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Pyro Chinese War Junk build
TimReynaga
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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 04:06 PM UTC
Hi all,

It’s that fun time again, time to start a new project! Now which to do..? My usual area of interest is World War II-era subjects, and there are a number of really good ones sitting in the stash at the moment awaiting my attention... but they will have to wait a little longer. You see, I also have a quirky fondness for Pyro’s old sailing ship kits. Yeah, they are primitive, full of exaggerated detail and obvious inaccuracies, but I still can’t help liking them. They really are simple, straightforward builds, and I have always appreciated the innovative subjects Pyro embraced; what plastic model manufacturer today would even consider taking on a Fijian outrigger, a Roman merchantman, an Arab Dhow, or a Burmese paddy boat? Pyro Plastics is long gone, and these vintage kits are far from perfect, but somehow I seem to keep coming back to them.

This time, it is their Chinese War Junk from 1965.

 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20196620box_zpsyvp2ekjx.jpg
Should be fun!

TRM5150
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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 10:33 PM UTC
Oh, got myself a front row seat!! Looking forward to following along Tim!!
Aurora-7
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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 12:54 AM UTC
Very cool to see. I had come across that kit while looking for various junk kits.

It's a baot long overdue for making an appearance here.
RedDuster
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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 06:30 AM UTC
Interesting looking kit Tim,

Looking forward to seeing this one progress.

Cheers.

Si
YellowHammer
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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 09:49 AM UTC
Great choice Tim. Ready to watch and learn.
John
TimReynaga
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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 12:24 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Great choice Tim. Ready to watch and learn.
John



Thanks John - I too am learning, and I haven't even set knife to plastic yet!

Gotta love those mini-histories Pyro put on the sides of their boxes:

“Your model is an exact copy of a junk fitted out with high speed engines, deck guns and machine guns to combat the pirate smugglers and black marketeers plying their trade around the small islands and rivers of Hong Kong and Singapore. These junks are very maneuverable and extremely fast.”

After a little research it became evident that the model was more than just a generic pirate hunter – Pyro’s kit was at least loosely based upon a specific vessel, the junk Ningpo, which ended its long career right here in California. Cool. I had never thought much about Chinese war junks, but it seems the Ningpo (“Peaceful Wave”) had a fascinating history. Della Phillips, in her 1917 article “A Peaceful Pirate,” said of the ship,

“Over a century and a half of smuggling, piracy, slave-traffic, fighting, mutiny, murder and riot make up her record. Her uneven decks and huge camphor wood ribs have been crimsoned with the blood of some of the most desperate outlaws of the Orient as well as with that of their helpless victims... It was on this deck that the one hundred fifty-eight prisoners whom the Chinese government found too expensive to feed, were beheaded some time during the seven years the Ning-Po was used as a government prison ship for smugglers and pirates... Here also are some of the modes of torture that were practiced in China. Chi-lung is the wooden cage in which persons accused of piracy or crimes against the government were suspended without food or water until death came...”

 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20captives_zps5ltkmc9p.jpg

Yikes! No wonder Pyro chose to print the “G” rated Chinese War Junk history on the box...

TimReynaga
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 01:17 PM UTC
Ah.... that beautiful 50 year old plastic, complete and ready to go!

 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20parts_zpsdjxe5s4h.jpg

I began assembly with the hull.
 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20hull_zpsmvpu2cf0.jpg photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20hull20aft_zps2ubeljgk.jpg
As with all the Pyro ships, this kit is best appreciated as an impressionistic representation of the original rather than as a precise scale replica; getting hung up on “accuracy” would just spoil all the fun! So rather than worry about the questionable design elements, exaggerated wood grain and generally heavy handed detail, I chose to just embrace the junk’s dramatic style and build her up as is.

One part I really didn’t like, though, was the railing along the tops of the gunwales. Molded in the round with nice wood grain and lashing detail on the outboard side, the inboard surfaces of these things were completely flat and featureless - not very convincing! Before assembling the hull halves, I gave the inboard sides of the rails a little shape with my trusty X-acto and some steel wool.
 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20rail201_zpscbodr5ey.jpg photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20rail202_zpstcbgayqq.jpg
With the hull halves assembled and the deck snapped into place, my modest adjustments mostly disappear into the surrounding detail...
 photo Pyro Chinese War Junk rails completed2_zpstqxfslak.jpg
Still, had I left those flat rails as they were they would have drawn the eye every time, I’m sure!
TRM5150
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 02:44 PM UTC
Coming out of the gates! Nice to see this on the move Tom! Railing look to be a big improvement!!
RedDuster
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 06:55 PM UTC
Good start Tim,

The outside of the hull mouldings looks really nice. Tidy fix on the flat insides on the railings.

Cheers.

Si
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Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 10:48 PM UTC
This will be fun to watch Tim.....Cheers mark
TimReynaga
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 03:02 AM UTC
Thanks guys! Hull and deck in place, I secured the bow panel and transom stern and have assembled the stand. Here’s how she looks so far:
 photo Pyro20Chinese20War20Junk20hull20assembled_zpsfs3j1xq8.jpg
Even with my minor corrections, this kit goes together fast!
JJ1973
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 05:27 AM UTC
Tim,

great start - I'm in and following!! I just loved your way of doing those Pyro kits, so I am looking forward to this one very much!

Cheers

Jan
Aurora-7
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 05:29 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The outside of the hull mouldings looks really nice. Tidy fix on the flat insides on the railings.



I agree. Can't wait to see you give the same treatment as you did with the Pinta kit.

Is there something in the instructions that give a century or era for the ship of this particular Junk kit?
BobSolo
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 09:33 AM UTC
Phwoooarrr! Junk boats are sexy!

Look forward to your build
rolltide31
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 12:41 PM UTC
Tim

Looking pretty cool. Will be watchi,g with interest

Dave
RussellE
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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 10:08 PM UTC
I'm in-watching with interest!
TimReynaga
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Posted: Monday, September 14, 2015 - 04:38 PM UTC
Thanks guys. This one will be unusual, I think.


Quoted Text

...Is there something in the instructions that give a century or era for the ship of this particular Junk kit?



Michael,

The instructions have no history for the junk whatsoever; the only info is the vague mini-description on the box side and clues on the kit itself (the presence of a propeller and what look like Maxim machine guns) which would date the vessel to around the turn of the 20th Century or later. The model seems to be a mishmash of design features and dates, though.

Even the scale is unclear. If it represents the 138 foot War Junk Ningpo, the 6 5/8 inch long model would be 1/250 scale. Based on the size of the Maxim machine guns, the scale would be about 1/120. However, other aspects of the model (the ropes, boxes, reels, frames, and awnings on the deck, plank width, stairs & ladders, belaying posts, gunwale rails, aft cabin interior height, bamboo rods, two-bladed propeller, etc.) would argue for some considerably larger scale, maybe railroad HO 1/87 scale or so…

My guess is that the Pyro designers took information from a variety of sources to make something that “looks like a junk” without worrying too much about historical accuracy.

TimReynaga
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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:55 AM UTC
I’m trying my best to keep this a fast out-of-the-box build... but those knock out pin marks on the rudder are really ugly!

 photo a1a70aed-2c4f-4714-8173-e5c292dcfd59_zpsogkazdas.jpg
I’m not even sure how to go about fixing them without destroying the surrounding detail anyway.

Any ideas?
Aurora-7
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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 01:52 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I’m trying my best to keep this a fast out-of-the-box build... but those knock out pin marks on the rudder are really ugly!

I’m not even sure how to go about fixing them without destroying the surrounding detail anyway.

Any ideas?



For me, I'd try a carefully placed shallow dab of putty placed on the pin circle and then scribe the log separation lines through the putty -though that may only seem feasible to me because the image you posted belies the actual tiny-ness of the part. But then again, I've seen you do wonders with micro modeling!
BobSolo
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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 08:28 AM UTC
Id cut a lil revese template from the end of a bit of scrap plastic sheet, pop some filler on the circles then drag the template over them top to bottom to create the bamboo rods, then add detail by pressing into them randomly if needed.

Good Luck
TRM5150
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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 10:25 PM UTC
Tough EPM's there! If you have a die cutter pop a disc the same size in there and nip off the sits other than that I would go with styrene strip maybe. Best of luck!!
Aurora-7
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Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 12:44 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Tough EPM's there! If you have a die cutter pop a disc the same size in there and nip off the sits other than that I would go with styrene strip maybe.



That sounds the easiest. You could contour the plastic sheet before punching a disc so that it wouldn't be smooth and stand out like the ejector mark. You'd either need a very this plastic sheet or deepen the ejector mark to compensate for the disc thickness.

TimReynaga
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Posted: Friday, September 18, 2015 - 01:49 PM UTC
Thanks for the help, guys! I appreciate each of your ideas, although the micro putty sculpting may be a bit beyond my modeling talents...

I decided to go with plastic strips. In the spirit of an out-of-the-box build, I cut bits of flash from the sprue to fit the offending sections, plus an extra one in between to make them look like a single vertical piece once installed.

 photo 6eb77006-2e47-4c96-bdd5-8d9c124ae0e0_zpsd6bxxaqg.jpg photo 25b93121-e905-4551-8ddc-c7099f2b0691_zpsstwwebsr.jpg

Cemented in place, the pieces look (I hope) like a slightly wider variant of the other vertical sections on the rudder.


After the parts were secured in place I lightly scored a wood pattern in them with the tip of my X-acto. Then to blend things in, I gave them a very light brushing of liquid cement. While it did smooth out the burrs from the scribing, it also had the unintended effect of melting the thin parts into slightly irregular shapes – helping them look a little more wood-like. They still aren’t a perfect match for the other sections, but I’m hoping the repair will get lost among all the heavy surrounding detail.
 photo a7c05eb3-62b4-43ec-90dc-fd4db6f882f5_zpsifnambtj.jpg
As an aside, in reading about Chinese junk design I learned that junk rudders were very different from their Western counterparts. They could actually be swung out of the water into the stern compartment and adjusted at sea; vertical panels could be added or removed to accommodate different sea conditions. More panels enlarged the rudder for beter control in heavy seas, fewer panels made it easier on the helmsman to move the rudder when things were calmer. Kinda cool.

TRM5150
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Posted: Friday, September 18, 2015 - 03:47 PM UTC
Great fix Tim!! Big improvement!!
Aurora-7
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Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 03:13 PM UTC
Indeed.