Monthly Archives: August 2021

The Tonegawa Takasebune (高瀬船) – a Model in 1/72 Scale, Part 5

The next to the last installment on the building of this large Edo period river cargo boat.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

In my last post on the building of the Tonegawa Takasebune, I got a bit overwhelmed with the making of the rice bales, or Tawara. I would have loved to configure the boat model with a full load of rice, but to do that would have required a lot more rice bales that what I made. My model has 39 of them, and I would have ideally wanted filling the boat and stacked a couple layers higher. But, to do that would have required probably at least another 200, and that was more than I could handle.

So, my idea was to mix it up a little. I’d experimented with making simulated, covered buckets, or Oke (oh-kay), and this certainly turned out to be easier to make that the rice bales with all the rope wrappings. There was still a bit of a process, but a little production line made the…

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The Tonegawa Takasebune (高瀬船) – a Model in 1/72 Scale, Part 4

The next installment in the building of a small, 1/72-scale model of an important river cargo boat that was used extensively on the Tone river system, all throughout the Edo period and beyond. The model represents a medium-sized, 60-foot Tone River Takasebune from the late Edo period, but large Tone River Takasebune were up to 90-feet long.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Last time I left off on the construction of the Tonegawa Takasebune model, I had completed the rudder, or kaji, and had shaped the mast, or hobashira. I’m not positive on the exact appearance of the top of the mast, so I based it upon what I’ve seen on other models, and also on my experience with the masts on the Higakikaisen and Kitamaebune models I’ve built. It actually went through a slight change during construction.

I originally built the mast with a pretty strong crook at the top end. But, I ended up modifying this so it’s a lot straighter. The mast top is notched to allow me to secure a forestay to it to hold the mast in place by looping it around the mast top. There is also a slot at the top for the main sail halliard, with a brass rod simulating a sheave.

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Building A Master Korabel Ship’s Boat Kit – Final

10Recently, I decided to wrap up the Master Korabel 95mm ship’s boat kit. Last time I’d left off, the hull planking was done, and the hull interior needed detailing. As you might recall, I had removed the removable portion of the bulkheads, but had a bit of trouble with a bit too much of the bulkhead bottoms breaking out.

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Building the 1/150-Scale Horyu-Ji 5-Story Pagoda from Woody Joe

Here’s a quick, one-page overview of the building of this very nice Woody Joe kit, purchased from This was a very quick, weekend build that I just wrapped up. The kit is a 1/150-scale model of one of Japan’s 5-story pagodas. This one, is located at the Horyu-ji temple in Nara prefecture.

If you follow my builds here, you might recognize that this is a smaller version of model that I started, but has been on my shelf to finish up for quite some time. That one is twice the size of this one. That’s precisely the reason I decided to get this kit.

If you’re interested in the larger version, you can see the logs of my unfinished build here:

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Wasen Model in Monterey, CA – Follow-up

Managed to do some in person research this week. This is the first time I’ve done a study of a museum model.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

This week, I made the trip down to Monterey’s JACL Heritage Hall & Museum and met with curator Tim Thomas. He was waiting for me in front of the building when I arrived, and I was ushered into the museum room, where there were all sorts of displays of artifacts from the Japanese American community’s thriving past in Monterey.

The museum is small as it’s just the one room. But, the museum and the Heritage Hall apparently have their connections and access to a lot of knowledge about the Japanese American community, which was really thriving in Monterey before WWII. The curator has even given talks in Japan about the Japanese in Monterey.

There were various artifacts that I recognized, even a pair of small drums on the wall, which I recognize at tsukeshime daiko (Tsu-keh-shee-may dye-koh), or simply shime for short. I forgot to ask if there was some…

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NRG Workshop on Upgrading Your Kit Project

Want to take that ordinary wooden ship model kit and make something extraordinary from it? The Nautical Research Guild has organized a workshop just for you!

On Saturday, August 21st at 10am Central, that’s a bright and early 8am for those of us on the west coast, NRG Chairperson Toni Levine will be giving a workshop “The Ship Modeler’s Ten Step Program or How to Transform Your Kit Model from Out of the Box to Out of this World”

According to the NRG announcement today, this is a web-based workshop that requires advanced registration, which is free to NRG members, and only $10 for non-NRG members. Of course, you’ll need an Internet connected device such as a tablet, smart phone, or computer to attend. And, you’ll need to register, but space is limited. So, register soon!

For more information, including how to register, visit the NRG page here.

Wasen Model in Monterey, CA

With Covid having put a damper on so many activities, it’s nice to be able to find a reason to head out of town for a day to do a little in-person research. A find like this is very rare. More rare is the opportunity to go “hands on” with a model like this and be able to take measurements and study it.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Earlier this Summer, I was in contact with a gentleman who is a former Historian/Curator for the old Monterey Maritime Museum. Apparently, part of that collection included some Chinese junk models as well as some Japanese wasen models. He didn’t have much information on the Japanese models, but commented that all the models were built back in the 1920s.

While the collection of Junk models has apparently been moved to the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, one Japanese boat model now resides at the Monterey JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) Heritage Center & Museum, where he now works as the Curator.

Wasen Model at the Monterey JACL Heritage Center / Museum

There is very little information on the model, except that it, along with the Junk models, is part of the Greatwood Collection. These were models commissioned by American oil company executive Royce Greatwood, working in the Far East in the 1920s. I’m sure there’s more to the story…

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Wasen Model Table at the SF Asian Art Museum, October 17th

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is worthy of a visit on its own. But, if you’re a ship modeler with any kind of interest in traditional Japanese boats, consider stopping by my display in October!

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Sunday, October 17th, 2021, is Japan Day at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. A friend of mine is working with the museum on this and asked me to participate by displaying my wasen models. So, I will be setting up a table to display some models and, hopefully, have some room to do a little work on them – something like I did at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Towsend a couple years ago.

Me, at the 3-day Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.

I’m hoping to have enough room to set up a few models in a nice, formal display with accompanying information. Since it’s at the Asian Art Museum, I’ll probably try to chose models that I can tie to artwork as much as possible. In general, I expect to make this a bit of a cross between the Port Towsend event above, and the Japantown display below.

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