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
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.
It’s been a busy few days for the Utasebune project. This is a really good thing, as I haven’t made much model progress over the past several months, and I’ve found that the Japanese boat models I make at this small scale tend to progress rapidly. There’s really not that much to say about the current progress, as I’m now basically cutting and fitting the upper beams and deck boards.
Late period Utasebune at the Urayasu City Museum.
There is quite a bit of review of the hull details I can do here, but I’m mostly trying to focus on getting this model completed. At a future date, I may sit down and do a more thorough writeup of the details show in the Paris drawings, and how they relate to some of what I have learned about Japanese watercraft in general, and fishing boats, specifically.
Hull details from the Paris drawings. I’ve labeled some general items. The items marked with the question mark “?” are features where I’m not quite sure how they manifest themselves on the deck. Rather than go into a lot of explanation here, in later photos of my model, you can see how I dealt or didn’t deal with them.
When there are available drawings, if at all possible, I’ll scale them and print them out to use as patterns for the shaping of the shiki, or the hull bottom, and the miyoshi, or stem, and also to create some kind of temporary former to simplify the shaping of the hull. I make copies of the drawings, cut them out, and glue them directly to the wood.
For this small model, with its completely enclosed deck, a removable internal former seems unnecessary. So I’m going to do the same as I did for the first Japanese boat model I built from Paris drawings and build it with a permanent internal frame. This frame consists of a strong back and a couple bulkheads that define the shape of the hull planking.
The Souvenirs de Marine is a multi-volume collection of drawings that are the basis for many of the models in the French National Maritime Museum. The book was put together by Edmond Pâris and originally published in the 1880s. Among the collection of drawings of watercraft from around the world are several Japanese boats that were recorded by French Lieutenant Armand Paris, mostly in the areas of Osaka and Edo in the 1860s.
These drawings provide the only detailed records of some of the watercraft depicted. These include large coastal transports, fishing boats, pleasure boats, a large yacht owned by one of the many feudal lords, a row galley in the service of the Shogun, etc.
Now, I’ve built a model of the row galley, which is referred to in Japanese as a Kobaya, though there are some features that I feel that the drawing is missing, as the ship was out of service for some time and in disprepair, following the fall of the Shogun’s government many years earlier. So, that model remains technically unfinished.
However, there is an intriguing looking fishing boat that’s detailed in the available drawings. The boat is only described as a fishing boat, but it is quite large at 17 meters long, a little over 55 feet. But, what stands out the most is the unusual downward turn of the bow. This is the first time I’d seen this kind of feature. But, it turns out that it wouldn’t be the last time.