I’ve recently found myself spinning my wheels on the ship modeling front. This happens from time to time with my projects when I get a bit overwhelmed or stuck. My scratch model of a Japanese rice field boat, the Gifu Tabune, was one kind of distraction to work on. That took only a couple days, but there was a lot of thinking that went into that build, since it was from scratch, and I’m still learning a lot about Japanese traditional boats. The ideal would be a simple kit, where I can just build it and not spend a lot of time on it or have to put a lot of brain power into it, as I’m in short supply these days.
As it turns out, I’d purchased a collection of simple Woody Joe kits from Zootoyz. If you follow my blog at all, you’re already aware that I am always recommending purchasing from the online Japanese hobby dealer Zootoyz.com for those looking for, among other things, Woody Joe kits, which are not available directly in the U.S.
The kit I decided to distract myself with first, is called the Shinmei-zukuri Shrine. Woody Joe’s website suggest it should take about 10 hours to build. I always take those numbers with a grain of salt, but they do give you a sense on the difficulty level of each kit. Looking through the kit, it looks very easy and this should be a lot of fun to build.
Shinmei-zukuri (shin-may-zoo-coo-ree) is an ancient Japanese architectural style. It pre-dates the temples and shrines that most westerners think of as old Japanese style, dating back to the 6th century. There are some examples of this style that exist today, because these shrines are periodically rebuilt in a manner than is faithful to the original design.
I really know little about the architectural style and not so much about Japanese Shinto shrines in general, though I’ve loved visiting them the few times I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Japan. You can read more information on Shinmei-zukuri on Wikipedia.
One of the main reasons for my interest in building these architectural models, is that I’m trying to better understand the construction of older Japanese watercraft. Larger ones were built with structures on their decks. Now, I don’t know how faithful the kits are to the actual architectural practices, but certainly building them should at least help me become familiar with the designs.
The kit itself is a 1/150-scale model that measures about 10″ by 10″ by about 5″ high, and cost about $100 shipped. It’s all laser cut, as you would expect from a current Woody Joe kits. The box measures just under 11″ x 7″ and a little under 2″ thick. If you get the kit, remember that these kits have no english language instruction at all. It’s not manufactured for the U.S. market.
I don’t actually read much Japanese, but I can read a little. Mostly, I know how to use Google translate and how to scan and use Optical Character Recognition software where I have to. Also, I know how to set up the input system on my Mac computer so that I can draw characters on my trackpad. But, the amount of instructional text is very limited in Woody Joe kits, and you can pretty well build their kits from the heavily illustrated instructions. Of course, if you follow a blog like this one, you should be able to find out what you need to know.
The instructions in this case are a single large sheet of paper printed on both sides and folded. The first part is the list of parts. In my earlier Woody Joe kit reviews, I’ve explained how to read these parts list. Rather than rehash all of that, I’ll just explain things as I go as needed.
Looking over the 12 steps of the instructions, the kit looks like a pretty straight forward build. I’ve looked through the instructions and the parts and identified most of what I need. There is some red text, which is indication that there is something important to note. I’ll take a look at those parts more closely, but may just do that again as I go along. I don’t see anything that looks tricky here.
The parts are mostly laser-cut Japanese cypress, or Hinoki. It’s all neatly organized and packaged. Woody Joe uses small sheets of wood for the laser-cut parts and etches the sheet number onto to the wood, and the part numbers next to the parts. Part numbers are also clearly labeled on each package.
You’ll notice that there are a number of wooden dowels and other shapes that have been pre-cut to proper dimensions for you. There are also several pre-milled pieces, so you don’t have to do any cutting or shaping in this kit. It appears to mostly be an assembly job.
There is one sheet of a very thin gold metal that has a backing on it, so I assume this is probably an adhesive backed material. I’ll have to look into that when it comes up in the build.
The base is nicely pre-cut. Judging from past Wood Joe kits, the parts should fit together nicely.
Landscaping consists of a piece of what appears to be a sheet of sandpaper for the ground and a pair of pre-fabricated trees with bases. I know Woody Joe has several kinds of these trees available on their website, but this is the first kit I’ve seen that includes them. They’ll add life to the model.
Finally, below is a view of all the parts laid out for a group photo.
Next post on the Shinmei-zukuri shrine, I’ll be getting the build started.