Book Review
USS Missouri, Build & Detailed
Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manual Number 4 Building & Detailing the Tamiya 1/350 Scale USS Missouri BB-63
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Building & Detailing the 1/350 Tamiya USS Missouri, BB-63 from Mike Ashey Publishing is manual number 4 of the new Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manual. This manual has 86 pages and 460 sequenced color photos in an A4 format.

The book is available in both paper hard copy and PDF. In paper this publication series is unique in format - the pages are pre-punched to fit into a binder; a cover and title page are included, as is a page of spine banners to identify the book on your shelf.

Mike Ashey has been writing acclaimed modeling books since the late 1980s. Now he has entered the desktop publishing arena with his books and new titles. Let's examine why his books are so highly regarded.

This is a different approach to publishing, which allows incorporation of a lot of sequenced color pictures into each manual, at a nominal price. Each manual is printed on heavy stock glossy paper and designed to be stored in a customer supplied 3-ring "D" binder. Each manual is 3-ring punched and also comes with a front and back heavy cardstock cover to protect the manual and front, back and side cardstock inserts for your binder. The side insert has 3 different cutout sizes for 1.5, 2 and 3 inch "D" ring binders.

United States and Puerto Rico purchases can be made using PAYPAL, personal checks or money orders.

For International Purchases see the website instructions before placing an order. Mike Ashey Publishing Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manuals are also now available on eBay. EBay also has manuals which are in "bundle" packages.

Tamiya's granddaddy large USS Missouri is from the 1980s and Mr. Ashey demonstrates building and improving the kit virtually step by step. He does so while demonstrating various modeling tools and techniques for cleaning, testing, and fitting parts. Mr. Ashey often introduces tools that are not specifically model-related; some are very clever.

The fit and detail of this model is presented with pros and flaws. Those flaws he shows and how to correct them. The author is a proponent of extensive taping and test-fitting of parts to plan the assembly process, including adding strength to assemblies, and fitting of small parts. In some cases some of Tamiya's detail is not up to standard, and Mr. Ashey demonstrates scratchbuilding of some parts by machining new capstans. Another example is the kit whale boat cradles that are not up to snuff, and you will see how they were removed and replaced with aftermarket items. Tamiya simulated the portholes with indentions and the author drilled them out.

Working the styrene, resin, 3D printed, and metal and photoetch parts are covered in detail. Forming of the photoetch is demonstrated with jigs and formers. The text also focuses on comparisons and use of 3D printed parts and other aftermarket items. For readers without experience with 3D printed pieces, despruing and cleaning of 3D printings is well covered.

Photoetch parts can be very fine and delicate. The assembly of spindly parabolic radar antennas is covered with several good photos.

Another delicate process is the intricate masking required to authentically recreate "Mighty Mo's" World War II Measure 22 configuration of Navy Blue, Deck Blue and Haze Gray.

Eighty-five pages beyond the cover make up this manual and the breakdown of subjects are thus:
    * 26 pages of prepping, improving, and fitting the plastic kit
    * 20 pages of working and attaching photoetch, resin, and 3D parts
    * 22 pages dedicated to masking and painting
    * 8 pages of adding tiny parts, rigging, and installing sub-assemblies
    * 6 pages of the complete model in all its glory
Okay, you got me, those numbers don't add up to 85. Some of the pages presented a mix of subjects without one being dominate.

U.S. Navy's camouflage Measure 22 was fairly simple and yet can be a laborious to model. Remember that 22 pages are devoted to masking and painting the model, from small pieces, to entire sub-assemblies. Cutting of masking tape is demonstrated, detailing the use of small strips to larger area masking pieces. This manual could be a stand-alone painting guide.

In a previous review I wrote that short of building the model myself, I don't know if there could be a more in-depth journey through the process. That also stands true for this manual.

Just as with his other manuals, Mr. Ashey is generous with his full color images. Several images have arrows to leave no doubt where to look for important subjects. Almost every page has six photographs. Photos of the completed model are larger, with two pages of two photos, and two sporting single full-page images.

The photographs are excellent, shot with high illumination and a crisp medium blue backdrop. Photographs are focused intimately close for many details, and also to show sub-assemblies. The fine masking of so many nooks and crannies is well illustrated.

I find the detail and quality of the photographs to be uniformly excellent.

I have reviewed several Mike Ashey manuals and Building & Detailing the 1/350 Tamiya USS Missouri, BB-63 upholds the positive record of the series. It is an excellent modeling manual. Even if one does not have any intention of building this specific model, the methods and techniques, after-market supplies and processes are appropriate and useful for any modeling genre. The only detractor is de minimis - in a few captions the name Bofors in not capitalized.

The process is painstakingly documented. Each of the 460 crisp color photographs are excellent, expertly illuminated in front of a pleasing backdrop.

I think Building & Detailing the Tamiya Missouri is another excellent manual for modelers of any genre, and an exceptional how-to for ship modelers, and an outstanding presentation of Tamiya's big battleship. Highly recommended.

Please remember to mention to Mike Ashey and others that you saw this manual here - on Model Shipwrights.
Highs: Painstakingly documented assembly process. Each of the 460 crisp color photographs are excellent, expertly illuminated in front of a pleasing backdrop.
Lows: Minor typo.
Verdict: I think this is another excellent manual for modelers of any genre, and an exceptional how-to for ship modelers, and an outstanding presentation of Tamiya's big battleship.
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: Ship Manual No.4
  PUBLISHED: Jul 21, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Mike Ashey Publishing!
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 Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. 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.


This looks to be a really cool book. I've long appreciated Mike Ashey's ship models; excellent builds, but still with techniques that seem doable.
JUN 15, 2020 - 06:57 AM

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