Tag Archives: Yakatabune

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

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.


 

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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

 

Woody Joe’s Yakatabune – Completed

Tonight, I’m happy to report that my 1/24-scale Yakatabune model is finished. The kit was from the Japanese kit manufacturer Woody Joe and compliments my 1/72-scale Higaki Kaisen and 1/24-scale Hacchoro models. If you are a member of Model Ship World, you might have followed the progress of the build over the last few months.

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It wasn’t a difficult model to build, but I ended up adding some extra details that took me a little while to figure out. I am still planning to provide interior lighting, but need to figure out how to properly make a couple large hanging lamps. Once I get that figured out, I’ll remove the deck house and its roof and install the wiring, which I made room for.

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The model was pretty much built straight from the kit, though I did make a few simple modifications, most of which deal with color/paint scheme. The wood color comes from the use of wood dyes that I mixed to my own liking. The paint scheme is based on classic Japanese paintings of Yakatabune from the Edo Period.

The kit included a very rudimentary interior, providing a simulated tatami room floor with table. So, added a few items of my own like zabuton seating cushions, and shamisen – a 3-string musical instrument that I play.

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Right now, you can’t see much of the interior because it’s dark inside with the roof on. However, I did make the roof removable, and may display it that way. In the future, I hope to have a few sake cups out on the table too!

Other small changes were that I increased the length of the Ro slightly (the long sculling oar), reduced the size of the rudder, and added a simulated bamboo pole, which sits on the starboard side. The pole would have been used by the boatman to navigate the boat near the shore.

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As I’m sure I mentioned before, Woody Joe’s is an excellent kit that’s not officially marketed in the U.S. The instructions are in Japanese, but they are very well illustrated. If you want to buy the kit, I recommend shopping at Zootoyz.jp. It’s about $170 shipped. Ω

Mini-Yakatabune kit by Woody Joe – The Finished Model

A little while back, I wrote a post about working on some projects while out of town (What Does a Ship Modeling Fool Do When Out of Town). One of those projects was the Mini-Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe of Japan. Well, I added some finishing touches and finished up the model recently. These were mostly little modifications to the kit, which I though added a little realism.

Keeping in mind the Mini-Yakatabune kit is designed to be easy to build, there are some small details that were left off in the design. Mostly, these are rigging lines that aren’t really necessary, but certainly add realism to the final model. In addition, to make construction easier, in place of very thin and fragile dowels, the kit provides brass rod.

Being used to working with very tiny, fragile parts, I replaced the brass rod with thin wooden dowels that I reduced down to size using a jeweler’s drawplate.

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Drawplate from Byrnes Model Machines.

Close up showing the dowels in place of brass rod.

Close up showing the dowels in place of brass rod. Small rope coil at bow.

I ended up with a long piece of dowel left over and so I just trimmed it to a reasonable length and used it to represent a bamboo pole used to help push the boat along shallow water and at the shore.

The rigging was a little trickier since it’s such a small model, but mostly, the issue is the delicate nature of the model. First off, I coiled up a tiny piece of line and laid it down at the bow. It’s pretty small, so it doesn’t look like much more than a blob. From building the larger Yakatabune model, I was aware of a line used for raising the rudder. As was pointed out to me by another ship modeler who built his kit before I built mine, there is a hole in the rudder, but the instructions show no reason for it. The line then tied at this hole and the ends of the line reach up and tie around the support beam above it.

 

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Again from the larger Woody Joe kits I was aware that in early days, the two pieces of the oar, called a “Ro” in Japanese, had a piece of rope wrapped around the joint. That was a pretty easy addition. The tougher addition was a loop of line tied down to the deck, that went over the handle of the oar. This required me to fashion a loop in the end of a line inserted into a small hole that I drilled into the deck. The loop then slips over the handle that sticks up out of the oar. To reinforce the placing of the oar, I inserted a small piece of brass wire into the oar, which fits down into a small hole I drilled into the oar’s support beam.

Finally, I figured this tiny model is going to get knocked over on someone’s shelf, so I first glues some thin brass rods into the base and drill corresponding holes in the bottom of the model. This keeps the model removable from the base, but it sits securely on the base. I then decided to cut a thin sheet of cherry wood to mount the whole thing on.

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Version 2

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Somehow, I managed to lose the silhouette figure that’s supposed to stand at the oar handle, but the model looks pretty complete as is and I think it will be a very appreciated gift.

As I mentioned before, the basic model kit was essentially completed in a single day. Added details took me a little longer to complete. Overall, this was a really fun kit to build and I found the results to be really nice. I even went so far as to buy two more kits to make into gifts.

Those interested in building the kit, remember that the instructions are in Japanese only. The instructions are very well illustrated and the kit goes together very easily, so the language shouldn’t be an issue. Just remember that any wood that you need to bend needs to be dampened first. Also, there are a lot of very delicate laser-cut parts. Cut away through the tabs that hold the pieces in the sheets, but make sure to remove the knife blade from the sheet before trying to remove the wood from the sheet. Don’t skip steps. And, since these kits are only available from Japan, don’t expect to find/get replacement parts. So, be extra careful not to break or lose anything!

If you’re interested in buying a kit, and if you’ve read this far I really think you should, I recommend ordering from the online hobby dealer Zootoyz.jp. Prices are good, shipping is reasonable, and service is excellent. Ω

What Does a Ship Modeling Fool Do When Out of Town?

This past weekend, I was away in my old hometown, a place where I didn’t have a whole lot to do one day. Knowing this would probably be the case, I brought a couple easy to transport things to keep me occupied. Some people would just bring a book or watch TV. Me, I’m a ship modeling fool, so I brought a couple new ship model projects along. One was an unstarted paper model kit, a 1/96-scale model of the British frigate HMS Mercury, by Shipyard of Poland. The other was the Mini-Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe of Japan.

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While the HMS Mercury kit is a major project, I figured getting the framework together would give me something to show at an upcoming ship model meeting. Also, last year I had a paper model of the British cutter HMS Alert that I took with me to the Nautical Research Guild Conference. I was working at the Ages of Sail table in the Vendor Room and the partially completed model made for a good display of these kits. The next conference is coming up in another 6 weeks or so, and I’m working the Ages of Sail table again. I thought it might be good to take a different started kit. I considered taking the HMS Alert, with is much farther along, but I’ve put a lot of work into it and don’t want it to get damaged in the trip.

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Bear in mind that this is the 1/96-scale Paper Model kit and not the 1/72-scale Laser Cardboard Series kit. It was fun to get a paper model started, especially since all the frames and sub-deck pieces all pre-cut. So, as far as I got, it was all just cut and slip parts together. I didn’t actually spend a lot of time on it. But then, this was actually project number two, which I didn’t work on until I was done working on project one.

The first project, Woody Joe’s Mini-Yakatabune kit, was something I received a couple months from the Japanese online dealer Zootoyz.jp. I’ve been working on the large Yakatabune kit from Woody Joe, so I was already familiar with the craft. While I’d been working on the larger model, I’ve been writing about it on Model Ship World. Meanwhile, a fellow ship modeler has been working the mini-kit. Since I had the unstarted kit on the shelf and was very impressed by the work that the other ship modeler had done on his model, I took the kit along with me. Woody Joe product listings suggest it’s an 8-hour build, so I put that to the test.

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I came away from the weekend with everything on my list done, and also managed to pretty well finish up the Mini-Yakatabune. I’ll post more info on that kit later. But, I will say for now that I built it in a day – pretty close to the 8-hour suggested build time. I’ve built Woody Joe’s Hobikisen mini-kit and also have an unbuilt Utasebune mini-kit on the shelf too. But, from my experience, the Mini-Yakatabune is a great kit with lots to do and it looks really nice when it’s all done. It’s more expensive that the other mini-kits, but has a lot more laser cut parts than the other mini-kits. I highly recommend building it!

It’s such a neat model and the subject seems culturally significant, so I personally think the completed model will make a great gift. I’m going to give this one to my shamisen teacher and even went so far as to order a couple more of them to build for my former taiko teacher. With a list price of 5500 yen, about $46 at the time of this writing, building this kit as a gift shouldn’t break the bank account.

Well, this ship modeling fool is now back from the weekend. Surprisingly, I didn’t do much ship modeling today. But, the day’s not over yet! Ω

New Yakatabune Mini-Kit from Woody Joe

 

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I’m a bit behind the curve on reporting on this latest mini-kit from Woody Joe. This kit, released in May, joins the two other traditional Japanese boat mini-kits, the Hobikisen and the Utasebune. The Yakatabune (yah-kah-tah-boo-ney) is an Edo period pleasure boat that become a common site on lakes and rivers in the later years of pre-modern Japan. The appearance of these boats coincided with the rise of the merchant class and the accompanying increase in leisure time and disposable income among commoners. The Yakatabune and boatmen would be hired for a day or an evening for taking in the sights at cherry blossom time to view evening fireworks, or maybe just to drink tea or sake and enjoy good company.

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Woody Joe already produces a large, 1/24-scale kit of a Yakatabune, but this one is small and quick to build and costs less that one-third as much as the larger kit. The kit features a large number of laser-cut parts. The design of the hull is nearly identical to the other mini-kits of the series, but the decking, rudder, and deckhouse means there is about 50% more wood in this kit. As with the others, the wood provided is Hinoki (hee-noh-key), a variety of Japanese cypress that is extremely aromatic, and it easy to work with.

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Parts are always well packaged and well labeled in Woody Joe kits.

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Japanese language instructions are extremely easy to follow, thanks to the well illustrated, 12-page, step-by-step guide.

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Laser-cut sheets are clearly numbered, and each part has its own identifier to make locating parts simple.

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Color printed paper is used to cover the shoji screen walls of the deck house and for the lanterns hanging along the side.

Having been building the larger scale Yakatabune kit, it’s clear that this is a simplified model. But, that’s the whole point here. This is a model that can easily be built over a weekend, and results in something that looks nice on the shelf.

The kit is solidly packed into its box, which measures about 9″ x 3-1/2″ x 1-1/4″. The model itself measures about 8-1/4″ long when complete and includes a nice base and brass tape nameplate.

At 5,500 yen, the Mini Yakatabune is the most expensive of the three traditional boat mini-kits. At today’s exchange rate, that works out to about $45. As always, I recommend buying the kit from Zootoyz.jp. Prices are good, shipping is extremely fast, and service is great.

For those who want to add a little detail, if you’ve built the larger kit, the details you might add are pretty obvious. There are the beams that protrude from the hull under the side railing, there are the rope wrappings around the sculling oars, the lifting rope on the rudder, and copper caps. But, I think it’s a better kit to be built as-is. A nice simple weekend project that would make a nice gift either as a kit or a completed model.

Personally, I’m a student of the Japanese folk instrument called a shamisen and my teacher would clearly love to have this model on her shelf. She’s been hinting to me, showing her collection of all the different things that her various students have made for her over the years. I think the Mini Yakatabune is going to have to be one of them. Ω

 

 

Woody Joe’s Yakatabune Kit – New Build Log on MSW

For those interested in following the build of Woody Joe’s 1/24-scale Yakatabune kit, I decided to go ahead and start one on The NRG’s Model Ship World. For those who don’t know, the Yakatabune is a traditional Japanese pleasure boat used on lakes and rivers. They could be hired for a day or evening, allowing a group of passengers to enjoy the gentle rocking of the boat, the sites along the water, view the cherry blossoms, and as a place to simply gather, bring along hired entertainment, drink sake, or whatever.

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Here’s an image of a colorized photo I found on the Internet, though I don’t recall where now.

The 1/24-scale Woody Joe kit is available for around $170 shipped. I got mine from Zootoyz.jp. Woody Joe calls this a 50-hour build, and that may be pretty close. It’s not a difficult kit.

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Visit the build log here: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/10860-yakatabune-by-catopower-woody-joe-124-scale-small/ Note that you will note be able to see the images without joining Model Ship World and getting a free account. There is no advertising associated with this site and it is part of the Nautical Research Guild (NRG). There are also advantages in joining, as it grants you automatic associate NRG membership.