Woody Joe may be the only wood ship model kit company in Japan, but their product line extends beyond the maritime realm. I posted an out-of-the-box kit review of their Iwakuni Castle kit some months ago. Since this is a model I’m building for someone’s birthday in February, I had started the kit early, just in case. It’s a good thing too.
Woody Joe’s website indicates approximately 30 hours to build this kit. Well, I think I’ve finally figured out that these are relative values and can’t really be used to determine how much actual time it will take any individual to build. For this model, it’s 30 hours, for another like Matsue Castle, it’s 60 hours. Well, as a guide as to which to buy, maybe it’s best to just figure the Iwakuni Castle model should take half the time that the Matsue Castle takes to build.
As I’ve discovered. The castle model itself is pretty neat and it’s a relatively quick build so far. By far the most difficult part of the build I’ve seen is the base. I don’t mean the nice molded framing and all, but the stonework that the castles all sit atop.
To begin with, you build up a structural base and then you cover it with a stonework mosaic facade. The framework for the base itself is easy. Once it goes together it is covered with a very thin plywood onto which the stonework pieces are glued.
The stonework is actually wood that is very old and weathered so that it takes on a stony appearance. The wood comes in these short rectangular strips, 5mm x 30mm. To get the stone effect, you have to cut these up into odd stony shapes.
The trick is that you need to then glue these on and you then end up with gaps between the stones. To minimize the gaps, you have to choose the stone pieces that fit best, or you can cut smaller pieces to fill gaps. Or, if you keep your stones mostly square, you just glue them on and don’t worry too much about the gaps.
As it turns out, I think I’ve been trying too hard to keep the stone bases from looking like brick work. If you look at the real castles, the sometimes do like a bit like brickwork, on a very large scale. I looked at some photos on the Internet of various famous castles and now I’m pretty sure I’m over doing things.
But it’s okay. I think that whatever you end up doing, the stone work looks like stone work. Once you have the castle sitting atop, it pretty well draws the eye away from the stone work and to the castle itself. So, I’m continuing work and progressing slowly, but it’s starting to come together and I actually finished one wall of the base!
I don’t want to change my construction style now. But next time I build a castle, and I can tell you now that there WILL be a next time, I will look closely at the photos on the Internet and try to mimic the actual stonework better. I think construction will actually prove to be easier. Ω