Building Woody Joe’s Horyu-ji Temple Five-Story Pagoda – Part 1

So, it begins! I got this kit from earlier in the year, along with some other temple and Edo period architecture kits. One of those kits, the Shinmei-zukuri Shrine, I built and wrote about here. But, I’ve had too many other projects to work on to get to any of these other kits.

Well, it’s been long enough. We’re approaching the end of the year, when I traditionally build some kind of simpler Japanese kits. Since I made a promise to get to this kit, specifically, I’m pulling the kit out of the closet and setting it out to build.

Hōryū-ji 5-Story Pagoda from Woody Joe

This will make a nice size model, measuring about 18.5″ tall on a 10-1/4″ square base when done. There are more than 870 parts, mostly milled wood, though there are some wood strips and smaller laser-cut sheets. The kit is listed by Woody Joe as requiring 50 hours to build. I think this may be a revision of an early figure of 40 hours to build, as that’s what I recall and that’s what states. In any case, it will take a lot less time than a ship model.

Woody Joe lists the kit for ¥29,000, but Zootoyz’ list price is ¥28,000 yen. That’s about $245 plus shipping, which to the U.S. is about $54 for the cheapest service.

As with all Woody Joe kits, the packaging is well organized, with parts neatly separated into bags, which are then stapled to cardboard inserts so they don’t flop around in the box.

Bags are individually labeled with part number, a description in Japanese, and the quantity of parts. Woody Joe’s quality control is such that in all their kits I’ve built, there are always the number of parts listed on the label. And, as for the Japanese part names, the fact that I can’t read them easily generally doesn’t have any bearing on the construction of the model. The part numbers are what are referenced in the well illustrated instructions.

Clearly, these are of an older era of instructions from Woody Joe, as there are no photos of the actual model kit and the print is all in black ink. But, everything seems clear enough to me. Also, because a pagoda is basically multiple levels of similar construction, this should be a pretty easy to follow build.

Right now, the hard part is trying to decide how I will finish the kit. That is, whether I will just build it straight out of the box, or paint the roofs, or dye the wood so that it more closely resembles the actual weathered structure, which is mostly a dark brown.

I’m considering dying the wood that color, and painting the roofs a greenish gray and wall panels off white.

The real pagoda is accepted to be one of the oldest existing structures in the world. The tree that forms its core has been dated to have been felled in 594 A.D.

The Wikipedia Entry has a lot more info on the design and history of this Buddhist structure.



2 thoughts on “Building Woody Joe’s Horyu-ji Temple Five-Story Pagoda – Part 1

    1. catopower Post author

      Larry, thanks for your comment. You are probably quite right, and I have been needing a bit of a push in one direction or another. I started the first step of construction, the base of the temple, which is stone. After this step is done, I think I’ll need to make the final call on the painting/staining.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s