empower me to replicate the rigging to any standard I set myself in an accurate manner. I have not seen any other line of publications that cover this aspect of ships as well as this title series.
The other thing that this title does well is looking at specific parts of the ship allowing the modeller to improve the accuracy of a model if they have the required skill set. This aspect of the book looks unsurprisingly at the weapons systems, something that I would expect; however in additions the book also supplies detailed looks at items such as vents and lifeboats.
Supplied with the book is a fold out sheet with images of the full vessel printed in 1/200th scale on side. On the other there is a 1/200th scale drawing of various aspects of the vessel and these with the prerequisite skills would enable you to build the vessel from scratch.
Ships are not my area of modelling, but I can still appreciate the form and those members who tackle these subjects. This title provides a very large amount of reference material that enables the modeller to super detail a build or to produce one from scratch to a very high level.