A little while back, I wrote a post about working on some projects while out of town (What Does a Ship Modeling Fool Do When Out of Town). One of those projects was the Mini-Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe of Japan. Well, I added some finishing touches and finished up the model recently. These were mostly little modifications to the kit, which I though added a little realism.
Keeping in mind the Mini-Yakatabune kit is designed to be easy to build, there are some small details that were left off in the design. Mostly, these are rigging lines that aren’t really necessary, but certainly add realism to the final model. In addition, to make construction easier, in place of very thin and fragile dowels, the kit provides brass rod.
Being used to working with very tiny, fragile parts, I replaced the brass rod with thin wooden dowels that I reduced down to size using a jeweler’s drawplate.
I ended up with a long piece of dowel left over and so I just trimmed it to a reasonable length and used it to represent a bamboo pole used to help push the boat along shallow water and at the shore.
The rigging was a little trickier since it’s such a small model, but mostly, the issue is the delicate nature of the model. First off, I coiled up a tiny piece of line and laid it down at the bow. It’s pretty small, so it doesn’t look like much more than a blob. From building the larger Yakatabune model, I was aware of a line used for raising the rudder. As was pointed out to me by another ship modeler who built his kit before I built mine, there is a hole in the rudder, but the instructions show no reason for it. The line then tied at this hole and the ends of the line reach up and tie around the support beam above it.
Again from the larger Woody Joe kits I was aware that in early days, the two pieces of the oar, called a “Ro” in Japanese, had a piece of rope wrapped around the joint. That was a pretty easy addition. The tougher addition was a loop of line tied down to the deck, that went over the handle of the oar. This required me to fashion a loop in the end of a line inserted into a small hole that I drilled into the deck. The loop then slips over the handle that sticks up out of the oar. To reinforce the placing of the oar, I inserted a small piece of brass wire into the oar, which fits down into a small hole I drilled into the oar’s support beam.
Finally, I figured this tiny model is going to get knocked over on someone’s shelf, so I first glues some thin brass rods into the base and drill corresponding holes in the bottom of the model. This keeps the model removable from the base, but it sits securely on the base. I then decided to cut a thin sheet of cherry wood to mount the whole thing on.
Somehow, I managed to lose the silhouette figure that’s supposed to stand at the oar handle, but the model looks pretty complete as is and I think it will be a very appreciated gift.
As I mentioned before, the basic model kit was essentially completed in a single day. Added details took me a little longer to complete. Overall, this was a really fun kit to build and I found the results to be really nice. I even went so far as to buy two more kits to make into gifts.
Those interested in building the kit, remember that the instructions are in Japanese only. The instructions are very well illustrated and the kit goes together very easily, so the language shouldn’t be an issue. Just remember that any wood that you need to bend needs to be dampened first. Also, there are a lot of very delicate laser-cut parts. Cut away through the tabs that hold the pieces in the sheets, but make sure to remove the knife blade from the sheet before trying to remove the wood from the sheet. Don’t skip steps. And, since these kits are only available from Japan, don’t expect to find/get replacement parts. So, be extra careful not to break or lose anything!
If you’re interested in buying a kit, and if you’ve read this far I really think you should, I recommend ordering from the online hobby dealer Zootoyz.jp. Prices are good, shipping is reasonable, and service is excellent. Ω