Building Woody Joe’s Atakebune Kit – Part 3

I’ve spent quite a bit of time working out some of the modifications I’m going to be making on this kit. Some things that I might like to do would require some re-engineering and re-fabricating some of the wooden parts, so I don’t know if I’ll go that far here. Of course, I have a second kit, and I make try those ideas there. But, for this model, most of the modifications are going to be fairly simple.

Aside discussed before, the first thing I want to do is to get rid of those tabs that show through the wood at the bow and transom boards. I’d already started the process last time by thinning both those parts down. It may not be absolutely necessary to do that. At the transom, some other filing of parts could be filed down a little to accomodate a thicker transom. But, at the bow, it’s pretty close the end ends of the hull planks, so making it thicker might make the bow stick out a little too much. Normally, this bow plate is shown as being somewhat recessed. However, I’m thinking I can adjust that slightly with the placement of the hull planks.

Then, I realized that the bottom boards have these tabs in them too. Now, these appear in a lot of Woody Joe kits, but for most of those, I’ve painted the bottoms, so the tabs aren’t noticeable at all. This model will not have a painted bottom, so I started wondering what to do about these tabs. They’re on the bottom and don’t really show, so most people may not care.

I decided to go ahead and sheathe these parts without thinning them down. The bottom of larger vessels is very thick and often extends a bit below the lower planks anyway. So, the appearance would not be unnatural. This was an easy process.

All parts modified to cover visible tabs.

I ended up sheathing the transom piece with multiple strips of 1mm x 10mm wide hinoki. This would be 1 meter wide on the full sized ship, which is big, but certainly historically possible in terms of available lumber.

The bow piece was sheathed in two layers, to appear more closely to may drawings of Atakebune I have seen. This doesn’t match the museum model, but I thought the simple added detail might make the model a little more visually interesting.

Happy with the way the parts were looking, I went ahead and glued them to the frame.

One change to note is that the bottom board on the museum model stops flush with the transom piece. This is one of those things that was bugging me a little and I’d been trying to figure out how the hull planks would run and if the structure would be badly affected if I modified the kit to more closely match.

Since it seemed like it would work out, I went ahead and cut the aft-most bottom board piece. However, I also placed the planks on the transom so that the bottom plank stuck out over the edge of the transom by about 1mm. I then made sure to trim the cut edge of the bottom board so that it made a nice fit into the little notch that created.

Meanwhile, I decided the box structure was going to work out, pretty much as is, at least at this stage, so I began gluing up those parts.

The one modification here is the small sunken steering deck. Given my experience with Japanese coastal transports of the later era, and the way the Japanese traditionally mounted rudders on larger vessels. Because the rudder is raisable, and needs to rotate slightly when raised, the simple square hole for the rudder post didn’t see quite right. So, I ended up elongating the opening and I think I will also cut a slot in the bottom of that back wall.

The kit doesn’t call for the planking of this lower deck, but it should be planked, just like with any deck. Because the walls will be visible, I’ll also give them some kind of finish. Probably a simple planking as well. This will be an easy modification for my next post.

Meanwhile, check out the posts on the Zootoyz Facebook page showing the excellent progress being made by Mr. Kazunori Morikawa on his Atakebune build, his first wooden ship model kit ever. He’s got some very good ideas for some modifications too!


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