USS Yorktown (CV-5): A Study in Blueprints
by Duane Borchers, Sr., Maryland Silver Co. 2004
Soft Cover, large format, 194 Pages
Review by Devin Poore
“USS Yorktown (CV-5): A Study in Blueprints” isn’t a book of plans drawn from the originals, or a history book of the carrier. It’s an armful of plans and drawings scanned directly from the naval archives, delivered to the purchaser unchanged, except for reduction in size to fit the format.
To say that this is a monstrous book is no understatement. At 11 X 17″, with aluminum studs holding it together it’s near 2″ thickness, it weighs over 5 pounds. In all that bulk, sandwiched between plain glossy-brown folder cardboard with a simple laser-printed label on the cover, lurks drawings of details you never thought you’d be able to find about the Yorktown class carriers.
The book is broken down into chapters. Chapter 1 is a listing of all the general data, including the length between perpendiculars, length of flight deck, length of straight keel, breath of hull, height to foremast, height of mainmast, height to range light, etc. Also listed are crew compliment, size and types of boats carried by design, size of rudders, and fire station locations. Chapter 2 is a nearly verbatim copy of the DANFS online entry. Chapter 3 is a copy of the War Damage Report No. 25, which then goes into the overall ship’s drawings.
I have no idea how many drawings still exist of CV-5, but I believe every one that could be found is in this book. While some of the larger ones such as the profile and plan views are broken up into multiple pieces over two or more pages to get them to fit, they’re still included. There are drawings of everything in this book: an overhead view looking through the flight deck to show how spare aircraft, wings, and fuselages are to be suspended inside the hangar. Drawings of blisters, fuel tanks, and even voids at the bottom of the hull. Hull plating diagrams are included, as well as piping diagrams for the boiler feed-water systems, as well as gasoline systems. Need diagrams of the motors for the rudder? They’re in here.
There are a few issues with the book. The breaking-up of the large drawings is a drawback for the model maker, as you’ll still need a single sheet set of plans from another source to get an un-spliced overall view of the ship. Another issue is that if the original was a large drawing, when necessarily reduced in size to fit in the book, the images are sometimes shrunk to the point that the labeling of components is difficult to read. And while the quality of the scans is very good, some of the original drawings have splotches and smudges, and those imperfections are transferred to the scans.
Issues aside, this is an amazing collection of Yorktown drawings. I’ve not seen anything remotely like it anywhere outside of the original drawings in the archives. For someone really interested in CV-5 it’s a great book to have in the collection. For the model maker, it’s honestly a bit of overkill; there are things in here that are just never going to be of use (you’re going to model the internal wiring for the 1MC speaker system? REALLY?), but if there are some things you might have questions about from other model-friendly plans — such as footings for flight deck supports — then you can look it up here.
Recommended for the Yorktown fan that has everything, and for those who really love the look of old blueprints. Retail price was $80, direct from the Maryland Silver website.
**NOTE** in 2019, Maryland Silver sadly went out of business, due to the unfortunate passing of its owner. Fortunately, Loyalhanna Dockyard has taken up their old stock. As of February 2021 they do not list this title on their website, so contact them directly to work out obtaining these plans.