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.
Work is coming along on this model of the Edo period whaleboat-style craft Senzanmaru. Unfortunately, at this stage, a lot of work can be done with little apparent change in the model.
In the photos below, you can see how I taped a string at the bow and stern to service as a center reference line, so I can check to make sure everything is straight and even. I don’t know why I picked a tan line instead of a black one. I think the spool of tan line just happened to be handier.
As I mentioned, progress is being made, but it’s basically all in the details now. You may have already noticed the ōtoko, the heavy beam at the stern. This serves as the rudder mount and hinge, and has a rogui (hinge pin and resting pad) on the left or port side for mounting a sculling oar. This boat was set up for up to five sculling oars, with the rogui mounted on the ends of two beam that I have yet to add.
A couple weeks ago, in a spurt of initiative, I finally began work on a 1/20-scale model fo the Edo period boat Senzanmaru.
Senzanmaru is a whaleboat-style craft that was used by the Hachisuka clan of the former Awa province, now called Tokushima province. The boat measured just under 34 feet long and was propelled by up to 5 sculling oars. In addition, the boat has a mast step, though many boats have such a feature that goes unused.
I don’t know all the details of the boat and how it was used, but it is highly ornamented with elaborate designs painted on her hull and a relieve carving of a dragon on either side of her stem. While boats similar in size and type were used in large numbers to tow large gozabune, highly ornamental military-style vessels that served as yachts and transports for high-ranking samurai, the highly ornamented design of Senzanmaru suggests that this boat was also used to carry high ranking members of the clan. Perhaps it was more for transferring these individuals between ships or from ship to shore, or for carrying important dispatches, etc.