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EXACTLY what Japanese cruiser fans need!,
This review is from: The Heavy Cruiser "Takao" (Anatomy of the Ship) (Hardcover)
Janusz Skulski has produced a fantastic work on the Takao-class cruisers of the Second World War, probably the best book in the Anatomy of The Ship series.
The book's square-ish format makes it a comfortable size to both read the text and digest the series of photographs and immaculate scale drawings that fill the 256 pages. The 25-page introduction is a bit crammed, with various tables and technical specifications of the construction, armament and fittings of the Takao occurring with quick-fire frequency. The format makes the array of detail rather dense, and I find I have to dip in and out of it to avoid saturation!
The photos take up another 20 pages, with carefully-chosen examples from an obviously large selection, intended to document finer details such as deck/superstructure fittings rather than the overall appearance, although there are some very clearly reproduced pictures of the entire ship.
The remaining 210 pages are absolutely packed with Skulski's fantastic artwork. For the modelmaker or enthusiast this is the holy grail. Extensive and well-annotated, the drawings encompass almost every part of the ship, with great detail and fidelity. It's easy to study the many and various changes throughout the life of the ship with separate treatments of the forward superstructure at different periods and refits up to 1945. 3-views, plans and perspective drawings cover every significant structure, fitting, sensor, aircraft and weapon of the ship throughout its history. Anyone modelling the Aoshima 1/350 kit of this ship will be presented with almost unlimited scope for improving the detail and accuracy of that product. There are even rigging diagrams of the ship pre- and post-radar refit.
Although the price of this book has gone skyward since the original run ended, it is still a "must-have" for the Japanese ship modeller, and makes a specialist companion to the magisterial Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War by LaCroix and Wells (prices also sky-high!) if you are lucky enough to own that volume.