by: Todd Michalak [ ]
The future is coming alive on the Sumida River in Tokyo, Japan. There is a strange craft a float, ferrying passengers up and down the river; it is the Himiko Water Bus. The design concept and production of this interesting floating bus was the brainchild of Manga and Anime industry leader, Matsumoto Reiji. The teardrop futuristic design with 180 degree viewing through the panoramic glass placement is adorned with what surmounts to a modern rock band's light-show when see at night is adorned with characters from Matsumoto Reiji's Anime classic "Galaxy Express 999" on the walls of the interior of the water bus.
For about $13.00 US for an adult and under $8.00 US for children is the cost of a ticket that will get you a one way ticket to can ride the Himiko Water Bus runs back and forth between Odaiba and Asakusa which is around a 40 minute ride one way typically. The Himiko can accommodate a minimum and maximum passenger compliment of between fifteen and forty people. There are two large areas on the bus for sitting; amidships is a cafe style setting and aft of a small on board gift shop is a large crescent shaped seating area at the stern of the boat.
The Himiko Water Bus shuttles sightseeing visitors to the Sensō-ji Temple in Asakusa. The Sensō-ji Temple is Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist Temple. Created in 645 CE, this ancient shrine was subjected to aerial bombing during the Second World War, completely destroying everything. The Temple was rebuilt later to stand as a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people.
Inside the Box
The Water Bus Himiko kit from Fujimi comes supplied in basically the standard type slip-top box packaging with an artist's rendition of the watercraft on the front of the box. The Himiko kit comes with a scaled own model of parts of the Sensō-ji Temple as well. In total, the kit includes 112 styrene parts for the construction of both the Water Bus and Temple.
5 - Light grey styrene Sprues
1 - Clear blue styrene superstructure
1 - Clear blue styrene Sprue
1 - Decal Sheet
1 - Set of maskings (w/placement instructions)
1 - Set of instructions
The Water Bus
The Himiko Water Bus part of this kit is a waterline version of this low-profile hulled boat. There is not a lot of parts that actually make up the boat so the construction, as you would figure, is basically straightforward. The bulk of the build is made up from the two main pieces of the boat; the hull and teardrop roof section. The hull section has a shallow drought to it and is comparable to what is seen on the original boat. There is no interior included with the kit, so once the hull and top section are cleaned up, it is a matter of combining the two and move on to the smaller pieces.
The entire upper hull roof section is molded in blue-tinted clear styrene. Many of the additional smaller pieces which attach to the outer section of the upper hull and roof as clear blue styrene as well. The kit include a rather large masking sheet to aid in the painting of this kit since there are a large number of windows over the entire boat. The addition smaller pieces that make up the kit are the horizontal mast which is located on the roof just above the bridge, a fore and aft radio/radar antennas, bollards, small grab handles and two drop buoys which are mounted on the stern straddling the one section of railing...which is included as well. The kit parts are molded very clean and free from flash and the window sections are clear. If the masking is applied prior to construction, this would ensure that the windows stay clean and unscratched until the build is complete.
There is a small decal sheet included with the kit. The original Himiko Water Bus does not have a lot of makings on it other than the name on the bow and cruise line logo on the side. As I mentioned earlier in this review, there is a large masking sheet included with this kit. All of the windows correspond to numbered maskings on this sheet.
the Sensō-ji Temple
Included in this kit is a scale version of the Sensō-ji Temple. The temple is comprised of thirty-three styrene parts and a small base piece. All of the parts come together to create three key attractions at Sensō-ji; Nitenmon, Hondō and the pagoda. The Nitenmon is the gateway to the Sensō-ji Temple; Hondō is the Main Hall of the temple complex and the pagoda is the mulch-tiered structure which is used to house relics. The Sensō-ji Temple structures appear o be a smaller scale than the ship, possibly 1/250 or even 1/300 scale in nature. All of the parts are cleanly molded and in this small scale are closely representative of the original structures at the Sensō-ji Temple.Given the spiritual and historical value of the temple and the fact that the Water Bus is a popular means of traveling to the temple would explain why these pieces have been added to this kit.
The instruction booklet included with this kit is presented in a black and white exploded view format outlining the construction process to both the Water Bus and the Temple. All of the written content is in Japanese but the numbered drawing leave little doubt to where the part are to be installed. The instructions also show the numbering of the boats windows as it corresponds to the supplied masking pieces. In addition, there is a guide to decal locations and painting guides for both the boat and the temple.
At first I was a bit skeptical of the Water Bus Himiko kit when I first seen it however, the odd design of this craft translated into this plastic model is quite eye catching if you ask me. The moldings are decent and the added benefit of the window masking will make the construction process a breeze. The fact that the kit comes with a secondary kit of the Sensō-ji Temple is just a bonus and would make a fine display, alone or with the Himiko.
The one disappointment with this kit is there is no interior to the Himiko Water Bus, just a big empty space. After looking at some pictures of the interior section of the boat, scratch building and interior would not seem to be too difficult and with some time and patience I think just about anyone could construct some features to make the bus look to be not so empty.
In the end, the kit is a great little model of the popular Himiko Water Bus from Tokyo, Japan coupled with a nice little display kit of the Sensō-ji Temple. As standard OOB building goes, this is a fun little kit and is sure to please anyone interested in this unique subject. I can recommend this kit on the Fun-Factor alone!