Anatomy of the Ship, The 100-gun Ship Victory

B1935

The publisher has built an unrivalled reputation for detailed technical drawings of warships. This new release provides a superb presentation of the most famous battleship, HMS Victory.

The main traditional readership for this fine series of ship exposures is the model and model engineering fraternity. However, this book is very aggressively priced and even within the budget of young readers who may be interested in ships and history more than in modelling. Any reader who wants to understand fully the naval action of Trafalgar must read books like this.

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NAME: Anatomy of the Ship, The 100-gun Ship Victory
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 070214
FILE: R1935
AUTHOR: John McKay
PUBLISHER: Conway, Anova
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 119
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Armour, big gun, battleship, capital ship, WWII, World War Two, Second World War, German re-armament, sea chase, German Navy, air power, carriers, torpedo aircraft, radar, maritime patrol
ISBN: 978-1-84486-223-8
IMAGE: B1935.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ptg4vzh/
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The publisher has built an unrivalled reputation for detailed technical drawings of warships. This new release provides a superb presentation of the most famous battleship, HMS Victory.

The established series presentation has been followed. The book begins with concise and effective text, providing a history of the vessel, followed by a selection of outstanding photographs. The main body of the book is given to a collection of excellent technical drawings to declared scales. It is unlikely that this book will ever be bettered in its field.

The main traditional readership for this fine series of ship exposures is the model and model engineering fraternity. However, this book is very aggressively priced and even within the budget of young readers who may be interested in ships and history more than in modelling. Any reader who wants to understand fully the naval action of Trafalgar must read books like this.

No space has been wasted. Fine line drawings appear in fold-out covers.

There is only one constraint. The drawings include large scale subjects, where the smaller items of ship equipment are, of better than 1/48, but full ship profiles and lines must be executed at smaller scale of 1/192 to fit inside the page sizes. This presents no difficulty for the most serious model engineer, producing a very large and highly detailed model, because the drawings can be copied and rendered at larger size where necessary. To attempt to produce all technical drawings at a standard size would require a larger, more costly book and provide smaller scale drawings of minor components and smaller equipment, where the greatest detail is important.

The subject is perhaps the most famous warship of history and still preserved in dry dock, accessible to the public. She represents the high point of design and construction of the wooden sailing warship, but she was already an old vessel at the time of her deployment as Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar. With her sisters, she inflicted such a defeat on the combined fleets of France and Spain that she created a period of peace where small wars were fought, the British Empire expanded rapidly, but major global conflicts were avoided. It is perhaps surprising that naval technology advanced as much as it did, but it explains why the major sailing warship continued to serve long after the period when Britain had the industrial capability to produce steam-powered, armoured warships with turret guns.

The outstanding drawings not only provide everything that the serious model engineer requires to produce an impressive display model, or even a radio controlled working sail model, but also provides a very effective presentation of the ultimate point of wooden ship design. HMS Victory is an excellent example of the craft of the shipwight and armourer that was applied for some 150 years to warships from the smaller frigates to the line of battle ship. Victory was at the technical limit of wooden construction and that limited her armament. She was a class of warship where the ‘magic’ 100 guns was a case of providing the maximum sizes of gun that could be accommodated in a warship and still achieve the objective of a 100 Gun warship. Her length and breadth also limited the sail plan and required great skill to produce a sail plan capable of providing the necessary performance in sea conditions likely to be encountered and compete on at least equal terms with an enemy vessel. When steam engines were eventually added to warships of this design, they added very little to the overall capability, occupying valuable space for engines and fuel, and requiring the propeller to be retractable when the ship was powered by her sails, which was most of the time. When HMS Warrior was eventually to challenge the traditional design of ships like Victory, she still mounted her guns on a gun deck and carried a large sail plan to augment the steam power and provide a back-up power system. Turret guns were then slowly introduced, but it was almost 200 years from the start of the 18th Century before the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought was to incorporate all of the key elements that were to produce the final battleship designs.

HMS Victory is an extremely complex design from which to craft a model of any size. The sail and rigging plans are intricate and require real skill. The hull and armament is also far from simple. This book provides the drawings from which to create a credible scaled facsimile, and the detail to produce a highly accurate display model. At the same time, they provide the visual detail from which any reader can build a reliable understanding of the technology of this class of warship, the wooden warship across classes and the basis on which naval actions were fought.

As with other books in this series, the smallest items of equipment are reproduced in fine detail and to large scale. There are line and isometric drawings and the detail of rigging is outstanding. The cannon are shown with bore so that a very accurate model can be constructed and this level of accurate detail also applies to the ship’s boats and deck equipment. For a static display, all of the guns can be recreated effectively. The great challenge will face those who wish to create a sailing model with radio control and the ability to fire broadsides while sailing. The reason for this is that the heaviest guns on the lowest gun deck are very close to the water and, with so many, present a challenge in creating a controlled system for opening and closing gun ports to avoid taking on water.

For those who are interested in understanding the technology of the wooden warship, there is everything required. There is a concise and effective text to describe the history of Victory, supported with high quality photographs of her as she was restored and preserved. The technical drawings then provide the information that is difficult to present effectively in any other form and at a book price within even the budget of the young reader. The long 32 pounder that formed the heaviest armament on the lowest gun deck is shown with its mount and control systems. The same detail is then followed with the 24 pounder long guns on the next deck and the 12 pounder long guns. These long guns were often aimed so that the ball skimmed off wave tops to increase range and achieve waterline hits. There are equally detailed drawing for the brutal 64 pounder Carronades that were slide mounted and used for close range engagement prior to boarding.

It may be time to wonder how long books of this type and quality will be published. Today, a serious modeller may wait for the soft back edition and its much lower price than a first hard back edition. Some may buy the hard back and hope that the soft back is not too long in publishing. They will then carefully unbind the soft back so that each page can be easily scanned and, in its digital form, be taken into a 3D drafting system.

Once this has been done, all the necessary drawings can be produced to a common scale and printed out to form the drawings necessary to cut parts and construct the model. For working models, the drawings can be adapted on the computer to cater for radio control equipment and other modifications to produce a very impressive working scale model. With the rapid reduction in the cost of 3D printing, all of the smaller components that currently are purchased from specialist model component manufacturers, can be printed directly from the drawings in plastic or metal.

There will still be model engineers who insist on building every part themselves, but high quality models will become a hobby that those with lower skills, or less time, will be able to participate in. That then raises the question of whether special interest books like this will be published in future on paper, when the publisher could create a set of digital files that can be used directly in 3D drafting systems.

It also raises many questions about the future of printed books in general. Those of us who grew up before the digital age began to penetrate book publishing still prefer to handle paper books, even if we are highly skilled in electronic processing and owners of a comprehensive set of digital computing, reading and communicating products. That may change as electronic systems continue to evolve and include new functionality.

However, it is clear that electronic publishing provides a new set of opportunities where the written word and drawings can be compiled in the same way that music compilations have been produced for many years. In the context of this fine Conway publication, there is the potential for the reader to take digital sections from many difference related sources, and compile a unique electronic book that is interactive and capable of outputting to a 3D printer, from the digital images and drawings.

It is now a marketing question rather than a technical question. In the short term, readers may continue to buy and value paper books, but also acquire electronic versions of the whole, or parts, of the book. In the longer term, publishers may begin to act as a library of digital files that can be purchased as necessary and combined uniquely by the reader. There may also be a new industry of compilers in much the same way as music compilations became an additional layer to music publishing.

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