Monthly Archives: October 2019

Hozugawa Kudari Bune in 1/40 scale

Finally, a completed Japanese traditional boat model. This time, the model is a small, 1/40 scale scratc build of a Hozugawa “downriver” boat. This is the third time I’ve modeled a Hozu river boat – the first being a small fishing boat in 1/10 scale, and the second a miniature diorama of a downriver boat. This one won’t be the last, as I have another fishing boat in 1/10 scale in the works. Plus, I want to do a larger version of the downriver boat, either in 1/20 or maybe even a big one in 1/10 scale.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

If you’ve been following my blog, you might have read this one about the Hozugawa downriver boats: Wasen Models in Miniature – A Hozugawa Downriver Boat

I’ve since added a few details to the model, modernizing it slightly, with the addition of iron reinforcement brackets and a full complement of poles and oars.

I also added the loops to the hull which hold the paddles and steering oars in place when running down the river.

I wasn’t able to get official measurements on these, so I had to rely on photos and estimate the sizes. These are the sizes I came up with:

Sao (pole) – 18 shaku

Paddle (2) – 9 shaku, 7 sun wide blade

Steering Oar – 20 shaku, 7 sun wide blade

Pushing Pole – 9 shaku

Recently, I got myself a miniature shaku square about 3 sun long, so I didn’t actually need to convert…

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NRG Conference in New Bedford, MA Next Week

It’s time for the annual Nautical Research Guild Conference again. This year it’s in New Bedford, Massachusetts (Ha, I passed the spell check!), at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, October 24-26, 2019.

This should be an ideal place to hold a ship modeling conference. I’ve never been there myself, and have always want to visit. However, since I’ve only really attended the conferences for Ages of Sail, and this event has almost no vendors due to Massachusetts sales tax laws, or so I’m told, I’m not going to be there.

A couple members from the South Bay Model Shipwrights club will be going, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing what they have to say about it at next month’s meeting.

One thing I will be missing out on is their collection of Japanese prints and historical information about Japanese whaling, which could aid me in my research of Japanese traditional boats, which includes the Japanese whaleboats, called Kujirabune. I know that the Japanese whaling museum in Taiji, Japan, has some kind of connection, being that both involve the history of whaling.

In any case, if you’re interested in the Conference, there’s still time. Visit the NRG’s webpage for more details:




Japanese Ship Model Society “The Rope” Announces Anti-Piracy Policy

In the October 2019 issue of The Rope Newsletter, the group officially announced their policy to help deal with what are described as “fake kits with Chinese and Russian Origins”. This comes after discussing policies implemented by the Nautical Research Guild and the NRG’s Model Ship World.

The Rope’s efforts aim to educate membership to the problem and to provide an updated list of companies that practice a policy of pirating intellectual copyright, as well as use of dubious methods to skirt legal design issues.

Members are not prohibited from buying or building products from these companies, but such products will be banned from official activities. I presume this mainly refers to their annual exhibitions and their ship modeling classes.

The english language version of The Rope Newsletter, can be accessed directly from their website here:



Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 6

The sixth installment on my construction of a Japanese northern port coastal transport built from a Woody Joe kit brings out the Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter again with some great results.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Details, Details…

Hull construction is done on the Kitamaebune, the rudder has been added, and it’s time to turn my attention to the small details.

The kit, like all of the larger Woody Joe wasen model kits, includes a sheet of photo-etched copper, which covers many of the beam ends and such. But, while these pieces cover all the major features, there are many more, smaller details on the real ships that aren’t dealt with in this or the Higaki Kaisen kit.

I took these photos of the Hakusanmaru on Sado Island in 2016. In them, you can see all the brown colored copper coverings as well as the black iron bands and fasteners.

I considered trying to make these details in copper, but it wouldn’t match the copper in the kit, which actually appears to be some kind of copper alloy, as it doesn’t tarnish like regular copper. The…

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NRG’s Planked Half Hull Kit

I don’t know how this got past me – I guess I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with other things these last couple months. But the Nautical Research Guild just posted a notice on ModelShipWorld that their Half Hull Planking Project is now available.

The model project, created by Toni Levine, is intended to teach the practice of spiling techniques, which is the method used to shape and fit the planking on a real, full-sized ship. She points out in one of her posts that the project uses some shortcuts and compromises that work well, making it suitable for novice as well as experienced ship modelers.

The availability of the kit for the project was recently announced, and it can be purchased for $65 for MSW members and $52 for full NRG members. Price does not including shipping, which is $10 in the US, $20 to Canada, and $26 to other international destinations. The kit is on the NRG web site at:!/Half-Hull-Planking-Kit/c/41410202/offset=0&sort=normal

You can follow Toni Levine’s build on Model Ship World and learn more about the project here:

This sounds like a great way to learn planking techniques without having to deal with all the masting, rigging, and deck details of a full ship model. I could use a course on spiling techniques myself, so I may have to give this project a go myself. Ω

9th Japanese Boat Models Display, October 2019

Visit my latest display of Japanese traditional boats, now through the end of October in San Francisco’s Japantown.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

I just finished setting up Japanese wasen model display 9.0 yesterday. I was a bit late setting it up, which I had planned to set up 3 days earlier, but it was difficult for me to arrange my time this week for various reasons. But, it’s up now in the display window of the Union Bank community room inside the Japan Center’s East Mall.

Due to the sale of my Higaki Kaisen model, and to keep things manageable, I ended up scaling back to 6 models, plus a panel of photos. This fills up the display window just fine and allows me to set up more easily.

In fact, I have traditionally set aside 2 hours to handle the setup, but I must have become more efficient at it, as it only took me an hour to get the key from the bank, carry everything from my car, and set…

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