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Hibernaculum

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About Hibernaculum

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  • Birthday 06/03/1977

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    http://www.rctoymemories.com/
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  1. RA-12XX for the 1/12 scale kits yes, I got that wrong. Also wrong - the 58XX (4 digit) instances actually started after the 58XXX (5 digit) instances? ie many earliest kits never used the 4digit. I hadn’t realized that. While the 5digit carried right through. But here is RA-1031 Brabham as mentioned, so I got that bit right at least https://tamiyabase.com/tamiya-models/58031-58031 That’s all according to what Tamiyabase has filed for each kit anyway. Presumably Lars’ info is right, as he has probably been losing sleep over the database organisation of Tamiya’s early, messy kit/parts numbering, for many years 🙃
  2. Perhaps the "white" Jet Hopper from @Stefan(2) 's memory was in fact the Taiyo Jet Fighter. Or perhaps it was the Taiyo Jet Racer 4WD... These were Taiyo's premium models that were released in 1987, following the success of the Jet Hopper. For the record - there are some known sales figures for the Jet Hopper in Australia, and also the Tamiya Fox in Australia. To quote myself (apologies, but it's easier than retyping ) - https://rctoymemories.com/2016/09/11/metro-taiyo-jet-hopper-1986/ These figures I used were official figures from distributors for Tamiya, and legal documents related to Taiyo.
  3. The kit numbers were expanded from 4 digits to 5 digits sometime (I think) in the mid-late 1980s, but I would have to double check the exact timing. But it is true that the earlier kits had 4 digits (for example on the kit box) Of course, the very earliest kits actually use the RA numbering. Tamiya's original numbering system for R/C kits was RA-1001 and onwards. This numbering system lasted as far as kit 31 aka "RA-1031" Brabham BT50 BMW Turbo. Beyond that point, Tamiya switched to the "58" sequence using 4 digits, and later 5 digits. Yeah it's true of course... everything was just old, unwanted, out-of-date stock for many years. Nobody considered it vintage...because vintage wasn't even a term we used. And not enough years had passed for people to really think in those terms. And those were great days too if you started collecting early. The first time I can honestly say I went to hobby shops looking specifically for old, leftover stock related to cars from the 1980s was in 1992. I know that sounds incredibly early... why would I have even thought of it, at that stage? Well, having grown up mostly in the 1980s, I was somehow acutely aware and/or obsessed with the R/C models of that time (and the rest is history). I also didn't have access to a lot of the things I had wanted during those years. So I was somewhat starved for access (and money) and the ability to own some of the great toys of my childhood. As early as 1992 I visited a hobby shop about 1 hour from where I lived, with the specific intention of trying to find parts/bits/anything related to the older Tamiyas that were out of production. And I was very happy to find a large plastic container there full of boxed Sand Scorcher original tyre sets, which were "on sale". I bought a couple of them, and also got an original Tamiya Hornet body set, which cost me AU$45. I knew these cars (as new in box kits) were no longer available by then... and I had developed a sense of "I need to stock up on spare parts when I can afford it" because I sensed they were becoming scarce. I remember the store owner telling me that a new "Hornet" was coming out soon, called the Super Hornet. Shortly after that, I also visited Sydney's Hobbyco hobby store - a store that has now been around for some 80 years or more. It's one of the last great hobby stores in Australia. And on that day, I remember they still had original issue sets of rear Super Champ tyres for sale on the shelf. But I remember they were about $30 or so. I didn't have a lot of money at that time, so I bought a few other small things from an "old stock" parts/sale bin they had. I was pretty pleased because back home I had begun restoring an old Hotshot (a wreck - found through a newspaper ad), and I got an original set of Hotshot front tyres in packet for $10, and some other little random little bits like Tamiya bearings and so forth. I told myself I'd go back to the store for the Super Champ tyres the next time. That was a mistake - and something I really regretted later. Because the next time I went to Hobbyco, the Super Champ tyres were all gone. And I ended up ringing around every hobby store in the Sydney region - to no avail. Nobody had the Super Champ tyres any more. And no amount of back-ordering was able to get them either. This was in 1993. At this point, I had to admit - I felt a bit crushed, thinking I would probably never obtain spare sets of those tyres. Little did I know that in years to come, the Internet would appear. And then eBay. In 1994 I decided to make an attempt to see what, if any, whole new in box "1980s" era Tamiya R/C kits might still be lingering in all the hobby stores in Sydney. So I rang around every store in the phone book. And I got lucky - there was one store that had one (just one) Monster Beetle kit left. I had some money, so I swooped and purchased it. A lot of my enthusiasm for the "old" items during this time was also being inspired by the sense that Tamiya had changed direction - releasing mostly touring cars in the early-mid 1990s. Or otherwise less interesting (less real looking) off-road vehicles, compared to the past. They just didn't do it for me, like the 1980s ones did. And combine that with the "fear of missing out"... and it meant I was inspired to start searching very early. And so began... a lifelong obsession. When I first got home internet access in 1996, there wasn't really even anything much on the web about Tamiya - let alone vintage Tamiya. And at first it never even occurred to me that the internet would eventually become a tool through which you could trade (safely). It was all very new and daunting at that time. If I could a website about Sting or Pink Floyd to appear on my screen, or download a 2Mb video clip, it was a revelation. Even MP3s didn't exist at first. eBay didn't really gain much attention from the mainstream until 1998, but most people were still pretty cautious about buying anything online. So for a while I looked at eBay but thought it was still too "risky". By 1999 though, I joined, and tried my hand at sending a Western Union money order to buy something from a seller in the USA, in the hope that the eBay "feedback system" would work and that people really were honorable. To my relief, it worked. And as my confidence grew, my bank balance diminished What followed from there, was the stunning discovery that old Tamiya stock actually existed in the world. Not just Super Champ tyres. But whole kits. Even the earliest kits - many of which I had previously never seen before in unbuilt form. Some sellers were selling them via their websites, but most were on eBay. And everything - and I mean everything - was a bidding war. Because every listing was an auction, and there was no such thing as "buy it now".
  4. Apologies to @nowinaminute as I just realized I have repeated some info he already posted - but you get the idea We are both nerds for some of these lesser known models.
  5. Aristocraft was Korean. An early example of Korea trying to get in on the action, and I have to say, they did ok too. They didn't simply rip off and counterfeit everything. And the Aristocraft buggies (Kangaroo, Dolphin and Koala) were at times.... raced in some competitions. Also... Yeah, so... Yonezawa is the original manufacturer of these. The Land Dash and Missiler (both released in 1984) were the original incarnations of them. Here's a Land Dash in box I sold a while back. I actually love the action photo on the box of this model. https://rctoymemories.com/items-for-sale/for-sale-2-yonezawa-land-dash/ Monogram bought them from Yonezawa, and sold them in the US an elsewhere under the other names - like "Lightning" etc. The Red Arrow meanwhile, was manufactured in Taiwan by a little known company called Radcon. It was in fact, the Radcon Wild Fox... Tandy/Radio Shack purchased this model, and re-sold it under their branding as the Red Arrow. This complimented the naming of the "Golden Arrow" they already had, which had in fact been custom manufactured for Radio Shack, by Nikko. Red Arrow... https://rctoymemories.com/2017/01/28/tandy-radio-shack-red-arrow-buggy-1988/ Golden Arrow... https://rctoymemories.com/2013/04/29/tandy-radio-shack-golden-arrow-1987/
  6. Also, the "old dates" on "Re re" parts are often new stampings. Or to explain another way - just because a part has an old date on it like "1985" or something, actually does not mean it's even using the exact same mould and same stamping, as the original 1985 part did. Often the old moulds were reworked and modified. Sometimes they were revised entirely. Early parts from the 80s can easily be identified because they had very simple embossed details. Times were simpler... there were less regulations. All they usually had written on them was one or all of these: Model name (e.g. "RCC Grasshopper"), year (e.g. "1984"), and "Made in Japan" Modern remake editions of those parts, have new stamps consisting of: EU compliance material stamps with alphabetic codes, e.g. “ABS” (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), “PS” (Polystyrene), “PA” (Polyamide) or “PC” (Polycarbonate). These never appeared on vintage parts. Tamiya name, e.g. “© Tamiya”. This never appeared on vintage parts. Year, e.g. “© 1979”. While year did also appear on vintage parts, the use of the “©” symbol proves a part is a remake part. Vintage model number e.g. “58047”, PLUS product code e.g. some 7 digit number like “0984071”. Even though a vintage model number like “58047” refers to a car from the 1980s, such numbers never actually appeared on vintage parts. Likewise, product codes never appeared on vintage parts. Have this info here also.
  7. That's definitely not what is happening. That's definitely not what's happening either. Having collected older kits (even since before eBay began), having been in contact with Tamiya on occasion, and having spoken to other collectors over many years including some who have visited Tamiya in Shizuoka... the old stock you see online on eBay and so forth, has always been old shop stock, or otherwise items owned by private sellers. There is no leftover kit stock with Tamiya themselves. At least not for the purpose of cannibalizing the kits, or secretly trickling the old stock onto the market. They do however, have a nice display in their foyer! The reality is that a lot (millions) of kits were sold in Japan alone even just during the "vintage" era. And there were a lot of toy and hobby stores that sold them. Some stores still to this day find lingering old examples of kits and models of all kinds, then throw them up online for sale. In other cases, Japanese owners (either collectors or just people who never got around to opening the models) list them online. As with any collectible - the radius area closest to the factory where those items were manufactured, has a tendency to have the most surviving examples in the years that follow. The same thing happened around the Kenner factory in the USA, in relation to Star Wars collectibles. When it comes to leftover Tamiya in other countries... As mentioned, there is less chance to find leftover items at the international distributor level, because those companies were more concerned with shifting stock and getting rid of it ASAP. There are relatively few stories around of collectors hitting vintage gold from distributors. Though there were a few here and there who got lucky. Hobby shops however, did tend to be places where a few old items would linger, especially parts but occasionally kits. And there are many stories of hobby shop finds, everywhere from Australia to Cyprus. I have had a number of lucky kit finds from hobby stores. But hobby shops outside Japan were always less likely to yield vintage gold than the stores in Japan. And today, both the stores inside and outside Japan now rarely contain much in the way of vintage items. As it has for years been mined and listed on eBay by probably hundreds of collectors and traders. These days I would suggest that most vintage kits are in the hands of collectors already. With only a small trickle still being "found" either in Japan or internationally. Most of the examples being sold online these days are being sold from one collector to another. Unlike in the early days of eBay, when most listings were still "store finds". Some of you may remember an eBay seller called jr-rc... he was actually an Australian who lived in Japan, and made a business for himself finding and selling old stock of R/C models, parts and other things, on eBay. Business boomed for him, in particular from 2000 to 2005 or thereabouts. I was even told once, that he drove a very nice 1:1 car as a result of the success of his eBay shop. There are few eBay sellers now, who can maintain the type of mass-listings of vintage stock, that stores like jr-rc had during the peak years - when eBay first opened up the opportunity for all that stock to be traded around the world. cheers, Rob.
  8. It's a different kind of treasure hunt these days. 15+ years ago it was still possible to find whole kits as old stock in physical hobby stores. Much less so today. So the only way to find them now, is online. But I do get what you are saying. If you can find something online, and it's a waiting game, is that really a "treasure hunt"? I still think it is. Because even the most popular vintage kits are not always available. Most buyers are not patient and do not have the patience to watch the market all year long. They only try for a few weeks, then give up. Popular vintage kits might come up for sale 5-10 times a year. But you also have to compete with other buyers for them. You could also argue it's "lucky" just to be able to afford them, as most people can't. Then there are the rare kits. Rare kits might only come up once a year, once in five years, or never. And there is no doubt getting one of those is "treasure" - even if you were waiting and watching for it to appear, rather than rummaging for it in a farm shed. Then there is also the aspect that not everything on the internet is plainly visible and easy to find for everyone. A lot of things I have found through contacts met online, which is another dimension to the searching. Or via very rigorous searching on foreign websites themselves, where sometimes things are hidden, expired or just poorly displayed - requiring effort to trawl through, translate, or chase old links or old expired listings. I have found many things this way, over the years.
  9. Holy thread resurrection, Batman! I love all the pictures in this thread. Anyone got anything more to add, to keep it going for a bit?
  10. 😆 True, true. Only difference is: “worst” is very subjective. “Lowest sales” could actually be figured out factually - if only we had the sales figures. All we have are clues though. Solar Eagle is a good guess, due to highly limited play value. But I bet there are other candidates. Look deep in the corners of the “Perfect Album”, and find... “boys racer” series and other oddities that came and went. Some models were featured in corners of the annual catalogues, without even colour pictures. Then of course there’s specifically limited edition releases. How many examples of the original Black Porsche were made? On a measure of miniscule sales volume alone, something like that might actually be the winner.
  11. I would suggest the candidates for this would be any models that lasted 1 year (appeared in 1 annual catalogue), then were canceled. Surely nothing else is a bigger clue as to lagging worldwide sales, than Tamiya’s cancellation of production itself. By contrast, the most popular models had sales runs that lasted 8 or 9 years, maybe more. Overall (all time) the least popular model is more likely to be from the 1990s or 2000s, when dozens of obscure, forgotten models (rebodied touring car variants and the like) were produced among Tamiya’s large numbers of different kits being sold at once.9 Than anything in the 1980s when the hobby was having its early popularity and Tamiya sold far fewer different kits at once. But I could be wrong. 🤔
  12. Just to add @Juggular - the fact that Tamiya labelled the original body "VW Buggy" has always made me think they literally had no name chosen for Sand Scorcher, when the mold was created. I guess "VW Buggy" was the working title. Just another charming aspect of the early days of Tamiya RC which, despite the remarkable tooling, tolerances and precision of the product you were buying, were in some ways a bit "let's make it up as we go along" - hence also, how so many of the early kits underwent variations during their production. A phenomenon which was to disappear in later years. There are countless examples of this sort of thing, when you go looking.
  13. No worries. A bit more... The embossed writing on the original black bumper is located on the top side of the bumper, so you won't be able to see it while its on the vehicle. As I am lucky enough to have several brand new examples of the original black one, I've just taken some quick snaps for you. Here is a brand new original black bumper... And here is where to look for the writing that proves this is an example from the original production run 1979 - 1985... As you can see, this example even has the misprint of "bugy" which was later corrected. I guess this one is probably the earliest of the early This is the other side of the bumper. As you can see, there is nothing written on that side at all. And overall, these bumpers have a muted shine to them. They are not especially polished/glossy in appearance, and the plastic is sort of matte, if anything. Only the early Sand Scorchers and Rough Riders came with the black bumper. Later vintage Sand Scorchers and Rough Riders (probably 1981 onward) came with the beige bumper instead. As did all other models that used this part, like the Super Champ, Sand Rover, Holiday Buggy and Ford F150 Ranger XLT. Then, fast forward 30+ years after that....came the remake of the Sand Scorcher kit, along with the Rough Rider kit - which was now renamed "Buggy Champ". Both came with a black bumper also, but the newly made bumper has a really high gloss, polished shine to it as shown below. The embossed writing is also different, as you can see - it appears on the underside of the bumper and says "Tamiya Plastic Model Co.". I can't remember if the top side also has writing.
  14. Those (the smaller businesses cited) are good to hear 👍 Even better if they are still able to manufacture locally (though I'm unsure if they do). I support what @Juggular said about Taiwan being "not part of", also. However, if Tamiya was completely sold to a foreign owner like some other brands were, there is a good chance it wouldn't actually be Tamiya anymore in my book. Early Japanese RC manufacture was such an interesting, and diverse history of early ideas and designs, with no brands directly cloning the other. Each tried to come up with something new, even if ideas were copied. And the companies themselves were often run by family concerns. I miss the days when all the great Japanese RC manufacturers (and indeed, brands from other nations too) were owned and operated in their original incarnation. Though to go back that far, means the early 1990s. Still, I feel lucky to have been able to own a few of the original pieces by those companies, from before they changed or disappeared.
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