Secondly: Ian, I don't feel like criticizing,but more rendering a critique, since our preferred styles are visually different. Rather I'd point out a few deviations/differences, besides the stylistic ones (such as applying smaller portholes and apparent shading preferences.)
Sure. My own format is more "standard" but differences in personal styles between artists are to be expected - no issue there.
1) The final bridge structure that I modeled, featuring two large navigation bridge windows slanted forward with a grey rubber seal between the two removable window panes in each window frame, is verified through pictorial evidence. You simplified it to four smaller window slots (basically). Question: why change that, when there's historically verified evidence as to its appearance; and as it was not changed at all till the ship was lost. Also, on the flag bridge, you correctly shortened by elimination the row of windows, but, again, you rather chose to show these as individual window frames, when, in reality, they were simply removable panes, fastened by rubber strips, providing weathering sealing.
Again, can be a choice of stylistic approach, and it does not overly detract from the overall result, which clearly is astounding, it merely confounds me some.
I know how the bridge windows are configured in real life, but the way I draw them is mostly a compromise forced on us by the style - and I prefer the way it looks. Whenever I draw glazed windows I always separate the window panes with a single pixel strip of grey, and in our style this is correctly bordered on either side by black lines. I do not like the way the dark grey line contrasts with the window blue color if it's just right next to it without black pixels providing a demarcation. This is a personal style thing and I don't plan on changing the way the bridge windows are drawn.
Re: the lower set of glazed windows on the flag bridge, I originally drew these only as black lines (with no blue window color) to show that they were removable but scrapped that idea when I realized that the black lines just didn't "read" well.
Also 2) the triangular moulded or welded section apparent on the base was not fitted on the last three - fleet flagship versions (Chicago, Houston and Augusta), but were present on the earlier versions (Northampton, Chester and Louisville). Why this was so, I do not know, but, again, pictorial evidence has led me to completely omit that feature on the CAs 29-31, and, thus, I believe, so should you.
Are you referring to the side of the catapult foundation tower, where the shell plating is faired into the hull itself? Or do you mean the small triangular box you've drawn on the forward side of the catapult tower? I can't find any evidence of that small triangular shape existing. See the Mare Island photos of CHICAGO (CA-29) in 1931 here: http://imgur.com/a/bKeH2
If you're referring to the shell plating on the side of the catapult foundation sitting flush with the hull (and thus creating knuckles on either side and a flat section in the middle), this feature is clearly present on the flagship NORTHAMPTONs (see the above linked photos as well). There are no photos of CA-30 similar to the above, but as she and CHICAGO were so similar in configuration, I don't think adding this feature to HOUSTON is too much of an extrapolation.
The small detail I've drawn on the forward side of the catapult tower of CA-30 is the small piping and vent trunk visible in the CA-29 photos.
Also - your rendition does not include the overhead cover visible in these photos, or the foot railing around the catapult tower itself.
3) The USS Houston at the time of her demise was already 12 years old. a fairly old lady thus. As such she had undergone numerous modifications and refits already, evident in her hull configuration. Thus I've tried to show that in my three renditions of the fleet flagship versions, with welded in sections, such as the discarded torpedo tube midships section. The various darker grey lines in my drawings thus represent platings that's been added. Your hull side, however, is clean, and thus untouched. The platings can be seen on various pictures of any ships in the class, and as my series attempts to show, the ships did vary due to refits undertaken at various times and various yards. The last refit that I know of, that Houston undertook was in early Jan. 1942, just prior to joining the ill-fated ABDA-fleet under the Dutch Schoutbynacht Karel Doorman.
This is a good point (and something I had earmarked but overlooked). The Tjilitjap photo
shows the weld lines where the aft-most deck cut out was plated in. I'll add this in a bit.