Two New Books in My Wasen Library

Yesterday, I finally got two more books from Japan that I found on Yahoo! Japan Auctions. I’ve found most of Japanese language wasen books I have either on the auctions or on Amazon Japan. The searching of these sites has become much simpler with the advent of a website/service called Buyee. This time, I didn’t use the Buyee service to make the actual purchases, I simply located the books through their website, which links into other Japanese retail sites, and asked a friend in Japan for a favor, and he got the books for me and shipped them to me.

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This Week in Wasen Model Making – June 20, 2022

Recently, I’ve posted about the Edo period canal diorama, as well as the Oguraikebune, or Ogura pond boat. Last week, for the Edo period canal diorama, I made some sao, or poles, and a couple ro, or sculling oars for my tenma-zukuri chabune, which will be the centerpiece of the diorama. I made extras of both to use with some of my other 1/20 scale models.

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Ogura Pond Boat (巨椋池舟) in 1/10 Scale – Part 2

I’d been making progress on the Ogura Pond Boat up through the month of March, but I hadn’t posted very much information about it here. Last I posted was back in January. At that time, I had glued up the three boards that make up the shiki, or bottom plate of the boat. Next is to shape the shiki, which is really quite easy the way I’m building these models. It simply requires printing out a portion of the drawings I’m using.

In this drawing, you’ll notice that I’ve marked out the mortises as well. This was something that was not on the original drawings, but I could see some of them in Ogawa-san’s photos. As I mentioned in my last post, what’s special here is that the mortises clearly aren’t perpendicular with the edges of the planks. This is something I’ve never seen this before, except where an occasional mortise has to angled to avoid a knot in the wood or similar reason. Here, however, they seem to be regularly placed so that the nails are driven at a slight angle towards the bow.

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Edo Canal Diorama – Part 2

I spent some time last weekend trying to figure out how to simulate the stone walls of the canal. I have, of course, the examples from the museum scene reconstructions. The two are quite different, and I really don’t know which may be more correct. Perhaps the only thing that might serve as an example, is the wall at the moat of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. However, I’ve noticed from looking at photos that even this differs from the stone structure surrounding the gate at the palace grounds.

Meanwhile, I didn’t even have any experience in making a wall for a diorama, so I went on the Internet to look at different ways that people having simulated stone walls for dioramas, some very simple, some very complicated.

I considered making a wall from clay, since I was most familiar with using it, but clay is heavy. I also saw how some modelers use hydrocal to cast stone pieces. But, that requires making molds. Finally, I settled on simply carving plastic insulation foam, as I was using the stuff for my diorama anyway.

For this, I simply drew a pattern on the face of the foam, and I used the end of a small steel ruler to score the foam, which gave the wider-looking gaps between the stones.

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Aru Sendō no Hanashi – The Story of a Boatman, a.k.a. They Say Nothing Stays the Same

Just about two years ago, I wrote a post about a special Internet screening of a new film called Aru Sendō no Hanashi (ある船頭の話), or A Boatman’s Story. Since then I have viewed the film and recently discovered that the film is now available for streaming as a purchase or rental from a couple services. If you don’t know anything about this film, you can read my last post on it here: Aru Sendō no Hanashi.

Note that the film title has been changed for western audiences to They Say Nothing Stays the Same. The english title may make more sense as to what the film is about. I went ahead and purchased it, as I had seen it before and I enjoyed the film, though it’s slow paced, confusing, and sad.

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Edo Canal Diorama

With multiple projects going on, my brain gets a little tangled up. So… I begin another project! Actually, this one has been in my head for more than a year – maybe two? The idea is to create some kind of Edo period scene using one of my wasen models – Ideally, one that already exists, so I don’t have to start yet another project.

This diorama I’ve settled on, is a simple scene based around my tenma-zukuri chabune. It will be pulling up to a small landing at edge of one of the many canals in the built-up part of Edo. I laid out the scene so that it will fit one of the small display cases that I have already have.

I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but basically, the main inspirations for this diorama, are scenes depicted at the Fukagawa Edo Museum, and also the Nakagawa Funabansho Museum.

Scene depicted at the Nakagawa Funabansho Museum.

Fukagawa Edo Museum

My diorama is too small to be able to incorporate much “on the ground”, which is probably just as well for this project, as I would otherwise have to get good at replicating 18th or early 19th century building construction, and develop a better understanding of the city streets of old Edo.

One day, I hope I’ll be able to build Edo period buildings and streets. But, I don’t think this particular scene will demand too much of that. It will be enough that I will need to understand how moorings and small docks would have been constructed.

As it is, I’m now having to learn more about diorama construction, and have spent time finding ways to represent people in various scales. This includes getting a better sense of how the boatmen, or sendō, were dressed, and how to model that.

I’ll post more about this later, but I wanted to get something written up first, with some photos of my preliminary planning.

The figure, by the way, is a 3D printed, fully articulated figure kit, that I purchased and assembled. I don’t know if I’ll use him, or the sendō figure that I sculpted from polymer clay some time ago. Ω

 

Building a Traditional Japanese Boat at the University of Illinois

Recently Douglas Brooks completed the teaching of a Japanese boatbuilding apprenticeship class at Japan House. 18 students participated in the week long class which culminated in the construction and launching of a Honryousen, a long, narrow riverboat found in Niigata prefecture, Japan.

Read more about it in this article posted on the Illinois News Bureau website here: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/789104783#image-2

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.

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Building Woody Joe’s Atakebune Kit – Part 11

It’s time to finish the Atakebune’s castle structure. Basically, what’s left is to add the pieces that fit under the eaves of the roofs and also to install some edging pieces and then some final decorative details to the rooftops.

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Building Woody Joe’s Atakebune Kit – Part 10

Continuing with the Atakebune’s castle structure, I began looking at the little walkway and decorative railing at the back end of the structure. Considering that I’ve lowered the main deck of the ship, I needed to know how high above the deck this railing would be. So, I assembled the pieces to allow me to test fit the parts in place. While I was at it, I made one small modification here, which was to make the walkway from separate strips of wood, using the kit provided pieces as patterns for the walkways.

The completed walkway was actually all that I needed. It also needed to fit perfectly in place, which took a few minor adjustments.

While I went ahead and glued the walkway into place, I didn’t want to permanently add the railing, as it’s pretty delicate, and I was worried that it would get damaged during the remaining construction on the castle structure.

It was nice to see how this railing will add a splash of color to the final model, pretty much the only parts that aren’t going to be natural wood color, or painted gray or white.

Next up was to begin working on the castle structure roof. most of which is made from milled material that resembles a tiled roof. However, the roof of the forward part of the castle structure, specifically the one I extended, was designed to be made up of individual arch-shaped pieces. Since that section has been lengthened, the provided roof pieces would no longer work. What I did then, was to use the provided pieces as beams, and for the roof itself, I cut a piece of thin pear wood veneer.

I don’t have photos of all the work I did on this roof section, but it took a little work to attach the “beams” together, so that I could mount the thin roof material. I used a couple wood strips under the beams to create a rigid framework, but this required me to cut away some of the wood that would be under the roof to make room for these added wood strips.

Once the beam assembly was ready, I could simply cut the wood veneer and glue it to the beams. Plastic clamps held the roof in place, causing the veneer to take on the curvature of the beams while the glue set.

With this particular roof section done, I could complete the rest of the castle structure roofing. This type of construction is quite fun, and it’s very different from any ship modeling work I’ve done before. I’m already familiar with building these castle roofs as I built Woody Joe’s Iwakuni-Jo castle several years ago, one of their smaller castle kits. I won’t go into a lot of detail here and just offer some progress photos.

While working on the castle structure and waiting for glue to dry, I decided it was time to tackle the modification of the stern structure. I was a bit hesitant to do this, but I saw how nicely Kazunori Morikawa’s model looked with the modified section, and I thought it really made the overall shape of the ship nicer. So, I began dismantling the stern section.

Turns out that because I used original formula Titebond wood glue, I could simply use water to soften the glue joints. As a fellow ship modeler pointed out, rubbing alcohol works well, and won’t raise the wood grain or cause the wood to swell or warp.

I was basically able to extend the internal structure of the stern by 15mm. This didn’t change the shape of the rear wall, just the side walls of the extension. So, I was able to use some of the parts I removed. However, I did have to make a new deck section, as the shape had changed due to the new dimensions.

Once the extensions were added to the internal structure, it was all pretty easy to build it all back up again.

Finally, I was able to finish the initial roof placement and add the remaining coaming and lower trim of the castle structure, as well as to add the stanchions and complete the external trim of the stern section today.

Next time, I’ll be adding the simulated beams under the eaves of the tile roofing, and adding the details that remain for the rooftops. After that, I’ll be giving some thought to finishing the lower hull modifications I had been planning.