Category Archives: Non-Ship Models

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.

 

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.

Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part VIII / Completion

This is the final installment of the building of Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri jinjya or Shinmei-zukuri shrine kit. The final four steps are mostly really simple and quick, though Step 10, which is the construction of the fence, involves more wood cutting than any other step of the kit. Still, I figured I should wrap up the build with one posting.

The appearance of the model, going into the final steps of construction..

Step 9 << Torii Installation>>

Next will be the assembly of the torii, or the gate that, as Wikipedia describes it, marks the transition from the profane to the sacred. The instructions are very simple here. The Japanese text says to build the torii according to the full sized drawing shown, and the Japanese text in red in the box on the left simply identifies the full-sized drawing.

Building the torii requires the ends of the two wood dowel pieces numbered Part 19 be sanded at a slight angle. Part 20, a 1.5mm x 4mm strip also has to be cut to fit. The Japanese text in here simply says to cut Part 20.

There is no order of assembly given in the instructions, but I found that sanding or filing the ends of the dowels first worked best. After that, I glued the dowels into place making sure that they whole thing looked symmetrical. Next, it was a simple matter to cut a short segment of Part 20 to center underneath the cross piece. Finally, the lower cross piece could be cut a little overly long and carefully trimmed and sanded to fit into place.

Step 10 << Assembling the Fence >>

The fence surrounding the shrine grounds is the first and only step in this kit that requires cutting a significant number of pieces of wood.

The Japanese text at the top of the step reads:

(Part) 21 Glue the wallboard and join.
(Part) 22 Cut it according to the plate and bond it at 16 mm intervals.

The first line is referring to Part 21, which are flat pieces of a darker (not hinoki) wood, 90 mm long and 28mm wide, that the instructions are calling fence boards. Part 22 is a set of long 1mm x 2mm strips that have to be cut to length.

There are three fence sections that the plan labels A, B, and C. Section A requires two full size pieces of Part 21, and one Part 21 piece to be cut to a length of 55mm. I glued up each of the fence sections first, then added full lengths of Part 22 as the fence caps.

The Japanese text accompanying the image close-up in the lower left corner says to  “Install centered,” referring the fence cap’s position. I found it necessary to cut the fence cap of section A so that it overhung the fence by about 1mm at each end.

When gluing the fence post strips into place. They only go on one side of the fence, and the post stick out a little beyond the fence cap. In most cases, gluing the posts into place was pretty easy. They are spaced 16mm apart. Note this in not the center-to-center distance, but the distance between the edges of the posts.

I started by placing posts to straddle the seems between adjoining fence boards. Then, it was a simple matter to place the remaining posts, with these as starting points.

With section C, which is only a single fence board, there’s no convenient starting point for the first post, more so because there’s an even number of posts on it, meaning no center post. So, it was necessary to calculate a position for the first post. It wasn’t difficult, because if you work it out, you’d see that the edges of the outer most posts should be exactly 17mm from the edge of the fence board – picture an imaginary 2mm wide fence post straddling the edge, as happens on the other fence sections, and it makes perfect sense.

I glued the ends of the sections B and C to section A, but trimmed 0.5 mm off their fence caps first, to allow for the slight overhang of section A’s fence cap. Makes more sense when you actually go to put them together. In any case, after the glue dried, I cut lengths of Part 16, which is a 2mm x 2mm strip, to fit into the corners of the fence for strength.

Step 11 << Assembling the Decorative Stand >>

Many of the larger Woody Joe architectural models include a simple base, and the Shinmei-zukuri shrine kit is no exception. The base consist of two baseboards and four pre-cut pieces of edge molding. The two baseboard pieces are glued together to form one large board, and this is then covered with what is essentially just a sheet of sandpaper,

The Japanese text here was the hardest I found to translate. The basic gist is to glue the paper on the baseboard pieces, Part 25, and turn the piece over and use a knife to trim away any excess. The decorative frame, made from Part 24, is hinoki (Japanese cypress). When assembling the frame, sand any mismatch.

I glued the frame together and sanded the edges of the baseboard until it fit just right. It didn’t take much sanding to get a perfect fit.

I didn’t clean up the corners, but may do that later, as I don’t intend to glue down the components onto the base at this time.

Step 12 <<Completion>>

With the previous steps complete, the only construction item left is to “fluff” the tree branches a bit. The branches seem to be a thin wire covered by some kind of greenery material . The tree is then inserted into the base. Clearly, these are intended to be decorative trees as there is no attempt by the manufacturer to hid the twisted wire nature of the the trunks. But, that is generally the style of Woody Joe kits.

Finally, the completed components are arranged on the display base. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t make any attempt to glue the items down. The wide bases of the torii and trees keep them from easily falling over. At some point, I may go ahead and glue them down in some fashion.

Here are some photos of the completed Shinmei-zukuri shrine kit.

This was a really fun project, and it really went pretty quickly. I would have finished a lot sooner had I not documented the steps here. If you’re interested in building this or other Woody Joe kits, as I have stated many times, I highly recommend ordering from Zootoyz. Prices are reasonable, shipping charges are fair, and you’ll get great service.

For me, it’s on to the next project (or back to an ongoing one)! Ω

Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part VII

Coming into the last 1/3rd of the build, things are speeding up a bit as steps seem to be getting simpler. As a result, this time, I’m covering both step 7 and step 8.

Step 7 << Katsuogi Installation>>

I haven’t been able to figure out what the word katsuogi means in this context. It translates to bonito, a kind of fish. In this case, it refers to these tapered logs that decorate the top of the shrine. Now, perhaps they represent fish in some way, but according to this Wikipedia entry, they are indeed called katsuogi and are purely decorative.

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Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part VI

The previous step was to assemble the framing for what might be termed the outer roof. Not knowing the details of the actual shrine architecture, I suspect that the real shrine might just be some very thick thatched covering that does not include this framework. I don’t know this for sure, and if anyone has access to information on this detail, I’d love to hear from you.

Step 6 << Assembling the Roof  2>>

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Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part V

Continuing on, Step 5 is the last step on the first side of the instruction sheet and deals more with the roof construction.

Step 5 << Assembling the Roof  1>>

This time, I was able to divide up this step into left and right halves, so the above is the left side of the instruction sheet for step 5.

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Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part IV

Construction is moving right along with step 4. Things are pretty straight forward here and involve the installation of supports under the edge of the floor as well as a railing.

Step 4 << Pillar, Railing Installation>>

The Japanese text begins with a reminder that the side of the building with the door is the front.

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Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part III

Last time, I finished step 2 of Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri shrine kit, which dealt with the basic core structure of the shrine. In Step 3, I’ll start work on the roof and some of the outer details.

The Instructions Again

Reviewing the instructions for the next task, parts 9A, 9B and 9C will be needed, noting again that there are two of parts 9A and 9C, but only one 9B. Again, these are laser-cut piece on sheet number 9. This is in a different bag, but again, the bags are clearly marked and so are the individual sheets as you can see below.

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Building Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri Shrine – Part II

Last time, I started Step I of Woody Joe’s Shinmei-zukuri shrine kit. I tried to cover everything needed to understand the built up to that point. With all the description and explanation, we didn’t get to the end of the first step, so we’ll taking care of that now.

The Instructions Again

Reviewing the instructions for the next task, parts 9A, 9B and 9C will be needed, noting again that there are two of parts 9A and 9C, but only one 9B. Again, these are laser-cut piece on sheet number 9. This is in a different bag, but again, the bags are clearly marked and so are the individual sheets as you can see below.

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