Member Progress Photos – January 2020


HSPMS member and commodore Paul Reck recently shared some photos of his current project, the Wanderbird. The boat was originally built in Germany as a pilot schooner for the city of Hamburg.  The former owner of the boat sailed it around Cape Horn in 1936, then continued around the world.  His son commissioned the model.

The hull of the model was constructed from lifts made of Monterey cypress.



Clare Hess is currently building a model of a simple 25-foot long riverboat from Niigata prefecture, Japan. The boat’s hull is built from 5 pieces of wood. The 1/10-scale model is made from Japanese cedar and is based on a boat that was built by Douglas Brooks and Japanese boat builder Mr. Nakaichi Nakagawa in the Fall of 2019.

The latter model build is being documented on the builder’s website here:

Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part 6

Member Clare Hess posts his latest update on building (and modifying) Amati’s Swedish Gunboat kit. This is a small, inexpensive kit that is short on instructions. Not ideal for beginners, but a nice kit for experienced ship modelers looking for a simple project.

Ship Modeler

Following our meeting in October, it was clear it was time to finish up the Swedish Gunboat build. We’re down to three active builders of this model from the five that started, which isn’t too bad. One of our  builders decided to finish his up as a gift for someone, and the other is a beginning ship modeler who is anxious to get to his next project. I’m also ready to have a project actually reach completion.

Rigging and Sails

I shaped the masts and the two lugsail yards some time back. I originally added a ball to the tops of the masts as shown on the kit plans, but replaced them with a thinner pole after looking at the photos of the museum model. The presence of the pole creates a shoulder at the top of the mast, that helps secure the shrouds and stays. While modifying the masts…

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Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part 4

Member Clare Hess shares the latest update on the building of a Swedish Gunboat from a kit by Amati Model of Italy.

Ship Modeler

Well, I did not end up finish this model for the IPMS show in San Jose in March. I decided to set it aside to let others in our build group catch-up, though I know that two of the members are at least as far along as I am. Anyway, I had work to do to for my display of Japanese boats, which ran from March 1st through the 31st.

Then, last weekend, we had a ship modelers’ get-together again at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum. It’s been the usual 3 months since our last gathering and it was good to see the fellow ship modelers and their projects again.

Only one other member of the Swedish Gunboat Project group brought his model, but he’s new to ship modeling and pressing ahead. I originally thought I would just wait for the other two members, who have been too tied…

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AL’s Independence – Headrails and Rigging

Clare Hess updated the build log for his colonial schooner kit, which is based on a kit from Artesania Latina, but heavily modified with upgraded woods such as South American boxwood, pear and beech wood, and with aftermarket blocks, cannons and carriages.

Ship Modeler

Yes, I’m finally getting around to wrapping up the Colonial Schooner Independence. I’ve worked on it here and there, but hadn’t made any blog posts about in quite some time.

The last task that I was concerned about was to construct some headrails from scratch. Mostly, this is one of those tasks which is painful, because the brain says it’s painful. In actuality, it wasn’t that bad, but did take some mental work to wrap my head around where to even begin.

I found some examples that were more complex and finally found some that were simpler. I made sure that the images of those simpler ones became embedded in my brain. So, here’s what I came up with…


I used castello boxwood for these, starting out by cutting them from thick sheet stock. Then, I cleaned them up and carved away the excess in such a way that it kind…

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Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights in Japan

During a brief visit at Japanese ship model manufacturer Woody Joe by Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights member Clare Hess, a gift of HSPMS hats was presented to the company president and chief design engineer.


Mr. Tsuneki, the company president, and Mr. Arata, the chief design engineer, show off their spiffy new Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights hats in front of the main office in Shizuoka, Japan.

The club had several club patches available, and Terry Dorman was able to order the hats for us. Clare Hess had the patches sewn onto the hats before leaving on his trip, which took place in September.

Clare Hess also had an opportunity to present hats to two members of the Tokyo branch of the Japanese ship model society, The Rope, Mr. Uriu and Mr. Sekiguchi, who he met for dinner and drinks, along with Mr. Uriu’s daughter, Hanako. Ω

Higaki Kaisen – Edo Period Transport Model by Clare Hess

Back in August, we published a post about the classic yacht model the Good News, built by Paul Reck. The post included a link to a nice slideshow Paul put together. Well, Clare Hess decided to do something similar for his Higaki Kaisen model.


The model itself is built from a kit by the Japanese wooden model manufacturer Woody Joe. It measures about 16-1/2″ long and high and is made from a wood called Hinoki, which is an aromatic Japanese Cypress. The kit features a large number of laser-cut parts and includes some interior details in the cabin area. Some of the wooden panels have been omitted, so as to allow a view of the interior areas.

Building the model took a matter of just a few months due to the manufacturer’s heavy use of laser-cut parts and detailed instructions, plus the fact that these ships had very simple square sail rigs. Click here (link disabled as slideshow is not currently available) to view the slideshow showing the model going through the various stages of construction. Ω

Japanese Wasen Model Display in San Francisco

The latest Japanese boat model display by ship modeler Clare Hess is now on display at San Francisco’s Japan Center.


The display is located in the window of the community room of Union Bank, which is in the East Mall building of the Japan Center Mall in San Francisco.

Three models are featured this time around, making for a much more complete display than the last two, which consisted of only two models. The models are shown below.

Higaki Kaisen – A Japanese coastal transport from the Edo Period. This sailing ship operated in vast numbers between Osaka and Edo (now Tokyo), maintaining the flow of consumer goods which supported the growing cities economy.

Higaki Kaisen

Hacchoro – An 8-oared fishing boat used by the fishermen of the Daizu region south of Mt. Fuji. This model features the family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate because many of these boats were said to have been commissioned as guard boats for the retired Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Special permission was said to have been granted for these boats to be equipped with 8 oars so that they could keep up with the Shogun’s boat. This is how these boats got their name, as Hacchoro literally translates as “8 oars.”



Yakatabune – These houseboats were initially owned by nobility for leisure use, but were very popular during the peace and growing prosperity of the merchant class. During the Edo period, it became common to rent a yakatabune to entertain guests or for viewing the fireworks at festival time or cherry blossoms in the Spring. These boats became a cultural symbol of growing prosperity.


The display runs now through the end of December, 2015. Ω

Ship Modeler

This week, I installed my latest display of models of traditional style Japanese boats at the Japan Center in San Francisco. If you haven’t seen it before and are in the area, this is a good display to check out. This time around, I added a third model to the collection, my Yakatabune model. So now, there is the Higaki Kaisen (1/72-scale), Hacchoro and Yakatabune models (both 1/24-scale). All three models were built from kits by Woody Joe of Japan.

The display will run from now through all of November and December in the window of the Union Bank community room, which is in the East Mall building.


One thing I discovered while setting up the new display is that this is a much better time of year to display the models. Because of the lower angle of the sun, the there is far less glare from the skylight above, making…

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