The four ships of the Iowa class were the best American battleships ever constructed, with a superb combination of firepower and speed (although the US Navy's designers don't appeared to have appreciated that - later un-built battleships were expected to revert to the slower but heavily armed pattern of earlier classes). They also went on to have the longer service careers of any modern battleships, remaining in active service until the early 1990s.
The long lifespan of the Iowa class ships presents quite a challenge for the author. All four went through numerous changes during the Second World War, and then continued to be modified and modernized in the post-war period, ending (at least for now) with all four being brought back into service during the 1980s. The author deals with this problem by examining the changes chronologically rather than by ship, as in general the four ships had similar modifications. This is followed by five sets of plans - three wartime, one from 1956 and one from 1987 - giving a more detailed view of the way in which the ships were modified.
The long lifespan and many modifications of these four ships means that there are wide range of models on the market. The model reviews cover all four ships and cover every period from the 1943 Iowa to the 1988 Wisconsin. Mention is also made (although only in passing) of a model of a proposed helicopter conversion.
Despite the large number of kits all but one of the Modelmaker's showcases look at scratch-built models, including one very impressive model built to illustrate how the New Jersey might have looked after a proposed modernisation in 2003. All of the showcase models are of a stunningly high quality.
I can see this book being of great use to the intermediate modeller - beginners wouldn't need much more than the reviews and scratch builders would need far more detail. The target audience here would be modellers who want to start with a kit and then add extra details or increase the accuracy of the kit. The book is also of general interest as a history of the Iowa class, with the modelling sections adding extra value.
1 - Design
2 - Careers
3 - Model Products
4 - Modelmaker's Showcase
5 - Camouflage Schemes
6 - Appearance
Author: Lester Abbey