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The Sailing Frigate: A History in Ship Models [Hardcover]

Robert Gardiner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2012
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich houses the largest collection of scale ship models in the world, many of which are official, contemporary artefacts made by the craftsmen of the navy or the shipbuilders themselves, and ranging from the mid seventeenth century to the present day. As such they represent a three-dimensional archive of unique importance and authority. Treated as historical evidence, they offer more detail than even the best plans, and demonstrate exactly what the ships looked like in a way that even the finest marine painter could not achieve. This book is the first of a series which will take selections of the best models to tell the story of specific ship types - in this case, the evolution of the cruising ship under sail. Each volume reproduces a large number of model photos, all in full colour, and including many close-up and detail views. These are captioned in depth, but many are also annotated to focus attention on interesting or unusual features. Although pictorial in emphasis, the book weaves the pictures into an authoritative text, producing an unusual and attractive form of technical history. While the series will be of particular interest to ship modellers, all those with an interest in ship design and development will attracted to the in-depth analysis of these beautifully presented books.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Seaforth Publishing (15 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848321600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848321601
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 18.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

An extensively researched book full of insight and a wealth of detail. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the era of sail. The Naval Review

About the Author

ROBERT GARDINER is the author of three books on sailing cruisers, including Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars, published in 2000 and re-released in paperback in 2006. His last book, a new and enlarged edition of Warships of the Napoleonic Era, was published by Seaforth in 2011.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
A few years ago, with no relevant training or experience whatsoever - except that of paying attention to detail, I built a scale model of the Thermopylae followed by a much larger version of Cook's HMS Endeavour. The results compared favourably to models built by those who style themselves `advanced modellers' and show off their efforts on the internet. As a result of that experience I have reviewed a small number of books which explain rigging and planking techniques - if only because I have a modest understanding of the subject.

This excellent work, however, is a book about the Sailing Frigate told through those historic models which are still in existence and, just as soon as I opened the book, I was unable to put it down. The underlying history of this particular genre of vessel is based on the scale models held by the National Maritime Museum - and what a collection it is too! Only now do I see the difference between the laudable efforts of the amateur and the precision provided by the various shipbuilders of the day who produced these scaled down versions of the larger size vessels they were using in a bid to sell their ships to the Royal Navy and beyond.

May I say, as a professional shipwreck historian, I was previously unaware of Frigates which were also equipped for rowing in addition to the normal complement of sail. A truly outstanding model - showing all 36 oars deployed, appears on the front cover and is fully explained on p.99. That, however, is just one example of many different models.

The book makes an excellent job of explaining the life of the Sailing Frigate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sailing Frigate 20 Mar 2013
By Passat
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Robert Gardiner, the author, is a deserved and respected authority on the history and development of the British sailing frigate. The National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Greenwich, London, from where the majority of the models photographed for this book are from, has one of the finest collections of ship models in the world (though sadly so little of their vast collection is on display as the musuem has, in recent decades, adopted a lowest-common-denominator attitude in its public exhibition spaces; gimmicks over serious informative displays, making the museum hardly worth a visit these days).

Together, the author's reputation and the NMM, would suggest a book such as this would be definitive and worthy of its subject. unfortunately both have been let down by the publisher (or book designer to be specific, though probably working under tight financial constraints). The format is far too small to do justice to the photographs/subject, whilst the presentation and layout of placing photographs across two pages means that unless the reader is prepared to break the spine of the book, some detail is lost, besides which a comprehensive appreciation of models so displayed is not possible.

A possibly subjective criticism is that, on some double-page spreads, the typography of the book is very much akin to children's text books than a serious historical record. This is particularly apparent where a model is used to explain detail or changes in design, creating messy caption placing often with irritating lines directing the reader to a particular part of a model.

In most cases the quality of photography is outstanding, though there are one or two that appear to be under-exposed, but this is no fault of the author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 13 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Robert Gardiner is justly renowned as the author of three classic books, 'The First Frigates: 9 & 12 pdr Frigates: 1748-1815' (1992); 'The Heavy Frigate: 18 pdr Frigates: 1778-1800' (1994), and 'Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars' (2000). Now he has taken advantage of developments in modern printing and publishing to produce a sumptuous guide to Frigate evolution as illustrated by surviving ship models in the National Maritime Museum collections (including several not on display today). All of the many photographs are in colour, which would have made this book prohibitively expensive not so long ago, and it is this mass of clear colour illustrations that really make this book such a joy to read. His older books are still excellent for reference, but there is no comparison between the impact and quality of the colour photos in this book and those old black and white photos. Moreover he has taken the opportunity to expand his coverage to include the post-war 'final generation' of sailing frigates, notably the work of Sepping and Symonds. Truly excellent.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Visual Reference 21 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This may seem to be quite expensive but the information is beautifully presented and offers both model makers, and naval history fans , a detailed insight into the development of this class of craft.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work which teaches much about Sailing Frigates and even more about ship models. 27 Jan 2013
By Ned Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A few years ago, with no relevant training or experience whatsoever - except that of paying attention to detail, I built a scale model of the Thermopylae followed by a much larger version of Cook's HMS Endeavour. The results compared favourably to models built by those who style themselves `advanced modellers' and show off their efforts on the internet. As a result of that experience I have reviewed a small number of books which explain rigging and planking techniques - if only because I have a modest understanding of the subject.

This excellent work, however, is a book about the Sailing Frigate told through those historic models which are still in existence and, just as soon as I opened the book, I was unable to put it down. The underlying history of this particular genre of vessel is based on the scale models held by the National Maritime Museum - and what a collection it is too! Only now do I see the difference between the laudable efforts of the amateur and the precision provided by the various shipbuilders of the day who produced these scaled down versions of the larger size vessels they were using in a bid to sell their ships to the Royal Navy and beyond.

May I say, as a professional shipwreck historian, I was previously unaware of Frigates which were also equipped for rowing in addition to the normal complement of sail. A truly outstanding model - showing all 36 oars deployed, appears on the front cover and is fully explained on p.99. That, however, is just one example of many different models.

The book makes an excellent job of explaining the life of the Sailing Frigate. With Chapters entitled; Prehistory 1600-1689, Guerre de Course 1689-1713, The Establishment Era 1706-1748, The `True Frigate' 1748-1778, The Heavy Frigate 1778-1815 and The Last Generation 1815-1850, we find a complete history of the Frigate told through the only accurate representation of this genus of warship still in existence - the builders models of the time. Not even ship portraits by the most celebrated painters of the day could possibly compete with the detail found in these three-dimensional forms.

With anything from a single image reproduced across two pages to four images on a single page, this richly illustrated work shows every type of Frigate from the first designs through to the final hybrids which were powered by both sail and steam - and deftly reports the evolution and eventual demise of the Sailing Frigate as it does so. Some of the models were deliberately finished in an incomplete state - so as to explain various `below deck' and, therefore, out of sight features in addition to assisting the shipwrights charged with building the full size vessel. Throughout the book, at one end of the scale we find models which are in various stages of incompletion, without planking and without masts and rigging. At the other end, we find the most extravagant examples of fully rigged vessels with fine moulding over the stern in models so well made that some are even shown ready for launching on their own model ramp...

This is a book from which the reader will learn much about the Sailing Frigate because the subject is placed so expertly under the microscope, and even more about the topic of model ships because they are as equally well reproduced and, therefore, perfectly represented. Add to all that the simple fact that the entire product is packed with fascinating information and put together in the most readable of styles and it only remains for me to congratulate both author and publisher for such an excellent job of work.

NM
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book 22 Feb 2013
By Dr. Ian Tizard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Robert Gardiner has written several excellent books on the sailing frigates of the Royal Navy. This one is in effect, an annotated catalogue of the frigate models in the National Maritime museum. It explains through the beautiful photographs, the evolution of this ship type. It is an important contribution to the literature on this topic, mainly because it illustrates many models that have not been examined closely and which the NMM has not chosen to place on public display. I see it as a useful ship modeling resource, a source of ideas on potential new models, and a well illustrated text. I highly recommend it and look forward to other books in this series. The author has indicated that he plans to produce several more books of this type, each focusing on a different type of sailing warship. I recommend it strongly.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cover to cover color pictures of Admiralty models 14 Jan 2014
By Walter P. Sinnott III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a professional model maker, aerospace (unfortunately), but whose true love the past 45 years has always been man-o-war models. Curiously enough, the more spacecraft I build the more fascinated I become with the technology of the wooden walls. Perhaps this is a counter-balancing mechanism. At any rate this interest in wooden warships has filled my library with many wonderful books by the most credible naval design authorities. Frequently the books in my collection featured images of the beautiful Admiralty style models. Sadly, the majority of the pictures were black and white. None the less, being such as I am, those photos further wetted my appetite for yet more data which could be of use in building an Admiralty model. Thanks to Amazon's habit of recommending products I was informed of the existence of this book. Based on other's recommendations this book purchased. Much to my surprise it is filled from cover to cover with COLOR photographs of Admiralty models. Surprisingly, considering the scope of my library, this book also contained data of which I was unaware. My congratulations and heartfelt thanks to the author for creating this delightful collection of imagery. Should one be have an interest in Admiralty models or the desire to build one I highly recommend this book. I feel it was money well spent. A word of caution: My copy was delivered at my workplace. I began thumbing through it during a meeting with some Nasa folks present. The unexpectedly gorgeous pictures elicited many uncontrollable sounds of model maker ecstasy from myself. The females present did not appreciate the vocalizations. Nor were they capable of grasping how one could be so enchanted with photos of two-hundred year old wooden models. So, the lesson is, do not review this book in mixed company. Once again, hats off to the author for sharing his collection of color images with us.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book 26 May 2013
By wendy s - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this is a very detailed and correct rendition of the actual original ships and would recommend for anyone who builds model ships or just loves ships
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding details 2 Jun 2013
By Pete Bergagnini - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked the book, and the comparison of different areas from other Historic ship models was outstanding and the first time I had seen this method of examination.
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