Tuesday 14 January 2020

More on Dr Kimura

This snippet 'A Pair of Swallows' from the Modelling section of the October 1963 issue of Flying Review International magazine (Vol.19 No.2) mentions a visit from Dr Hidemasa Kimura, designer of the Ki-77 and reveals that he was also a keen modeller. Eichiro Sekigawa will be remembered by veteran Japanese aviation enthusiasts in the West for his seminal 'Pictorial History of Japanese Military Aviation' published by Ian Allan Ltd., in 1974. The Nichimo Ki-61-II was indeed a good kit for its time and has been previously featured here in April 2012 (scroll down) with images of a model made by Ken Glass posted here in July 2012. The remarks about the Revell kit (to be featured here in due course) are puzzling as it does not represent a Ki-61-II but rather a hybrid Ki-61-I!

Dr Kimura was also involved in the design of the NAMC (Nihon Kōkūki Seizō 日本航空機製造 - Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation) YS-11 turboprop airliner, the first indigenously designed post-war aircraft to be exported from Japan with two aircraft delivered to Filipinas Orient Airways in 1965. The YS-11 gained FAA certification the same year and domestic operation began with Japan Domestic Airlines Co., Ltd. (Nihon Kokunai Kōkū 日本国内航空) and Japan Transocean Air Co., Ltd. (Nippon Toransuōshan Kōkū Kabushiki-gaisha 日本トランスオーシャン航空株式会社). The YS-11 was also operated by the Japan Air Self-Defence Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and Japan Coast Guard in the electronic warfare, ELINT, training and passenger/freight roles. A total of 182 aircraft were produced from 1962 to 1974.

Despite limited commercial success outside Japan and controversy surrounding its development and design many different kits of the YS-11 have been released since 1965 by Hasegawa and Doyusha to 1/144 scale, Otaki, Paramount and Sanwa to 1/150 scale, Platz to 1/200 scale, and Bandai and Imai to 1/72 scale.  One Man Model released new 1/72 and 1/48 versions in 2017 and 2019 respectively.  When W R Matthews reviewed the Otaki kit (original box art shown above) in the December 1965 issue of Flying Review International (Vol.21 No.4) he described it as 'cleanly pressed but has a good deal of rather heavy rivet detail ' and 'well worth having' for the airliner enthusiast. 

Image credit: Dr Kimura photo web; magazine images © 1963 & 1965 Flying Review International magazine published for Purnell & Sons Ltd., by Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.; Book cover art by George Heiron for Ian Allan Studio © 1974 Ian Allan Ltd.; Box art © 1963 Nichimo and 1965 Otaki   


Ken Glass said...

Thanks, Nick, for this follow-up article on Dr. Kimura.

Michael Thurow said...

Oh yes, Sekigawa's book! I got my copy in 1975. Read it and re-read it and read it again since - together with Francillon's type lexicon - it was one of the very few available in English. Pity, that he never wrote a follow-up covering the later stages of the war.

Mark Smith said...

Thank you for the info on Dr. Kimura, Nick. I'm selfishly glad about those magazines that somehow survived many moves and were deemed worth saving time after time, as now I'm reading these articles you're sharing for the first time. I was nine when this was published; and once my budding interest in aviation and modeling had developed, I could only leaf through these titles at MAL Hobby Shop, as they were expensive in the US.

I heard an interesting phrase last week in an interview - 'the condescension of posterity' - oftentimes if something is not recent it is not credited or sought; and I think it applies here. Almost sixty years later, it's fresh and new to me. In the articles you've shared so far, the standards of research, respect, and scholarship are worth emulating.