Book Review
Riverine Craft of the Vietnam
Riverine Craft of the Vietnam War
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of a series I was unaware of and is number 26 in the ‘Ship Craft’ series. This book follows the same format as the Tank Craft series and so a format I like. This book looks at the riverine craft of the Vietnam War and as such I felt was best covered on Armorama. This offering as with all of the titles in the Tank Craft series is I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vessels and a look at the models available to replicate these vessels as scale models.

The following portion of the introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:
The ‘Ship Craft’ series provides in-depth information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. Lavishly illustrated, each book takes the modeller through a brief history of the subject, highlighting differences between ships and changes in their appearance over their careers. This includes paint schemes and camouflage, featuring colour profiles and highly detailed line drawings and scale plans. The modelling section reviews the strengths and weaknesses of available kits, lists commercial accessory sets for super-detailing of the subjects, and provides hints on modifying and improving the basic kit. This is followed by an extensive photographic gallery of selected high-quality models in a variety of scales, and the book concludes with a section on research references – books, monographs, large-scale plans and relevant websites.

This volume is something of a departure for the series in covering a wide variety of the types, at first improvised and then purpose-built for the Brown Water conflict. Besides the well-known American involvement, the book also covers some of the craft used by the French in their earlier struggle with Vietnamese guerrillas.

With its unparalleled level of visual information – paint schemes, models, line drawings and photographs – this book is simply the best reference for any modelmaker setting out to build one of these unusual craft.


This offering from Seaforth publishing as part of Pen and Sword is authored by Roger Branfill-Cook; Roger Branfill-Cook is a professional translator from French into English specialising in historical and military works, and a qualified battlefield guide. He has written numerous articles for specialist magazines and is both a novelist and an author of non-fiction books. He has recently helped create an English version of a major encyclopaedia on FRENCH ARMOURED VEHICLES.. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:

The Beginnings – French Conversions
Model Products
Model makers Showcase
South Vietnamese Craft
American Vietnam Gunboats
Selected References

This offering from Pen and Sword starts and ends with a very well written look at the evolution of the boats the French obtained at the end of World War Two and finishes with the vessels utilised by the Americans. It would appear to me and is presented as the French starting the progression and then the South Vietnamese making some changes and finally the Americans taking progression forward to the end of the Vietnam War. The writing style encourages the reader to read onward and upwards and is one of those occasions when I would have liked more than could be accommodated in a title of this size.

The book supplies a short introduction to the different vessels in use by all three countries throughout the progression of the Vietnam War or Indo China War if you prefer. The information presents the reader with the changes made and covers their usage in brief; I was pleased to see the author insert information on models as the title advances. A nice inclusion is a very good number of scale drawings which while not the scales we are use to working with a scale measurement is provided.

The section covering the models available is a very nice trip through time for modellers of a certain age and covers a broad spectrum of scales. I never realised that so many 1/35th scale models were available in 1/35th scale, but it does include a good few limited run products. Looking at the 1/48th scale figures provided in a Rambo set sent shivers down my spine and is an area where I do not agree with the author. I was of course very pleased to see the Tamiya Pibber in 1/35th scale and is to my mind the ultimate offering in this scale for regular run models.

The Modellers Show Case section covers some stuning work as follows:
French Armoured LCVP – Italeri – 1/35th - Roger Branfill-Cook
LVT(A)-5 – Dragon/Milicast – 1/72nd - Roger Branfill-Cook
French Armoured LCVP – AirFix – 1/72nd - Roger Branfill-Cook
Motor Patrol Junk – Barrage Miniatures – 1/48th - Roger Branfill-Cook
River Patrol Craft – Skytrex – 1/76th - Roger Branfill-Cook
Rag Boat – Monogram – 1/48th - Roger Branfill-Cook
Swift Boat – Monogram/Revell – 1/48th – Alexei Petrov
Program 4 ASPB – Masterpiece Models – 1/35th – Jack Carrico
Program 4 ASPB – Skytrex – 1/76th - Roger Branfill-Cook
Program 4 Monitor – Skytrex – 1/76th - Roger Branfill-Cook
PBR and CCB Diorama – 1/35th – Jan Vereerstraeten
PBR Mk II – Mach II – 1/72nd - Roger Branfill-Cook
Program 5 Monitor 6 – Masterpiece Models – 1/35th – Jack Carrico
Pibber Mk II – Tamiya – 1/35thg – Graeme Molineux
ATC Douche – Scratch Built – 1/48th – Factory Direct Models
LSSC – Dragon – 1/35th - Various Modellers
Program 5 Zippo – Masterpiece Models – 1/35th – Jack Carrico
The number of models covered in this publication produced by the author I feel has resulted in the written appeal of the book. The authors interest, knowledge and enthusiasm comes through the content and makes the title so appealing to the reader.


This offering from Seaforth Publishing as part of Pen and Sword is the first title I have seen in the Ship Craft book series, and while vessels are not usually a great appeal to me this book covers an element that is. The author is an avid modeller of these brown water navy vessels and his interest comes through the title to the reader. This is one book and things that flat that should make it into the library of most armour modellers.
Darren Baker takes a look at a Seaforth Publishing title as part of Pen and Sword covering Riverine Craft of the Vietnam War.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526749062
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  PUBLISHED: Jul 31, 2020

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


This will be a must-have publication for me. I really like anything that discusses the riverine operations in Vietnam.
JUL 31, 2020 - 09:47 AM