What Does a Ship Modeling Fool Do When Out of Town?

This past weekend, I was away in my old hometown, a place where I didn’t have a whole lot to do one day. Knowing this would probably be the case, I brought a couple easy to transport things to keep me occupied. Some people would just bring a book or watch TV. Me, I’m a ship modeling fool, so I brought a couple new ship model projects along. One was an unstarted paper model kit, a 1/96-scale model of the British frigate HMS Mercury, by Shipyard of Poland. The other was the Mini-Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe of Japan.

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While the HMS Mercury kit is a major project, I figured getting the framework together would give me something to show at an upcoming ship model meeting. Also, last year I had a paper model of the British cutter HMS Alert that I took with me to the Nautical Research Guild Conference. I was working at the Ages of Sail table in the Vendor Room and the partially completed model made for a good display of these kits. The next conference is coming up in another 6 weeks or so, and I’m working the Ages of Sail table again. I thought it might be good to take a different started kit. I considered taking the HMS Alert, with is much farther along, but I’ve put a lot of work into it and don’t want it to get damaged in the trip.

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Bear in mind that this is the 1/96-scale Paper Model kit and not the 1/72-scale Laser Cardboard Series kit. It was fun to get a paper model started, especially since all the frames and sub-deck pieces all pre-cut. So, as far as I got, it was all just cut and slip parts together. I didn’t actually spend a lot of time on it. But then, this was actually project number two, which I didn’t work on until I was done working on project one.

The first project, Woody Joe’s Mini-Yakatabune kit, was something I received a couple months from the Japanese online dealer Zootoyz.jp. I’ve been working on the large Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe, so I was already familiar with the craft. While I’d been working on the larger model, I’ve been writing about it on Model Ship World. Meanwhile, a fellow ship modeler has been working the mini-kit. Since I had the unstarted kit on the shelf and was very impressed by the work that the other ship modeler had done on his model, I took the kit along with me. Woody Joe product listings suggest it’s an 8-hour build, so I put that to the test.

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I came away from the weekend with everything on my list done, and also managed to pretty well finish up the Mini-Yakatabune. I’ll post more info on that kit later. But, I will say for now that I built it in a day – pretty close to the 8-hour suggested build time. I’ve built Woody Joe’s Hobikisen mini-kit and also have an unbuilt Utasebune mini-kit on the shelf too. But, from my experience, the Mini-Yakatabune is a great kit with lots to do and it looks really nice when it’s all done. It’s more expensive that the other mini-kits, but has a lot more laser cut parts than the other mini-kits. I highly recommend building it!

It’s such a neat model and the subject seems culturally significant, so I personally think the completed model will make a great gift. I’m going to give this one to my shamisen teacher and even went so far as to order a couple more of them to build for my former taiko teacher. With a list price of 5500 yen, about $46 at the time of this writing, building this kit as a gift shouldn’t break the bank account.

Well, this ship modeling fool is now back from the weekend. Surprisingly, I didn’t do much ship modeling today. But, the day’s not over yet! Ω

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