Higaki Kaisen Article Part 2

Yesterday, I received the latest Ships in Scale, the May/June 2017 issue containing part 2 of my Higaki Kaisen build article.

I’m kind of relieved to see this one. While the first part of the article discussed the background of these ships in detail, it didn’t talk at all about the kit. The problem was that seeing the model, some people would certainly be tempted to go out and buy the kit without knowing more about it, and if they didn’t read the article and the editorial on it in the previous issue, they might not have noticed that the instructions are only in Japanese, which is partly the motivation for writing the article. So, now that it’s out, I feel a lot more comfortable about it the article series.

This issue includes my list of what to watch out for in the building of the kit, including which steps contain cautionary notes written in Japanese, and what those notes say. It’s a relatively short section compared with the last issue. That’s probably good, because those not building this kit will probably find the reading quite dry. Based on this installment, I’m guessing that there will be two more parts to the series, but possibly three depending on the editors.

Higaki Kaisen Model – Edo Tokyo Museum

The subject of my second Japan boat/model posts is a large Higaki Kaisen model (檜垣回線) located in the Edo Tokyo Museum. The ship is a type of sengokubune (千石船), or 1000 koku ship, a type of bezaisen (弁才船) or coastal transport.

The model is one of the largest models I’ve seen in Japan so far, very nicely detailed, and is particularly nice in that it is relatively easy to photograph as it is fairly well lit and you don’t have to shoot through glass or acrylic. I don’t know the exact scale, but I think it must be about 1/10-scale. I believe there is a larger model in Japan, but this one is readily accessible.

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Higaki Kaisen on the Cover of Ships in Scale

It’s official! I heard from a fellow ship modeler who said he really enjoyed the first installment of my Higaki Kaisen article. I hadn’t received my author’s copy yet, and my own subscription expired a few months ago, so I went onto Seaways.com to renew. When I was there, I saw the ad for the magazine showing this month’s issue and, lo and behold, there was my Higaki Kaisen model on the cover.

It’s actually the second time the model has been on a magazine cover. The first time was on the cover the of Nautical Research Journal. But, it was really nice to see it on the new Ships in Scale. I have to admit, the photogenic aspect of the model has more to do with the interesting nature of the subject and the incredible work done on the kit’s development by the manufacturer, Woody Joe.

Still, I’m pretty proud of the model and of the article. I hope readers here will have a chance to read the article. More importantly, I hope more modelers will take an interest in building the kit and other Japanese boats.

Special thanks to all the people who’ve helped me with this article and in better understanding Japanese traditional watercraft including Douglas Brooks, Toshihiko Shibafuji, Masaki Tanimura, Norio Uriu, Masami Sekiguchi, Jean Pierre Mélis, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Yukari Gojo of Woody Joe, and Kazunori Morikawa of Zootoyz, as well as supportive fellow ship modelers Don Dressel and Richard Rubinger, and a special thanks to Ed Von der Porten for all his editing help.

Higaki Kaisen Build Article – Ships in Scale March/April ’17 Issue

I hadn’t heard any word at all from the editors of Seaways’ Ships in Scale magazine after submitting my article on the construction of Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen kit. I submitted the article in late November, so I figured I’d send them a note to ask what the status was. I got their reply a short time later and it’s good news, the article is scheduled to appear, starting with the March/April issue.

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Given the size of the article, I expect it will appear across 3 issues. That’s the what happened with my Mary Taylor model article a few years back, and it was of similar size. This one actually might be a little longer, so maybe it will span a 4th issue. I don’t like super long articles, so I hope it gets limited to 3, but certainly no more than 4.

As a reminder, Zootoyz is selling Woody Joe kits again, and they’ve revamped their website a bit and added the newer offerings, like the Kitamaebune. That, by the way, is a slightly beefier cousin to the Higaki Kaisen, built for the long journeys between the northern ports and the large port cities of the south. If you are interested in a less complicated kit, but really like the look of the Higaki Kaisen, consider the Kitamaebune. It’s a newer kit, same 1/72 scale, with simplified construction for about $20 less.

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Woody Joe’s Kitamaebune kit. A beefier bezaisen than the Higaki Kaisen.

If you don’t subscribe to Ships in Scale, now is a great time! You can find out more information from their website here: http://seaways.com/. Back issues include my reviews of the Woody Joe kits Higaki Kaisen, Kanrin Maru and the Charles Royal Yacht, as well as my article on scratch building the pilot boat Mary Taylor.

At some point, I am considering detailing Woody Joe’s Hacchoro kit too, and writing up an article about that. I already have the kit sitting and waiting in the closet. Too many other things to finish up first!

 

Higaki Kaisen Build Article Submitted

Those of you interested in building Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen kit, I just completed the final edits to my article and sent in the 29-page work to Seaways’ Ships in Scale magazine, and is accompanied by a selection of 44 photos and illustrations.

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I’ve been working on this writing project for a terribly long time, at least 2-1/2 years, if I recall correctly, though the model only took a matter of a few months to complete. The big hold-up has been in trying to develop an accurate and informative background on these coastal Japanese transports.

This will be my sixth article submission to this magazine. And, while the last 4 articles I’ve written have been 3500-word kit reviews, this one is a good 25% larger than my 8500 word, 3-part article on scratch-building the pilot boat Mary Taylor, which probably means it will be a 4-part article. I would have preferred no more than a 3-part article, but the background on the type of ship is so unknown to ship modelers that I devoted one-quarter of the article just to that. Anyway, I think people will find it interesting.

I won’t know if the article will be accepted for certain. But, it is an unusual subject, and not your run-of-the-mill western-style ship. Hopefully, I’ll know more in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you want to purchase one of these kits, as always, I recommend purchasing from Zootoyz in Japan. Ω

Books from Japan

When I visited the Toba Seafolk Museum on Tuesday, I took a lot of photos. In fact, I killed off a camera battery, but luckily had purchased a second battery before leaving for Japan. I also made sure to purchase a larger SSD card for my camera. A 32GB card wasn’t all that expensive, and literally allows me to take 1000’s of pictures before filling up the card.

But probably the biggest find for me was in their gift shop. Okay, first biggest find was the cold, bottled water (The temperature was in the 80’s with something like 86% humidity). But the next biggest find was that they had several books on Japanese boats. Some of them I was aware of, but I was surprised to find titles I was not aware of.

It was difficult looking through all these books, because I really wanted them all, and their not available in the U.S., and, as I verified later, they are very hard to find on the Internet in Japan. Of course, I couldn’t get everything I wanted to buy, and not just because of the cost, but also I’d be lugging them around Japan for the next several days.

So, I selected a few titles. A couple that I passed up, I had thought I’d seen though Japanese online sites, and a few others, I figured I’d find in other museums I’d be visiting, so I might still be able to pick them up. As for lugging them around Japan, well I could just send them to my Tenso.com account, which is a forwarding service I signed up for that gives me a Japanese mailing address, and that will package up anything I send them, and they’ll ship it to my home. Of course, books are a bit heavy and shipping won’t be cheap. So, I’m lugging around what I can for now.

I can’t tell you anything about these until I’ve had a chance to sit down and do some translation and study, but you can see what they are:

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The last book was a “no brainer”. It’s a small format publication from the Tokyo Museum of Maritime Science. It’s just a 40-page book and cost a whopping $3 (300¥).

The other three books were $15 each, except for that third book, which included a set of drawings. I thought it was $35, but I think they only charged me about $26, as best as I can figure.

As you can see, the first three are numbered. They’re part of a series of books that appear to be connected to the Nippon Foundation. But, the publication information in the books all reference the Museum of Maritime Science. There looked to be some 9 books in the series, though some of them looked to be on subjects I wasn’t interested in.

The third book, I believe the title refers to a boat named the Senzanmaru, I got mostly because it was the only book I’d seen that included a set of plan drawings. I know nothing of this boat, but hey, the drawings make it build-able. So, I bought it in kind of a “shoot now and ask questions later” mentality (I have to say that phrase now has become incredibly awkward to write). Here are a couple of the sheets.

The top one shows the actual Edo period boat below and an artists rendering of the original boat above.

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The plan drawings are really done in a modern style, which is a good technical drawing, but a model builder will have to loft a lot of the hull planking details from one of the sheets which shows station lines and hull contour.

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Meanwhile, the little book on Higakikaisen and Tarukaisen included a nice fold-out (centerfold sounded weird)

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Today, I’m off to the Edo Tokyo Museum and will try to get to the Urayasu Museum as well. There’s a Typhoon passing by this afternoon. With luck it will mostly stay away, but I might get the first rain of my trip today.

Japanese Boats Display in Japantown (v 4.0)

Last week, I spent an entire afternoon in San Francisco setting up my latest display of models of Japanese traditional boats in the Japan Center Mall in San Francisco. This is the largest display I’ve done, which is now up to 5 models. It’s probably about as large as it will get as I can’t imagine that I can possibly cram any more into my car. And, given that I live about an hour’s drive outside the city (or two hours in bad traffic), I’m not likely going to be making two trips to set it up. But, the size is actually pretty good now.

Since I’m doing some fundraising to go to Japan this Fall to do some more first-hand research on Japanese watercraft (don’t forget to check out my gofundme page), I’m taking the opportunity to really get some attention for this display. As with those people involved in the fine arts, I’ve made up an announcement card that I’m having printed up that I will be sending to various friends and people that  I think will be interested in it and possibly interested in helping me out (as well as those who have already done so). In addition, I’ve made a simple email announcement photo that I’ve been sending to people.

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My email announcement card

If you’re already familiar with the last couple displays, you will see two new models added, a simple Japanese traditional boat shop display and the Tosa wasen model. Both are a nice, big 1/10 scale, so the details are better for a window display like this.

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The 1/10-scale Tosa Wasen is the newest boat model added to the display.

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This is my simple model of an Urayasu boat workshop, showing some of the aspects of traditional Japanese boatbuilding. Under construction is a Bekabune, a seaweed gathering boat that was once used on Tokyo Bay. The model still needs a few additions – a work in progress.

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The Hacchoro and the Urayasu boat workshop with their scale boatmen silhouettes. The Hacchoro is one of the boats I will be focussing my attention on while researching in Japan this Fall.

You may notice in that display window photos that I’ve created little silhouette boatmen to provide scale reference for each model. This was a last minute effort, though I’ve been thinking about it for months. I finally sat down and scoured the Internet and found photos of boatmen dressed in traditional outfits on someone’s blog photos. I took the best one and did some Photoshop work to turn him into a silhouette, which I scaled to the needed sizes, printed them, and mounted them on cardboard.

There are, of course, things to do differently next time, which I’ve already noted. The boat workshop display should probably be on some kind of a riser, like the other models, there is enough room to put up another large, hanging photo board, and there’s room for at least one more model, using the tall stand I introduced in this display. I suppose I could consider staggering them a little too.

That tall stand, by the way, is actually a better stand for me to use because it’s simple two boards hinged together. This makes them foldable and they take up a lot less space in my car. I’m seriously thinking about replacing the box pedestals on the other models with short folding stands, which would allow me to carry more stuff in my car. And, actually, if I build models without sails, I might be able to fit one or two more in that car. Of course, that means building more models and I’m pretty far behind on other projects as it is. We’ll see… Ω