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New Review: American Destroyer USS Fletcher 1942. Super Drawings in 3D

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Review Author: 
Luke R. Bucci PhD
Kagero Publishing

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

Waldemar Tubus Goralski is a prolific author of illustrated warship books for Kagero Publishing. He also makes exhibitions of his illustrations in Poland where visitors can virtually walk on ships. The late Piotr Forkasiewicz designed the ocean and battle settings (this virtual tour is not in this book). Waldemar is lucky to turn his passion into a career, igniting passions of many modelers around the world.

Kagero Publishing, from Poland, is one of the major military history publishing houses. Since 1998, when Kagero started publishing in English, over 550 titles have been produced. Topics focus on individual planes, armor and ships, along with a bevy of focused topics, such as a class of warships or an armor type. Kagero caters to ship modelers by turning out books filled with line and 3D computer-generated illustrations, with incomparable accuracy to details. For warships, Kagero has two series: 1) Super Drawings in 3D and 2) Top Drawings, focusing on a single ship per book. The topic of this book review is one of the Super Drawings in 3D series, which are designed for modelers to have a reference for detailed appearances of individual ships at a particular fit (moment in time). Super Drawings consist of color covers with full-color, 3D computer graphic images of the ship, particular features, and equipment, especially armament. As usual, a large-scale (1/200), line drawing B&W foldout shows starboard, port and overhead full-length views on Sheet A, and Sheet B has five 1/350 profiles (including front & stern views) and five different close-up line drawings of various portions of the ship.

The latest offering from Kagero Super 3D is the USS Fletcher DD445 in early1942 fit. The book is a softbound European A4 size (210 X 296 mm or about 8 1/4 by 11 5/8 inches) with a short history in English of the lead ship in the world's largest class of destroyers. The history of the Fletcher describes the design intentions, and then the usual description of the features of the ship. Changes to armaments and fire control are outlined, and the service record is summarized. That lasts all of seven pages and incudes two color profile views.

Like all the Fletcher class destroyers, there were major changes in armament, radars throughout the war, but those are not shown - this book is the Fletcher in 1942. She represents the first batch of Fletcher class destroyers with the tall, "round" bridge and the main director on a cylindrical pedestal. The first 57 units were built to this design. Later Fletchers had a lower, wider rectangular bridge. I am sure one of those is coming up from Kagero later.

Most of the book has page after page of beautiful, full-color illustrations in impeccable detail of the entire exterior of the Fletcher in 1942 fit. She is painted in Measure 12 (Modified) splotch pattern. Paint colors are: 1) 5-S Sea Blue or 5-N Navy Blue for the darkest splotches on the lower hull; 2) 5-O Ocean Gray for the lighter gray areas of the hull and the darker splotches on the superstructure; 3) 5-H Haze Gray for the lighter gray color on the superstructure; and 4) 20-B Deck Blue for the decks. To me the horizontal colors in the illustrations are a little dark, and the Deck Blue is light, but that could be the printing or scale effect. Many close-ups of each exterior section of the Fletcher are presented. Every nook and cranny are depicted, and the detail is thorough, even showing the camo scheme for each individual turret. At this point in her career, the Fletcher had less equipment, so it represents the simplest Fletcher fit.

The only complaint I have is trivial and is the poor punctuation, spelling errors and odd grammar of the text in the first seven pages. Not a problem, and even amusing sometimes.

Summary

This book is intensely focused on modeler's needs for building early war, round bridge Fletcher class ships in any scale. As usual, the B&W drawings and full-color illustrations are clean, simple and appear accurate. This book is a necessity for building models of early Fletcher class ships, and would be helpful for building later versions for areas that did not change appearance. It is also a guide for standard US Navy destroyer equipment for other WW2 classes. A must-have for WW2 warship buffs, destroyer buffs, and anyone building the early Fletcher class destroyers.

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