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IJN Fuso (Halinski) Card Model Review by Captain Slog

Captain Slog

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Yesterday I received another card ship model for my stash.  It is the IJN Fuso by Halinski in 1:200 scale.  Why the Fuso? I have lusted over this kit for a few years now after following a build log here in MSW 1.0 and since found several more on other sites.  The level of detail in all the build logs are incredible and I wasn’t sure if the kit came this way or was extra details added by the modeller.  After pouring over it again and again I can say the detail is in the kit.  There are very few items on the Halinski Fuso which could or would be improved with further detailing although more experianced people would probably disagree.


Compared to the GPM Bismarck I am working on the level of detail to be added is considerably more than the Bismarck which has a lot of items printed directly on to the paper and can be further detailed by the modeller if desired. The Halinski ship provides the detail or provides the info to include them such as step irons and ladders for example.  Later published models from Halinski definitely deserve the praise they receive on the detail of their kits which I will discuss later.


Until I came across card models the Imperial Japanese Navy ships were never on my radar but since then found them incredibly interesting.  I love the complicatedness of the Pagoda masts as multi-layered structures with access ways and ladders and passages really appeal (that’s why I am not a fan of modern boring slab sided vessels).


The distinctive tall pagoda masts, which were ridiculed by other nation’s navy’s as being top heavy and unstable were developed for the Japanese strategy of night time engagements.  They initially left the ship yards with traditional tripod masts but slowly got added to and climbed higher and higher with refits and upgrades over their life.  The theory being that the higher platforms would be able to spot the enemy at longer distances first with powerful search lights and get the jump on them. The pagoda’s absolutely bristles with binoculars and search lights.  Of course all this potential height advantage was lost due to the introduction of ship borne radar.


I love this photo of the Yamahiro, Fuso (middle) and Haruna for reasons I can’t explain.  The towering pagodas give a kind of impression of ‘on your steps’ ‘get ready’…I don’t know the image is so Japanese, like an old wood cut print or something with Manga & Anime imagery all bundled together…like I say hard to explain.




Okay enough waffling <_< , on with the kit.  Halinski’s reputation of being the Premium of card models is well deserved and include a few well thought out ideas.  The kit book is roughly A3 size with multiple pages of varying types and weights which is interesting.


The parts on the photo below are printed on to thin paper which of course for the deck needs to be stuck down to a thicker form.  The detail of printing is exceptional with a lot of detail although printed flat have a 3D look about them which I haven’t found on the Bismarck.  Some make you run your finger across the page to verify that is just printed.  There appears to be only very minimal weathering on some of the parts.




This next point I think is incredible and although it would add to the cost of the kit it would be minimal compared to the advantages and other publishers should take note.  Many of the parts pages are coloured on the reverse.  Simple but the benefits off not having to colour reverse sides on exposed services add to the finished quality of the model in my opinion.


The majority of parts are printed on what appears typical weight Bristol paper to me but the lower red hull panels appear to be printed on pretty thick paper. I can see both advantages and disadvantages to this.  Since no one mentions this in other builds then must be okay.




Another nice touch is the assembly drawings are printed on quality glossy paper and appear to be rendered computer images which very clearly show how things are assembled. The shading and rendering shows parts relationships very clearly compared to line drawings.  A couple of pictures showing this below.






Now the details (and this can be seen in the assembly drawings above) the amount of ‘iron work’ to be made is awesome.  There is a full A3ish page crammed with all the rails, braces, pipes, foot and hand holds etc necessary to fully detail the ship.  In comparison the Bismarck has a few of jack staffs shown and the rest could be done with generic photo etch as no details are given.  The Fuso wins hands down on this alone as these are the details which although tiny are many and really brings the structures to life.


As my philosophy is now to get laser cut forms where available also applies to the Fuso.  There are 15 sheets of laser cut details and as can be expected the majority of these are for the hull.  Although the hull is very roughly the same size as the Bismarck I would say the mount of forms used to build up the Fuso hull up is at least 50% more.  I have no doubt the laser cut forms will fit perfectly.  I have used others for Bismarck and a vehicle and they always seem to fit right.  Being Halinski I have no concerns there.




Problems/Issues: Major one, I can’t start it :angry: .  I physically don’t have the space with the Bismarck going as well so will put it away for the time being and bring out to pour over now and then, sad as that may seems :rolleyes: .


Finally cost; not a great deal more than Bismarck in fact the forms were the same.  With conversion costs it worked out around to A$80 for the kit and A$50 for the laser cut forms.  Now the kicker, shipping from Poland to Australia was around the A$80 mark.  It was bought directly from Halinski and took around 11 days door to door.  Pretty good as the other 2 Polish places I buy from are usually bang on 14 days every time.






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2003 (roughly) seems to be the year that Halinski made the quantum leap to the level of detail that we now take for granted.  All that detail comes at a price, though, with Halinski kits being anywhere from half again to twice as much as a similar kit from a different publisher.  For some (like me - up to a point), that price difference is worth it, since Halinski kits are usually not only gorgeously printed, but go together rather easily relative to the number of parts and degree of complexity - a real (and regular) feat achieved by the talented designers at the Halinski firm.

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I've had that kit for a couple years now and I get it out and look at it every once in awhile. I like it for basically the same reasons you do. Currentl I'm still working on a WWII troop ship for a client I guess you could say and still have others in the queue. Nice photo BTW. Really is a towering superstructure. One of these years. Bill,in Idaho

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are the pages in the book die-cut or do you trace them with a blade?




The parts need to be cut out.  Die cutting is almost non-existent in the card modeling world, although laser cutting of formers and detail parts is common.

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