Daily Archives: August 20, 2020

Hunting for the Elusive Atakebune (安宅船)

I wanted to make sure to share this with the general ship modeling crowd, because of all the types of old Japanese ships, the Atakebune, the largest of the warships of old feudal Japan, is probably of more interest to model builders than any other type. The problem is that most model builders are kit builders, and there are no serious kits available of such ships. Why is that? And why haven’t the scratch modelers taken them on?

I’ve seen some very simplified models for wargamers, but nothing meant to actually display as a serious model of an Atakebune.

So, I’ve decided to start the serious search for original drawings. My personal search is limited to what I can dig up via the Internet, and I’m only just barely getting to the sources of some of the published information.

Anyway, you can read more about it here…

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Atakebune were the largest class of purpose built warships that were used by the Japanese clans during the Sengoku period, or the Warring States period. These ships ranged from around 30 to 50 meters in length, were equipped with a large, box-like structure. Inside were the oarsmen, foot soldiers and samurai, protected by the wooden walls. The structure had two or three levels, with the top level being the roof of the structure. Firing and viewing ports were cut out and may have been closable with a hinged cover.

Atakebune model at the Verkehr Museum in Shizuoka.

In addition to a single-bank of sculling oars, the ship carried a large square sail hung from a single mast, usually mounted near the center of the ship. In bad weather, or when otherwise not in use, the mast could be un-stepped and lowered across the top of the ship. Usually, the ships were…

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