Kouichi Ohata is a Japanese model builder who lives in the southern end of Mie prefecture, near the Pacific Coast. He runs the family orange orchards, and in his spare time, creates some magnificent works including a large 1/35-scale RC model of the Flower-class corvette H.M.S. Compass Rose, from the film and the book The Cruel Sea.
Ohata-san caught my attention on Facebook when he built a beautiful large scale model of a traditional Japanese fishing boat in 1/10 scale. But, his latest model is one of a well known wasen type found on the Kumano river. The boat is used in an annual festival race of the Kumano Hayatama Shrine’s Mifune Festival (御船祭). During this festival fast-boats are involved in a ritual race, while a boat carrying a Mikoshi, or portable shrine, is towed upriver.
Ohata-san took measurements of the actual boats sitting at the river’s edge and used a 3D modeling program to create a set of basic plans.
From these plans, which he has revised a couple times, plus the reference photos he took, he was able to build this beautiful 1/10-scale model, which measures just under 3 feet long.
Ohata-san has shared many photos of his model and of the original boats on his Facebook account, so others can try their hand at building one of these sharp vessels. I hope to start on one as soon as I’ve completed my current wasen projects. Ω