Naval Book Reviews
Research can make a project, allowing you to produce a perfect replica of the real-life ship. Good research can also fill in the gaps in incomplete or poorly done instructions. In addition, books of "how to" tips can help make you a better modeler, and are a great way to catch up on developments in modeling tools and supplies for those returning to this hobby after an absence spent going to school, starting a family and all those sorts of things.

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The Terrible Hours
May 1939 held a nasty threat of war and while some hoped it would not happen, the men of the Portsmouth Naval Yard saw the clouds. On the 23rd the Navy's newest submarine, the Squalus, went to sea for final trials before she was to be sent into the Atlantic to eventually hunt U-boats. What happened to the Squalus and her crew over the next days and nights is the story of courage, grace and ultimately redemption that drives this book through its 300 pages. Tom Clancy fantasies aside, this is the story of real men and a real boat that sank off Portsmouth, and the sailors who risked their own lives to rescue her crew.

While there are no photos or drawings you can use in modeling, after reading this book I have a hard time not imaging the lives of men inside those gray and black hulls we model.

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Basics of Ship Modeling
If you are going to buy one book on ship modeling, this is the one. This book is also a good place to start if you want to try a resin kit, or adding photo etch to a model.

Start with the proof: can this guy build great ship models or is he one of those folks who talk a great game but never complete a project? The color pages at the center of this 112 page soft cover showcase the author's work, as well as a few other excellent modelers. You get nice shots of 19 different completed ships in color (see list under our full review), proof enough that this guy models ships like my kids burn through bales of Pampers.

With his credibility established, Ashey takes you through pages and pages of real tips.   

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U.S. Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History
If you are a fan of the 'Gator Navy, it does not get any better than this book. The value of the background material, photos and line drawings to the modeler cannot be over-stated (though I'll try; this is a great book).

In this latest addition to his acclaimed U.S. warship design history series, Norman Friedman describes the ships and the craft of the U.S. amphibious force, from its inception in the 1920s through World War II to the present (420 pages, hardcover). He explains how and why the United States successfully created an entirely new kind of fleet to fight and win such World War II battles as D-Day and the island landings in the Pacific.    

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Tarawa / Wasp Class General Purpose Assault Ships
If you are building the 1/700 Dragon-Shanghai Tarawa or Saipan, the Italeri Nassau or the Revell Wasp, this book is the single source of reference photos you will need.

This 64 page paperback is loaded with color and B+W photos of both classes, as well as a selection of other amphibious ships in use by the USN.

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Other Books of Interest

U.S. Aircraft Carriers

U.S. Battleships

U.S. Submarines Since 1945
See our review

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All contents © Copyright 1999-2002 Peter Van Buren except as noted. All rights reserved. Inclusion of links does not imply endorsement of contents.