Awesome Vintage 1949-50 Japanese 'Gas model airplane kit' by TMHK Tokyo mokei models
New in box
Model airplane kits were manufactured by a number of firms in Occupied Japan in the years following WWII; mostly scale U-control kits were featured. GI's based in Japan and Guam during the Korean War built many of the Japanese kits and occasionally a kit would find its way to the U.S., but no kits, that I know of, were being commercially exported from Japan to the U.S. in that time frame around 1950. The O.S. 29 engine, made in Osaka, came out in 1949 in the first version (see this engine on the Vintage Engines page) and was used to power many of the U-control kits being designed in Japan. The O.S, 29 third version was imported to the U.S. in 1953 by Bill Atwood. Other Japanese engines in the early 1950s included the Fuji, Enya and Mamiya.
Some of the Japanese kits had no identification regarding the manufacturer and some were labeled as "TMHK Inc" kits which was the Tokyo Mokei Modelcraft Co. of Tokyo, Japan. Most of the plans were not dated, nor was a manufacturer mentioned on many. I had some kits which had plans noted in both Japanese and English; however, the majority of kits that I've seen have been English only indicating that they were aimed at the American GI at the time. The plans are usually in blueprint or blueline.
The kits were elaborately prefabricated with most parts carefully cutout from kiri (?) wood (a fine grain, fairly light wood from the Paulownia tree). The parts were "home crafted" and passed around from house to house until fully finished and packaged as a kit. The U-control models were usually fully planked with sheets of kiri wood which made for a very heavy model! Interestingly, the English labeled plans sometimes refer to the wood as "kiri" wood, carefully putting quotation marks around the word; the "r" must have been the translated spelling from the Japanese spoken description of the material as I've also heard this wood referred to as "kili" wood.
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