Hasegawa Corporation started in 1941, making wooden models and educational materials in Shizuoka, Japan.
The firm pioneered plastic model kits at the onset of the 60s.
The 1:450 scale Battleship Yamato of 1962 is still celebrated both for its intricacy and its high development costs.
This set the tone for Hasegawa, noted throughout the 70s for incredible accuracy in detail, often a welcome challenge to the obsessive model builder.
Other companies made easier-to-assemble models without the perfect details.
Revell has long been a partner in North America, selling the models in original packaging or re-boxing as Revell. That arrangement worked both ways, with Hasegawa also selling Revell in Japan.
In order to better recoup development costs, Hasegawa often released a series of iterations of the same basic parts kit. A fighter jet (the F-104 was one of the biggest sellers) may have small weapons updates or a new decal kit. These small-batch differences keep the serious collector on the hunt for each version.
Retired Hasegawa Models