Aoshima 1/64 Ryō Ei Maru #27
|PRICE:||4000 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Full hull or waterline kit|
Once again, Aoshima tosses me a curve ball when it comes to their kits. Finding information on what is a fishing boat dedicated to catching squid, is not easy. There seems to be no 'one stop shopping' for information.
What I did find out is that most of the fishing for squid seems to take place in the southern section of the Inland Sea. Satellite photos show this area awash with light. Not surprising really as these boats use light to attract the squid. Most will carry 45 4KW Metal Halide lamps, producing a total of 180 KW of light. This is between 100 to 1000 times brighter than natural sunlight and are designed to bring the squid to the surface where they can be caught through the use of jigging lines (thanks to the readers who enlightened me on this as I thought they used nets). Apparently the large yellow/orange spools on either side of the boat are to haul in the lines as the squid get caught on the many hooks attached to these lines. The are then hauled in where sufficient have been hooked. .
I have to assume that this boat is one of the newer ones in what seems to be a pretty large fishing fleet. It is equipped with radar and has a mass of antennas on the masts. These seem to be rather short duration boats as I cannot believe there is much in the way of crew quarters if any at all.
To say that I was surprised by the subject would be a bit of an understatement. I'd never have thought of producing a model of this boat, but then Aoshima has produced some interesting kits in the past.
This one is superbly molded and really does have quite a lot of parts. This will not be a quick build by any means, but should not be complex. In addition to all the injected plastic sprues (mostly in white with some clear), the set includes a nicely done decal sheet, a sheet of flags that appears to be printed on rice paper as it is quite thin, a roll of sewing yarn and one of thread. The last items are for attaching to floats and for the jigging lines that hang over the side.
I mentioned that this can be built as full hull or waterline. Aoshima has provided a lower hull section that will fit on the standard display stand that comes with ship kits. Polycaps are inserted in the lower hull and the upper hull will fit into these, providing the opportunity to swap from full hull to waterline.
Much of the construction will concentrate on the pilot house along with its upper frame work on which many antennas and the radar are housed. The rest will be concentrated on the light bar, lights and the mechanisms that reel in the fishing lines from over the side. There are a lot of parts in these, but they are mostly duplicate assemblies. There are very long 'bamboo' poles that fit intothe hull to allow the very colorful flags to be flown during festivals. These are not something that is normally shown, but an option should you so wish it. It will add a great deal of color to the display. The tall poles are included in the kit and one uses white glue or paste to assemble the flags.
Instructions are very nicely done with parts listed in English and any color information (Gunze paints, of course) that you need supplied. The decal sheet provides base and ship markings for one ship. One even gets some squid on the flag sheet to attach to the jigging lines.
In all a most interesting and unusual subject for a kit. The rather odd scale of 1/64 does tie in with 'HO' slot cars, but I think it was chosen to allow the kit to fit the box as much as anything else. Very much recommended for those into something interesting. Due to all the small parts, probably not suited for beginners.
Thanks to www.dragonnmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Have your local shop order one if they do not have it in stock.
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