Kagero Publishing of Poland has two lines of books that include titles with a nautical bent and aimed at scale modelers: Super Drawings in 3D and Top Drawings. The former covers a ship in great detail via the use of color 3D renderings, while the latter covers a ship in great detail via black and white line drawings. The books are sized differently, with the 3D books numbering 80 to 90 A4 sized pages, while the Top Drawings books number 20 to 30 A4 sized pages. Prices reflect the size and content differences, with the 3D books priced $28.95 to $36.95, and the smaller Top Drawings books priced $19.95 to $24.95.
Kagero cover the IJN destroyer Shimakaze under both titles, and it is the Top Drawings book that we are reviewing today. Shimakaze was the first of what was supposed to be a fleet of destroyers constructed on the basis of extended hulls of the Kagero class destroyers. Her keel was laid down on August 8, 1941, she was launched on July 18, 1942. However, by then the military and industrial situation for Japan had changed, and none of her proposed sister ships were ever built.
The book measures 11.5 inches by 8.25 inches, with a card cover. Within the covers, the reader is treated to a short 2 page written history of the Shimakaze in both English and Polish. There is one black and white WW2 aerial photo of Shimakaze provided in the book and it is rather grainy. Following this introduction comes 22 pages of very high-quality line drawings. All aspects of the ship are covered, from companionway watertight doors to lifeboats, rangefinders, wind direction gauges, funnels, masts, fire hydrants, radar masts, depth charge launchers, various anti-aircraft guns, 127mm main gun turrets and barrels, 610mm torpedo launchers, searchlights. You get the picture: lots of detail. None of these drawings are to a standard scale, nor is any scale provided for the individual drawings. There is a large double-sided set of 1/200th scale plans provided as a separate removable item, which measures 27” by 19.75”. These drawings include a Port and Starboard side view, a Top view, stern and bow views, and numerous superstructure views.
For a destroyer series that in the end produced only one vessel, the Shimikaze has been well kitted by the scale plastic model industry. In 1/700th scale, there are kits by Pit-Road and Tamiya, while in the larger 1/350th scale there are kits from Hasegawa and Fujimi. This book will compliment any of these models very nicely and will allow the modeler to accurately add rigging and additional details not provided in the kits.
I can without reservation highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the IJN Shimakaze. My thanks to Casemate Publishers, the North American distributors of Kagero publications, for the opportunity to review this excellent book.