Back in August (2021), I discovered Japanese boat builder and artist, Mr. Tomohiko Ogawa, who had written several posts on his own blog about his research of a couple wasen in the Kyōto area. One was a type called a Sanjikokku bune (三十石舟), a famous type of river transport for passengers and cargo between Kyōto and Ōsaka. This type was well known to me, so his post on the subject caught my attention.
Hiroshige print depicting a Sanjikkokubune (三十石舟）
However, I soon discovered another subject that he wrote about, and that I wasn’t specifically familiar with. And, it soon became clear that this second boat was of a style that I had been very curious about. The boat was a small boat used for fishing and for lotus viewing on the old Ogura pond in Kyōto. It was of a style called a kensakibune (剣先舟) or sword-tipped boat, so named because the hull planks came directly together at the bow, with no stem in between, forming a sharp tip, shaped like the tip of a Japanese Samurai sword. Continue reading
Yet, another brief progress update, so soon after the last one. It seems I’m having fun and feeling more comfortable with the changes I’ve been making on this new Woody Joe kit. Here, I’ve gone through test fitting the box structure shell and then seeing how well it will mate with the lower hull.
Another brief progress update. I’ve been busy with planking the upper deck and adding add the smaller beams to the lower hull. This has been really nice, because this kind of construction is just a process you follow. Doesn’t really require much thinking, altering or planning. It’s a bit more Zen…
Today’s is a brief update. I’ve started adding the plank onto the main deck. For this kit, Woody Joe has opted to provide 2mm thick planks for the deck. I suppose they are so thick, because the sub-deck they are glued to is pretty thin.
While deck planking mostly runs across the width of the ship, the first pieces to glue into place actually run the length of the ship. To make sure that these run correctly and fit well, I temporarily taped down some of the pieces provided that will have to fit in between them first.
As you may recall from my previous post on this build, I was mentioning the planking of the deck of the “steering well,” for lack of better term, that’s at the rear of the large top deck of the Atakebune. After expanding the slot in the deck for the rudder, I extended the slot into the back wall. I then commenced planking the deck using some 1mm thick wood I have on hand.
Now, you may notice that the upper part of that back wall is missing too. That’s because I want to create an extended wall that rises up through the deck and separates the main deck from the little section aft. This is a feature that appears commonly on larger Japanese watercraft I’ve studied, namely the bezaisen like the Kitamaebune and Higaki Kaisen. The reason for the separation is mostly because is wall is really the “main” wall. The area behind this is more of an add-on extension.
Detailing of the Utasebune model continues. It still doesn’t show much change, but I’ve spent many hours on it. The primary addition are the mortise cover plates that line the hull.
As with other models in this scale, I’ve found that I could use my Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutting machine to produce permanent adhesive backed vinyl to simulate the copper plates that would have covered the nail mortises on the real boat. These would darken and might actually turn a greenish hue. I think these were sometimes painted with coating of lacquer to protect the copper. On my model, I used a dark brown vinyl to simulate the “old copper penny” look. Continue reading
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.
I’m taking it easy on getting this new model kit started. Last time I posted, I really only had cut out the initial parts I needed and then dry-fit them together. This week, I glued together the basic hull frames, using machinists squares to check and set alignment. I used Titebond wood glue for this work.
I spent a lot of time trying to decide what I wanted to do with the bow and transom pieces. These pieces have holes in them that alignment tabs in the keel piece will lock into. The thing I don’t like about this, is that they are then visible on the finished model. As far as I can tell, there are 5 tabs total that will be visible on the completed model, as designed.
Since I’m dying the wood, these tabs shouldn’t be as noticeable as on a kit built straight from the box. Still, I’ve considered solutions, and one is to thickness sand the bow and transom pieces down by 1mm, then use 1mm sheet wood to cover them. The covering wood will have no holes in it, so no tabs will be visible. In order that everything still fits together, I will have to file the tabs down by 1mm. Continue reading
While it may not look like a lot, I managed to do some detailing of my Utasebune model this week. At this point, the changes are on the subtle side, since all the structural work is mostly done.
I’m ready to add the uwakoberi, which is the term for the cap rail, but first I need to add the boards that cover the aft end of the hull planking. I don’t know if this is a universal term, but I know these as chiri. They are decorative, but also protect the end grain of the hull planks.
The Atakebune is the subject of a new kit from the Japanese wooden kit manufacturer Woody Joe. It’s something that I, Kazunori Morikawa of Zootoyz, and a few others were actively petitioning Woody Joe to produce. There was hesitancy on their part as there is actually very little solid information on the construction of these largest of Sengoku Period Japanese warships.