Tag Archives: hacchoro

Wasen Display 6.0

The latest display of Japanese boat models takes place through the end of March. Check it out if you’re in the area and haven’t seen the models yet.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

The sixth display of wasen models is now set up at the Japan Center Mall in the window of the Union Bank Community Room inside the East Mall building. The display will be up through the end of March and features the same models as before, but with the addition of my Kamakura Period Sea Boat or Umi-bune. Though the Umi-bune model is not quite complete, I figured it was far enough along for public display as an “in progress” model.

The display then consists of the Hacchoro, Higaki Kaisen, Yakatabune, Tosa wasen, and the Umi-bune. The main change in the display is the use of new folding pedestals I made. This makes transportation easier, as the new pedestals take much less room in my car.

My hope for future displays is to have a model of a Kitamaebune, which is very similar in appearance to the Higaki Kaisen, and to…

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Yaizu’s Hacchoro Fishing Boat

Just posted this story about visiting the Hacchoro fishing boats in Yaizu, Japan. Woody Joe makes a great kit of the Hacchoro. It runs about $180, sometimes you can find it for that price INCLUDING shipping, so watch the pricing online. It’s a pretty easy build, and makes a nice looking model. But, I’ve decided to learn more about these traditional bonito fishing boats, and to build a more detailed model after seeing the real (replica) boats.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

Yaizu is a coastal city on Suruga Bay, 10 miles south of Shizuoka, and about 50 miles southwest of Mt. Fuji. On a clear day, you can see Fujiyama. I visited Yaizu during typhoon season, and the mountain was obscured by clouds. Yaizu is the home of two Hacchoro (hot-choro), fishing boats that got their claim to fame as boats of these types were once commissioned as escort boats for the retiring Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

img_0886 Hacchoro at the port of Yaizu, wrapped up for the season.

The story goes that the Shogun liked to hunt game using a falcon. Travel to the hunting grounds required a trip by sea. So, to provide escort, 24 fishing boats were commissioned. But, the fishermen operating the boats had a difficult time keeping up with the Shogun’s boat due to strict limitations in place on the number of oars that could be implemented on fishing…

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Japanese Boats Display in Japantown (v 4.0)

Last week, I spent an entire afternoon in San Francisco setting up my latest display of models of Japanese traditional boats in the Japan Center Mall in San Francisco. This is the largest display I’ve done, which is now up to 5 models. It’s probably about as large as it will get as I can’t imagine that I can possibly cram any more into my car. And, given that I live about an hour’s drive outside the city (or two hours in bad traffic), I’m not likely going to be making two trips to set it up. But, the size is actually pretty good now.

Since I’m doing some fundraising to go to Japan this Fall to do some more first-hand research on Japanese watercraft (don’t forget to check out my gofundme page), I’m taking the opportunity to really get some attention for this display. As with those people involved in the fine arts, I’ve made up an announcement card that I’m having printed up that I will be sending to various friends and people that  I think will be interested in it and possibly interested in helping me out (as well as those who have already done so). In addition, I’ve made a simple email announcement photo that I’ve been sending to people.

Announcement Emailer L plus

My email announcement card

If you’re already familiar with the last couple displays, you will see two new models added, a simple Japanese traditional boat shop display and the Tosa wasen model. Both are a nice, big 1/10 scale, so the details are better for a window display like this.


The 1/10-scale Tosa Wasen is the newest boat model added to the display.


This is my simple model of an Urayasu boat workshop, showing some of the aspects of traditional Japanese boatbuilding. Under construction is a Bekabune, a seaweed gathering boat that was once used on Tokyo Bay. The model still needs a few additions – a work in progress.


The Hacchoro and the Urayasu boat workshop with their scale boatmen silhouettes. The Hacchoro is one of the boats I will be focussing my attention on while researching in Japan this Fall.

You may notice in that display window photos that I’ve created little silhouette boatmen to provide scale reference for each model. This was a last minute effort, though I’ve been thinking about it for months. I finally sat down and scoured the Internet and found photos of boatmen dressed in traditional outfits on someone’s blog photos. I took the best one and did some Photoshop work to turn him into a silhouette, which I scaled to the needed sizes, printed them, and mounted them on cardboard.

There are, of course, things to do differently next time, which I’ve already noted. The boat workshop display should probably be on some kind of a riser, like the other models, there is enough room to put up another large, hanging photo board, and there’s room for at least one more model, using the tall stand I introduced in this display. I suppose I could consider staggering them a little too.

That tall stand, by the way, is actually a better stand for me to use because it’s simple two boards hinged together. This makes them foldable and they take up a lot less space in my car. I’m seriously thinking about replacing the box pedestals on the other models with short folding stands, which would allow me to carry more stuff in my car. And, actually, if I build models without sails, I might be able to fit one or two more in that car. Of course, that means building more models and I’m pretty far behind on other projects as it is. We’ll see… Ω


My Writing Plans – March 2016 Update

Tosa Wasen

IMG_2085For those interested in the Tosa Wasen kit, I’ve basically finished writing my article. I know this wasn’t part of my post back in December when I last wrote about my writing plans. But, now that the model is done and I’ve had a chance to really think about the importance of the kit, I figured it deserved a write up.

In January, I contacted Paul Fontenoy, who is, among other things, the editor of the Nautical Research Journal, so he knows the article is coming. I’ve also had the benefit of getting a read through by Douglas Brooks, who has been a great help to me in better understanding Japanese watercraft.

Now, I just have to take a few better photos of the model and it the article will be ready to send out.

Book Review

book_coverWhen I mentioned the Tosa Wasen article to Paul Fontenoy, he realized that there was no review in the Nautical Research Journal yet of Douglas Brooks’ book Japanese Wooden Boatbuiding. He asked me to write one and I agreed. Having never written a book review or anything of this kind for the Journal, I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. Also, while I’ve read through various important section of the book, I hadn’t read it cover to cover.

Well, that’s the first thing I had to do, and I’m really glad I did – Not just to be able to write an accurate book review, but also because this is a very interesting book, filled not only with lots of details on building traditional Japanese boats, but with some great narrative of the author’s experiences in Japan, some quite humorous and some quite moving.

I just sent in my draft of the book review. If it doesn’t need revision, it should be appearing in the near future.


DSC04135About a month ago, I finally reached the end of the instruction book in my translation and notes on this kit from Woody Joe. This isn’t an article to be published, but rather something that I’m making available to anyone who’d like to have it. The notes are now available here as a 17-page downloadable PDF file. I’m also sending copies off to Woody Joe and to Zootoyz and they will see if they want to do anything with it.

For the future, I am considering building a more detailed version of the Hacchoro based on the Woody Joe kit, and I may write that up as an article. I managed to recently make contact with someone in Japan who is connected with the modern Hacchoro boats in Yaizu. He’s been sending me some information and, now that I’m planning to make a research trip to Japan, I’m making arrangements to meet him and to see a Hacchoro first-hand.

Higaki Kaisen

DSC02470I’ve been dragging my feet on this simply because I want to include background information, and I want that to be as accurate and as interesting as possible. With the Tosa Wasen article and the Hacchoro notes done, I think it’s time to push this up to the front and get it finished and in print.

The problem is, every time I turn around, I learn more about bezaisen (the general term for this type of ship), and find challenges to my current understanding of the ships. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to see one up close. While I’m making arrangements to see the replica ship Hakusan-Maru in the Fall, that won’t really help me with this article, which I’m ready to send off soon.

This will be going to Seaways’ Ships in Scale, though the amount of background detail I’m putting together is probably better suited to the Nautical Research Journal. I’ve seen other authors split up their material between the two publications, but I don’t think I’m going to go that far.

I’m hoping to see this delayed article get published late this year or early next year. It will definitely be a multi-part article.

Hacchoro – Notes for building the Woody Joe kit

I have completed an initial draft of notes I compiled on building the Hacchoro kit by Woody Joe. The kit is a model of an 8-oared Japanese finishing boat from the area of Yaizu, Japan, which is on the coast, roughly about 100 miles southwest of Tokyo. The boat is a traditional type boat, following the classic 5 sided Japanese construction. That is, bottom, garboard strakes and shear strakes in a hard-chine hull configuration.

The real boats were roughly 45 feet long and could carry 3 square sails on masts that could be stepped as needed. There are still Hacchoro in existence today, though I don’t know what the total number is like. I also don’t know how they are used today, except that there are Hacchoro races where teams man the boat’s oars to race each other on a short course.


I am aware of two operating Hacchoro in Yaizu. With the help of a wasen authority in Japan, I have made contact with a gentleman in Yaizu who has offered to show me the Hacchoro there. So, I am now making arrangements to see them in order to record some of their finer details for later use in modeling them. This is part of my Japanese Boat Research Trip that I’m trying to raise some funds for. If all works out, I will take lots of photos and record the details.

For now, anyone who is building Woody Joe’s Hacchoro kit can download a copy of my notes.

But, in using these notes, you must accept that these are just suggested guidelines and there are always the possibility of errors in the document. Also, the document includes my own translation of the text of the Woody Joe instructions. I am not an expert in translating Japanese into English. Use them to give you more confidence in using the kit instructions, but you must agree not to hold me responsible if you end up gluing a part into place wrong. The kit is pretty well buildable using just the illustrations in the instruction book. But, sometimes it helps to know what the text says. Also, note that there are a lot of labels in the instructions, and I’m only translating the descriptional text and not all the individual labels.

Download Hacchoro Notes and Translated Instructions

Of course, if you have any questions about the document, just send me a comment with your email address and I’ll answer as best I can. Ω

My Writing Plans

Those of you who are interested in Woody Joe kits in particular, you might like to know that I’m working on a few writing projects now.


Higaki Kaisen

DSC02470For quite some time, I’ve had an article in the works on building Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen. The big hang up for me has been detailing the background of the vessel and making sure that my Japanese history is correct. Nothing worse than invalidating your work with shoddy research. Fortunately, I have some great human resources that have been extremely helpful. In addition, I’ve been piecing together many pieces from the Internet to create for myself a better understanding of Japanese coastal transports.

The target is Seaways’ Ships in Scale magazine, which published my kit review of the Higaki Kaisen, among other things. So, this will be a good follow-up to that article. From the size of this article, I expect it would come out in 3-4 parts.

The article is basically done, but I need to review and do some fine tuning. Then, it’s off for review. Probably, this will be submitted to the editors at Ships in Scale sometime in January. After that, it’s usually many months before it sees print. Maybe Summer time.


Sir Winston Churchill


Woody Joe recently released an update to their British sail training schooner kit and it’s a beautiful kit that looks to be both detailed and quite buildable. I received the kit from Woody Joe and started writing about it immediately. However, I’m considering that the article this time would be much more interesting to readers as an article about building the kit, not just reviewing it.

I’m not quite sure yet. I’ve written three out-of-the-box review articles in Ships in Scale on Woody Joe kits. I’ve tried to make each article a little different in flavor, focusing on reading Japanese characters in one article, discussing the Japanese ship model society The Rope in another, and historical information and construction issues to watch out for in the third.

I don’t know what kind of “extra” I could give the new article, so maybe it should be about building it. There might be some other ideas that I’m going to have to bat around for a bit. For one, Billing Boats makes a kit of the same ship in exactly the same scale, and it would be nice to see how the two compare. But, there are two problems I run into with that. First, I need the Billing Boats kit, and second, being that I’m doing some work for the U.S. importer of Billing Boats products, there then comes a conflict of interests. Especially if the Woody Joe kit puts the Billing Boats kit to shame.

But, the problem with making this a build article is that, I then have yet another project to build, with no article possible until the model is complete. And, I know I have too many projects already and putting off other projects that I want to get to, or need to get back to.


Hacchoro Build Notes

DSC04135If you recall, I built Woody Joe’s kit of the 8-oared fishing boat some time back. As I went along, I translated the instructions as best I could and recorded them. They’re not complete, but I’m now shoring up the missing translation parts. In addition, I’ve written up my own introduction on the kit and adding some of my own personal notes.

I’m not sure where the Hacchoro document is going, but I did promise I would send my own translations to Woody Joe and to Zootoyz. They may use them in some way. My goal is to make a complete document that could potentially be made available to builders of the kit, either directly by Woody Joe and Zootoyz, or as a download from this site.

This one is pretty close to being done, depending on how much time I set aside from model building. But, I have a couple friends building the kit now who I’m sure would like to see the notes done in time for them to use. We’ll see how it goes. Ω

Japanese Wasen Model Display in San Francisco v3.0

This week, I installed my latest display of models of traditional style Japanese boats at the Japan Center in San Francisco. If you haven’t seen it before and are in the area, this is a good display to check out. This time around, I added a third model to the collection, my Yakatabune model. So now, there is the Higaki Kaisen (1/72-scale), Hacchoro and Yakatabune models (both 1/24-scale). All three models were built from kits by Woody Joe of Japan.

The display will run from now through all of November and December in the window of the Union Bank community room, which is in the East Mall building.


UPDATE 12/20/15: Wasen Display extended through January, 2016. Take-down date has been moved to January 29th.



One thing I discovered while setting up the new display is that this is a much better time of year to display the models. Because of the lower angle of the sun, the there is far less glare from the skylight above, making the models much easier to view. I’ll have to keep that in mind in the future, though I’ll probably just try to display them at every opportunity I get.

The one addition I have yet to make to the display is a photo board, that I’ll be setting up in the fourth window panel, which is just barely in view in the above photo. But, I have a couple ideas for the display of a fourth model in the future. You’ll have to check back in the Spring for more details on that.

In any case, the new display is a far cry from the very first display, which was only about 9 months ago. Please check it out! Ω


Japanese Wasen Model Display in San Francisco

This week has been a kind of crazy week of dealing with the display of ship models. I now have 4 models out on display. Two of them are part of a display at the San Mateo County Fair headed up by the South Bay Model Shipwrights club. The other two are part of my own display that I’ve put together in the big window of Union Bank’s community room in Japantown, San Francisco.

The models are my Higaki Kaisen and Hacchoro models that I built from Woody Joe kits. The display is my second now, and I’ve learned a lot from my first display that I put up earlier in the year. That display was small for the window area and the models were hard to see and the display was not very attention grabbing.

This time around, I’ve had posters printed up using some new photos I’ve taken. I mounted these on foam core poster boards and also set up a large display board with 8″x10″ photos showing details of the models. To make the models easier to see, I removed them from their cases and raised them up closer to eye level by placing them on some pedestals I made from MDF board.

At the last minute this morning, I cut some acrylic sheet into strips and made some plastic clips to hang the posters from. The strips were cut to size and drilled and then heat bent to shape using a small torch. They aren’t perfect, but they work.

Late this morning, I crammed everything into my car and drove to San Francisco to set it all up.


Models set up and ready to put on display.


Homemade clips for hanging the posters.

This time, with all the display elements, it took me a lot longer to set up than I’d expected. I could imagine what it’s like to work setting up displays in department store windows. Overall, it was a good 45 minutes to bring everything up from the parking garage and to set it all up. The posters and the hangar clips took the most time to set up so that the posters hung at the right heights.

I felt I was kind of rushing the layout. It would definitely be helpful to get a second person to help with this so that one person can look at it and recommend adjustments while the other put the display elements into place.

In the end, I think it all worked pretty well and I’ve definitely got thoughts of Wasen Display 3.0 starting to develop. Having the third model will be good, which will most likely be Woody Joe’s Yakatabune as that’s a nice looking model and a quick build.


Higaki Kaisen model.


Photo Board and Hacchoro model. Note the hanging posters.

One thing I realized was that every time I’m in the mall where I have time to take photos, it’s roughly noonish and the sun comes streaming straight down through the skylights in the mall. So, I mostly get a lot of glare in these photos. I think at other times of the display, it is much easier to see the models and photos. I’m going to have to check out that theory and take some photos maybe late in the day or evening early evening. Maybe I can get some decent photos of the display then.


A much improved display over the last one.

Wasen Display 2.0 will run from Friday, June 5th through Friday, July 10th. I hope you will stop by to see it and let me know what you think!

Woody Joe’s Hacchoro Kit Finished

I recently completed the Hacchoro kit that I picked up last Summer. The final model is pretty big since it’s at 1/24th scale. It is based on the kit manufactured by Woody Joe of Japan with very little modification. You can see my review of the kit here.

The model went together very quickly and it was a very easy build as ship models go. It finished to a length of about 24″ and will make a very nice display piece in the home. It looks great up on the shelf with the sails and simple rigging and with the added detail of the oars. These are sculling oars, so they sweep back along the hull, giving the boat a very definite Japanese look of some kind of sea creature.

DSC03706DSC03720 DSC03967



Basic details I modified were that I stitched the vertical seams in the sails on the sewing machine, reduced the width of the rudder, mounted the forward sail (Yaho) high and the midships sail (Nakaho) low to create an appearance closer to the Hacchoro I see in photos on the Internet. I also added rope coils at all the halliards.


It wasn’t exactly on my schedule of model projects, but I started it late last year with the intention of putting together my own construction guide. I had set it aside because of the need to get other things done. Then when an opportunity to display the Higaki Kaisen in San Francisco’s Japantown came up. The large display window and small size of that model motivated me to get the Hacchoro model done to add to that display. Construction was quick, but it did end up taking longer than anticipated. I’ve since added it to the Japantown display, but the display is only until April 3rd. That’s just over 2 weeks on display. Still, it’s better than leaving the Higaki Kaisen by itself. My hope is that after other scheduled displays are completed that I can put the Higaki Kaisen and Hacchoro back on display. But more about that at another time.


Higaki Kaisen on display at Union Bank’s Community Room window in the Japan Center Mall.


Hacchoro on display at Union Bank’s Community Room window in the Japan Center Mall.

Some details that I didn’t include that I think should be there are anchors (Japanese anchors look like grappling hooks and boats usually carry several of them), a decorative tassel that hangs from the stem (I might still add one if I can make one that looks any good), a small paddle for maneuvering (this is a traditional paddle with a T-bar at the top), also maybe a water bucket and ladle. Also, this particular model doesn’t show the square notches in the planks where the iron nails were driven in and covered over with putty. On this boat, these would certainly have appeared on the transom and on the upper plank along the stem, looking like short dashed lines. Anyway, I’ll be saving these for a future model. This model was a lot of fun to build and I can almost guarantee that there will be another one in the near future. The design is simple enough that perhaps I’ll try scratch-building one by then.

Question: What’s wrong with this picture? 

If you look at the photos of my Hacchoro model, you may realize that there is one terrible flaw. In my rush to get the project done and added to the display at the bank, I managed to mount the sails upside down! Two ways you can tell this. First, if you recognize the Tokugawa mon or family crest, it’s inverted. Second, the sails on this boat are different from most Western craft in that the sails are wider at the top than on the bottom. That is, they’re supposed to be wider at the top than on the bottom. On my model, they’re wider on the bottom.

I don’t attribute this at all to the instructions being in Japanese as there are plenty of photos that show the sails mounted the other way. I just should have paid closer attention.

FYI, I WILL be redoing the sails and rigging as soon as I get the model back from the bank at the end of the coming week. It’s a drag that I let this happen, but given the relatively simple rig, it won’t really take all that long to fix.


The Hacchoro with corrected sails!

Woody Joe’s Hacchoro Kit – Out of the Box Review

My highly anticipated, newly released kit from Woody Joe arrived a while back and I’m just now getting around to writing about it. It took a couple extra days to get the shipment this time because I ordered it pretty much right at the release date, which meant my supplier still had to get the kit from Woody Joe before he could ship it out to me.

As with all my Woody Joe purchases, I bought this one from Zootoyz in Japan. However, rather than order from their regular site, I thought I’d help them out by trying out their new store front on Amazon. Unfortunately, ordering from a new vendor on Amazon is a bit troublesome as you have to find them and it takes a while for the vendor to get up to speed with the intricacies of selling on Amazon.com.

My transaction went smoothly, but I think it’s better just to buy directly from the Zootoyz website. That way, there is no middle-man to take a cut, it’s easier to ship with the vendor you want, and the savings gets passed on to you. I could have ordered directly from Zootoyz and, as it turns out I could have paid as much as $20 less that what I did pay. Still, I was really happy just to be able to order the new kit and receive it quickly.

And, just for the record, I do not get any profits from either Zootoyz or Woody Joe sales!


The Kit

The Hacchoro is an Edo Period work boat and it is the subject of the latest kit release from Woody Joe of Japan. The 1:24-scale kit relies heavily on laser cut parts and the final model measures about 23″ long, 20″ high, and 12-1/2″ wide, considerably bigger than their Higaki Kaisen model. Woody Joe’s estimated completion time of this model is 50 hours, which is half of what they list for the Higaki Kaisen. The kit lists of ¥18,000 or about $180. I got mine for about $208 with Express Mail shipping.

Background of the Hacchoro

Since my last post about this craft, I managed to learn something interesting about its origins. It turns out that fishing boats during this time were limited by law in the number of oars they carry. This apparently was to keep boats from overtaking with the Shogun’s boat.

But, the first Tokugawa Shogun enjoyed falconry and after his retirement, he would travel by sea to the hunting grounds. 24 fishing boats were commissioned as escorts, but since there were limited in the number of oars they were allowed to use, they had a difficult time keeping up. To remedy this situation, the fishermen of this one region were given special permission to mount 8 oars, hence the name Hacchoro, which basically means 8-oared boat.


Inside the Box


Opening up the box, which is somewhat smaller than the previous boxes I’d gotten from Woody Joe, I’ve come to expect the company’s usual quality packaging. Beneath the sheets of plans, instruction book and their one-page catalog sheet, the wooden parts are all packaged in plastic bags, grouped together in sets – I haven’t figured out the rationale for what the sheets are group together as they are, but I think each set is made up of sheets of like thickness. Finally, there is the usual cardboard tray in one end with the spool of rigging line, the banners, a small sheet of etched metal and a laser engraved name board.




The first thing I noticed about the instructions is that the images are much sharper. It looks like these were created on a color laser printer as opposed to lower resolution traditional printing. The colors are more vibrant and the illustrations clearer. The booklet is 16 pages long, and the instructions are broken down into 30 steps. In comparison, the Higaki Kaisen kit is 32 pages long and breaks down construction into 96 steps. On the cover is a nice image of the completed model, with the parts list on the inside front cover. Again comparing with the Higaki Kaisen kit, the Hacchoro’s parts list is about half as long.


As with all Woody Joe kits marketed in Japan, the instructions are written entirely in Japanese. But again, as with all Woody Joe kits, the instructions book is extremely well illustrated. Add to the fact that this is a much simpler build than other kits like the Higaki Kaisen or any of the Western-style ship kits, and this kit seems very build-able regardless of the text. And, I did look through the instructions as best as I could and didn’t see any sign of construction steps warning “do not glue” in Japanese.


Three black-and-white half-sheets of plans are included in the kit, each measuring about 13″ x 19″. All drawings are in scale with the model. What’s called Sheet Number 1 is actually two of these half-sheets put together and shows a full exterior side profile of the hull, an interior side cutaway of the hull, a mid-ships cross section, and a top view. Sheet Number 2 shows details of the masts, yards, sculling oars and poles for the banners.




I didn’t mention it earlier in this review, but as with all other Woody Joe kits I’ve gotten, upon opening the box, you’re hit with the wonderfully fragrant scent of Hinoki or Japanese Cypress. This seems to be the standard Woody Joe material, much like Model Shipways kits all use basswood.

Hinoki, besides smelling really nice, is a nice wood to work with. While it is brittle when dry, it only has to be wet and then it will take bends quite easily. Unlike many hard woods, it doesn’t really need soaking, it just needs to be dampened.

The kit includes 11 small laser cut sheets. The majority of these seem to be around 14″ long and probably not much more than 1-1/2″ wide. Some are smaller and a few are much longer. One thing I hadn’t noticed before was that there two of the laser cut sheets are actually what look like birch plywood. These are larger sheets that are made up of the bulkheads parts (yes, bulkheads on a traditional Japanese “Wasen” kit).

There is, of course, packages of strip woods and dowels and one package containing the parts for the display stand. The stand’s design looks like it complements the Hacchoro’s traditional Japanese-style hull quite nicely.

One small sheet of etched copper provides the pieces that form caps to fit over the ends of beams. That and a coil of brass wire which appears to be used for shaping the sails, are the only metal parts in the kit.


The sail material is very interesting. It’s a very fine weave material. I would say the quality exceeds the stuff in the Higaki Kaisen kit. To me, it seems like the nicest quality sail material I’ve seen in a ship model kit to date. The material has the seams printed in black as well as the Tokugawa mon or family crest.


The rigging line is the same quality stuff that I’ve seen in other Woody Joe kits. The stuff is very nice and I would actually consider acquiring some more of it to use on my other models. On this model, the rig is very simple, so there are only two spools of line included.


Lastly, there are the nobori or the banners that fly at the stern. Unlike Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen kit, which gives you blank banners to try to drawn your own Kanji (the Chinese characters used in writing Japanese), one the banners (there are two included) is pre-printed with the characters spelling Hacchoro, plus a line of characters that I haven’t translated yet, and the other displays the Tokugawa Shogun’s crest. The material used for the banners is a veil-thin fabric that shows the writing and crest almost equally well on both sides, which is kind of neat.



Kit Design

I don’t have much knowledge of Woody Joe’s past traditional Japanese-style boat (Wasen) kits, but unlike the Higaki Kaisen kit, there is no attempt to show the traditional-style construction. In fact, since there is no interior to view, the model is built western-style, with inner keel and bulkhead construction that most ship modelers will find very familiar. While it’s not authentic and doesn’t try to represent the way these ships were actually constructed in any way, it simplifies things a great deal and I think most non-Japanese ship modelers will probably feel more confident working with this kit, even without English language instructions.

Building the Model

I have so many projects in the queue that as much as I want to build this kit, I need to hold off, at least for a while. This looks like it should be a really nice short-term build however. So, if I get stuck on my other projects, need a break from them or whatnot, I’ll definitely be giving this a go. And, with the experience I have from the Higaki Kaisen build, that 50-hour rating might actually be just that. Heck, that should be like a 2-week build. Maybe I’ll just have to find a good spot to take that break after all. Ω