Monthly Archives: May 2022

Edo Canal Diorama

One of the side projects I started recently, in order to step away from a couple projects that kind of got dropped onto me. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to do more Japanese boat based dioramas for a while now. I’ve done enough boats, but for people outside of Japan, and for many Japanese people as well, it’s difficult to understand these craft without some kind of context.

This is one of about four ideas I’ve had in my head for a few years, though it’s going to be a somewhat watered down version (no pun intended). Someday, I’ll create more a more elaborate version. But, this is a start.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

With multiple projects going on, my brain gets a little tangled up. So… I begin another project! Actually, this one has been in my head for more than a year – maybe two? The idea is to create some kind of Edo period scene using one of my wasen models – Ideally, one that already exists, so I don’t have to start yet another project.

This diorama I’ve settled on, is a simple scene based around my tenma-zukuri chabune. It will be pulling up to a small landing at edge of one of the many canals in the built-up part of Edo. I laid out the scene so that it will fit one of the small display cases that I have already have.

I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but basically, the main inspirations for this diorama, are scenes depicted at the Fukagawa Edo Museum, and also…

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German Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen Arrives – Special Pricing through May 31st, 2022

The latest product release from OcCre of Spain is the Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen of the German Kriegsmarine. Like Amati’s Battleship Bismarck, which was released last year, this is a big 1:200 scale kit, that features wooden hull construction, detailed castings, and lots of photo-etched brass parts.

Ages of Sail

OcCre’s newly released 1/200 scale model kit of the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen has just arrived at Ages of Sail! Regularly priced at $450, we’re celebrating the new kit with a special sale price of just $399. That’s a $50 savings from our regular price.

Prinz Eugen was a heavy cruiser built for the German Kriegsmarine. Launched in 1938, the ship entered service shortly after the outbreak of World War II. The Prinz Eugen was one of five Admiral-Hipper class heavy cruisers, armed with a main battery of eight 8″ guns, mounted in four twin turrets. The ship’s secondary battery consisted of twelve 105mm guns, twelve 37mm guns, eight 20mm guns, and a pair of triple torpedo tubes.

Soon after she entered service, the ship was sent to join the newly completed battleship Bismarck in the Baltic as part of Operation Bheinübung, to break out into the Atlantic to…

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Dorade Repair

My repair of the little Dorade model is finally done. I’ve let the owner know and we’ll arrange to get it to him, hopefully sometime in the next week or so. It’s turned out to be a very pretty model, and I’m really happy with the rigging, particularly the standing rigging, which I think I’ve mentioned before is made from braided silver-gray nylon fishing line.

By the way, if you didn’t catch this before, while this is a repair job I’m doing, I’m not in the repair business. This is just something I thought I’d try taking on. It was fun, and it’s an interesting boat. But, I’m not in the repair business, so please don’t ask me to fix a model for you. I have a lot of projects of my own that I’d like to be working on.

About yacht models, I don’t really deal with yacht models much, so this was kind of different for me. I’m not normally big on yachts, but after this, I may have to look into building one myself.

Besides the obvious, old-time classic yachts, like the 1851 yacht America, there are a number of America’s Cup boat kits available. Amati makes many in 1/80, 1/50, and 1/35 scales. There are various other kits of classic yachts as well, like the Puritan or the Britannia. But, Amati actual does make a large scale model of the Dorade.

Amati’s Dorade kit comes with a pre-formed ABS plastic hull, simplifying construction greatly. It also makes it a great kit for R/C operation. At 1/20 scale, the model is just under 34″ long.

Amati Model’s 1/20-scale Dorade kit

We’ll see. I’ve also got a yacht modeler who’s been trying to get me to build a yacht model from scratch, and he’s provided me with drawings and notes he’s collected over the years on certain subjects. After this project, who knows?

I’ll have to dig through the list of some of the yachts he’s got drawings of and see if something there is particularly appealing, but I’ve got other things to finish up first. Next up, I think I’m going to get the sails mounted on the American galley gunboat model. Stay tuned… Ω



Projects Update for Spring 2022

I have to apologize, as I haven’t been writing very much about ship modeling projects lately. With tax season, rent increases at home, more work demands, and better weather, my ship modeling progress has slowed recently. But, I’ve also not been writing about some short term ship modeling work I’ve been involved with recently, the first of which is a rigging repair job I took on. The subject is a small scale model of the yacht Dorade.

Having said that this is a repair, I also want to point out that I’m really not in the business of model repair, so please don’t ask! I get enough of those requests already. This was kind of a special case.

The Yacht Dorade

The Dorade is an internationally famous yacht built by Sparkman & Stevens back in 1929-1930. This Dorade model ended up being a chew toy for the owner’s cat. The rigging itself and the hull are mostly in very good shape. Unfortunately, the masts were very chewed up, and there was no way I could fill the holes and scars cleanly. Since the model was originally purchased by the owner’s late father, it has some sentimental value. So, they were willing to have it repaired, even though it meant redoing the rigging.

The model is not an award winning miniature, but it has some interesting features. The standing rigging was done in what looks like clear monofilament fishing line, and the turnbuckles were simulated with metal tubing that looks like aluminum. The line is clearly out of scale, but being made from clear material, it actually works, visually.

I tried to replicate the use of same kind of line and tubing for turnbuckles, but just couldn’t get the same arrangement to work out, so I used some gray/silver braided nylon fishing line. Scale-wise, it’s better, but a little hard to work with.

Anyway, this isn’t really meant as a detailed report on the repair – more to inform what I’ve been up to. I expect to have the work completed in another week or so.

Monterey Salmon Fishing Boat, c.1910

The Dorade isn’t the only outside project that’s been occupying my time. Some months ago, I was asked by the curator of a small museum in Monterey, if I or someone I knew could build a model of a small salmon fishing boat, as depicted in a photo he sent me. I really wanted to work on the project for him, as I’m very interested in supporting his work and that of the museum. Also, he has been supportive of my work on the study and model construction of traditional Japanese boats. But, I just felt like I’ve been stretched too thin, and ended up asking Paul Reck, a veteran modeler of the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights club, if he was interested in taking on the project. He said he was interested, but he wanted me to work on it with him. Well, co-working on a project should be easier than doing it all myself.

The model will be that of a small fishing boat that was owned by one of the many migrant Japanese fisherman that moved to the Monterey area around 1900. As I said, the model is based on a photo I was provided with by Tim Thomas, the curator at the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Heritage Hall and Museum.

With no drawings of the boat available, it’s been quite a challenge. A lot of information has to be derived from this single photo. Paul Reck has drawn up a plan for the hull and has been working on it. So far, I’ve mostly been consulting with him (sometimes arguing) on the various details and measures. The model will be a small one, to include the launch cradle. At 1/24 scale, the boat model will end up at just about 13″ in length. I’ll be decking it and doing many of the small details soon enough. But, being a small, simple boat, with no rigging, this should be completed relatively quickly.

Other Current Projects

The sail re-do for the American Galley Gunboat model is done, and they just need to be mounted, so I can finish rigging the model. I don’t think I’ll add oars, not even stowed. There are just too many required, and it would end up overwhelming the appearance of the model. So, once the last of the rigging goes on, and I get a flag mounted, the model will be done. That’s coming up quickly. Probably as soon as I get the Dorade done.

The Ogura pond boat, if you’ve been following my Japanese boat model building is held up at the construction of the bow end of the boat. The construction style of the boat is very unfamiliar to me, and I’ve had a bit of a time trying to figure out how to properly build and attach the bow. It will happen fairly soon though. Then, I can deal with detailing the model and finishing it up.

The Atakebune model, another Japanese vessel and Woody Joe kit, is the next project that should be finished up soon. I have had to set this one aside as I deal with finishing up the Dorade and the American Gunboat models. With those done, my focus will be on this and the pond boat. What basically needs to be finished on the Atakebune are a few details on the yagura, or box structure, the completion of the stern area of the lower hull, and then the detailing of the various copper coverings and possibly the addition of gold/brass ornamentation.

There’s also a good chance that I will continue to add some details to the model over time. So, it may be a long while before I actually call it done and put it away for good.

Finally, there are three other projects I’ve got in mind to get to work on, but I’m going to keep quiet on these until I’ve cleared out three of the projects I’ve mention. That won’t actually be too far away, so stay tuned to hear more in the next month or so. Ω