64 pages. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white and color photos. Selected bibliography, list of modelling websites.
This was my first chance to read a booklet in the ShipCraft series, though I'm familiar with the sister series for vehicles.
Starting in the 1930s, Britain introduced new vessels to replace older ones, focusing on the need for coastal patrols and minelaying/minesweeping. The terms sloop and frigate were revived to describe these vessels, smaller than destroyers and not armed with torpedoes.
When WWII broke out, it became evident that there was a great need for these vessels in anti-submarine and convoy work. Existing ships were upgraded, and many new ships were constructed (some of which served, in the British and other navies, long after WWII). Other ships were provided under lend-lease from the USA.
In Design and Construction, 16 pages are devoted to describing all classes of sloop and frigate, giving dimensions and armament, and listing all ships in each class. Most classes are illustrated with at least one black-and-white photo.
In Model Products, the author lists all known kits of these vessels, including those no longer in production, in scales from 1:2400 to 1:96, with color photos. Model kit accessories are also listed. Includes mention of GHQ and Skytrex, but not Warlord Games. 12 pages.
Modelmakers' Showcase (15 pages) provides color photos with brief descriptions of built-up models:
- 1:350 scale Amethyst
- 1:72 Amethyst
- 1:350 Kite
- 1:700 Black Swan & Ibis
- 1:350 Starling (twice)
- 1:96 Wild Goose
- 1:350 Shearwater
- 1:350 Nadder
- 1:350 Kittiwake
- 1:350 Gorleston
- 1:350 Bickerton
- 1:350 Portchester Castle
The following five pages provide 25 color illustrations of painting schemes, listing official paint color IDs.
In Camouflage, a page-and-a-half describes various camouflage types used during WWII.
In Operations and Tactics (7½ pages), the WWII service of these sloops and frigates is summarized, weapons described, and lists enemy ships sunk and losses in action.
The following six pages provide side and often overhead drawings of 17 vessels, with a few shown at different years of service.
Selected References (one page) provides a bibliography and list of modelling websites.
This book provides a useful reference to the many sloops and frigates in service during WWII, providing a broad overview rather than focusing on any particular class. The author assumes familiarity with naval terms, though some weapon types are explained. Guidance is given for painting schemes in general, but for details, readers will need to refer to the color photos of built-up models. However, the photos depict various colors for decks, with no guidance in the text.
Can you wargame it? The description of operations gives many examples of convoy work and anti-submarine warfare, as well as use as control ships at D-Day. Therefore, you could definitely add these vessels to those types of games. Although these vessels are included in the coastal warfare game Cruel Seas, this book provides little information about coastal warfare.
A useful reference book for these valuable small combatants. Recommended.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .