The Shipcraft series is devoted to specific ships and classes, their history, and the models of them. Shipcraft 3 deals with the Yorktown class aircraft carriers. The book starts out with a history of early US Navy carrier design, and how those successes and failures lead to the requirements for the Yorktown class. The book then goes into build and operational history of each of the three ships, Yorktown, Enterprise, and Hornet.
Once the histories are completed, available models and accessories are covered. Everything from the old Revell kit and wargaming miniatures, through the Tamiya 1/700 scale kits, and the new (at the time of publication) Trumpeter 1/350th scale Hornet kit. It does a good job of covering the models and photo etch accessories available at the time of publication, but of course new products introduced since then are missing. Notable omissions, however, are the HP Models 1/700 scale resin kits. A gallery section is also included, comprised of several builder’s excellent finished models and dioramas of the three sisters.
The rest of the book is made up of some very nicely done drawings by A.D. Baker III, which show Yorktown in 1940, Enterprise post-refit in 1943, and Hornet in 1942. These drawings are also used in color to depict the camouflage schemes of the ships at those respective dates.
I only have a couple of quibbles with the book. One is the portrait rather than landscape format; this is fine for the majority of the book, but the excellent line drawings and color plates are cut in half by the centerfold. I also would like to have seen more of a mention made about the inaccuracies of the Blue Water Navy and Trumpeter model kit hulls – the author calls to attention the problem with the shape of the bow on these hits, but in actuality the entire hulls are far too boxy and inaccurate (something that a lot of people won’t notice, but if you’re into the ships enough to, let’s say, create an entire website just for USS Yorktown, it’s a big deal). Also, no mention is made that the Tamiya 1/700 scale kits are slightly out of scale and some of the proportions are off.
Overall this is a very good book. Minor quibbles aside, it’s a well laid-out and produced piece that will provide a good primer for those looking to build a model of USS Yorktown and her two sisters.