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Black Swan Class Sloops (Hardback)

Detailed in the Original Builders' Plans

Seaforth Naval

By Les Brown
Seaforth Publishing
Series: As detailed in the original builders’ plans
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 22 full colour plans
ISBN: 9781526765963
Published: 3rd February 2020

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The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, these drawings represented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, these highly detailed plans were drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes that represent the acme of the draughtsman’s art.

Today they form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality. This book is one of a series based entirely on these draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail – complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design.

This volume is devoted to the sloops of the Black Swan class and its improved derivatives, widely regarded as the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of Second World War convoy escorts. Heavily armed and superbly equipped for their role, they were among the most effective anti-submarine ships of the battle in the Atlantic. The design was gradually improved and this book uses plans of four selected ships to chart that development. These comprise: Black Swan as built; Flamingo as modified later; Starling, the single most successful U-boat hunter of the war, as in 1943; and Amethyst, as refitted after her clash with Chinese communists on the Yangtze in 1949.

Black Swan Class Sloops is a well-produced, high quality book that maintains the high standards being set by an innovative and highly informative series.

Warship Annual 2021 Edition

The drawings themselves are marvellous examples of the draughtsman’s art, and those that show later modifications in red are still beautifully clear and precise. The book isn’t all line drawings and plans. The opening chapter traces the development of the Black Swans from the early sloops of the 1030s, and there is some coverage of the 2nd Escort group and the Yangstze incident. However, this isn’t a book about technical aspects of the class, armaments, radar etc, but if you want to really get a detailed look at a 1940’s classic warship design, then this is the book for you. Once you have opened this book you are literally drawn into shipborne life – sit back and enjoy.

Warship World May/June issue 2020

This is a more than worthy addition to Seaforth Publishing’s As Detailed in the Original Builders Plans series. It covers a very important and significant class of Royal Navy warships during World War II, it is glorious in its appearance, and it is amazingly informative. Anyone with the slightest interest in escort ships from this period needs to add it to their library immediately.

Nautical Research Journal

This well-produced book is ideal for those fascinated by Second World War escorts as well as model makers, artists and those who enjoy studying the minutiae of ship plans. Good value for money and recommended.

World Ship Society - Marine News, June 2020

This series of books is in fact very useful not only to historians and enthusiasts but also to modelers because it carefully describes the different details between the various ships and even between the same ships at different times. Another beautiful book published by Seaforth Publishing.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

As featured by

International Plastic Modellers Society

Another Jewel for our Naval Library.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This is the first book in the series to cover a class of ship, previous volumes providing original builders’ plans for a single major warship. The Black Swan Class were built to provide the numbers of convoy escorts required, especially for the North Atlantic convoys. – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here

Firetrench

This is another fascinating entry in this series, giving a really interesting view inside these important smaller warships. Once again there is a great deal of information to be found in a close examination of the plans, which reveal all sorts of details that would otherwise be lost.

Read the full review here

History of War

As featured by

Model Boats, April 2020

One of the things I particularly like about this and some other similar books in this series, is that you get access to some of the detail held in the collection of a national museum, with an unrivalled collection, published in a way that gives access to some of that archive to historians and modellers anywhere in the world. Clearly this includes those who could not easily visit the museum for themselves. Lots of detail for historians and for modellers in particular which will be an invaluable resource. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the U-Boat war and RN ships of WW2.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured by

Friends of the Museum of the Royal Navy

About Les Brown

LES BROWN is a leading light in the Small Warships Group of the IPMS and the editor of their newsletter. He is the author of a number of titles in the ShipCraft series, including two on British destroyers, and, with John Lambert, he produced two larger works, one on ‘Flower’ class corvettes and another on Allied torpedo boats. He also wrote the volume on Black Swan Class Sloops in Seaforth’s ‘Original Builders’ Plans’ series.

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