Merchant and Military Vessels
of World War Two Reviewed Vol. I
by Norman E. Harms.

I received an interesting CD-ROM to review recently, it is Merchant and Military Vessels of World War II Reviewed, Vol. I. - (ONI-208J-Far Eastern Small Craft & ONI-223M - Merchant Ship Shapes). While I have a pretty large library of reference books, I love having a digital version to access. This CD contains the Office of Naval Intelligence manuals on the Merchant Ships and Small vessels that are found in the far east. Japan, China, the Philippines and other eastern countries are represented. The emphasis is of course on Japan, as they were the subjects often found in the sites of those using these manuals. You will find everything from large transports and cargo ships, to gunboats and even Chinese Junks. 
This is really two books on one CD, as the Far eastern craft publication (ONI-208J-Far Eastern Small Craft) is a complete volume in itself. It features Small combatant types such as;  PT boats, gunboats, subchasers, and lesser escorts, along with typical merchant vessels under 1,000 gross tons including amphibious assault ships.
 The second part of the CD (ONI-223M - Merchant  Ship Shapes) deals with merchant ships of all types and countries. It is the same thing that the US Navy trained their personnel with. It graphically illustrates the differing types of merchant vessels. By showing them alongside each other and illustrating the features that make each class stand out.
The CD uses Adobe Acrobat to view the pages, and arrange them much like a book, but with a few benefits that a book can not give you. Number one, you can print out the pages that you are concerned with. The zoom feature of Acrobat will please a lot of readers that have difficulty seeing small print. If you don't mind downloading the latest version of Adobe, you can also gain the ability to do a text search for any word found in the CD. A recent version of Adobe is found on the CD, but I would recommend that the user download the very latest one from Select the larger file to download, as it adds the previously mentioned search feature.
The modeler and historian will find this CD to be a valuable reference source to have handy. There are over 600 photo's and illustrations packed in one CD ROM. I'm looking forward to future titles from SMS Products.

This CD is currently listed for $40.00 (US) and is available from Scale Specialties and has installation instructions for Windows (3.1, 95, 98 and NT), Mac, Linux, OS2, and UNIX users.

Back to Reviews