Daily Archives: November 2, 2013

The Next Woody Joe Kit Review

In just a couple weeks or so, the next issue of Seaways’ Ships in Scale should be on its way out to subscribers, and with it my first ship model kit review article. The proofs of the article were sent to me last week and I made some corrections and sent them in. The article is an out of the box review of Woody Joe’s Kanrin Maru kit. The article includes much of the material that I posted here on my blog, but also a few interesting tidbits I learned about the Woody Joe company.

The editors seemed pretty happy with the article. Frankly, I think they’re happy any time they get an article that doesn’t require a lot of fixing, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have several peers read over my work for me to screen out most of the problems, both in grammar and in content. Since they seem interested in more kit reviews, I’ve been considering another Woody Joe kit, since there seems to be an interest in their seldom seen kits.

I’ve have three Woody Joe subjects I’ve been interested in, the Charles Royal Yacht, the Edo period boat Higaki-Kaisen and another Edo period boat, the Wasen Sengokubune.


I really like the Charles Yacht as it’s a very attractive model and I think it’s a very intriguing kit designed be a couple members from the Japanese ship model society called The Rope. The kit is at a scale of 1/64, which makes it very scale compatible with a lot of Model Shipways, Caldercraft and Amati’s Victory Line of kits. The decorative nature of the ship is extremely appealing and I can imagine wanting to gold leaf all those decorative fittings. The kit’s builds to a medium to smallish model at 18″ long, but this results in a kit that weighs only about 3 lbs., which helps to keep the cost of the kit and the shipping down. The only drawback I can see with this kit is that it appears it may not be a model of a specific vessel, but rather a type of vessel, and the model is based on examples of these Dutch yachts found in the National Maritime Museum. But, this makes it really no different from Model Expo’s 18th Century English Longboat.


The next subject, the Wasen Sengokubune is an Edo period sailing transport used for coastal trade. Wasen is the term for a Japanese style boat, while Sengokubune refers to the boat’s cargo capacity of 1000 Koku. One koku being about 5 bushels and originally defined as the volume of rice required to feed one person for a year. The kit is at the relatively large scale of 1:30 and measures about 22″ long and just under 20″ high. The larger size of the kit makes it fairly heavy and shipping is a bit expensive, but it’s one of the less expensive kits, so that helps to balance out the overall cost. My only concern with the kit is that at the larger scale, the kit might be a bit light on detail. That may not actually be the case, but I realized that I’m not ready to risk the purchase just to find out.


The last subject, the Higaki-Kaisen is one of the more recent Woody Joe offerings. It’s an Edo period sailing transport used for coastal trade between Osaka and Edo (now Tokyo) by the Higaki guild of Osaka. The word “Kaisen” simply means cargo boat. Woody Joe’s model is at scale of 1:72 and measures just under 16-1/2″ long, so it’s not particularly big. However, the kit features some interior details with their other kits don’t, giving the viewer a better sense of what these boats were really like, and adding what looks like some nice realistic detail.

Of these three kits, the newer ones seem more appealing. I’m guessing they’re better designed, but that really is just a guess. I’ll be finding out more about that in future purchases. For now, my growing interest in traditional Japanese boats and the details of the Higaki Kaisen make that kit the most appealing for now. So, that’s what I decided to spring for. The model was recently ordered from Zootoyz (Zootoyz is an easy to deal with company that takes credit cards as well as Paypal orders and provides good prices and reasonable shipping and communicates in English) and should arrive by Express Mail by the end of next week and I’m eagerly anticipating it, even with all the other projects I need to be working on!  Ω