I just received the new “Steel Navy”, Vintage US Navy Warships: 1860s – 1900s from Ray Bean. Ray has produced a ton of photo CDs that has helped any number of fellow ship modelers over the years. As a professional photographer, he has a very detailed eye for any photograph that goes out with his name attached. That eye for detail and photographic quality continues with this new photo CD.
The CD comes in a very sturdy envelope along with a full color jewel case insert and contains more than 300 high quality, high resolution images. It will take you at least two or three sittings to go through all of these images. Due to the time frame of the CD, all images are halftone which I expected. In fact, if any of them were “colorized”, I would have been very disappointed.
The CD covers every type of US warship of the period. Most photos are very clear for the era, which makes the high resolution feature really allow the modeler to zoom in on various sections of the photos. I typically spent most of my time zooming in, which is why I can guarantee you will spend several evenings enjoying these wonderful photos.
As a Civil War ship enthusiast, I was impressed that Ray found several photos I had yet to find myself although the CD was short of this era of photos. Although I am not an expert on ship identification, I only noticed one shot that was not correctly captioned. Maybe Ray will consider doing a CD of Civil War era ships. Speaking of captions, the CD includes a very nice alphabetical index with clear explanations of exactly what is photographed, making searching for a particular ship photo easy.
My conclusion is that this is a very well done photographic CD. It’s easy to explore and easy to look up photos due to the index and the high resolution photos allow for detailed inspection of virtually every image. Although few in number, the Civil War era photos are all very clear and well exposed, this is rare for this era. Still, the CD is a must have for anyone interested in the old steel navy.