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Building a Fujimi Yakushiji To
To “Gundam” 1/100

By Jay “The VEEP” Nakasone

Our Club March build “challenge” theme was “build something different” and get out of your comfort zone. So, what to build? I looked at my stash list for ideas. I saw an entry “Fujimi, Yaku, 1/100, Box “G”. I don’t remember this. Was this a “Gundam?” That would make the club “Scifi” guys happy. I dusted off Box “G” and opened it. “Yaku” was “Yakushiji To To” a Japanese temple kit (I forgot I had this) and definitely outside of my normal builds. Light Blub!

The Kit:

Fujimi 1/100 scale Yakushiji To To “East Pagoda”

13 sprues with 243 parts (1‐2 sprues per plastic bag): Like Matchbox kits the sprues come in different colors: (Black, Dark Grey, Grey, Brown, “Bronze plate” and White).

1 bag of wires and an internal lighting kit (14 parts): I didn’t know they had electricity in the 7th century must be a recent Bob Vella do over.

1 instruction manual (in Japanese)

1 dried out tube of fossilized glue (due to age)

The instruction manual is 16 pages long and about the 8 x 14 inches in size with 10 steps. There was a 2 page part layout and 2 pages of interesting looking historical notes. A 2 page piece layout was available and very useful. But, it is written in nihon‐go with no engrish translations. No friendly “Mr Color” callout for color reference. NO English, Nothing! Nihon‐go wakarimasen. I did my best to get out of “Japanese School”, but that’s another story. At least the manual with exploded assembly diagrams were good. And pictures are worth a mirion words.

How do I start? There’s no cockpit, no hull, no tracks? I actually started this project by doing some research. I did a “Google” search on “Yakushiji To To” for historical information in English. For color reference, I downloaded as many pictures from different angles as I could find (that internet thing is awesome). While reading the online material I learned that the Yakushiji To To was built for the “Medicine Buddha”. It is still considered a place of healing. This model is of the “East Pagoda” built in the late 7th century. The 112 foot tall “East Pagoda” is one of the oldest structures in Japan. The newer twin “West Pagoda” appears similar but was rebuilt after a fire in 1528. I was getting educated and cultured?!

The Real East Pagoda

The Pagoda décor was very simple. The temple walls were white with dark wood frames like “shoji” doors. The roof tops are dark grey to black. The only “bling” appears to be the roof ornament or “Sorin” which was made of bronze (oxidized with age) and some bronze trim for doors. The kit uses colored plastic for effect, dark grey plastic roof, and grey for the stone base, white plastic walls and a dark brown plastic for the wood frames. Bronze colored plating for the sorin. A large black plastic base was also provided to display the final built structure. If I were 40 years younger I would have just started gluing and not use any paint. But, suffering from full blown AMS I was considering how to mask and manufacture more realistic wood grain effects.

Next I searched the pieces for basic molding flaws, seams and sink/pin marks. There were many prominent pin marks mingled with the waffle ceiling components. These would be nearly impossible to eliminate, but not easily visible unless you were about an inch tall and looking up. The roof has some subtle sink marks opposite thicker plastic sections which may add character to the roof. But, the “balcony floors” had some deep sink marks would have to be filled. Some flash were found on detail parts. Seam mold lines are on almost every piece especially the brown sprues. The “Sorin” had pin marks at the top and the bronze plating on the “Sorin” had flaked off in certain areas. Ah, this was a model from a simpler time.

I began by “reading” the assembly instructions to becoming familiar with the construction steps. The pieces were very similar to each other, so most were left on the sprue until needed. Construction sequence was repetitive, glue ceiling to roof and attach wall to ceiling, etc. There are six roof and ceiling combinations.

The roof components were cut from the sprues. Molding gates and seams were removed. The roof parts were sprayed with Tamiya German grey. Tamiya spray paints are very durable (for later washes and weathering), forgiving and opaque.

The white wall sprue was sprayed Tamiya flat white. Since the sprue attachment points would not be seen on the completed model the pieces were left on the sprue until needed.

Dark brown wall frames and ceiling components were checked for flaws. These components had a lot of seam mold lines and flash. The brown plastic is rigid, brittle and fragile. Removing parts from sprue should be done with care.

White walls and red brown posts

The instructions would have you glue the white wall components to the wood frames very early in the construction. This would make masking the white walls while detailing the frames more difficult, like doing birdcage canopy frames a hyaku (100) times. I think my strategy will be painting and detailing the assembled the wood frames before attaching the white walls, eliminating any need for masking.

While dry fitting I became concerned with the possibly of having the “Reaning Tower of Nara”. The overall fit seemed okay, but a little slushy. Keeping the walls and floors square will be a constant struggle.

Each floor was completed separately. The first significant fitting problems came from ceiling awning parts. The part attachment was a bit fuzzy. Fortunately these parts are not load bearing and do not affect the structure alignment. Just don’t look to close. These sub assemblies were assembled then checked for alignment and sprayed with Tamiya Maroon. The subassemblies were then subjected to a combination of dark grey washes, dry brushing with Vallejo tans and Tamiya red brown. This created the aged wood look. The object was to create visual diversity on otherwise monotone finishes.


The Sorin

The Sorin was assembled (Step #7) and airbrushed with Tamiya Bronze. Humbrol Sky Blue and Tamiya flat white washed were applied to give it an oxidized appearance.

The base was assembled (step #8) and airbrushed with flat black to pre‐shade the laid bricks. This was later airbrushed light gull grey. Dark grey and white washes and later Brown pastels were used to accent the preshading.

After drying, the white wall sections were inserted behind the painted wood frames. The fit was very tight. I had to reduce the height of the alignment pins so that I could bend the pieces into locations. Careful dry fitting and alignment test is needed. The thickness of the assembled walls does impact the wall to floor alignment especially parts 20 and 37.

The first floor was attached to base and each floor added. The fit was tight so I did not use any glue. For easy of transportation I choose not to glue every “floor” together.

The Display Base

At first I considered just centering the pagoda on the black base. BORING. Then, I was inspired by the photos of the actual object of my affliction. Grass, trees, a walking path and people surround the pagoda. Why not get out of your comfort zone! With the exception for my sand box days with green army men, I have never made a diorama.

I measured the pagoda base and added 10 mm and cut strips of 0.5 mm of plastic card to make a rain gutter that was in many of the Web photos. The 32mm wide walkway was cut 0.5 mm plastic card. I got “artsy” and choose an asymmetric orientation to include a tree that seen to be in many of the Web photos. The gutter and walkways were glued to the base. Small Cellu‐clay mounds were made to mount trees.

The black base sides were masked and the top sprayed with Tamiya deck tan. The grassy areas were masked off and the gutter and walkways was airbrushed a light gull grey to match the base. Small plastic pegs were added to the walkway edges.

White glue was applied to the walkway edges and fine grit was added. Later white glue cut with some water and Citadel grass was liberally applied. The excess was blown of the display base. I did this last step in a large plastic container to capture the excess grass for future use, and to minimize mess and domestic tranquility.

For the final touches, a sign was scratch built from 1 mm, 0.2 mm plastic card, 1x1 mm plastic strips, and heavy card stock. These were painted with the same colors I used on the pagoda. The trees were made of twisted wire and lichen, but purchased from an on‐line railroad modeler site (I got lazy). These were simply super glued in place.

Once dried and cured and properly simmered I began the cake stacking. This is where my attention to earlier alignment problems paid off. And like the star on a Christmas tree the “Sorin” was attached.


Construction of the base

One day I may add to people. I told my wife I make a miniature of us standing in front the sign “virtual tourist”.


While not a “Gundam” this was a very enjoyable change of pace. It was a fast build (20‐30 hours) on and off less than 2 months. I don’t exactly remember when I got this kit, about 1975. In the instruction manual (in Japanese) it looks like there are at least 12 other releases by Fujimi in their “World Culture Heritage” series. Try one it’ll be a change from gluing “wings, tracks, wheels, bombs, guns or turrets” and you might get cultured.

Some References


Lower level roof

The underside of the roof

The final weathered roof

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