The French Battleship Jean Bart

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Witold Koszela
Other Publication Information
Pages: 26, including Front and Rear covers in color, with B&W line drawings and two foldouts in color and B&W, Softbound, stapled
Company: Kagero Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site

Kagero Publishing, from Poland, in TopDrawings No. 125, illustrates the last commissioned battleship of the French Marine Nationale – Jean Bart, in his final fit in 1956. The TopDrawings series is designed for modelers to have a reference for detailed appearances of individual ships and aircraft. TopDrawings consist of color covers with black & white (B&W) line drawings of the ship, particular features, and equipment, especially armament. But the main attraction is the separate, large foldout of B&W scale drawings – 1/400 in this book, to match existing model kits – and now there are full color profiles in 1/400 scale. This TopDrawings is a go-to reference for building or scratchbuilding the Jean Bart as a waterline or full hull model.

The author, Witold Koszela, has published more than 26 books on warships, with at least 14 in the Kagero TopDrawing series. Witold also supplied the line and color drawings.

Jean Bart, the second of the Richelieu class, had a checkered career to say the least. Started in 1936, launched on March 6, 1940 and unfinished, but able to steam, he (French ships are masculine gender nouns) escaped France right before the capitulation to Germany in 1940 and sailed for Casablanca, Morocco, where he lingered with one semi-operational main turret until Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa by Allied forces in November 1942. Jean Bart was painted in yellow in an attempt to blend into the grain silos nearby, which is illustrated on the back cover. The US battleship Massachusetts won an uneven duel with Jean Bart, putting her completely out of action, along with dive bomber hits from US carrier aircraft when Jean Bart resumed fire after her duel. The second page of this book shows an overhead view photo of the damage. Because of his damage, Jean Bart stayed in Casablanca until the end of WW2, when he was brought back to France and finished to a more modern design in 1949, then refit again and finally fully operational in 1955. She saw action during the Suez Canal incident of 1956, but then was transferred to reserve in 1957, decommissioned in 1968 and scrapped.

What You Get

The book is a softbound European A4 size (11.7 X 8.3 in & 210 X 297 mm) with both English and Polish languages throughout. The outside covers are in color, but the rest of the book is B&W. The front cover has truncated overhead and starboard side drawings in realistic color, while the rear cover has full overhead and starboard side views in color. There is a one-page short history and characteristics, followed by a brief Table of technical data on page two, and then 22 pages of B&W line drawings of hull lines, ship sections, superstructure levels, armament, and fittings in 1/100, 1/200 scale, detailed enough for scratch-builders, accurizers and modifiers for building Jean Bart in any scale.

This TopDrawings continues color in the foldouts. Sheet B has eye-popping 1/400 scale overhead and both side views in full color – very helpful for getting the right paint colors. Sheet A has the same views as Sheet B, but in B&W line drawings. Sheets A & B show Jean Bart in her 1956 fit, and Sheet C shows the same overhead and starboard side views in B&W, and hull and top deck views from 1956. Sheet D shows a starboard view from 1950, along with a starboard view from 1956 identifying the armament and radar/communications gear. The line drawings are a dream (or nightmare) come true with their exquisite detail.

For modelers, there are several plastic and resin kits plus aftermarket brass available: 1

  1. Aber 1/350 L-038 long, L-039 short 380mm, L-040 152mm, L-041 100mm brass barrels, and 1/700 l-001 long, L-002 short 380mm, L-003 152mm, L-004 100mm brass barrels
  2. Artwox Models wood deck (20056) and blue deck (20056A) 1/700
  3. Flyhawk Model Deck Mask FLMM700048 1955 1/700 for Tr05752
  4. H-P Models (Germany) F-002 1950s 1/700 [1914 Jean Bart also is F-002, so be sure to choose what you want]
  5. Heller 1/100 discontinued long ago
  6. Heller 1955 81077 1/400; Master-Model (Poland) 1/350 380/152/100mm set (SM-350-039), 90mm Training guns brass barrels, and 1/700 380mm barrels without (SSM-700-029) or with blast bags (SM-700-030), 152mm (SM-700-031), 100mm (SM-700-032) brass barrels
  7. Pitroad/Skywave W111 1/700
  8. Pitroad/Skywave W179 1955 1/700
  9. Samek 700029 1955 1/700
  10. Snowman Models SR-2055 1/2000
  11. Trumpeter 05608 1955 1/350
  12. Trumpeter 05752 1955 1/700
  13. Voyager BSD70038 wood deck 1/700.

Aftermarket photoetch sets for the Richelieu should work fine for Jean Bart, but check photos and this book to make sure you use the correct parts. This list is not comprehensive. Note that these kits are not to be confused with kits of the previous Jean Bart battleship from 1910.


This book is intensely focused on modeler’s needs for building Jean Bart in any scale. As usual, the B&W drawings and new color drawings in 1/400 scale are clean, simple, detailed and accurate – one would need authentic blueprints to be (maybe) more accurate. This book is a must-have for building the available kits for Jean Bart as well as scratch-building endeavors. Very highly recommended if you want to build the Last Commissioned Battleship.


  • Figure 1: Front cover of Kagero TopDrawings 125 The French Battleship Jean Bart.
  • Figure 2: Rear cover of Kagero TopDrawings 125 The French Battleship Jean Bart.
  • Figure 3: SheetB partial close-up of the foldout showing color profile.

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

Reviewer Bio

Luke R. Bucci, PhD

Luke built all kinds of models starting in the early '60s, but school, wife Naniece, and work (PhD Clinical Nutritionist) caused the usual absence from building. Picked up modeling to decompress from grad school, joined IPMSUSA in 1994 and focused on solely 1/700 warships (waterline!) and still do. I like to upgrade and kitbash the old kits and semi-accurize them, and even scratchbuild a few. Joined the Reviewer Corps to expand my horizon, especially the books nobody wants to review - have learned a lot that way. Shout out to Salt Lake and Reno IPMSUSA clubs - they're both fine, fun groups and better modelers than I, which is another way to learn. Other hobbies are: yes, dear; playing electric bass and playing with the canine kids.

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