So, how do we select which ship gets turned into a Shipgirl? Or alternatively, WHY ISN’T MY SHIPFU IN PACIFIC YET!?
Well, plenty of reasons that certain shipgirls get selected while others don’t. Admittedly, it’s not a very consistent process. There are girls that we knew right off the bat that we want to include, and then there are girls that end up being our favorites that sort of comes out of left field, and then ends up in the spotlight.
Generally, Morgane has a decent idea of what girls she wants to include for each volume. They’re usually the big players in the battles that the books are themed around. So Lexington and Hornet made sense (the book is “themed” around Coral Sea and the Doolittle Raid, of course!), but we also include girls like Chicago or O’bannon because we really want to. For instance, once we put Edsall’s personality down on paper, we really wanted to bring in someone more lively. That person ended up being O’bannon.
So, for this Midway book (vol 3.) it’s the same thing. Yorktown and Nautilus are already on the list, for instance, and any gaps left are filled either by Sune or I. In general I’d say that the criteria we use is (in no particular order): 1. Participated in the battle featured/was active around the same time frame. 2. Is of the particular ship type that we need. (Vol.3 is in serious need of Heavy Cruisers…) 3.Had a life that we could easily put a personality on.
Morgane will then add 4. Possess something uniquely suitable for Pacific for “thematic” reasons. Then you have the rest of our list.
For Silent service, I call the shots for who to include in the book. So Morgane’s role and mine are switched, but the process is generally similar. Sometimes Sima reads up on some history and finds something really cool he’d like to illustrate (Cusk), Sometimes I’ll come across a cool submarine story and feel compelled to write about it (Batfish), Sometimes it’s a girl I’ve written for the main Pacific books that didn’t end up making it there (Tautog). Other times Sune would like to communicate something about Japan (I-202). Heck, U-552 was literally me going “We can’t have a book on submarines without at least mentioning U-boats!”
So why don’t we have some set criteria?
Here’s the list of the 25 highest scoring submarines. You’ll note that really, only Tautog is appearing in Silent Service. Not that you’ll never see any of the other girls, of course. I’d love to turn each and every one into a shipgirl eventually. (I see one big name that’s going in Vol. 3 )
The thing with locking ourselves into selection based purely on scores is that a lot of the submarine stories we can tell are a lot more than that. Pampanito is listed with 5 enemy ships sunk. She’d have been completely glossed over if we’d have went purely via kills. Miss out on Pampanito, and you miss out on a medical miracle that deserves to be told.
On the flip side, I’ll admit that at times Tautog was a little hard to write. She’s got an impressive kill record, but that’s really all she’s known for. We like to keep each girl unique, so you can see how it can be hard to write a girl who’s claim to fame can also be said of 24 other submarines! (This is where reading ship logs and crewmember narratives can be a BIG help. Morgane can talk more about that.)
I guess, the best way of putting it is that everyone here is doing what they do because we enjoy it. Pacific gives us the chance to tell some amazing stories. We’re going to pick the ones that we’re interested in.