Monthly Archives: February 2018

My Next Japanese Boat Models Display Next Month

For those of you in the Bay Area in March and interested in models of traditional Japanese watercraft, I’m setting up my first display of 2018 next month. The models will be in the display window of Union Bank’s community room, located inside the Japan Center’s East Mall, from March 1st through March 31st, 2018.

Models will include kit build models from Woody Joe and Thermal Studio, as well as four scratch built models, two of which will be brand new to the display.

Here’s my original post on

Building the Urayasu Bekabune Model – Part 2

The Urayasu Bekabune is the first scratch-built Japanese traditional boat that I started. It wasn’t the first one I finished. That honor goes to the elegantly simple Gifu Tabune I built in 1/20 scale over a single weekend.

But, the Urayasu Bekabune has many connections. I managed to visit the city museum in Urayasu where these boats came from. This museum was the location of boatbuilder Douglas Brooks’s second apprenticeship in Japan. He details both the apprenticeship and the boat’s construction in his book, Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

It took me a long while before I had any hull planking in place, as I considered ways to work on the model with no frames. I also wanted try to figure out a way to build the model as closely as I could to the way the Japanese boatbuilders did it, which is upright, and not on a mold. So, my model actually sat for quite a while.

When I went to Japan, in September of 2016, and visited the museum in Urayasu, I saw that the model builders there had made a special L-shaped fixture that the model rested on with the stem supported by the leg of the “L”.

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