Large Scale Warship Models
Seaforth Publishing, 2019
Reviewed by Neil Smith
Kerry Jang’s guidebook Large Scale Warship Models takes potential modellers through all the stages of building a big model ship from scratch to completion, but along the way he teaches us something a little more profound about our hobby.
The essentials of this hardback book is that there are 110 pages of text and accompanying colour photographs, and a small but necessary bibliography at the end. Jang tells you where to begin with a catalogue of manufacturers and lists the tools of the trade, including a useful little section on adhesives. Then you learn how to prepare the hull and running gear, add the underdecks and decks, install the radio control system, create the superstructure and deck houses, attach the fittings and details, paint the almost finished ship, then once “all the bits and bobs are built”, apply the finishing touches. If all that sounds quite intense and complicated, it is, but if you are so inclined to build a big model then Jang has got you covered. I could end this review with that, but there is something else going on with this little book about big models, something a bit more profound.
In his introductory chapter on why you should attempt a build of this nature, Jang expounds on the concept of zen for this aspect of our hobby, as he might being a professor of Psychiatry, hitting on ideas of self-awareness and achieving a deep sense of freedom. Building a ship, he argues, is essentially a spiritual exercise, and for me, that applies to many of our modelling and wargaming activities, from building kits to painting wee soldiers and building armies. Jang backs that up with the quality of writing that makes Large Scale Warship Models a book worth reading even if you never build a model ship. It is clear that this hobby is about doing things: check this list of actions Jang describes; planning, cutting, drilling, smoothing, gluing, cutting, clamping, improvising, casting, mould-making, printing, testing, priming, shading, masking, and overcoming problems. Jang doesn’t reach the heights of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, nor does he pretend to, but his engaging use of language to describe a fundamentally mechanical process, echoes that deeper work and had me enthralled. The result is a practical guide for modellers and a little gem of a read. Either way, highly recommended.