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Book Review
New Vanguard 163
British Destroyers 1892-1918
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by: Rodger Cole [ HALFYANK ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

I have several Osprey New Vanguard titles concerning armored vehicles but this is the first I’ve had on ships. The subject matter is interesting, and well covered.

The first item I noticed was a single sheet describing the book, along with its special features and a brief bio of the author. I thought at first this was going to be an addendum of some kind but I guess it’s more of an advertising blurb.

The book itself is a very quick read, only 48 pages. It covers a brief history of the development of torpedo boat destroyers in general, then developments of the various classes of all British destroyers and flotilla leaders up to the end of World War I. I admit most of these classes were totally unknown to me. The only thing I knew about World War I destroyers was those classes, such as the V and W classes, that served until World War II.

Each class is described, along with a chart showing displacement, length, beam, draught, armament, machinery, speed, and fuel. Black and white photos accompany each class, along with some excellent color drawings, showing side and beam view of one class, along with a side view of another class. Anybody building these ships can have some splash of color added to the display case as the color drawings show these ships having not only the typical hull red lower hull, but also black or green lower hulls. As is typical with New Vanguard series books there is also a “center fold” section that shows a cutaway of one destroyer, along with a numbered key showing items of interest. Unlike other New Vanguard books that I have instead of grouping all of these color drawings in a center section they are scattered about the book. Some really excellent color plates of the destroyers in action are the highlight, for me, of the book.

Finally there is an historical section showing the composition of the Royal Navy at the outbreak of World War I, along with the wartime construction. A brief listing of several destroyer actions in World War I is then given, such as Action off Texel, 17 October 1914, Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916, and actions such as escort duties and the Dover patrol. These are very brief, but do give some idea as to how these ships were used.

All in all this book really makes me, as a modeler, wish to be able to model a number of these important ships. Unfortunately the only kit available, in plastic, that I am aware of is the Tamiya 1/700 scale H.M.A.S. Vampire, which is in World War II rig. This book almost makes me want to check into resin kits. Almost, but not quite.

Notes on the photos: Any distortion of these photos is due to the limitation of my scanner, not the published book.
Highs: Interesting subject, excellent color drawings and color plates.
Lows: Due to space limits the book only gives very brief descriptions of the ships and actions.
Verdict: A good reference on these interesting and important ships.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-84603-514-2
  Suggested Retail: $17.95
  Related Link: Amazon listing
  PUBLISHED: Nov 09, 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 ]. All rights reserved.


What wonderful timing! I will be building a British DD or two for the Great War campaign and I need all the reference material I can get! --Karl
NOV 10, 2009 - 10:12 AM

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