Caltrops: Nanoblock Himeji Castle, Special Deluxe Edition

Following the completion of the Nanoblock Osaka Castle, I almost immediately started searching for the next large Nanoblock kit. And there are a ton. Some more impressive than others. I ultimately decided to keep with the historical theme and purchased the Himeji Castle, Special Deluxe Edition. This was a major step-up in scale, coming with 5,200 pieces. The Super Special Deluxe Mega Uber Edition that I purchased came with metallic colored blocks vice the lighter grey blocks in the more standard Super Special Deluxe Edition. The Japanese love to embellish in the naming of stuff from time to time. Anyway, these metallic blocks would prove to be a problem later on.

This kit came in a nondescript cardboard box, vice the normal box with imagery on it. I initially thought it was a knockoff. But it is the real deal.

As you do, I began working from the ground up, and I immediately realized the scale of this model. It is quite larger than the Osaka Castle. It felt like I was building the foundation forever. It just kept going. But as I finally got to the keep walls the pace picked up very slightly.

My tackle-box system works great for Nanoblock builds.

By the time I Had finished the roofs on the castle walls I began to notice that I was running out of pieces, which made absolutely no sense. These kits are regularly supplied with numerous extras, and I hadn’t dropped any that were unaccounted for. It was here that I realized my error. Along with the instruction booklet for this special kit, came an warning page that discussed the similarities with the metallic-grey blocks and the grey blocks. I had indeed read this warning. But still managed to screw it up. For the stone wall foundation there are occasionally grey blocks mixed in. I had inadvertently used metallic blocks there. Instead of the regular grey ones… So now I had to substitute those grey block for metallic ones on the roofs. Oops.

This would not be my only mistake in this build. The next one would be quite time consuming.

From a distance it may be easy to overlook..
But up close…

Once you finish the lower keep and the first roof of the tower you move on to a subassembly of the tower itself. Which is pretty tricky. In the above picture there is a black rubber pad of sorts. That is a staging area for building. It has small stubs where you can situate the pieces to build and then pull the assembly off as one piece. Along with the Nanoblock tweezers, this pad is irreplaceable for Nanoblock builds.

As you get towards the top of the tower, the steps get shorter and you start to get the feeling you are in the home stretch. Eventually all that will be left is to attach the tower to the castle keep, then build some trees. But was it really that simple for me? Oh, no. Of course not…

As I was trying to fit the tower to the keep, I was struggling. It was not lining up. No matter how many times I inspected the connecting points and compared them to the instructions, it looked fine. So I did what any frustrated-as-fuck person in my shoes would have done and JAMMED THE FUCKER IN!!

And it broke. Bad. Like 18 steps of building worth of broken, bad.

All of this started with one tiny little misplaced block.

I had to fight back the primal urge to just throw this whole fucking thing in the trash at this point. We are talking months of work down the drain. But I swallowed my anger knowing that this was, in fact, my fault. I began taking steps to isolate from which step to which step I needed to redo. This involved backtracking in the build manual, and was not quite as easy as it sounds. In doing this I had to remove pieces from the intact/remaining portion of the tower. And in doing that… more and more completed portions came off as a byproduct of removing others. It was infuriating.

In the end it took 2.5 extra hours, or so, to rebuild the tower. And in doing so I isolated why the keep and the tower would not go together in the first place.

A single 1×2 block about the same width as a staple was incorrectly placed one spot over from the proper position. Amazing. Slightly pissed/slightly relieved, I threw together some trees and called this thing done.

The Completed Nanoblock Himeji Castle

It really is a stunning kit

A Little Background and History

姫路城 (Himeji-jō)

Unlike Osaka Castle, I have never been to Himeji Castle. Yet. I’ve been to Kobe and a nearby town, but both times I have been to Hyōgo Prefecture, we didn’t have enough time to venture over to the city of Himeji. But it is on my short-list for places to go sooner rather than later. The castle complex towers over Himeji, and it has gone by multiple names in its almost 700 year history. One such name is Shirasagi-jō, or White Heron Castle. Because the design is said to resemble a heron taking flight.

Another name that this castle has gone by in more recent ages, albeit a joke name, is Shirosugi-jō. Which literally translates as The Too White Castle, or Overly White Castle. Because of its stark white appearance. Particularly when viewed on a sunny/clear day

Image source Even the roof’s appear to shine white in the sunlight.

Himeji Castle was first built in 1333, then taking the shape of a strategically placed fort atop Himeyama Hill. It would later be rebuilt and named Himeyama Castle. More than 200 years later Toyotomi Hideyoshi would redesign the castle and add a large keep. The castle would be significantly be expanded in the early 1600’s.

Himeji Castle, the largest keep in Japan, has not only stood the test of time(something that many other castles in Japan could not do), but it has also weathered modern war and natural disaster. In 1945, during World War II, the city of Himeji would be heavily bombed, but the castle still stood up on it’s hill. In one such bombing the castle would be specifically targeted, but the bomb failed to explode. Some 50 years later, the Great Hanshin Earthquake, that devastated the region and killed over 6,000 people, occurred. The magnitude 6.9 earthquake, which was epicentered a mere 30 miles, or so, away, barely even disturbed the castle. This is crazy, considering most castles in Japan have, at one time or another, been destroyed by a simple bolt of lightning and resulting fires.

Image source Hard to believe that this structure withstood both bombing and natural disaster

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

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