Monthly Archives: August 2019

Harold Hahn plans now available from NavyBoardModels

I just received word from Winston Scoville that the collection of Harold Hahn plans are now available for purchase at This is described as a collaborative venture of the Hahn family and NavyBoardModels.


The late Harold Hahn was an artist turned ship modeler. Anybody who has been building ship models for any length of time probably knows about this man and his work. For us, he is most well known for his beautiful plank-on-frame ship models, as well as his method of building them.

Now, NavyBoardModels has all of his notes and photos online for you to view freely. There is even a nice biography of the man, written by Dave Stevens who runs The Lumberyard for Model Shipwrights.

As far as I can tell, he Lumberyard still offers timbering sets for the Hahn models, which includes the plans (Not sure why they now call them kits, as in the biography, it is clear that Mr. Hahn was only agreeable to these “kits” if they were called “Timbering Sets”). Those, by the way, also include a nice laser-cut framing jig specific to the model.

The Lumberyard also appears to still sell the CD that includes all the Hahn model photos, but, many of these photos are now viewable for free on the NavyBoardModels site.  Clearly, the NavyBoardModels photos have been “digitally enhanced” slightly, using some kind of filter to sharpen the images. This give the photos a weird grainy quality. Still, it’s free access to view many photos of Mr. Hahn’s beautiful work.

For those who would look down at Harold Hahn’s plans and work as not being accurate, I’d recommend reading the two-part article written about the man and his work by Dave Stevens. Again, you can access this article for free at NavyBoardModels here.



Building a Tenma-Zukuri Chabune (伝間造茶船) – Part 4

The Tenma-zukuri chabune construction continues. Getting close to finishing this small, 1/20-scale model of an Edo period canal boat. Building it has been a learning experience, and I’m still learning as I go. Even learned something while writing this latest blog post.

Hopefully, I’ll have this model completed for my Japanese boat models display at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival next month.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Uwakoberi, Koberi, and Iron Nails

So, with the koberi in place, I added the small deck at the bow and the ōtoko at the stern. I’m trying to find out the term for these small decks, which are more like steps. On the Hozugawa boats, the small deck at the bow is called omote-amaose. But, that’s an entirely different region, so I expect the term in Tokyo/Edo would be something quite different.

I also added the uwakoberi, which is what in the west, one would refer to as the gunwale or caprail. Each was made from a single piece of wood, wide enough to cover the edges of the hull planking and rub rail. I made mine a little wider, so that there is a slight overhang on the inboard side.

On tenmasen, the uwakoberi could be quite wide, serving as a walkway for the boatmen. I wanted…

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New MSW Scratch Build Project Available – HMS Winchelsea

Chuck Passaro, ship modeler and owner/operator of Syren Model Ship Company, recently announced on Model Ship World his plans to change the operational model of his company somewhat, and will no longer be developing new kits. He will be continuing to focus on producing blocks, rigging line, and his existing kits, but has decided to change course for future developments.

In keeping with the new changes, he has teamed up with Model Ship World to make a new online project available to NRG/MSW members. The project, which he has been developing over the course of several years, is the 32-gun British frigate Winchelsea, 1764.

Interested builders will need to be a member of the Model Ship World online forum, but there is no cost to join. As am MSW member (and MSW members are automatically registered as NRG associate members), you can then pay a $15 access fee, and you will receive details on accessing and downloading the drawings and monograph.

Payment is made through the NRG website here:!/HMS-Winchelsea-Plan-Access-MSW/p/146083138/category=13294033

Or just go to https://www.thenrg.organd click on the Plans & Projects tab, and then the HMS Winchelsea Plan Access button. A message will be sent to you on MSW on how to access and download the drawings necessary for this build.

The project is designed as a plank-on-bulkhead model project for first-time scratch builders. The drawings are specifically for a 1/4″ scale (1:48), unrigged model, with a hull measuring about 38″ long.

While this is designed as a first-time scratch modeler’s project, some laser-cut parts will be available for purchase through Syren Ship Model Company’s Winchelsea page for those who so choose. The first chapter of the monograph is also available to download on that page.

More information about the group project can be found on MSW here:

There are other group projects available to members as well, including the Medway Longboat (kit’s similar to Model Expo’s 18th Century English Longboat, but much nicer materials and detail), an Introduction to Relief Carving, as well as a 28-gun frigate, HMS Triton, build.

This looks to be a nice new ship modeling project, a great way to delve into scratch building, or to just take on a wonderful looking build-as-you-go project. Ω

Wasen Models in Miniature – A Hozugawa Downriver Boat

A quick side project in a small scale.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

After completing the Hozu river diorama and showing photos to people, I got back some very good comments that led me to think about making a gift shop sized model of a large Hozugawa kudari boat, or downriver boat. These boats are fiberglass now, but they are based on a wooden boat that the river tour company commissioned many years back by the last boat builder of the region.

My Hozu river diorama

Douglas Brooks was kind enough to share a drawing of the boat that he obtained in Japan. I worked out the measurements, and the boat comes out to about 33 feet in length. Figuring a nice sized desktop model should be no more than about 10 or 11 inches long, that would put it at about 1/40 scale. That’s actually not that miniature, but for a boat of this type, it’s certainly miniature enough. Plus, it’s large…

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Woody Joe’s USS Susquehanna Now Available!

Here’s some good news for ship modelers, particularly those interested in the early sail-rigged steamers. Woody Joe has just released their new U.S.S. Susquehanna kit. This is one of the famous “Black Ships” that were party of Matthew Perry’s squadron to open trade with Japan in 1853.

The 1/120-scale laser-cut kit measures just about 34″ long when completed. The cost is about $400 plus shipping. That makes it one of the pricier kits, but it is also one of the few kits available anywhere of an American paddlewheel steamer.

When I get caught up on projects a bit, I’d really love to build this. The kit, like many Woody Joe kits, is designed to be easy to build. They list it as 190 hours construction time, which is in comparison to 200 hours for their big Cutty Sark kit and 100 hours for their Sir Winston Churchill kit.

I’ve found Woody Joe kits to be accurate, but leaving room for the builder to upgrade the kit by adding details beyond what’s provided in the kit. Of course, you will need to deal with instructions that are only available in Japanese. But, the instructions are extremely well illustrated, and pretty easy to follow, and there is actually very little text or need for it. But, if you have a smart phone, the use of the Google Translate app will help you make sure you don’t miss anything.

You’ll probably find the kit on Amazon or Ebay. But, as always, I recommend the Japanese online shop for service and support. Here’s a direct link to the kit on their site:

At the moment, I’ve noticed that the product does not appear on the original site, but does appear on the newer “wooden products only” site (accessible from the Zootoyz home page). But, just click on the direct link above and it will get you there.


Building a Tenma-Zukuri Chabune (伝間造茶船) – Part 3

In preparation for the Wooden Boat Festival, slow progress is being made on the Tenma-zukuri chabune. Will it be done in time? I don’t know. I’m not worried about it though. It will just give me something more to work on at the event.

Did I mention that I’m probably going to be singing at the launch of Douglas Brooks’s Japanese boat? You gotta be there to see it!

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Construction of the model continues as I’ve been working out how I want to tackle some of the details on this 1/20-scale model. The major issues to deal with are the copper mortise covers and other copper detailing as well as the detailing of iron nails used to fasten the koberi, or rub rail, plus wire nails used to fasten the uwakoberi, or the caprails. Some of this is quite simple.

Below, I’ve posted a photo of Japanese modeler Kouichi Ohata’s Tenma-zukuri chabune. He has been helpful in the adjusting of the design of the drawings and has completed a model based on the drawings.

His model is built at 1/10 scale. I may eventually build one at this scale, but for now, I’m happy building mine in 1/20 scale, and I’m considering building other wasen of the Funakagami in 1/20 scale also. It saves on space!


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