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on May 3, 2004
I recently obtained the USNI Press's reissue of noted naval historian John Roberts' Anatomy Of The Ship series on the USS Intrepid, the Essex-class carrier now serving as a museum in NYC Harbor. The book, originally published about 22 years ago, holds up remarkably well. It has tight but useful text, great photos, and - of course - the kinds of drawing-after-drawing-after-drawing of the ship, it's details and fittings, etc., that you've come to expect from the AOTS series.
This AOTS book includes a complete description of this early (CV-11) Essex-class fleet carrier, an up-scale/modernized version of the earlier Yorktown class carriers (which also included Hornet and Enterprise). The photo section focuses on Intrepid, but includes shots of other Essex carriers. Several photos show the Intrepid's deck overloaded with aircraft being transported to the Pacific Theater, which would make a great basis for a display model (if you don't mind scratch-building P-61 Black Widows, PV-2 Harpoons and other land-based aircraft seldom seen on aircraft carriers. Camoflage is important for these mid/late war carriers, and the Intrepid's dazzle scheme is well-presented (along with camouflage of the F6F Hellcat.
Of course, the heart and soul of the AOTS books are the drawings - these in 1/350th scale, ideal for use with the new 1/350th Essex class kits now out on the market. These are nothing short of superb.
The cover says "complete with 1/350th Scale fold-out plan" and I looked several times trying to find this fold-out in the reprint ... then it hit me. The inner side of the dust jacket IS the "fold-out plan" - a brilliant printing solution, and something that makes this plan even easier to use than if it had been bound into the book.
I've been fortunate to spend a lot of time on the USS Hornet (CV-12), now a museum ship in San Francisco Bay (at Alameda). Though modernized, she's still very much an Essex, and my familiarity with the class convinces me even more than might otherwise be the case that this book is a "must" for ship modelers or WW-II Naval historians.
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