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Saito2

does the mystery of Tamiya add to the mystique?

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Often times on this forum we bring up questions or theories about the engineering and development of Tamiya products. While we have some answers, shy of questioning a past Tamiya designer, there are a lot of holes in the history of the process. Being a 1:1 car-guy, there are plenty of history books that show what was going on behind the scenes back in the day. I notice that is missing with Tamiya. I've read the autobiography which does give you a good insight into mindset of the company and the struggles they overcame. Specific development questions tend to go without concrete answers, particularly in the realm of RC because, from the outset, it was not their main focus. So, while we can theorize (and likely come close to the truth in many cases), there's still much we don't know. Does this underlying mystery keep us coming back for more?

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Well, I think if we would be able to read a lot of books about Tamiya only available in Japanese language, we would have a lot less mysteries to guess about. Also, I think understanding the Japanese culture and know more about Japanese history would help.

As an example, I have a book about Japanese vintage micro-cars and -trucks, and one old picture shows a Nissan (I believe) small 3-wheel truck with a frogeye look of the headlights and a white over light pink factory colourscheme resembling that of the Frog boxart, which puzzled me. At the time I bought this book, I worked for a Japanese company (Hitachi Automotive) and had a lot of Japanese colleagues in the office. Most of them had a great interest in cars and when I showed the pic of the truck to one of them, he instantly told me that it was nicknamed "Frog Express" in Japan because of the look and the intended use as an urban quick delivery truck. Not a proof that this truck and its typical colourscheme necessarily inspired Tamiya when they designed and chose a colour scheme for the Frog, but not at all unlikely, especially when considering that white and pink aren't really the first colours you think about when thinking of a frog.

And I reckon that a lot of other Tamiya "mysteries" would be clear to us if we just knew more about Japanese culture, (automotive) history and so on. As for the technical development and evolution of the RC-models, I believe it to be well covered by all the Japanese literature available about Tamiya.

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Excellent Frog insight! I agree Japanese culture barrier possibly more than anything could be responsible for this mystique.

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Mokei, if you have a pic of one of those delivery trucks, that would be great. I searched, but couldn't find anything. I've always loved the pink/white colour scheme, but part of me always wondered why they went with it.

My only guess to date had been that frogs (the animals) come in a variety of colours, while grasshoppers are pretty much always green. Hence if they had a product timeline and knew they were planning to release two cars with those names, they really needed to reserve the green for the Grasshopper, and use a different colour palette for the Frog, to help differentiate them visually.

Perhaps this is still true to some extent, but case in point, it is just guesswork ^_^ And regarding the question... maybe the mystery adds a little to the mystique. For all I know, I'm probably very guilty of making too many assumptions about the hows and whys of Tamiya history. But at the very least, I think we can accurately compliment the things they did which we know definitely worked. We know the Frog worked, as a product. And we know colours and shapes were key to that success, because they gave each car a really appealing identity that was easy for kids to understand. We know these were great ideas, regardless of how they came up with them.

A flipside to this question might be...if we knew all Tamiya's history in detail, would we be slightly less interested than we are right now?

I like to think the answer to that is probably no, because at the end of the day, the bulk of the appeal relates to the end product and how we enjoy looking at it, building it and running it. And I don't think that would change for me, even if I knew every Tamiya secret.

But between these paragraphs, I may have just contradicted myself :P Good question Sean.

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So is it true that H.R. Giger was chief design consultant for the Dyna Storm lower arms? LOL just kidding. But seriously.....these oddities really stand out to me. There is nothing like them in all of RC (that I'm aware of) before or since.

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SThere is nothing like them in all of RC (that I'm aware of) before or since.

Agree, but Tenth Technology had at least some organic look of their models and certain parts.

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