Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Wasen Modeler Launch

I’ve finally decided to officially launch my wasenmodeler blog site. It’s just getting off the ground, but I plan to organize my Japanese traditional boat information here, giving it all a place to live. I hope you’ll find the new site useful.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and launch my wasenmodeler site. I’ve been posting my work on my shipmodeler blog for a while now, but there have been stretches when I’ve been working a lot on Japanese traditional boats, or Wasen. So, I started a page on my site, Japanese Watercraft.

Since I began my first Japanese wooden boat, my work has matured a lot, and I’m giving a talk together with boatbuilder Douglas Brooks at the 2016 Nautical Research Guild conference in San Diego in October (my segment is on modeling Japanese boats, and it will be very short). In addition, I’ve been scheduled to do one of the roundtable discussions there on modeling Japanese boats. And, now that I’m finally heading to Japan for a week of research and networking, it seems that the time has come to spin off wasenmodeler as a stand-alone blog site.

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Funakagami – A PDF Book on Japanese Boat Types

As I’m preparing for my study trip to Japan in, I’ve been checking on museum websites and such. The Maritime Science Museum is closed, except for a small museum annex, their website still lists the museum publications.

I don’t see any place to actually purchase these, but there are a couple books that you can download as a pdf. The one that immediately caught my interest had a number of Edo period boats on the cover. So, I immediately downloaded it and started looking through it.

Funakagami cover

Funakagami cover

I’m still working to understand the text, but the first part of the book is mostly old illustrations. Apparently, this is taken from a book called a Funekan, which was used by the Bakufu, or Shogunate government, to aid in identifying the many types of small boats on the rivers of the Kanto district, which is the region of old Edo (Tokyo) and its surroundings. The identification was necessary for taxation purposes.

Such a book is a boon to anyone who is trying to learn about different types of Japanese boats. There is little information about the boats themselves, but there is a nice large illustration of each boat type, and an index which classifies the boat. In the back of the book is a section which identifies the names of the parts of each boat. In the end, the text gets very meaty with, as far as I can tell, discussion about taxes, etc.

The book can not be printed as it is a password protected pdf. But, I discovered I can still copy text and take screen shots of the images to compile into my own notes. The copied text can be pasted into Google Translate or similar service. I’ve found that the translation is sometimes not as useful as the pronunciation/romaji spelling that is shown – For those who are familiar with Google Translator, just look under the box on the left, which is where you paste in the original text.

Click here to download the pdf

For me, the book has confirmed things I’ve already learned, taught me a number of new things, allowed me to see things I’d only read about, and raised a number of questions that I will be researching answers to.

Hope you find this helpful or at least entertaining. Ω

HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Next Paper Model Project

Having completed Shipyard’s HMS Alert kit, it just didn’t feel right to not have a paper model to work on. There’s something about the simplicity of paper that is just too darned cool!

Of course, I have plenty of wooden ship model projects, but it’s nice to have a paper model going in the background. As with other background projects I’ve had in the past, there is no rush to get it done. There’s also nothing that says I have to ever get it done. But, having completed the Alert, I can see taking on another kit and carrying it to completion.

Now, I have Shipyard’s Super Modellar Plans (that’s Shipyard’s spelling, by the way, not mine) for the Santa Leocadia, a Spanish 38-gun frigate in 1/72 scale. The “Super” part of that title means that the plans include the laser-cut frames and some other items to give you a start on the model. However, beyond that, it’s really designed as a scratch build project. That’s something that, as a wooden ship modeler, I can probably do. But, I’m really not looking for something that requires a great deal of thought and planning time. I’d rather just go with a kit that I can just follow along and build.

There are the “Laser Cardboard Series” of ship model kits, which are boxed sets and include cast resin figurehead and scrollwork, turned brass cannons, wooden dowels for masts, pre-cut sail cloth, etc. Those kits are really nice and are in a larger 1/72 scale.

However, I already have a paper model kit on hand that I bought more than a year ago. It is Shipyard’s 1/96 scale HMS Mercury kit.

kit-hmsmercury

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