Tag Archives: USS Susquehanna

Woody Joe’s USS Susquehanna Now Available!

Here’s some good news for ship modelers, particularly those interested in the early sail-rigged steamers. Woody Joe has just released their new U.S.S. Susquehanna kit. This is one of the famous “Black Ships” that were party of Matthew Perry’s squadron to open trade with Japan in 1853.

The 1/120-scale laser-cut kit measures just about 34″ long when completed. The cost is about $400 plus shipping. That makes it one of the pricier kits, but it is also one of the few kits available anywhere of an American paddlewheel steamer.

When I get caught up on projects a bit, I’d really love to build this. The kit, like many Woody Joe kits, is designed to be easy to build. They list it as 190 hours construction time, which is in comparison to 200 hours for their big Cutty Sark kit and 100 hours for their Sir Winston Churchill kit.

I’ve found Woody Joe kits to be accurate, but leaving room for the builder to upgrade the kit by adding details beyond what’s provided in the kit. Of course, you will need to deal with instructions that are only available in Japanese. But, the instructions are extremely well illustrated, and pretty easy to follow, and there is actually very little text or need for it. But, if you have a smart phone, the use of the Google Translate app will help you make sure you don’t miss anything.

You’ll probably find the kit on Amazon or Ebay. But, as always, I recommend the Japanese online shop Zootoyz.jp for service and support. Here’s a direct link to the kit on their site: https://www.japan-wooden-model-kits-zootoyz.shop/contents/en-us/p24912_USS-SUSQUEHANNA-Wooden-Sailing-Ship-Model-Kits-by-Woody-JOE.html

At the moment, I’ve noticed that the product does not appear on the original Zootoyz.jp site, but does appear on the newer “wooden products only” site (accessible from the Zootoyz home page). But, just click on the direct link above and it will get you there.



Woody Joe’s New USS Susquehanna Kit in the Works

I just saw an exciting post on Woody Joe’s Facebook page today. Woody Joe is developing a new 1/120-scale wooden model kit of the USS Susquehanna, one of the famous kurofune or black ships of Commodore Perry’s squadron that sailed into Edo Bay in 1853 and 1854 to force a trade treaty with Japan.

These are photos posted on Facebook by Woody Joe of their prototype. There are many details that need to be worked out yet, so there is no word yet on pricing or availability. But, it is clearly a plank-on-bulkhead kit of the 3-masted barque-rigged paddlewheel steam frigate. At 1/120 scale, the model will measure about 34″ long.

Again, no price is set yet. But, based on their kits of similar size and detail, my guess is that it will run somewhere around 45,000¥ or about $400. We’ll see how close I come to the actual total. This kit appears to rely on more photo-etched brass than past kits, which can add a lot to a kit’s cost.

There’s a general lack of mid 19th-Century steamship model kits. This will join their own Kanrin Maru kit to help fill that gap. I, for one, am really looking forward to the release of this kit. But, I guess I should finish my own Kanrin Maru build before I get started on this one. So, it’s just as well that it’s not quite ready for release yet.

Zootoyz.jp will have the kit for sale as soon as it becomes available. I’ll make sure to post an update as soon as I find out more. Ω

USS Susquehanna, 1847 by Gilbert McArdle

I heard some rumor about this book a while back, but had forgotten about it at some point. I had no idea it was already in print until I started looking up details about Seawatch Books recent released of the revised Swan IV book and supplement. Stumbled upon this one totally by accident and I’m really excited because this is a subject that I have been considering for quite some time. It’s also related to some other subjects I’ve been interested in.


Susquehanna was one of the ships of the Perry Expedition to Japan and China in 1853-54. She was a side-paddlewheel ship termed a Steam Frigate and was built at the same time (though in different location) as the side-paddlwheeler Powhatan, which was also part of the Perry Expedition. The Susquehanna and the Powhatan are sometimes referred to as sister ships, but the Susquehanna is the slightly smaller of the two.

My real interest is in the Powhatan, but the Susquehanna should be close enough to teach me a few things about the construction of these ships. The book is $70 plus shipping from Seawatch Books. I’ve ordered mine and look forward to reading through Gib McArdle’s work.