Incredible Cross Sections
by David West Reynolds, Hans Jenssen, & Richard Chasemore
Published by DK Publishing
Helen's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
Chris's Rating: 4 out of 4
The title pretty much says it all. This book contains extremely detailed diagrams of fourteen of the most recognizable vehicles from the original trilogy. Everything from Jabba's Sail Barge to the Death Star. As the title indicates, these aren't just labeled drawings of the ships we know so well, but cross sections. That is to say, certain parts of the outer hulls of these vehicles have been removed, allowing us to see the insides clearly. In many cases, the various sections aren't just removed, but moved slightly, allowing us to see both the inside of the vehicle, and what the whole vehicle looks like. Along with each vessel there is a short write up, detailing some of the facts about that craft, as well as giving an idea where it appears in the trilogy.
The artwork in this book is fantastic. In my humble opinion, the cross section of the Death Star is worth the price of the book alone. There's a great deal of technical information in each drawing, making it easy to quickly look up details on the ships described in the book. Another plus for this book is a wide ranging appeal. The hard core fan gets a better look at some of his/her favorite craft, while the casual reader will probably also enjoy the artwork. The write-ups explain where the ship is found in the trilogy, and the craft selected are all very easily recognizable. Even the casual fan probably remembers most of them. The hard core fan didn't buy the book for the write-up anyway, so it's no loss there. While it may have a more limited appeal when it comes to actually buying the book, almost everyone who reads it will enjoy it.
WOW! I always appreciate good art, and this is some of the best Star Wars art I've seen. I'm utterly amazed at the detail in each of the drawings. It seems like every bolt and weld appears in the drawings. What's cool about this is that the artists had to really use their imaginations, and they pulled it off well. For example, what does it look like in the interior of a Star Destroyer? How exactly was the Blockade Runner laid out? These questions are all answered. They also expanded on the ships which was neat. For example, they added a compartment to store speeder bikes in the AT-AT. They also showed the droid's escape pod inside the sandcrawler. Who'd have thought the Jawas picked it up? Makes sense though it probably didn't occur to you. These are little touches you'll find throughout the book. $20 is a little much for such a thin hardback, but I think you'll feel you got you money's worth, especially when you see the fold out of the Death Star. I was very impressed.
This effort to make the book universally appealing does, of course, have a down side. To be honest, only die hard Star Wars fans are going to actually buy this book, or take more than a passing interest in what's inside. There is very little information here that can't be gathered from other sources. Because only easily recognizable craft were chosen, ships that might appeal to the type of fan who would buy this book were overlooked. For example, I don't really care what the inside of Jabba's Sail Barge looks like. There aren't allot of surprises there. Ditto for the AT-ST (oh, there are gears in the knee joints? Neat.) Whereas I would of liked to of seen a cross section of, perhaps, a B-Wing, or a Mon Calmari cruiser, or a Lambda shuttle. Also, little figures from the movies are sometimes drawn in (like the carefully labeled Boba Fett who seems to be this books version of Where's Waldo) that don't add anything. They're just there to make it recognizable. However, these are just nit picky details. There are allot of technological details in the diagrams that a fan interested in the technical aspects of the Star Wars universe will find very informative, making this book a useful resource.
The book is enormous. It's about 20 inches tall by a foot wide. It's not going to fit easily on my bookshelf.
The kitchen in Jabba the Hutt's Sail Barge. It definitely needs more counter space.
I really wish I could draw like this.