Building Woody Joe’s Atakebune Kit – Part 12

After some time away to work on the Oguraike boat and to get some traditional western ship modeling done for the newly restarting ship model meetings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, finally got back to finishing the sanding the sculling oars on my Atakebune model. I guess the model only needs 66 of them, but I’m sure I counted 72 in the kit. Maybe there are spares.

There’s more to do on these, as I’m thinking I’ll probably add the “heads” to them, or at least some of them that might end up visible if I leave any of the doors open in the box structure, or yagura.

Also, I made the mast. It has a square cross-section and is tapered, but was actually quite easy make, as the parts are all laser-cut and simply need gluing together and then staining or dying of the wood. Also cut the hole in the deck planking. That was easy too, as the thin plywood sub-deck has the hole already cut, so the planking just needed to be cut through.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the forward rake of the mast is quite unusual, and it doesn’t appear on any other Japanese watercraft I’ve ever seen or read about. But, I’m more convinced about my speculation that the mast would have been raised to a vertical position when carrying the large squaresail.

One thing I found interesting that is unexplained about the kit, is that there is a hole cut down below to hold the foot of the angled mast in place. However, there is a second hole just in front of the first. If you place the foot of the mast there, the mast sits vertically. Below, you can see the lower structure with the two supporting holes for stepping the foot of the mast.

My guess is that the designers at Woody Joe agreed that the mast would be raised to a vertical position when carrying a sail, but had it stay in its position at the very front of the hull.

In actuality, I think it’s likely that the foot of the mast remained in a fixed location, and that the mast was pushed up into a vertical position, which really moves the body of the mast very close to the front of the castle structure. But, for my model, I don’t plan to raise the sail, so I’ll leave the mast in its forward leaning configuration.

Next, I decided that I’m going to place the panels that would cover the slot for raising the mast. I decided to go ahead and cut open the deck, so I can illustrate how this process would work, and how the mast would look in it’s raised sailing position.

Slot cut open for the raising of the mast. Temporary mast supports were put into place.

Below, you can see where I added a series of removable deck panels, though on the model, I made this into a single removeable cover. Note that the mast supports shown on the left side of the new cover are permanently fixed into place.

Now, you can see the mast configuration with the leaning mast…

… versus the mast cofiguration where the mast has been raised to a vertical position for sailing.

I can not answer the question of why the mast would be leaned forward when not under sail. I don’t even know if this is fact. It’s more my own speculation based on what I can see on the museum model.

Next time, I’ll turn my attention to further detailing the yagura, or the box structure of the Atakebune.

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