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Is Tamiya still king?

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  • Member since
    February, 2017
  • From: Dallas, TX
Is Tamiya still king?
Posted by japan617 on Sunday, February 19, 2017 2:42 PM

In the last few years, I've noticed several new manufacturers that have arose. Revived Airfix under Hornby, Bronco, Kinetic, Kitty Hawk, Meng, Takom, Wingnut Wings, Zoukei-Mujra, Zvezda are a few off that I can think of. It's probably fair to call them new age manufacturers? 

Before that, it was: Dragon, Eduard, Hobbyboss, Trumpeter

And finally, the established makers: Old Airfix, Aoshima, Fujimi, Hasegawa, Italeri, Revell, Revell Germany, Tamiya. 

Starting with the established makers, these were the brands that I became familiar with as I went about my plastic modeling journey. 

In general, Tamiya seemed to be regarded by many as the king when it comes to fit, ease of assembly, and enough details to satisfy modelers without being overly engineered/complex. 

With all these new comers, does Tamiya's reputation still hold true or have they been dethroned?

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:02 PM

Interesting question, in my younger modeling days Tamyia was by far the top end of kits both in detail and cost. One might ask in which genre are you considering Tamyia to hold the gold standard? If it's aircraft hands down IMHO they are held in high regard, I build 48th and 32nd and perfer Tamyia over other brands. Now in armor, I think they set the benchmark for 35th scale integrity however over the past few yours Trumpeter and even some Dragon kits have far surpassed Tamyia both in detail and occasionally value. Cars and ship builders may go a different direction with this. I can't imagine Tamyia not being in the top 5 of nearly any market though

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
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  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:33 PM

For the most part, Tamiya is still up there as far as ease of assembly and engineering/fit goes. But the level of detail is certainly surpassed by many of the new players on the field. And Tamiya's recent habit of boxing of other companies kits or re issuing their older kits, with a new sprue or two, and at far higher prices has not been completely in their favor. But in all honesty, if I am looking at a kit of the same subject between Tamiya and another company, and the costs are close, I will often opt for the Tamiya. Not because they are king, but because their engineering and build philosophies suit my preferences better. I do not need the latest uber kit with all the options of gluing ever single thing in place myself. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
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  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Sunday, February 19, 2017 4:19 PM

King of What ?

 The higher priced kits a father of four couldn't afford for quite some time ? Maybe the King of the market place because of the quality of their kits ? Cannot fault that . King of the market in what Armor , Air and Ship modelers wanted . Us car modelers didn't get subjects we really knew about .

 Exotic cars , Sure , But when you live in an area where folks could care less , well there you have a problem . I have often thought if They would've researched the American car market thoroughly and been willing to take the chance on one it would've been all over . Can you imagine an American 1: 24 scale 57 Chevy , with their attention to detail AND quality ? They would've been the Emporer of the model market .

 Now if they would do that Chevy it would be nice .  T.B.

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Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:09 PM

Maybe but the certainly have competition.

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    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:22 PM

Tanker - Builder

King of What ?

 The higher priced kits a father of four couldn't afford for quite some time ? Maybe the King of the market place because of the quality of their kits ? Cannot fault that . King of the market in what Armor , Air and Ship modelers wanted . Us car modelers didn't get subjects we really knew about .

 Exotic cars , Sure , But when you live in an area where folks could care less , well there you have a problem . I have often thought if They would've researched the American car market thoroughly and been willing to take the chance on one it would've been all over . Can you imagine an American 1: 24 scale 57 Chevy , with their attention to detail AND quality ? They would've been the Emporer of the model market .

 Now if they would do that Chevy it would be nice .  T.B.

 

 

Amen to that! I don't think any kit company is considered "king of kits" per say. There are so many kit brands out there none are worthy of the King title. Each has their own pros and cons depending on the kit.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:00 PM

And of course there is subject matter areas. Some companies cover only a small subject area for era, nationality, etc., while others are more diverse. Right now Wingnut Wings is the king of 1/32 WWI aircraft, but nothing else.  If you want 1/48 Cold War era aircraft,  they are out of the running. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Sunday, February 19, 2017 8:04 PM
I am a big fan of their kits - great detail and ease of assembly. I am currently working on 1/48 P-47 bubble top and spilled Weldon #4 all over the left upper wing. I sent them an email with the kit #, sprue # and part # - it arrived 3 days later, no charge. Can't beat that for service!
  • Member since
    November, 2016
Posted by Gerhard on Sunday, February 19, 2017 10:55 PM
Huge fan of Tamiya, not so much their pricing. Here in SA they are crazy expensive.
  • Member since
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  • From: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posted by ridleusmc on Monday, February 20, 2017 4:11 AM

Yes, 

I prefer Tamiya to all other manufacturers, because I know exactly what to expect as far as fit, quality and detail.  If a subject catches my attention, I first consider the available kits in my desired scale.  If a Tamiya kit is available, I will purchase it before any others.  However, I have to admit, I haven't built a Tamiya kit in quite some time.  My tastes in subjects haven't been lining up with Tamiya's product line.  

-Chris       

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Monday, February 20, 2017 6:31 AM

I wouldn't say i ever thought of tamiya as king. Back in the 80's/90's, i always thought of Tamiya as an armour model company, and back then the competition wasn't that great. As for aircraft, my standard setter has for a long time been Hasegawa.

But some things have certaiunly changted. Some companies, such as hasegawa, seem to have stood still. While otherts, Revell, Airfix for example, have really up'ed their game.

I think Tamiya are still up there, but now we have a wiuder selectio9n of companies who are catering to differtant markets.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''

On the bench: Academy 1/72nd P-47D

  • Member since
    October, 2010
Posted by hypertex on Monday, February 20, 2017 6:44 AM

japan617

In the last few years, I've noticed several new manufacturers that have arose. Revived Airfix under Hornby, Bronco, Kinetic, Kitty Hawk, Meng, Takom, Wingnut Wings, Zoukei-Mujra, Zvezda are a few off that I can think of. It's probably fair to call them new age manufacturers? 

Zvezda isn't exactly new. They've been around since at least 1990.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, February 20, 2017 7:56 AM

I wouldn't say King,but they make a very nice kit,in fact I will build their new F-14 next,and they have been producing a nice range of subjects lately,but Dragon has them trumped in German armor for sure,and other companies like Trumpeter,Meng,andTakom have really put out just about every genre someone would want,and with high quality.No Tamiya isn't King,but I think we all enjoy the ease of a nice trouble free Tamiya kit from time to time.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, February 20, 2017 8:29 AM

One thing that Tamiya is really strong at is consistant quality.  There are other competitors that do turn out kits of a certain subject that beat Tamiya detail, but their next kit may not be up to the same standards.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • From: Nampa, Idaho
Posted by jelliott523 on Monday, February 20, 2017 8:39 AM

I truly hate to admit that I've never built a Tamiya kit. I know, I know, how can you be a modeler and not have built a Tamiya kit? Well, as many people here have mentioned, it comes down to the cost. The kits I've seen look fantastic! I just cant justify spending that amount for a kit in 1/48 that I could by two of another manufacturer. I would love to build the new Tomcat, or one of their 1/32 WWII aircraft. But when you look at their 1/72 F-16CJ and its as much/or more than some other decent F-16 aircraft kits in 1/48 I just personally cannot justfiy it.

I've got a few other kits in hand that I think are pretty good kits. The new tool 1/32 A6M5 from Hasegawa is one such kit, it may not have the intricate tooling that a Tamiya kit has, but the detail is pretty darn good. I know Trumpeter can be hit or miss, but so far, I've been pretty impressed with the kits from them that I've purchased.

On the Bench:  Lots of unfinished projects!  Smile

  • Member since
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  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Monday, February 20, 2017 1:11 PM

I think Tamiy was king of 1/35 armor back in the 1970s, as their only other serious competition was Italeri.  They were one of the few companies that regularly included figures with their kits.  I was over the moon when I got their M113, which not only had soldiers with M-16 rifles, but a black dude was among them!  I don't think there were any other Vietnam-era figure kits in plastic at the time, except for the M577 with the angry tanker commander.  Their car kits, in particular Formula-1, were way ahead of their time.  Their planes were so-so, and aside from bringing us 1/350 warships, their ships were nothing out of the ordinary.

Today, other companies have surpassed Tamiya in armor in terms of detail and subject matter, but if you'd rather build a 200 part kit versus a 1200 part kit, Tamiya is the way to go.  Their cars and bikes are still at the top of the heap.  In a strange reversal, their 1/32 aircraft are incredibly complex, more so than I would personally care for.  At least their 1/72 and 1/48 kits are simple to build, yet are well detailed and look good.

I have noticed their pace of releases has slowed considerably from 40 years ago, and the repackaging of other manufacturer's kits as well as reissuing some of their own old kits seems to signal a weakening in the brand.  But as others have said, one quality Tamiya has maintained throughout the years is ease of construction.  Their packaging and instructions are also superb, and other companies would do well to emulate them.

Okay that turned out to be long-winded.  Short version:  I think Tamiya is still king of the "enjoyable build."

  • Member since
    September, 2013
Posted by blackdog62 on Monday, February 20, 2017 3:23 PM

I was building back in the early 70s back then tamyia kits was the pricy kits but Revell was big and a lot of there molds where new and the kits built nice.

Those kits are 40 yrs old know and still in use. So modelers don't think there that good. There new kits are quite nice

A big supplier for me back then was monograms armor and plane kits.

I know that some tamyia molds are just as old and seem to hold up better.

No matter what the tamyia kits allways seem to fit together wonderfully .

We expect to have that in every one of there kits. Maybe That's what keeps them on top.

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: UK
Posted by PatW on Monday, February 20, 2017 3:51 PM

As I only build cars, Tamiya don't have a good spread of genres. They are also expensive, and as I've retired my budget has turned me towards a lot of part built kits and American makes, AMT, Monogram, Revell, Hawk, Aoshima, Fujimi etc. which cover all types or car.

It sometimes is a custom car or a dragster, or a drift car, Japanese custom Liberty Walk etc or a Le Mans sports cars.

I mainly get mine as we have no model shops where I live, from ebay Auction, as 'Buy it Now' also seems to be expensive and very few deals are about (I thought that's what ebay was for, picking up bargains, but not that often now. Everyone wants to make a lot of money) I'm a great fan of Nascar/Touring Cars but none of the manufacturers keep up to date.

I've not bought a Tamiya kit now from a shop or online for possibly 5 years as their range seem to be a bit staid, with new kits few and far between.

Remember , common sense is not common.

  • Member since
    July, 2010
Posted by roony on Monday, February 20, 2017 9:33 PM

I think Tamiya is still king.  Some of the crown princes may beat him at some subjects.  But overall Tamiya is the standard that others are judged by.

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Monday, February 20, 2017 9:50 PM

I know only two things, Tamiya is definitely not king of decals, and Hasegawa is king of the re-box...

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:24 AM

As far as armor goes, I find myself gravitating back to Tamiya. I like the lower parts count and the ease of construction. In the end it just depends on the subject and generally the best reviews.

  http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y269/wing_nut_5o/PANZERJAGERGB.jpg

 Eric 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:27 AM

tigerman

As far as armor goes, I find myself gravitating back to Tamiya. I like the lower parts count and the ease of construction. In the end it just depends on the subject and generally the best reviews.

 

I have been going in the opposite direction. I did go over to Dragon for a while, but now i study reviews and go by them, and quite often its one of the other companies. But with Tamiya i still see them as being low detail kits that are now becoming over priced. I look at something like their Jagdtiger from 2008.Its around the same price as the Dragon kit, but i have it in my head it can't be worth that much because its Tamiya. So i just see them as the cheap option i'll go to when there isn't any other.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''

On the bench: Academy 1/72nd P-47D

  • Member since
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  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:30 PM

I typically build aircraft.  I will build (or try to build) any kit from any manufacturer.  Grew up on Monogram and still hold those kits in high esteem even though they are far from the best representations of their subjects.  I have kits from just about every manufacturer that I am aware of in my stash, or already completed on my display shelves.  But I always enjoy building the Tamiya kits the most.  They are typically the best engineered kits available and they give me the least amount of trouble while I am working on them, as compared to others.  This is not to say that others are terrible, well, some are but those seem to be few and far between.

A kit does not need to be Tamiya quality for me to consider it worthwhile.  There are kits out there that just need a bit of elbow grease to whip into a good looking model, and as a modeler, I strive to conquer whatever challenges I come across.  

I have built a couple of Tamiya WWII tanks and do not recall any issues with those either. Never built any other genres from Tamiya.

  • Member since
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  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, February 24, 2017 9:34 AM

I don't think of them as king, but they have some very good kits. While some people have mentioned that Tamiya had constant scale, a lot of their early kits had scale issues because they were designed to hold a standard sized motorized gear box and a couple of C cell batteries. Some of their current kits, like the Abrams, Bradley, M48A3, M113A2 still use lower hulls originally designed to be removed to replace batteries and have the various "motorization holes" to attach the gearbox with screws.

A lot of their current kits are total redesigns that balance accuracy, ease of assembly, details and engineering to make some awesome kits. When they put the effort in, we get the M26 Dragon Wagon. When they half step, we get the M113A2 which was their 1974 M113 kit minus the interior plus a new detail sprue, new equipment sprue and a handful of retooled parts on old sprues along with the old plain faced vinyl tracks designed for motorization.

Bottom line, make sure you do some research before buying any high priced kit. You'll drive an extra 5 or 10 miles to save a nickel on a gallon of gas, but you won't take five minutes to type in the name of the kit in Google to see if it is worth the $50.

Maybe that $40 kit sitting next to the $50 Tamiya kit is a better model kit.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by Moff on Friday, February 24, 2017 10:02 AM

I think Tamiya, while no longer the acknowledged "king of kits", is still very appealing.

In the armor department, they've started releasing a bunch of retooled or new kits which are beautiful. While not the most insane level of detail (think Bronco or some Dragon kits), they're still superb. Plus, they've continued their tradition of great fit and clean molding.

The trend I've seen in armor modeling is that modelers will purchase Tamiya kits and supplement them with a bunch of aftermarket. Because Tamiya is still a major player, aftermarket abounds. And because their kits are so well engineered and easy to build vanilla, they're a great choice if you're looking to pimp your build. 

"Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union." - Josef Stalin 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, February 24, 2017 10:21 AM

Moff

I think Tamiya, while no longer the acknowledged "king of kits", is still very appealing.

In the armor department, they've started releasing a bunch of retooled or new kits which are beautiful. While not the most insane level of detail (think Bronco or some Dragon kits), they're still superb. Plus, they've continued their tradition of great fit and clean molding.

The trend I've seen in armor modeling is that modelers will purchase Tamiya kits and supplement them with a bunch of aftermarket. Because Tamiya is still a major player, aftermarket abounds. And because their kits are so well engineered and easy to build vanilla, they're a great choice if you're looking to pimp your build. 

 

The problem is though Moff, as i alluded to above, the price is matching that of the more detailed kit. So why buy a Tamiya dn then throw loads of AM at it when you can get a Dragon and build it OOB. And some of the Dragon kits i have built in the last few years have been as easy to put together than any Tamiya.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''

On the bench: Academy 1/72nd P-47D

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, February 24, 2017 10:34 AM

Bish
 

The problem is though Moff, as i alluded to above, the price is matching that of the more detailed kit. So why buy a Tamiya and then throw loads of AM at it when you can get a Dragon and build it OOB. And some of the Dragon kits i have built in the last few years have been as easy to put together than any Tamiya.

I think the reputation Tamiya has as being easier builds coupled with the reputation Dragon has with construction difficulties (poor instructions, multiple sprues from various kits, overly complex assemblies) is why a lot of modelers go for Tamiya when a better, cheaper Dragon kit is sitting next to it. Tamiya kits tend to be relaxing whereas completing a Dragon kit is often a battle.

Having said that, I've built one of their Smart Kits and found it an enjoyable built. Got one of their Panzer Is real cheap and was impressed. It was my first use of magic tracks, and although a little tedious (compared to one piece vinyl) they were not hard to assemble and looked good.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, February 24, 2017 10:42 AM

Rob Gronovius
 
Bish
 

The problem is though Moff, as i alluded to above, the price is matching that of the more detailed kit. So why buy a Tamiya and then throw loads of AM at it when you can get a Dragon and build it OOB. And some of the Dragon kits i have built in the last few years have been as easy to put together than any Tamiya.

 

 

I think the reputation Tamiya has as being easier builds coupled with the reputation Dragon has with construction difficulties (poor instructions, multiple sprues from various kits, overly complex assemblies) is why a lot of modelers go for Tamiya when a better, cheaper Dragon kit is sitting next to it. Tamiya kits tend to be relaxing whereas completing a Dragon kit is often a battle.

Having said that, I've built one of their Smart Kits and found it an enjoyable built. Got one of their Panzer Is real cheap and was impressed. It was my first use of magic tracks, and although a little tedious (compared to one piece vinyl) they were not hard to assemble and looked good.

 

Thats what i mean, Dragon are not as difficult to build as they used to be. Sure, their instructions can at times be confuseing and the box is full of spares. But if you want a more detailed kit and don't mind filling your spares box, who you going to go for. And when you look at some of the other companies out there, Tristar/Hobby Boss, Amusing Hobby, Meng and so on, they are producing far more detailed kits.

Tamiya seems to be resting on its larels.

 ''I am a Norfolk man, and I glory in being so''

On the bench: Academy 1/72nd P-47D

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, February 24, 2017 11:47 AM

The majority of Dragon kits are still hard to build. The newer smart kits are better. Dragon tends to be more complex than they often need to be.

Tamiya released new kits of the Elefant, Nashorn, M10 Wolverine, M40 howitzer, some French and Japanese tanks that are really nice and have the ease of assembly that escapes Dragon.

And I agree, there are other manufacturers with smaller lines (Takom, AFV Club, Fine Molds, Meng, etc.) that offer great kits as well.

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Friday, February 24, 2017 12:49 PM

Within the parameters the opening post describes 'king',  Tamiya is still defined by those qualities.

I think other brands can and do come close, and on occasion even surpass the 'king', just not on a consistant basis. 

As mentioned, Tamiya has slowed down on the number of new toolings they release each year.  For those where interest in subject outweighs the loyalty to the Tamiya brand, then the 'king' factor becomes a nonplayer.

regards,

Jack

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