Shipcraft 22 - German Battlecruisers
by R. Brown and S. Backer

Review by Lindsay Charman

As I have recently developed some interest in aspects of naval development in World War One, I found this rather timely book very useful. As I know very little about the detail of the various engagements, policy, strategy and vessels of this era I needed an easy book or two to start me off. I’ve already started two World War One ship models, a Trumpeter HMS Queen Elizabeth and a scratchbuilt SMS Seydlitz. I had begun to notice it was relatively easy to get useful modelling info on the former but the latter was more of a challenge, particularly because it was a scratchbuild.

This 65 page, roughly A4 sized soft cover book provided all that I needed to start me off, with a little bit of historical background in the main text, a series of descriptions of the main classes of German battlecruisers and some basic but useful scale drawings and artwork. It also provides a bit of historical context, with descriptions of the equivalent and contemporary British vessels. This helps explain the way in which the warship-building race marched along at the time. However what I found really usefulness was the variety of graphic information on the ships described, photos of the time illustrating each class in B&W.

The contents cover a useful array of topics:
- basic information on aspects of the design of these vessels
- the various ship’s careers
- a reasonable coverage of some of the models already available
- photographic coverage of some actual modellers’ work in colour
- a brief discussion of German camouflage
- the appearance of the ships
- some drawings of selected vessels and
- a nice list of other references.

The photos of the various completed models, in particular were very inspiring. The camouflage and painting information was also valuable. I did find the 11 pages devoted to various kits less useful – I usually cannot afford the limited run resin kits that are the main source of 1/700 models so far so could only dream of these models. If the new plastic 1/700 Fly kits of the Derflinger class are to be followed by more WWI subjects I might change my mind on coverage of models in future editions.

Overall, this book was very useful. Timing was coincidentally good as I was just about to do some detail work on my Seydlitz. I suspect this booklet might be regarded as a sort of primer, leading the reader and modeller to more involved and more detailed references, the direction (history, technical or modelling) depending on what he/she requires. I would definitely take a good look at other titles in Seaforth’s Shipcraft series (most seem to be on WWI and WWII subjects so far) and in particular look forward to more of their books on any WWI subjects.volved, camouflage and markings and an extensive bibliography. A very well rounded package.

Published by Seaforth Publishing (as part of their Shipcraft series). Price approximately GBP 12-15/

The review sample for the book was on loan from Platypus Publications.