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Book Review
New Vanguard 160
British Battleships 1939-45 (2) Nelson and King George V Classes
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by: Rodger Cole [ HALFYANK ]

Model Shipwrights

Continuing in the New Vanguard series on British Battleships is this, volume 2, focusing on the Nelson and King George V classes. Actually that is slightly a misnomer as the book also mentions the uncompleted HMS Lion class and the last British battleship, HMS Vanguard. Even the author mentions that these two classes should not be included in the book but makes the point that they were important pieces in the development of British Battleships. Normally a pet peeve of mine is to include items outside the realm of a books subject but since I feel the HMS Vanguard is one of the best looking battleships ever built I’ll let this one slide.

The book traces the history of the design of these great ships, especially as to how various treaties influenced them. Due to the short format, only 48 pages, these histories can only be very brief. An important aspect, for modelers, is the inclusion of a chapter on wartime modifications of the various ships. This gives the modeler the opportunity to “kit bash” one ship into a model of another. It also allows for modifications from one time frame to another. Finally a last chapter gives a small service history for each ship.

I suspect that for most purchasers of books of this type the illustrations are the main reason for buying the book. If that is the case then this book certainly fills the bill as the drawings, photographs, and artwork are first rate. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the text. Several typos mar the text and several misstatements badly detract from it. For example when describing the German battleship program mention is made of “the 35000 ton battlecruisers of the Scharnhorst class. They were followed a year later by two 42000 ton battleships – Bismarck and Scharnhorst.” Mention is made that the writer is the author of over 50 books so he must be doing something right. However the text of this book gives the impression of being hurried, or at least badly edited.

My overall rating of the book is a composite of the artwork, 100%, and the text, 70%.

Since there are several models, in plastic, in both 1/700 and 1/350 scales, of the Nelson and KGV classes the typical ship modeler can readily use these books as a good reference when building any of these important ships.

Notes on the photos: Any distortion of these photos is due to the limitation of my scanner, not the published book.
Highs: Excellent artwork and little seen photos.
Lows: Typos and misstatements mar the text.
Verdict: A good, though slightly flawed overview of these great ships.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-84603-389-6
  Suggested Retail: $17.95
  Related Link: Amazon Listing
  PUBLISHED: Nov 16, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Rodger Cole (Halfyank)

American Father, English Mother. Mum was in some British auxiliary, I'm not sure which, and Dad was a truck driver who ended up on a half track towing a 57mm, in the Big Red One. I was a modeler in the early 70s but got out of it. I'm just getting back into modeling after about 25 years. I'm planni...

Copyright ©2020 text by Rodger Cole [ HALFYANK ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


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