Inspiring illustrations

When I set out to build one of my model ships I tend to us illustrations from one of several books as inspiration. These are:

  • WARSHIPS 1986-1970 by J.M.Thornton (published in 1973 by David & Charles Limited [0 7153 5998 3])

  • MEN-OF-WAR 1770-1970 by J.M.Thornton (published in 1978 by Argus Books Ltd. [ISBN 0 85242 610 0])

  • ALL THE WORLD’S FIGHTING SHIPS by F.T.Jane (originally published by Sampson Low Marston in 1898; re-printed and re-published by David & Charles Limited in 1969 [7153 4476 5])

J.M.Thornton’s two books were compilations of drawings that originally appeared in the now defunct Royal Canadian Navy magazine CROWSNEST under the title ‘Naval Lore Corner‘. Fred Jane’s book needs no introduction from me as it is so well-known.

The example pages from these books that I have included above are ones that I looked at when building my two model Rams … and I am sure that some of you will easily see the ones that I drew my inspiration from.


10 Comments on “Inspiring illustrations”

  1. As a pen and ink line artist myself, I find the elegant economy of line in these most impressive!

  2. Legatus Hedlius,

    The drawings are simple and elegant, and I find them more inspirational than photographs. I suspect that it is because they concentrate on the essentials rather than including too much detail.

    All the best,


  3. johntheone says:

    I have Janes 1898 myself

  4. Johntheone,

    It is one of several re-prints of Jane's books that I own … but it is probably my favourite one.

    All the best,


  5. joppy says:

    I had a copy of Men-o-War but it disappeared years ago. My current navy reference books fill about 4 shelves of a bookcase, full of lots of lovely pictures. I liked the rams, did you turn the original hull upside down to get the bow shape?

  6. Joppy,

    Have you ever seen a second-hand copy of MAN-OF-WAR on sale anywhere? I certainly haven't, but I am sure there must be copies out there somewhere.

    It sounds as if your collection of naval reference books is even bigger than my own! I find it difficult to resist buying them, especially if they have lots of good quality photographs and plans.

    The basic shape of the ram bow was made using a fine razor saw. I then carefully whittled and trimmed this with a craft knife and finished it off with a variety of grades of sandpaper.

    All the best,


  7. joppy says:

    Managed to get a copy of each from abebooks. £4.00 for both plus postage. Thanks for reminding me of their existence.

  8. Joppy,

    That is good news. I am very pleased that my blog entry reunited you with these two books … and at a very good price indeed!

    All the best,


  9. Steven Page says:

    Bob, again you have introduced me to a pair of books I missed when they were printed. Thanks to Amazon, I have now corrected that error. I, too, think the 1898 Janes' is the most inspirational. I would love to see a good pen-and-ink artist try to do the same format for 1905 and 1914 Janes'.

  10. Steven Page,

    I am very pleased that I have pointed you towards these excellent books.

    I agree that it would be wonderful if later copies of Jane's had pen-and-ink drawings as well as plans and photographs.

    Have you ever seen or do you own a copy of Oscar Parkes' BRITISH BATTLESHIPS? He was a very good artist and some of his illustrations are included in it.

    All the best,


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