Les Brown, British Escort Destroyers of the Second World War (Seaforth, 2022)
Destroyers were the workhorses of the Royal Navy throughout World War II. They performed numerous tasks as part of the battle fleets and on their own. In this Shipcraft series book, produced mainly for modellers, Les Brown surveys those destroyers tasked with escort duties and offers his views on the wide range of model kits on the market with examples from experts who have built them.
Brown begins with an overview of RN escort destroyers that were designed to fill a gap between fleet destroyers and the slow corvettes, sloops, and corvettes that were deemed inadequate for serious escort work. The two main classes of escort destroyer Brown covers are the Town and Hunt class vessels, but there were quite a few more that also receive coverage. Brown details the armaments, propulsion systems, and other design features, and I found the compromises made between what was requested and what was practical particularly interesting.
As is customary with the Shipcraft series of books, the modelling section occupies the middle chapters. Brown surveys, with pros and cons, the available kits in many different scales, ranging from 1:1250 to Deans Marine’s 1:96 designed primarily for radio control modellers. He also reviews the accessories you can buy for these kits. The mouth-watering Modelmaker’s Showcase follows where top model-makers show off their skills, including a stunning scratch-built radio-controlled Hambledon in 1:72 scale. This chapter flows into a series of side-view images of individual destroyers, showing their camouflage patterns and the colours used. Brown discusses camouflage then details the modifications added to many of the destroyers along with some technical drawings. A useful selection of books and websites for further investigation concludes Brown’s book.
I haven’t yet read a Shipcraft book that I did not like, and Brown’s addition to the series is no exception to that trend. Brown clearly knows his stuff and how to write it down even for the less technically knowledgeable reader. The accompanying photographs, artwork, and models illuminate the text to produce a satisfying read as well as a very useful guide to modelling these hardy vessels.