Woody Joe’s Old Sengokubune and Kitamaebune Kits Now Collectors’ Items

Before the advent of laser cutting, Woody Joe made two bezaisen kits, the Sengokubune and the Kitamaebune. Both were described as 1/30 scale models, but were in actuality about 1/60 scale. These kits were supplied with milled wood parts, wooden sheets, strips and dowels. Construction was more what one would expect from a wooden model kit.

Woody Joe’s old Kitamaebune kit.

Woody Joe’s new 1/72-scale laser-cut Kitamaebune kit.

The Kitamaebune kit disappeared from the market, maybe a couple years ago now, but has been replaced with a newly refined laser-cut kit in 1/72 scale. The new kit should be much easier to build, and it probably more scale accurate, but the old kit really had a certain charm to it. I know, because I managed to find and purchase one on a Japanese online shop through Amazon.jp.

The problem I found with a kit that is now quite rare is that I’m afraid to build it! Once it’s done, that’s it. There are no more to be had. So, it has been sitting in my closet, taunting me. I’m a bit torn, especially since there is about $300 invested in the kit, but I have a lot of other projects to work on anyway, so I’m holding out.

Anyway, I have another one of Woody Joe’s old-style kits, the Sengokubune, which is a slightly different design. I think it’s a bit closer in appearance to the Higaki Kaisen and Tarukaisen that plied the waters between Osaka and Edo (the larger Kitamaebune was a northern port trade ship that travelled down the coast on the Japan Sea). I always meant to get around to building the kit, as it was still available, even though the old Kitamaebune was not.

Woody Joe’s old-style kit, the Sengokubune, out of production and unavailable.

But, sadly, the other kit, Woody Joe’s original Sengokubune kit, is out of production and unavailable too now. So, here is another $300 kit sitting in the closet, waiting to be built. Again, I have other things that need my attention. But, I’m now wondering if I will ever have the nerve to build these, or if they’ll just become closet treasure.

I know that many western produced ship model kits have gone out of production, and I have a couple of those too. But, those kits still appear periodically on Ebay, or in some ship modeler’s “garage sale”, and I doubt I’ll ever see these two kits again. Who knows? Perhaps, I’ll give them up and put them on Amazon.com for 4 times what I paid for them, just like what you’ll find there now. Or, more likely, one day, in a special moment of self-indulgence, I’ll just start building them. Then, I can put them on display with my other wasen models and people can see them in all their glory. Ω

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