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Vintage 1977 Tamiya Plastic Model Kit Toyota Celica LB Turbo Gr.5 1/20 Scale Grand Prix Collection

Vintage 1977 Tamiya Plastic Model Kit Toyota Celica LB Turbo Gr. 5. This item is new old stock and the factory box is factory sealed. Material: Plastic. Size: 1/20 Scale. The Tamiya Plastic Model Company is universally recognized for its accurate scale replicas and has inspired countless car designers and racing fans. If you are interested in motor sport, then you probably have fond memories of Tamiya models. The Japanese company�s radio-controlled and plastic car kits are most people�s first experience of building a scale model vehicle � and often herald a lifetime�s fascination with all things petrol-powered. One well known Formula 1 designer has even admitted privately that, as a young lad, he would buy Tamiya F1 car kits and cut up the body parts to create new aerodynamic forms. This inspired him to become an engineer and he ended up creating some of the most successful designs in Grand Prix history. Tamiya, then, can be seen as a scale-model gateway drug to the world of hard-core motor sport. Sure, there were others model manufacturers producing kits in the 1970s and �80s, but Tamiya�s products offered something new; molded plastic parts that fitted together without fighting back, plus accurately profiled body shells. Unlike rivals, Tamiya models just looked �right� and much of that is down to the company�s president for the past three decades, Mr. Shunsaku Tamiya. In 1994 Mr. Shunsaku Tamiya visit to the Nuremberg Toy Fair, a vast annual trade show in Bavaria that encompasses all aspects of the toy and hobby industries, scale and RC modelling included. Every year, the modeling magazine editors would make an annual pilgrimage to the event to gather editorial material for their respective titles and, as a lowly editorial assistant, at Tamiya Model Magazine International it was my first work-trip abroad. Business class? No, nor even economy; we drove from our Hertfordshire office to Nuremberg in the company Ford Mondeo estate. Back then, the Tamiya trade stand was smaller than it is now, but for me it still held the mystique of a temple, albeit one dedicated to scale modelling. All I can recall of meeting Mr. S Tamiya was desperately trying not to make a fool of myself, shaking his hand while simultaneously bowing, a gesture not really expected of westerners, but I did it anyway. So what is it that makes Tamiya models so special? To understand it fully we first need a bit of history. The family-owned company was founded in 1946 and started out making wooden kits of battleships in the immediate post-war years. The company�s home town of Shizuoka City, just over 100 miles south-west of Tokyo, was a Centre for the timber industry and so there was a plentiful supply of high-grade Japanese Cyprus, Magnolia and Katsura woods from which to make the kits. In the late 1950s, with the increasing popularity of plastic model kits imported from the United States, the sales of wooden kits went into decline and Tamiya (then still run by Shunsaku�s father, Yoshio) had no option but to convert to the new technology and start creating its own injection-molded plastic models. In 1960 the company�s first polystyrene kit was released, the WW2 Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Musashi in 1:800. It was by no means a success, thanks to the simultaneous � and less expensive � release of exactly the same subject by rival Japanese manufacturer, Nichimo. In an attempt to recoup some of the tooling costs of the failed Musashi project, a cheap and cheerful solution was needed and this resulted directly in Tamiya�s first model car kits, the �Baby Racers�. In reality, these were not actually Tamiya products at all; they were made from toy car molds, borrowed by Tamiya as an expedient measure. The parts were marketed in attractive new packaging that echoed pop-art imagery and, to the huge relief of the company, sold in enormous numbers. At the time of the Musashi�s release, Shunsaku also commissioned his younger brother Masao, then a first year student at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, to create a new company logo. He drew up the �Star Mark� that has endured to this day and become the most evocative and prestigious emblem in the model industry. Tamiya fully established itself as a plastic model company through the 1960s and �70s with a line of tanks and other military vehicle kits. The popular scale of 1:35 that now dominates this modelling subject came about purely by chance, when Tamiya�s Panther tank kit � which was motorized and had to accommodate two type-B batteries � just happened to be one thirty-fifth the size of the real tank. The scale stuck, and now it is by far the most popular size for model military kits and figures. One of the key things about these early years is the fact that it was Shunsaku who wrote to the museums, racing teams and manufacturers to arrange research visits. It was he who took the photos, measured up tanks, aircraft, racing cars, sketched the box art, drew the instructions, built the display models and sold to distributors at trade fairs. Mr. Shunsaku Tamiya �was� Tamiya. Tamiya�s true history with automotive scale models began in 1965 with the creation of its first slot car, the 1:24 Jaguar D-type. It was a highly developed design with a low Centre of gravity (thanks to a beautiful brass chassis), ball-race bearings and coil-spring rear suspension. The Jaguar sold extremely well in Japan, but the slot car craze was already beginning to fade in the company�s home market � partly because officials perceived slot racing to be on the same level as how we view amusement arcades today; slightly dubious places to hang out and morally questionable. The story could have ended there but for the fact that Tamiya came to the attention of European models � and Formula 1 followers in particular � with the release in 1967 of the Honda RA273, in the large scale of 1:12. The car had won the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix and Shunsaku wanted to celebrate its achievement: �The conventional wisdom in the world of F1 was that it took a minimum of 10 years from first participating in a race to winning one. Honda had reached the top in a mere year and a half. It was a brilliant achievement. This amazing performance was what inspired me to create a model of the Honda F1 car.� The main problem was not so much in the model�s creation, but in having it sell well in Japan; in the mid-60s, the fan base for F1 in Japan was in its infancy and the sport was barely reported in the domestic press. It was during one of Shunsaku�s business trips to Britain that his mind was made up for him. On the insistence of the company�s charismatic UK distributor Richard Kohnstam (remember the RIKO stickers on Tamiya kit boxes in the 1970s and �80s?), Tamiya went ahead with the project, on the basis that F1 was so popular in Europe that the kit would sell successfully with little effort.
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Decatur, IL
Seller Since 6/27/2022
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