The Battleship USS Iowa Anatomy of The Ship
By Stefan Draminski
Hardcover, 352 pages, line drawings and 3-D renderings throughout
Published by Osprey Publishing, January 2020
Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
Most modelers and military history buffs are familiar with the Anatomy of the Ship series. The majority of these books were published during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and are mainly devoted to detailed line drawings of the subject vessel and her fittings. The publishing history is convoluted – they were published by Conway Maritime Press in Great Britain, along with both Phoenix and the U.S. Naval Institute in the United States. After a long hiatus the series is again being produced with updated volumes on previous subjects along with new titles.
The current iterations have featured red covers up to this point. Conway published an updated volume on the Yamato and Musashi, the next volume is published by Osprey and the subject is the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61). The new series retains the line drawing format of the original, but adds a striking new element in the form of full-color computer rendered perspective views. These are consistent with the style of Kagero’s Super Drawings in 3D series. Most page spreads contain a mix of the standard line drawings and color perspective views, this proves quite effective in conveying the appearance of the specific detail. The result is a book with two to three times the content of the original. One thing I feel is under appreciated about books such as this is that much of the equipment was standardized and was common to ships of other classes, so the drawings will be of interest even if researching an entirely different ship which utilizes the same items of equipment.
In the case of Iowa, the author has constructed nine individual computer models to present the ship during different periods. The Iowa was frequently refitted, and her appearance changed after each shipyard availability, sometimes drastically. The reader can follow these modifications chronologically with the turn of a page. The renderings show many of the interior spaces of the ship, some as cut-aways, others as expanded layers. I did my service aboard the Iowa’s sistership Missouri (BB-63) from 1985-89, so it was interesting for me to find many very familiar details. Others were different, either due to era or the inevitable differences in construction between sisters. There were a few strange omissions. The main battery turrets and their interiors are covered well, but only the exteriors of the 5”/38 mounts are shown. The interior of the bridge is absent, and only the basic layouts of Engineering spaces are represented. Having said that, what is there is spectacular, and I’m sure I’ll be studying this book for hours. I was a fan of the series before the addition of the color perspective renderings, given the amount and quality of the content these new books are bargains. Highly recommended.