Woody Joe's Higaki Kaisen 1/72nd scale kit

catopower

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#1
I just finished building a kit that I haven't talked about much. It was a relatively quick build that I started back in November and finished by the end of March – about four months, but closer to three months, given time out for other projects.

This has been a fun and challenging build that I will be writing about shortly. The kit is largely laser cut pieces with very few things that the builder is expected to make. It's almost a complete opposite from the old American kits, which just give you sticks, blocks and pictures and say little more than, "now make a skylight".

Instructions are extremely well illustrated, which is a really good thing, because the text is all in Japanese. That might not be so bad except there are a few explicit instructions to NOT glue certain pieces into place until a later step. In this sense, it's more of a procedural kit, very much like a plastic model.

Anyway, for those interested in attempting the kit (who read some Japanese or have Japanese friends or relatives), I recommend buying from a Japanese seller called Zootoyz The owner, Kazunori Morikawa, is a very nice guy and has been very helpful. His prices are good, his shipping prices are fair (pretty much doesn't tack on extra handling fees as far as I can tell), and he was recommended to me by Woody Joe, which does not market in the US. Also, because the prices are listed in Japanese yen (the website will calculate the exchange rate), with a really good exchange rate right now, the actual purchase costs have come down a lot in the past year or so. Plus, he takes Paypal.

There are kits listed on Amazon, but these are also from Japanese sellers, so there is no advantage to them and they charge more for the kit and for shipping.

Clare
 

jct

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#2
Hey Clare,
This is a nice little vessel, super clean build as always, I bet it was a nice departure from the normal build? Thanks for sharing
J
 

catopower

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#4
Thanks everyone for the kind words!

These ships were not painted except for what I show on my model. I'm sure the Japanese must have used some kind of varnish on the ships, but I think paint isn't generally a Japanese thing except perhaps that bright red used in some temples, or the black paint of well known Japanese lacquer ware.

Woody Joe is the only kit manufacturer I'm aware of that makes these traditional style Japanese boats or "Wasen". They have a few of them, but this is probably the most authentic, best detailed one. The kit is based roughly on a replica ship that is in now in the maritime museum in Osaka and the design was primarily done by a very talented ship modeler of a Japanese ship model association called "The Rope".

The full size replica ship was built in 1999 and is called the "Naniwa Maru." It was test sailed for a short time before being permanently on display. I found a few photos on the internet...

This one is from Wikipedia:



Here's another I found on the Internet somewhere:



Here's a magazine spread that shows the ship on the water:



As for the model kit itself, I know of at least 3 other ship modelers building the kit and I think we're going to see more of this and of other Woody Joe kits in the near future. By the way, they also have some truly awesome Japanese temple, castle and shrine kits. My mother really was interested in the castles, so I agreed to build one for her for her 90th birthday next year. It's just a small one and I went ahead and purchased the kit. Looks like a very easy build – especially for a ship modeler! But, again looks like it should be a lot of fun.

Clare
 

catopower

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#6
Hi Gary,

Yeah, the real wood looks nice. I had to experiment with the use of wood dye on my model to get the color I wanted. It seems fairly close. The original wood in the kit is Japanese Cypress, which may mellow over time to look more like the real ship, but when it's first cut, it's a very light colored wood, like basswood.

I'll definitely bring it to the meeting. Are you bringing your Cutty Sark? Nice subject, and I'm sure you have lots of good research material on her in your library! Hope you bring her to the meeting.

Clare
 
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#8
C'est tres cool! I've been thinking that laser cut wood is going to make a huge impact on wood ship kits. Looking at eBay there are some 3-D Puzzles that look like they could be made into a nice model. Although they are a LOT cheaper than the Woody Joe kits. They are mainly from Korea, but there are also the Chinese ship kits that someone on another board is so upset about. It's an interesting approach even if window frames cut into 1/8" plywood don't look right at all. I'm intrigued.
 

Ben

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#9
Sweet build! I was doing a google search for Japanese ships and came across images of your boat. I was just blown away by its beauty. Well done on an impressive and awesome build. :)

Ben
 

Donnie

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#10
Absolutely awesome and beautiful wood as well. Well done indeed ! If you do not mind, I will have to grab some shots of this and add it to my rotating images at top of forum. ( I try to rotate those out about twice a week or so).

Donnie
 

catopower

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#11
Hi Guys,

Sorry, I've been offline a lot for a while and didn't see the last couple posts. Thank you for the nice comments!

It's actually a little difficult to take the compliments because this is such a well designed kit. As long as you can get through the instructions, which are mostly visual anyway, it's so well engineered and unique that it's hard to go wrong.

Donnie, feel free to post any photos you have. I have others if you want them.

I hope others will take on some of these traditional Japanese watercraft models that are produced by Woody Joe of Japan. They make plenty of Western style ship kits too. In fact, I just wrote up a review of their Charles Royal Yacht kit. It's a beautiful looking kit that I'd love to get started on, but I have too many projects and really need to focus.

That's not to say that I AM finally focussed, just trying to convince myself!

Clare
 
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