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On Deck Number 1: USS Alabama
by Al Adcock; Color by Don Greer; Illustrated by Richard Hudson

Squadron/Signal Publications

Catalogue No.: 5601
ISBN: 0-89747-399-X
Review Type: Book Review
Rating: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

S u m m a r y

80 pp. with color plates, illustrations, and approximately 150 photos
Price: US$14.95
Advantages: Great publication for ship modelers; concentration on detail during the war and today is excellent; emphasis on small details is of great value for builders in 1/350 scale
Disadvantages: only covers one ship (USS Alabama) and not South Dakota class ships
Recommendation: for US ship fans, historians,  and modelers


F i r s t   L o o k

Squadron/Signal is the "modeler's friend" when it comes to inexpensive, modeler-friendly publications. The "Walk Around" series for aircraft has been very well received, as has their inherited "Detail and Scale" series which pioneered the detailed approach to a specific subject. This is the first volume in a new series which performs the same duties, but for ship modelers. With the rise in the number of 1/350 scale plastic and resin ship kits, a book like this is a great boon to the hobbyist, who can both see and understand the "bits" of the actual ship as he assembles it.

This volume examines BB60, the USS Alabama, as she was during WWII and as she sits today in Mobile Bay, Alabama, where she has been preserved as a memorial. The ship is shown in many photos from the National Archives and private sources in her several guises during the war, and as she sits now with the most current paint scheme. A good number are in color, but due to lighting and weather conditions, it is recommended that modelers only use them for general color breakdown and use their best choice of paints, and not the color photos.

Having personally seen the Alabama 15 years ago, I was impressed with the way the ship has been kept up. The photos here show that she has not been permitted to become shabby, but has been put back into a variation on her last wartime paint scheme (Measure 22) with oversized numbers.

Most of the detail shots cover problem areas for modelers, such as the radar details, the gun directors, the armament, and some of the deck fittings which tend to get scrimped on in kits. There are also a large number of thumbnail sketches of the bits and fittings as well, which aid in seeing how they work and more importantly, how they fit together on the ship.

Overall this will be a nice series of books, but the hope is that it can cover more than just preserved vessels, or it will be a somewhat short series!

Thanks to MMD for the review sample.

Review Copyright 1999 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 28 March, 1999
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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