Top positive review
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Superbly detailed, but has presentation problems
on May 28, 2017
When it was originally published in 1988, the "Anatomy of the Ship" entry on the battleship 'Yamato' quickly became the definitive modeler's guide to the ship, with second-hand copies fetching upwards of $150 whenever it went out of print. I never was a serious model builder, but I spent hours poring over Janusz Skulski's remarkably detailed schematics. This new (and presumably final) edition retains most of the plans from the original while adding nearly 400 more, including dozens of new close-up detail views, and a couple hundred devoted solely to the 'Musashi.' The biggest visual improvement lies in Stefan Draminski's incredible computer models of the two ships, detailed right down to individual rivets and deck planks. These are presented alongside Skulski's traditional line drawings, and give a much more fully fleshed-out idea of how the ships would have appeared in real life.
The Japanese destroyed most of the data on these ships at the end of World War II, along with just about everything on their internal arrangements. That said, this edition features some new drawings of the hull structure, and the deck plans are a bit more detailed in places. Anyone seriously interested in scratch-building or super-detailing their 'Yamato' or 'Musashi,' or in the aesthetic details of Japanese warships, will find this book indispensable. If the devil is really in the details, then this book needs an exorcism. You'll find diagrams of chequer plate arrangements, the funnel's hood and gutter, the degaussing cable socket, the bridge's wind baffle, crane platforms, the turret awning stanchions, and so on and so forth, to an almost absurd extent. At 336 pages, this is the biggest "Anatomy" yet, and the most detailed since the one on HMS 'Dreadnought.'
As someone who owned the original edition, this edition has some annoying omissions and quirks in the presentation which keep me from giving it five stars. As nice as Mr. Draminski's computer models may be, whoever decided to present six to a page, with the middle pair falling right into the gutter, needs to find a new day job. Some of the plans aren't treated much better, with important details falling into the binding. Some of the earlier Anatomies got around this problem by separating the plans across two pages with an inch-wide space in the middle. Some of the plans have been reduced in scale to fit alongside the computer models, while others have been omitted completely in this edition. Many of the drawings depicting the interior arrangements of the 18-inch turrets and their ammunition handling facilities, ammunition cross-sections, and the main fire control computer are gone. Although the histories of the ship are more detailed, the introduction omits some of the tables and minor details that were in the first edition.
Although it has some irritating flaws, this is no doubt going to be THE go-to book for anyone seriously interested in these ships, or who intend to build one of the dozens of commercially available model kits of them. As much as it frustrates me that material from the original was removed, there's so much new detail in here that it's practically a new book, and any new books in this series are a good thing to me!