Category Archives: My General Blog

Building Woody Joe’s Horyu-ji Temple Five-Story Pagoda – Part 2

The first stage of construction is the stone base of the structure. Being a wooden kit, this is of course made from wood. The parts are perfectly milled, so there’s no cutting or sanding involved, just aligning and gluing.

I didn’t glue the Square insert into place yet, as it’s not added until Step 2, but I dropped it into place to help with the alignment. As it turns out, it’s not helpful, as it fits a bit loosely, and my cutting pad has a printed grid that allows me to check the corner angles.

By the way, I really like the ModelCraft cutting mats. The one I’m using here is an A4 size. That’s roughly 12″ x 8″, which I bought from the ModelCraft Tools USA, which is run by Ages of Sail. In fact you can just buy it from their website too.  I really like these cutting mats. This one was only $13.99 plus tax and shipping.

There was not much to Step 1. In Step 2 I made the supports that will fit under the corners of this base. Again, these are pre-milled pieces with a step cut into the long side. Again, all that’s necessary is gluing them together.

The stairs are also assembled here. There is one set of stairs in the middle of each side of the base. The stair steps are pre-milled, as are the triangular pieces and line their sides. The part that takes the most work so far are some straight strips 

With the triangular side pieces mounted, I trimmed one end of the strips that fit atop those and glued them into place. Kind of hard to tell what I’m talking about here unless you look really closely at the photos.

The top end of those strips have to be trimmed too, but I’m following the instructions and gluing the stairs into place first. I used all the base parts to make sure the stairs were lined up correctly. Note in the photo below how there is a piece under the stairs that push them up to the proper height. They are not glued in place yet, as they need to fit after the corner pieces are properly in place, which they are not, here.

Next, I’ll finish gluing up the base and adding some small details, completing Step 2 of the build.

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Building Woody Joe’s Horyu-ji Temple Five-Story Pagoda – Part 1

So, it begins! I got this kit from Zootoyz.jp earlier in the year, along with some other temple and Edo period architecture kits. One of those kits, the Shinmei-zukuri Shrine, I built and wrote about here. But, I’ve had too many other projects to work on to get to any of these other kits.

Well, it’s been long enough. We’re approaching the end of the year, when I traditionally build some kind of simpler Japanese kits. Since I made a promise to get to this kit, specifically, I’m pulling the kit out of the closet and setting it out to build.

Hōryū-ji 5-Story Pagoda from Woody Joe

This will make a nice size model, measuring about 18.5″ tall on a 10-1/4″ square base when done. There are more than 870 parts, mostly milled wood, though there are some wood strips and smaller laser-cut sheets. The kit is listed by Woody Joe as requiring 50 hours to build. I think this may be a revision of an early figure of 40 hours to build, as that’s what I recall and that’s what Zootoyz.jp states. In any case, it will take a lot less time than a ship model.

Woody Joe lists the kit for ¥29,000, but Zootoyz’ list price is ¥28,000 yen. That’s about $245 plus shipping, which to the U.S. is about $54 for the cheapest service.

As with all Woody Joe kits, the packaging is well organized, with parts neatly separated into bags, which are then stapled to cardboard inserts so they don’t flop around in the box.

Bags are individually labeled with part number, a description in Japanese, and the quantity of parts. Woody Joe’s quality control is such that in all their kits I’ve built, there are always the number of parts listed on the label. And, as for the Japanese part names, the fact that I can’t read them easily generally doesn’t have any bearing on the construction of the model. The part numbers are what are referenced in the well illustrated instructions.

Clearly, these are of an older era of instructions from Woody Joe, as there are no photos of the actual model kit and the print is all in black ink. But, everything seems clear enough to me. Also, because a pagoda is basically multiple levels of similar construction, this should be a pretty easy to follow build.

Right now, the hard part is trying to decide how I will finish the kit. That is, whether I will just build it straight out of the box, or paint the roofs, or dye the wood so that it more closely resembles the actual weathered structure, which is mostly a dark brown.

I’m considering dying the wood that color, and painting the roofs a greenish gray and wall panels off white.

The real pagoda is accepted to be one of the oldest existing structures in the world. The tree that forms its core has been dated to have been felled in 594 A.D.

The Wikipedia Entry has a lot more info on the design and history of this Buddhist structure.

 

Updates to the Site

For those of you who have are familiar with this site, I want to apologize for messing you up here. I’ve decided to make some changes, as I described on my Welcome page. I’ll repeat a bit of that here.

Basically, I’m looking at increasing my build log posts, but I don’t want those to overwhelm my general news posts. So, I’m trying to separate things a bit more here. That’s required me to work within the specific features of the WordPress site, requiring a bit of creative thinking in order to figure out how to make this work the way I want it. This is not so much a limitation of WordPress, which I love by the way, rather, it’s a bit of a limitation on my knowledge of the WordPress interface and software.

I think I’m getting things figured out, but things may change on you a bit if you are visiting this week. Hopefully, this won’t drive you away from the site. In the long run, I hope you’ll find the changes make sense and that you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for easily, logically.

Please feel free to send comments if you feel it’s harder to find what you’re looking for. Just used the comment box below. Mostly, I don’t publish comments unless they are general unless it’s something I feel that other people really need to read, but I often reply directly to those with questions. Ω

The Passing of a Ship Modeler: Milton DeGroot

Having been an active ship modeler for about 25 years and having been involved in clubs, online forums, and such, it is an unfortunate aspect of being part of the ship modeling community to see so many friends and fellow modelers depart. This is particularly true in ship modeling, since so many of us don’t become extremely active in the hobby until after retirement.

Recently, I learned that fellow ship modeler Milton DeGroot, someone that I had spoken with on the phone a couple years ago but never had a chance to meet, had passed away.  I had heard through my connection with Ages of Sail about his passing, so I volunteered to help collect together some of his collection of wood and fittings to take to a local ship model club meeting. Visiting his home, I had a chance to meet a couple members of his family and to take a few photos his two remaining models, family members having taken the rest of his work.

It seemed only right to share these photos of his works here.

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Pirated Products on the Internet

I would like all ship modelers to beware and understand the significance and impact of many kits that are appearing from a number of Chinese companies on the Internet.

The amount of work necessary to research and design ship model kits is a major part of the expense of producing good quality kits. It is unfortunate then that unscrupulous individuals and companies are stealing work that has been legitimately produced at great cost and expense, using the work to produce their own knockoff products and either making their kits more attractive by adding their own details, or undercutting the pricing of legitimate manufacturers, or both.

The problem is rampant, and many ship modelers are aware of what’s going on, but ignore the issue for their own benefit and to the detriment of the dedicated, legitimate ship modeling industry, and it is having an impact on the very companies that have built this industry.

Amati/Victory Models kit of the English cutter Lady Nelson was designed by modeler Chris Watton. It is based on the lines of HMS Sherbourne. Recently, a Chinese company released an exact copy of this kit, same scale, adding a few of their own details. But they even went so far as to use photos of the Amati kit in their listings. They even copied the name Lady Nelson, a fictitious name used by Amati / Victory Models for this model.

Some of the piracy is a bit subtle, and in some cases involve the copying of kits that are no longer in production. Ever notice Chinese or even Russian sellers of the Harvey, a Baltimore clipper kit that was once produced by Artesania Latina?

Some of the piracy is so blatant, like the production of the Model Shipways kit of the US frigate Confederacy, to go so far as even providing photocopies of the original plans and instructions from the legitimate kit.

In other cases, these pirate companies produce some nice looking kits based on currently published books and plans, but these are produced without permission of the authors or publishers, with no licensing, effectively undermining the hard work produced by these individuals and the investments by these publishers. In the end, this only serves as a disincentive to those who might otherwise publish the next great book, plan or kit. Why bother if one of these unscrupulous companies is going to steal their work? And again, it only adds insult to injury that we or our fellow ship modelers should subsidize the downfall of this industry by knowingly purchasing these pirated products.

Some ship modeling sites, like The NRG’s Model Ship World, have taken the measure of banning ship model build logs of pirated products. It’s unfortunate that such efforts are necessary, and even more unfortunate that other ship modeling forums haven’t take a stand against this rampant piracy.

Hopefully, people will begin to understand the damage being done by these unscrupulous sellers and will stop supporting them before it’s too late.

 

 

The Rope: Photo Gallery of the 42nd Exhibition 2017

The Japanese ship model society, The Rope, has a marvelous website that includes a Gallery of photos of each of their annual exhibitions for the last 8 years and beyond. If you’re a ship modeler, you’ll find some wonderfully inspiring work. But, beware, you might also see some models that will destroy your ego, make you crawl into a corner, and want to take up knitting.

Here’s a link to the 42nd Exhibition held earlier this year: https://www.theropetokyo.org/展示会作品集/第42回展-2017年/第42回展-1-4/#42-03

If you don’t read Japanese, you can find links to other exhibitions, download copies of their newsletter on their English language section here: https://theropetokyo-en.jimdo.com

 

New Tool Additions – Mini Block Plane and Carving Chisels

I don’t really write about tools much. I know a lot more about ship models than tools. But, I  acquired a few new tools that I thought I’d share here.

Miniature Block Plane

A few weeks ago, I was looking through a Lee Valley Tools catalog. They’re a Canadian based manufacturer and retailer of woodworking and wood restoration hardware. I get their catalog periodically after a fellow ship modeler recommended one of their products.

One thing that I’ve been trying to do more in ship modeling is using a plane in shaping square stock for masts and spars. But, regular hand planes seem overly large and bulky. There are razor planes made for hobbyists, but they are pretty low quality and I haven’t found them to be very useful in ship modeling work. Then, I spotted some miniature planes in the Lee Valley Tools catalog and decided to order one.


This is a miniature block plane from their own Veritas® line of tools. How miniature is it? Continue reading

My First Youtube Video

Yesterday, I created my first Youtube video, and I really like the way it turned out. It’s not about ship modeling, but it IS about a project that I posted about on this site. Also, it’s not exactly a movie, it’s more of a slide show, but it’s a start. The subject is the construction of the recently completed Japanese shrine kit that I got from Woody Joe (purchased from Zootoyz.jp) earlier this year.

It turns out that it was easy to use Youtube’s video editor. It was almost identical to the way Apple’s iMovie software, which I’m quite familiar with.

The slideshow I made isn’t perfect, but it makes the build look really good being presented with cross-fades to a nice musical score.

Hopefully, people are okay with the music. I personally get really sick of those modern canned scores that are most common with these Youtube videos. I did use one of the stock music scores, but, being particularly sensitive to them, I spent a LONG time listening to different pieces. It’s a bit limiting, looking for music that will fit a shinto shrine project. But, I think the music works okay. At least it has the sound of some Shakuhachi, Koto and Shamisen.

I promise this won’t be my last effort. This has inspired me to look at other projects to see what I have enough decent photos of that would be interesting to see in a similar slideshow format. Most of those look to be the Japanese models I’ve built in the last few years.

In the future, maybe I’ll try to do an actual video, but I usually find those boring, so it will be a major effort for me if I do try it.

Anyway, I’d be happy to hear from anyone with suggestions. Please check it out.

Links Fixed on marinemodelartist.com

If you’ve been exploring my links here in the past month or so, you may have noticed that my site marinemodelartist.com has been having some problems. I consolidated my web hosting accounts and, in the process, broke my site. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t working until fairly recently.

Today I managed to figure out what was wrong, and I’ve been updating my links. By the time you read this post, it should all be back to normal. Of course, I still have some updating to do to my current projects, but those are normal updates rather that fixes.

For those who are curious about this kind of thing. That site was created and is still maintained using an old piece of Apple software called iWeb. Surprisingly, this long unsupported application still runs fine on current Mac operating systems. Unless I decide to change the format of that site, I’ll probably keep using it as long as it works.

Photos from the Golden Hind Repair

I was just sent some photos taken last Friday during the final stages of my repair work on Raymond Aker’s Golden Hind model. The model is on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center of the Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

The repair work is done – yes, I finally finished a ship model related project – and the model is back in its display, with a new, more colorful backdrop.

All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service.

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