Monthly Archives: April 2020

Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 11

Though no decision has yet been made regarding the making of the sails, the kitamaebune project, based on the 1/72-scale Woody Joe kit, is well into the rigging stage.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Sailmaking is at somewhat of a standstill, as I’m experimenting with different techniques for representing the large sails of the kitamaebune in 1/72 scale. There are number of possible things I can try,, including simply stitching the seams as one might do for a western ship’s sails, but I’m still hoping I can show some of the characteristics of the Japanese sails.This is something of a long term process, so in the meantime, I decided to move ahead with some of the other model details.

One of my sail making attempts still being tested and considered.

It had occurred to me that might make the most sense to go ahead and build the various components of the main stay. It took me a while to figure out this is called the Hazuo in Japanese.

Dealing with the stay, or hazuo, requires making/rigging four different parts. Here’s the section of the…

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“Fune” Build by Alexandru Gurau

Some notes on the rediscovery of a build of a Japanese coastal transport based on Paris drawings.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Years ago, ship modeler Alexandru Gurau of Canada had been building a model of a bezaisen, an Edo period coastal transport, based on drawings recorded by French lieutenant Armand Paris, and recorded in the book Souvenirs de Marine.

I was particularly impressed by Mr. Gurau’s work, as the information contained in the Paris drawings are a bit difficult to follow on their own. My own experience with the building a model from Paris drawings resulted in my own Kobaya project. In that particular case, I had discovered that the drawings may have been somewhat incomplete as they were based on vessels that were no longer in use and seemed to be missing features. I believe that problem was unique to that particular vessel, and the other Japanese boats recorded in the book appear complete. Still, not always easy to decipher all the information needed. Not to mention that the…

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Building a Himi Tenma in 1/10 Scale – Part 1

Beginning the second model related to Douglas Brooks’s 2019 research trip to Japan. This is a 1/10 scale model of a small workboat called a Tenma or Tenmasen. The term is a very common one for workboats. This particular design comes from Himi, in western Toyama prefecture.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

You might recall that In the Fall of 2019, boat builder Douglas Brooks had developed a project together with Nina Noah of an organization called The Apprenticeshop, to go to Japan and build two traditional Japanese boats with two different Japanese boat builders.

I wrote about modeling the first of the two boats, the Niigata Honryousen, which he had built with Mr. Nakaichi Nakagawa and Nina Noah. But, it’s the second of the two boats that was the main subject of the project. The second boat was the Himi Tenmasen.

Photo by Ben Meader

The Himi Tenmasen, or Himi Tenma, was built by Douglas Brooks and Nina Noah, under the guidance of Mr. Mitsuaki Bansho, a Japanese boatbuilder who was the only one of five brothers to follow in his father’s trade, who was also a boatbuilder. After his father’s passing, Bansho-san primarily built fiberglass boats…

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Building the DNB Maru – A Niigata Honryousen – Final

Finished up this 1/10-scale model of a small riverboat from Niigata prefecture, Japan. The model is on it’s way to its new owner, who was a donor for Douglas Brooks’s project to build a full-sized version of this and one other boat.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

The Honryousen model is done and been sent to its new owner in Washington state.

The blocks at the ends of the hull turned out to be somewhat challenging to make due to a combination of the way they fit notches cut into the hull planks, plus the angle of the tateita, or the bow and stern planks. Also, the blocks have a peak in the center that look best if they are roughly level with the waterline. That’s not always the case in these types of boats as I’ve seen in photos.

The small deck at the stern wasn’t too much of a problem. I began by making a funabari, or beam, which I notched into the hull planking. As there are no fasteners used, the shallow notch I cut was helpful in holding the beam in place. The inward pressure of the hull planks also help to hold…

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Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 10

Being at home more during the COVID-19 crisis, I’m doing my best to get ahead on my many projects. The kitamaebune model, based on the Woody Joe kit, is nearing completion. I’m now dealing with a set of custom sails now, and I want to get them right. It will probably take a couple attempts, but I hope to have this project wrapped up in the next couple weeks.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

I’m now in the final stages of the building of Woody Joe’s Kitamaebune model kit. I’m working on the sails and rigging and dealing with a few small remaining details.

The kit sails are very nice, and have the sail seams and lacings printed on them. From a normal viewing distance, they look great, and I’ve gotten compliments from those who glanced at them and thought I’d stitched them. But, I’m going to need a main sail as well as one at the bow and I want them to match. The only way to do that is to make them both.

The big issue is that I’d love to be able to detail the Japanese-style sails, which are made of separate panels that are laced together. The design is such that the sails are effectively self-reefing, so that they spill the wind when it gusts. This design is more apparent…

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Building Woody Joe’s 1/72-scale Kitamaebune Kit – Part 9

Getting close to finishing a customized build of Woody Joe’s Kitamaebune kit. This 1/72 scale kit is similar to their Higaki Kaisen kit, so much of the build was familiar territory. This is the final detailing before adding the yards and sails.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

I’ve finally made significant progress, though most of it doesn’t really show, as so much is in the small details – the simulated copper coverings are finally done!

This took me a while as I kept thinking I was done. Then, I’d think some more and realize there was some other feature I wanted to add. I’d no sooner finish that, than realize I really should add yet another feature. This cycle has repeated itself many times, but I think it’s over now, and I can put that equipment away.

The next item I decided is pretty straight forward and related to the vinyl “coppering” details. Often times, the coastal transports, known generally as bezaisen, are shown with nail heads in the bulwarks fences. Adding these at this scale may be a mistake, but I’ve started down the road – No turning back now. I drilled out all the necessary holes which will…

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