Back in June, 2020 reader G.T. Roche kindly shared details and images of the New Zealand based Toltoys 'Panda Kitset' re-issue of the Nitto 1/75th B5N2. Recently he very kindly provided details and images of another Toltoys re-issue he has encountered, this time of Nitto's Nakajima B6N2 Tenzan Model 12 'Jill'. Originally marketed by Nitto as being to 1/75 scale, with Burns giving a release date of 1964, the Toltoys packaging showed the scale as 1/72. The kit was also released by Air Flash in France with the original Nitto box art whereas the Toltoys box art appears to be unique and in their house style of a simple but attractive in-flight image of the aircraft against a plain white background.
According to Burns Nitto Kagaku, based in Tokyo, began producing plastic kits in 1962. Whilst most of the kits they issued were to scales of 1/75 and 1/77, a Douglas C-47 was issued in 1/100 scale and their two best known kits are perhaps the Yokosuka K5Y1 and K5Y2 'Willow' in 1/32 scale. Kit production ended in 1982 and some of the moulds were acquired by Doyusha in 1986.
In an era of modelling 'feeding frenzy' over ever increasing releases of super-authentic kits in larger scales it is easy to forget the humble pioneering efforts of companies like Nitto which in the 'early days' brought many interesting and relatively unknown Japanese aircraft types to the attention of Western modellers. Appearing crude by today's standards and indeed manufactured as 'toys' rather than serious scale models, the kits nevertheless made an important impact then as so often representing the 'only game in town' for a comprehensive collection of Japanese aircraft models. In those pre-internet days, and strange though it might seem now, Japanese aircraft like the B6N2 were far less well known or documented. The Fujimi 1/72 B6N1 and B6N2 kits did not appear until 1983 and 1984 respectively and were re-released by Hobby 2000 in 2019.
With very special thanks to Mr Roche for kindly sharing these gems of kit trivia discovery.
Image credit: All photos of Toltoys B6N2 kit © 2021 G.T.Roche; Original Nitto box art via Scalemates