This Week in Wasen Model Making – October 15, 2022

Last weekend, I had a number of models on display at the Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures, which consisted mostly of my wasen models. This was the first time I’d had any of my Japanese watercraft models on display since January, and it seems to have spurred me to get back to work on some wasen model projects. While I have the two Woody Joe kits to finish up, those being the Kitamaebune and Atakebune kits, I also have two scratch models I stated long ago, the whaleboat-style Senzanmaru, and the small Nitaribune based on the late Fujiwara-san’s boat Kawasemi.

Small Nitaribune, or cargo boat, based on the boat built by the late Fujiwara-san for Wasen Tomo no Kai.

The Senzanmaru, a whaleboat-type boat use by the Awa clan.

The above photos show the current status of the two model after I got inspired. Most of the work I’ve done is on the Senzanmaru, which is the more complicated project. You can follow my past work on the Senzanmaru, as I’ve kept a build log of the work. That build log is now in need of an update, given this recent work.

I’ve mostly made progress on both projects by realizing that I really don’t have a perfect understanding of the internal construction of either of these boats, and deciding to simply do the best I can and plank the deck. The internal structure will be hidden, except perhaps  where I may leave off certain planks to reveal the hayaoneko, which are the wooden attachments for the ropes that hold down the heads of the sculling oars.

Senzanmaru model

The making of the beams was the other obvious structural part of the Senzanmaru. But, this was really more an issue of simply measuring the parts and cutting them to size. I’m still a little unsure of the parts that will make up what I call the splash boards that fit atop the hull, and I don’t know the name of those items off hand, but I’ll have to deal with them soon.

Senzanmaru model

I still have some deck planks to cut and fit into place, but I got a very good start on them. I hope to finish up the decks this week, and at some point, I’m going to have to give some serious thought to how I will approach the painting of this boat, as the paint scheme is quite ornate.

I’ve also finally figured out how the awning framework fits onto the boat, though I haven’t looked very closely at the construction of the framework itself. I don’t think it’s too elaborate. In any case, the framework will get covered by the awning.

Senzanmaru model

There are also a couple banners I’ll need to make for the final model, but the work for those seems pretty incidental after dealing with the hull construction. Anyway, the real task will be replicating the paint scheme.

The actual boat, Senzanmaru. The only Edo period boat still in existence.

As for the small nitaribune, which I’ve also been making progress on this week, while I’m basing it on Wasen Tomo no Kai’s boat, Kawasemi, I haven’t been able to get detailed photos of the deck planking arrangement. Also, I don’t really know the exact internal structure. So, I’ve come to accept that this will not be a model of the Kawasemi, but rather it will be a small nitaribune (cargo boat) that is based on the Wasen Tomo no Kai boat.

Small nitaribune.

As with the Senzanmaru, the small nitaribune’s below deck structure is mostly guesswork, and I’ve come to accept that it’s exact internal design doesn’t really matter on the model. If I ever get over to the see the actual boat, I’ll take lots of photos at that time and possibly try to model the exact boat.

Small nitaribune.

I still have to add supporting structure for the deck planks, but in this case, I also have to decide if all the planks run from side-to-side, or if any planks laid front-to-back. The latter type of planking seems to appear mostly where there is a short internal space, like the live well on the Senzanmaru. Also, there are often supports running fore-and-aft between the beams that are visible in some areas. The presence and layout of these is another thing I’ll have to make my own decisions about. But, since this model will represent a type of boat, and not a specific boat, there really aren’t any wrong decisions, as long as I stay within the common parameters of wasen design.

The boat Kawasemi of Wasen Tomo no Kai.

In the end, I still plan to have the outer hull look like Wasen Tomo no Kai’s boat, as much as possible. The deck layout will be a bit different, but I’m learning not to worry about it. Ω

1 thought on “This Week in Wasen Model Making – October 15, 2022

  1. Reblogged this on Ship Modeler and commented:

    Having my models on display at the Good Same Miniatures Showcase gave a boost to my model making drive. I’ve been back on my American Gunboat based on the Amati kit, and have been busy with the completion of the rigging.

    In addition to that, after many month away from them, I finally pulled out a couple of Japanese boat models and started making some significant progress on those too. I may actually finish up three models this year, though the paint job on one of the Japanese boats is quite elaborate and may take me a while.


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