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Bow Shooting Boy (c. 1850)


  • Kit Manufacturer: Gakken (Japan)
  • Major Material: Plastic
  • Work Experience: This sophisticate clockwork driven automaton kit comes with an exceptionally well written and illustrated instruction manual in Japanese and traditional Chinese (an English version is also available for download in pdf file). All of the parts for different construction stages have been grouped and stored in plastic bags, none of them have to be cut from sprues and some are even neatly pre-assembled. Therefore the construction should be pretty straightforward for an experienced modeler. In order to achieve smooth and flawless shooting action, however, a little patience is required for tightening and adjusting the driving tendons of the seven cam-follower mechanisms. It took me about sixteen working hours or so to build and fine-tuning this kit to obtain satisfactory results.

Historical Notes: The Art of the Karakuri Master that appears in Yumihiki Doji (original Bow-Shooting Boy or Archer Puppet ) is often called "The masterpiece of Karakuri Dolls," where Karakuri means a mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise. The art of a master craftsman is alive in this piece of work made by Tanaka Hisashige (1799-1881), popularly known as Karakuri Giuemon who was an outstanding scientist in the late Edo period, and also the founding father of today's Toshiba Corporation. The people at that time must have gazed with breathless interest at such smooth movements as taking an arrow from the arrow holder, putting it to the bow, and shooting the target, all performed with simple combination of a mainspring, wheels and cams. (From Gakken)


Front View   |  Side View   |  Close-up View

Recommended References:

  1. Automata: The Golden Age, 1848-1914
  2. Automata and Mechanical Toys

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