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Review of the Digital Navy 1.250 IJN Takao

By Jeff Herne

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I’ve never actually tried a card model before, but found the Digital Navy site while snooping around the internet awhile ago. I noticed the company produced a Takao, which is on my short list of to-do scratchbuilding projects. The model is scaled in 1/250 scale, and come on individual CD-Rom disks. The graphics are well done, and the parts fit is entirely based on how well you cut and fold the pieces! The beauty of card models on CD is that if you mess up a part, simply print another one and try again!!

The models are based on the drawings in the Anatomy of the Ship series, and match quite well. Although there are some limitations to card models, it appears that all the necessary details can in fact be made from card stock, the modeler only needing to add some brass wire, plastic rod, and rigging material to complete the models. Photoetch is not included, obviously, but there are some European companies that produce 1/250 railings, they are listed on Wilhelmshaven Model website. In my case, I’m scaling the models either to 1/350 scale or 1/200 scale (I haven’t decided yet), so I’ll be able to benefit from commercially available rails from Tom’s Modelworks or GMM.

The only downside (if there is any) to these models, is that you’ll need to reference plans to keep the measurements and dimensions accurate as you go along. Since you’re building a model from templates, things aren’t going to be as mathematically perfect as you would get from a plastic or resin kit. However, where else are you going to find a better starting point for either of these two vessels without starting from scratch?

I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph Roman’s (the owner of DigitalNavy) Takao at a recent show. Roman is a purist, building the models from card and paper with only brass rod for the masts. Even under close examination, I was amazed at the level of detail he could achieve with paper. Incredible! The CD, and the ability to re-print all the parts you mess up, is an affordable $30 + $2S&H ($4 overseas ).

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For ordering information, please visit


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