Here’s a quick, one-page overview of the building of this very nice Woody Joe kit, purchased from Zootoyz.jp. 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.
While not ship modeling related, Disar, another relatively recent Spanish wooden model kit manufacturer, has released some new carriage kits that actually look quite nice. I haven’t been a big fan of the earlier Disar kits in general, primarily because of their product design (though I think their galleon Santiago de Compostella looks pretty promising). But, I’ve taken a closer look at a couple of these kits and they’re interesting enough to make me want to trying build one.
“Dog Cart” Country and Hunting Dog Carriage
Top Canopy Surrey
Part of the contents of the Dog Cart kit. Photo courtesy of Ages of Sail.
These new kits, all 1/16-scale and somewhere around 9″ long (dimensions in the kit descriptions appear to be of the assembled base), are now available in the U.S. at Ages of Sail for around $60. These kits all included bases that are made-up to look like cobblestone surfaces, making attractive displays. In any case, for a ship modeler, these might prove to be nice, quick distractions. Ω
Earlier this year, I decided to take a short break from ship modeling projects and spend a week or so on something fun, but a little different. I have several small kits in my stockpile (what’s in yours?) of miscellaneous Woody Joe kits, including one of the famed Nihonbashi Bridge.
The bridge was originally built in the early Edo period, around 1603. Built in the heart of Edo itself, It was extremely significant, as it was officially the starting point of Japan’s 5 major roads. Yes, all roads lead to Nihonbashi, and the bridge appears in many Japanese woodblock prints.
So, I decided to start the kit, which I purchased from where else but Zootoyz.jp, for about $41 plus shipping. One of the driving factors in building this kit is that it would allow me to exercise some of my basic diorama building skills. After all, there are trees, the bridge itself, the canal, a couple boats, and tiny people. Also, I knew that my 95 year-old mother would love to have it on display in her living room, and her birthday was coming up quickly. So, I needed to get it done.
Being primarily a ship modeler, I set this project aside for a while. Part of the problem was that I’d discovered that I was missing one small set 4 parts, all the same. There are a lot of parts in this kit and they are well packaged and labeled, but it took a while to go through and check and re-check and then to figure out exactly how the part was shaped and how it fit on the model.
The pieces are parts of the lower roof and cover the corner joints. Outwardly, they just look like simple wood strips, but they need to be groved on the underside in order to sit down on those corner joints. Also, they need to be thicker than the other roof boards to allow for the groove.
With the construction of the base of the temple completed, I proceeded to paint the completed assembly using smokey beige satin-finish Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover spray paint. I also decided to go forward with construction of the mounting base. This was actually from Step 27 in the instructions, but I had the parts out and didn’t see any reason not to go ahead with this assembly.
The base of the pagoda painted a stoney gray color. If I wanted to get more authentic, I would have painted it earlier in construction and masked off areas to create different shading for the different stone blocks.
This line of products includes sakura, cherry blossom trees, Japanese pines, cypress trees, box trees, cedar trees, generic broadleaf and conifer trees and other vegetation. There are also bags of ground cover for simulating grass, dirt, and gravel.
Last year around this time, I purchased a few Woody Joe temple and mini architectural kits from none other than Zootoyz, where I buy all my Woody Joe kits. Incidentally, if you haven’t visited in a while, you should check it out. Morikawa-san revamped the site and it looks really nice. If you buy a kit from him and build it, be sure to send him photos. Also, the folks at Woody Joe would love to see them too.
In any case, in early January, I had a weekend to kill, so I started one of the mini-kits. This one is called Sato no chaya, or Sato’s tea house. It’s a very simple kit that costs around $26 plus shipping. My guess is that the scale is somewhere around 1/50.
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.
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.
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.