Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Going Merry (ゴーイングメリー号) | Custom-Painted Build of the One Piece Pirate Ship

 After 12 long years of procrastination and delay, the Going Merry pirate ship is finally complete. For the longest time, I was intimidated by the idea of starting a project involving this iconic ship from the One Piece anime. Then as the years went by - although I had started to acquired the skills needed to at least make an attempt at a project of this scale - the kit was effectively out of sight, out of mind; hidden away in a storeroom gathering dust. Then news hit that a live-action series of One Piece was airing (note: it was released on Netflix on 31 August 2023), and memory came flooding back about the very first scale model kit in my collection. It was time to gather the courage to finally start the project, results of which you see below after three whole months of on and off work on the kit.

Going Merry pirate ship from the One Piece anime: Custom-painted build [Completed]

 As for the project itself, there is still the crew of Going Merry i.e. the Straw Hat Pirates that have yet to be assembled and painted. They will come later ... sometime in the future ... hopefully sooner rather than later. But for now, the focus is on the ship itself (see below) sans her beloved crew.

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the bow / port side)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, port side)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the stern / port side)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the stern)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the stern / starboard side)

 From the zoomed out view of the ship (see images immediately above and below this paragraph), you can perhaps get a sense that this is a large scale model kit. From the bottom of the display stand/base to the top of the main mast, the ship measures approximately 12 inches (over 30 cm). It definitely makes for an excellent showpiece in any collection of One Piece ships as well as figurines.

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, starboard side)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the bow / starboard side)

Going Merry | One Piece pirate ship (isometric view, from the bow)

 Let's move on now to a more intimate and closeup view of the Going Merry herself. Below are some zoomed in views of the ship highlighting work done in the captions.

Closeup of the iconic figurehead that adorns the bow of the Going Merry pirate ship

Having an anchor attached to a string mimicking a rope is a cool gimmick of the model kit

It was essential for the 'wooden' sections to be painted (either with acrylic or enamel paints) to prevent the Going Merry from looking too toy-like or plasticky

 While the figurehead is an iconic feature of the Going Merry, it's not the characteristic that first draws your eyes to the ship. That job is accomplished by the huge Straw Hat Pirates symbol on the main sail. Bandai seems to have understood the significance of this, because they provided a large water decal of the symbol (in five separate pieces). This allows scale modelers to apply a realistic looking symbol of the Straw Hat Pirates on the ship's main sail. Two alternative methods would've been to paint the symbol yourself or use the sticker decal version. However, the former is time consuming while the latter looks tacky. So in the end, the water decal was a welcome addition to the kit.

This huge Straw Hat Pirates symbol on the main sail was put together using five pieces of water decal  

Each of the smaller Straw Hat Pirates symbols found atop the main and secondary masts comprised ...

... only a single piece of water decal, but number four decals in total, one for each side of either flag

 As a ship that is based on the 15th century caravel, the Going Merry has as smaller secondary sail located near the stern. Unlike the main sail, the smaller sail required masking and painting to color in the red stripes. Details of work done on the spar and masts were highlighted in the previous post.

All the rigging and ropes attach either to the sails, masts, deck, or side of the ship's hull

Going Merry's secondary sail/mast/flag is the smaller of the two that exist on the ship

Painting the red strips on the secondary sail was preferable to using the color correcting stickers

Rigging and ropes around the Going Merry make for a more realistic looking pirate ship

Tangerine trees is the key characteristic that defines the uniqueness of a Straw Hat Pirates ship

 Apart from the secondary sail, the ship's rear half was populated with other important details such as the tangerine trees (see above) belonging to Nami, a main character of the anime. Right at its stern is a rudder (see below), which has extremely limited degrees of movement to the left and right.

Rudder of the Going Merry can only move very slightly to the left and right

Stern of the Going Merry which provides a good view of the small brown shed on the deck

Airbrushing gold metallic paint on parts of the display stand makes the overall look more classy/refined

 In this build, the Straw Hat Pirate symbols found on either side of both flags are also water decals (see below). As with the main sail, alternative sticker decals were provided for the flags, but not used. And sitting slightly below the highest point of the Going Merry is the crow's nest, which in real life serves as the best vantage point for sailors in a sailing ship.  

While the secondary sail is opaque (left), the main sail (right) is semi-opaque as the Straw Hat Pirates symbol can still be seen from the back of the sail

Straw Hat Pirates symbol is evident on both sides of the secondary flag (i.e. two water decals were used, one on each side of the flag)

A nice visual contrast is a juxtaposition of the triangular secondary sail versus the rectangular main sail

Main flag of the Going Merry sits atop the crow's nest which in turn lies near the top of the main mast ...

... and as with the smaller secondary flag, the main flag has pirate symbols on both sides of the flag

 With that we have now gone all around the Going Merry and back to its main sail and figurehead (see below). The icing on the cake is having a fair amount of rigging and ropes all around the ship. Without this little detail, the ship would look less accurate at least in relation to its anime counterpart.   

View of the main sail and its Straw Hat Pirates symbol, from the reverse angle

A rope runs all the way down from the crow's nest onto the deck at the ship's bow

Custom Painted Build of the Going Merry all done, and awaiting its crew

 Below is the YouTube video that focuses on closeups as well as 360 degree views of the completed build of the Going Merry. It was uploaded to my YouTube Channel i.e. FourEyedMonster Miniatures sometime before this blog was uploaded. A link to the channel can be found on one of the banners at the end of this blog post. Or you could just click on the following link here ... 

 While I am going to enjoy the high of finally finishing a custom-painted build of the Going Merry, this particular model kit project is by no means fully complete. There is still the matter of this pirate ship's crew comprising miniature figures of Monkey D. Luffy, Roronoa Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, and Tony Tony Chopper. In time, these miniatures will be painted, and the results uploaded to my blog and YouTube Channel at a later date. Of course this is not the final composition of the Straw Hat Pirates. Yet more members will eventually join Captain Luffy in his quest for the One Piece.

 For now, I'll just take a short rest before either embarking on a temporary diversion with a new project or continuing with this one i.e. paint up the miniature crew of Going Merry. It's likely to be the former but I haven't really decided yet. Sometimes when a project is too big I tend to mix things up by doing shorter projects in between. This tends to keeps things fresh for me, and keep the dreaded hobby malaise at bay. Anyway, this blog has dragged on enough. Until next time, be well and be happy!

FourEyedMonster Miniatures YouTube Channel


  1. Oh, I certainly thought this model was larger! Splendid work indeed :O

    1. Sadly I'm not familiar with ship model kits in general so I can't really tell what constitutes a large or small ship model kit. Thanks Suber, for you kind, kind comments :)


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