Kerry Jang, Victory 100-Gun First Rate 1765 (Seaforth, 2022)
She is perhaps the most famous warship ever to fly the British flag, and she has been modelled in many scales and mediums since she first took to the high seas. HMS Victory was Nelson’s flagship, a 100 gun behemoth of her day capable of taking on the finest France or Spain had to offer. In Kerry Jang’s slim, magazine style book in the Shipcraft series, he surveys HMS Victory and offers advice on how to model this once mighty ship.
Jang begins with the design and construction, which is a bit more than the expected dry specifications of the warship and includes technical drawings and a model of Chatham dockyard where she was built in the 1760s. The he gets into Victory’s long career. And what a career that was, culminating, of course, in the Battle of Trafalgar in October1805. After being paid off and deteriorating, though still in dock at Portsmouth, Victory was restored and opened to the public in 1928 where she sits today, the perfect modellers reference.
Speaking of which, Jang devotes the rest of his guide to modelling, beginning with the problems likely to be encountered, most notably the rigging. Jang surveys some of the kits on the market for Victory from 1/1200 scale through 1/700 to Heller’s 1/100 scale in plastic, then the wooden kits, which to this potato-fingered modeller look mind-boggling. Up next is a photographic tour of Etsuro Tsuboi’s stunning scratch-built 1/300 scale Victory; Kazunobu Shirai’s magnificent 1/48 scale rendering; and Daniel Fischer’s jaw dropping construction of the Heller kit complete with crew! Jang goes on to survey how Victory has been modelled over the centuries since she was launched, allowing us to compare different appearances and modifications. Serious modellers will enjoy the section on how Victory has been painted – again, not as dry a subject as you might think. That is followed by some graphic design style illustrations for Victory. A useful little bibliography concludes Jang’s book.
I enjoyed everything about this book, from the background information and bibliography for further reading to the colour photographs of stunning models with details that make you exclaim “How did he do that?” Jang’s text is informative and well-written, but it is the modelling genius on display that captures the imagination in this excellent homage to an incredible ship.