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Woody Joe developing kit of an Atakebune – big warship from Japan's Warring States period

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Posted (edited)

At long last, it’s happening! 


After some enthusiastic petitioning by Kazunori Morikawa, myself, and others to the Japanese wooden model kit maker Woody Joe, it appears that the company is now developing the prototype for an Atakebune model kit. 


For those who didn't already know, there were three major classes of warships used by the Japanese feudal armies of the warring states period: The large Atakebune, the medium-sized Sekibune or Hayabune, and smaller Kobaya.


The Atakebune were boxy-looking, lumbering ships that were effectively floating fortresses. While they were equipped with one large mast and square sail, as well as a  single bank of oars, they were often towed by the smaller warships.


Woody Joe just announced development work is under way. The new model is 1/100 scale, and it’s only a prototype, so we won’t know if it’s going to go into production yet. I’m a bit disappointed that the model is not 1/72 scale, as that scale would then match Woody Joe’s Higaki Kaisen and Kitamaebune kits, plus it would then be compatible with 1/72 samurai figures that are currently available. However, a 1/72 scale model would almost 40% larger than a 1/100 scale model. And, considering these were large ships, that would be a fairly big kit that might be harder for company to manufacture. Also, such a large model may be less appealing in Japan, which is their primary market.




By the looks of the photo they posted, they are actually working on a model that resembles the model at the Nagoya Castle Museum, which is on Kyushu, Japan's souther most and western most of the four main islands. The museum model is based on an old painting, also in the museum. In a follow-up post, Woody Joe confirmed that they've been working with the museum staff in developing this model.


This is great news, as I'd asked my contact at Woody Joe about the possibility of such a model kit last year, and they'd indicated that they had considered the idea before, but felt they could not do it, as there was not enough firm information about these ships.


I don't know if I made any difference, but I did suggest that they didn't have to do all the research from scratch and that they should consider designing a kit based on one of the many existing museum models. That's what they're doing, so it's a model of a model, which I think makes for a perfectly valid subject. I'm very happy to see they've reconsidered and have made such great progress.


Here's a photo of the 1/10-scale model in the Nagoya Castle Museum, courtesy of Kazunori Morikawa of Zootoyz.jp. This Atakebune is identified as the Nihon Maru, built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.



No idea what the cost will be, but I don't expect it will be cheap. It's a lot of structural material, I would think. Plus, there are castle-like structures and details on top. Given that the coastal transport kits are around $250, I'm guessing this will be around $500, maybe more depending on how much detail they put into it.


Of course, they're likely to make some simplifications to keep the difficulty and costs down to make it more marketable.


Here's to hoping it goes into production in the near future!



Edited by catopower
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  • 3 months later...

I posted this information in a topic I created in the Shore Leave section called All Things Woody Joe, but it's about the Woody Joe Atakebune kit. I got the dimensions from them, but no further word on cost or expected release date.

Scale: 1/100

Length: 490mm or 19.3" 

Width: 230mm or 9" 

Height: 310mm or 12.2" (including the stand)




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