This is one of those projects that I do just for the heck of it. At least at the time I was building this model I had no particular goal, no particular magazine space needs to be filled, no particular new product release needs to be highlighted. One evening while surfing the web I stumbled upon a gallery of photos showing abandoned Russian helicopters; parked and left to the elements in what appears to be inner-city parking lots. The thought of all of that high-tech hardware simply “put out to pasture” is quite mind-boggling if you think about it. Cold war weapons reduced to discarded carcasses of aluminum and fading paint. And there is the key, the faded paint!! The colors and patina exhibited on these forgotten beasts is amazing – yes, in my case irresistible.
Tracing it’s beginnings to 1902, what began as the Tacheuchi Mining Company operating the Yusenji copper mine about 8 kilometers from Komatsu City later became the Komatsu Equipment Company in May, 1921.
In 1920, the mine ran into financial difficulties and ceased operations. At this time, the head of the mining company, Meitaro Tacheuchi, got together a group of investors to form Komatsu Manufacturing Company Ltd. Earlier, in 1911, an iron casting works had been built near Komatsu City and named Komatsu Ironworks. This ironworks was the foundation for Komatsu Manufacturing’s iron and steel casting. This same group was responsible for the manufacture of the first domestically produced Japanese vehicle, the DAT, which eventually became Datsun. Komatsu began crawler tractor production in 1932 with a copy of the Caterpillar 2-Ton crawler designated G25. In 1935, they released a copy of the Best 30, designated the G40.