beefmuffin

Is it vintage? collective tips to help make informed decisions.

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Hi guys OK so I recently had another chance to take some side-by-side vintage vs re-re parts pics in the form of original gold Hotshot / Supershot wheels vs their re-release Super Hotshot counterparts.  It turned out I had the re-re versions on my Supershot so I swapped them out with a NIP set of originals I had.  That just goes to show how important it is to help people know the difference.  I keep finding more and more mistakes I'd made over the years due to lack of information about how to know the correct parts to use for restorations.  I've gotten better with experience but that doesn't help others who are getting started.

Anyway, let's start with the rear wheels.  Vintage on the left, re-re on the right.  You can see differences in the material and finish side-by-side, but that isn't much help when you only have one set and are trying to determine whether it's original or not.

29198700660_acbb75b2a1_o.jpg

The "RCC HOTSHOT REAR" embossing is identical but as is so often the case the vintage parts have "MADE IN JAPAN" clearly labeled somewhere while most if not all the re-release versions are either missing this or have had it blocked out, like so...

29407688901_5716184383_o.jpg

So far ALL the re-release vs vintage Tamiya wheels I've examined can all be differentiated by looking for "MADE IN JAPAN".  If it's there, you can almost certainly be sure they are original.  The next difference with the rear wheels is that the originals have nothing embossed on the insides (vintage on the left, re-re on the right):

29198692180_3621cdabd6_o.jpg

29407693171_f181216061_o.jpg

29379200432_b5bf171f95_o.jpg

It can be tricky... in fact it's almost misleading that the original Hotshot model number has been added to the re-release wheels in addition to the (c) 1985.  Don't be fooled by this!  Without knowing better I'd probably be fooled by this... maybe that's how I was fooled into installing them on my Supershot in the first place.  The vintage wheel is totally blank on the inside like so...

29453473926_a067135053_o.jpg

The re-release gold-plated wheels have a notably deeper gold richness and hue than the originals.  I don't know if this is due to age - with the gold fading to closer to silver in places on the originals - or due to a change in the material or process.  You can see the difference below, vintage on the left (note the blocked out "MADE IN JAPAN" embossing at this angle as well.

28863048884_57c7efa041_o.jpg

 

Rather than repeating all that for the FRONT wheels I'll just say that the differences are identical to those for the rears and just insert the pics below...

29487757115_7c15840e2d_o.jpg

29487756975_09ea0b0fbb_o.jpg

28865407663_561d686e8d_o.jpg

29407695381_762b6498a7_o.jpg

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Great work! And I'll use these pics on my Supershot page (when we get to it - still on Hotshot for now, and might try to do some more on that today).

A few comments:

  • It's funny to see that the embossed "Made in Japan" writing has actually just been blanked out on the reissue without removing the embossing entirely. The mold itself has obviously been modified because it has new embossed writing elsewhere, but they did a half-hearted job removing "Made in Japan". (I don't blame them - I never thought I'd see the day when "made in Japan" was no longer ubiquitous among Tamiya products and culture).
  • The gold is definitely applied differently on the vintage, compared to the reissue. The gold is definitely more of a deeper "rose gold" on the reissue wheels. I do not think that the vintage wheel gold has faded or changed with time since those parts were made, it was always just a lighter "slightly silvery" kind of gold. The difference between them is definitely noticeable to a purist as well (hey, we even notice how the white Sand Scorcher wheels were always "off white" in the vintage days, yet the reissues are a clinical "bright white"... I prefer the off-white! ;))
  • I totally agree that the fact reissue parts have often added the model number along with "© YEAR" is potentially confusing/misleading...

As a result, I've just rewritten/expanded my wording/explanation under "Types of differences" on this page - https://rctoymemories.com/2016/05/29/a-detailed-guide-to-vintage-vs-reissue-tamiya-rc-kits/

Hopefully this is just clearer to read. I added a "Don't be fooled" subheading as well ;)

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Motor differences time B)

Sometimes Tamiya wrote "RS-540S MOTOR"...

tamiya-hotshot-motor-vintage.jpg?w=400

Sometimes they wrote "RS-540 MOTOR"...

tamiya-frog-motor-vintage.jpg?w=400

And more variations because some kits seem to have just said "MOTOR"...

http://www.tamiyaclub.com/pictureframe.asp?t=n&id=img2006_25122014051003_4.jpg

(and probably more variations if I look around)

Questions

1) I'm assuming that the first picture is correct. ie. These motors are all RS-540S. Incidentally, "S" in the name (after the number) designates the type of magnet, in this case an "Anisotropic magnet or Rare earth magnet" according to Mabuchi.

2) Are the vintage white-ended Mabuchi RS-540S motors identical to the vintage black-ended Mabuchi RS-540S motors? (apart from the white/black end)

3) To my knowledge, some of the remake kits also came with Johnson "J" 540 motors, which are a different brand of course. Is this correct for the Frog or Hotshot remakes? Do they sometimes have those Johnsons?

4) Some vintage white-ended motors were also Johnson motors, were they not?

A lot of people have asked about this over the years, in terms of "what is period correct for Car X". The answer of course has to be: "Whatever was known to come in the original kit, is original for that car".

But it certainly varies between cars. e.g. the original Boomerang kit seems to have come with 3 variants of the Mabuchi RS-540S at various points in its production run.

 

 

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This topic definitely needs to be discussed and determined.  @chickenman242tk and I were just discussing this the other day.  There seem to have been white-endbell motors in both kits that came before and after the black-endbell motors.  I have a vague memory that some variants of the same vintage kits came with black and some with white for the same model.  There are also the 2 and 4 vent/hole distinctions as well as wire/lead color variants and whether or not bullet connectors came pre-crimped.  What we really need to do is break down all the stock motor variations that existed and have a motor-specific page then indicate for each kit which of the motors were included, as well as whether more than one version made it into those kits.

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Agreed 100%. I am going to have to set up a page, with a photo of each motor variant, and an indication of which kits it is known to have been standard in. Questions about this have literally been kicking around on these forums for over a decade - it will be great if people can finally know for certain whether some random old motor they have was known to have come in a original kit - if they want to keep their build fully kit-original.

Also, I think my previous post was wrong on one thing: Mabuchi never made white endbell motors. All white endbell motors are Johnson motors. Also, Johnson motors are made in Hong Kong. Whereas Mabuchis are made in Japan.

Correct me if you can find instances where these statements aren't true :)

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It seems that it would be very difficult to pinpoint a motor for a particular car when they vary from country to country 

From what ive worked out the johnson 540 came into play in 88 at some point as most of the ta chassis have them as did say like the bear hawk and madcap.

But every nowand then they would throw a mabuchi metal end bell in , inho the johnson was better and now its even a hop up. 

I have bought 4 rere kits being a wild one monster beetle and the first porsche and now the jagermiester one and all have the new style 540 with the dull finish except the beetle , it all seems very random lol

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We'd probably all agree that the Johnson motors arrived later (e.g. 1988 as @chickenman242tk says). I guess this Frog kit example - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/pictureframe.asp?t=n&id=img2006_25122014051003_4.jpg is therefore a later Frog kit. And we also know why the motor is only labeled "MOTOR" and not "RS-540S MOTOR" in that particular Frog example - it's because the name "RS-540S" belongs to Mabuchi alone. Johnson's motor has no specific name, so if a Johnson was in the kit, the label may have always just said "MOTOR". I'll have to check some kits over the weekend. It's a small way in which kit display was affected by the motor that was included (something I don't think I've seen mentioned before).

@Rosey your suggestion about the distribution being tied to motor brand is interesting also. If true... it could be the first actual parts difference (that I know of) across a couple of different kit releases? (eg. Japanese release vs external releases).

I'm going to try to create a grid to track which motors appeared in which kits, and just see where it leads.

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mabuchi is a conglomerate headquartered in japan. but its motors are produced in multiple factories in Asia. I believe the 540 motors these days are mainly made in China and Vietnam.

same for johnson electric. multiple factories, but HQ is in HK.

johnson is the larger company by revenue, operating income and employees

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Well @Hibernaculum and  @chickenman242tk I guess that answers the question of whether some Frog kits came with white vs black endbell motors (thanks Rob).  The thing I find curious is that the MSC included here is a black-plate style.  I know for some kits that came with both black and tan MSCs the black ones were the earlier of the two.  Did Frog kits ever have tan MSCs?  Also I wonder if, for the kits that just say "MOTOR", that general term was used during a time when more than one type of motor was being included depending on whatever was on hand in the factory on that given run/day.  The juxtaposition of white endbell motors and black MSCs may be why I had a gut sense that white endbell motors came first in some kits.

img2006_25122014051003_4.jpg

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Was it demand / Price of the motors that the company's couldn't keep up ? & 

this is why different motors were put in the kits ?? ..  Could be as simple as that ?.

Rc rose very fast & demand was high , as most used these motors  ? . Only thinking out loud .  

carry on ! .. 

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Thanks @huasze great info. I am not surprised that Mabuchi motors today are made in China etc. I wonder when Mabuchi motors in Tamiya kits went from being "made in Japan", to not being Japanese.

On the Mabuchi vs Johnson pattern, I spent a little time tonight looking around...

On 22/09/2016 at 1:53 PM, Rosey said:

It is something I noticed when searching for a nib Hotshot II kit. Had one as a kid and mine had the white end bell....this was Christmas 1987, not 1988. I had been looking for a mint nib kit since 2006 and in all that time, only the Japanese kits (box with the additional Japanese text) had the Mabuchi black end bell. The kit I had as a kid was bought from Howes in Oxford my mum told me and had a white end bell. All the kits I have seen since, ebay and in the showrooms on TC all confirm this motor issue. I suggest you have a look yourself. 20 odd nib Hotshot II kits, too much of a coincidence imho!!

I had a look in the showrooms too, at about 50 kits across a few models. In the case of the Hotshot II (released in 1987)...

As you said @Rosey...

  • Every Non-Japanese Release Hotshot II kit has the Johnson motor (white plastic endbell)
  • Every Japanese Release Hotshot II kit has the Mabuchi motor (modern type with black metal endbell)....EXCEPT! This one that Nathan has just bought, which has a Japanese box (seemingly) and Johnson motor. Thoughts guys? Could this one have been reboxed? - http://tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=128333&id=45478

(I've put a line through that last bit - see subsequent comments)

I have a couple of Hotshot II kits here, and they confirm the regular pattern. Other kits of mine are also confirming this pattern so far.

So....

Possible rule: Every* non-Japanese release, which was manufactured after a certain year in the mid-late 1980s (1987?), has Johnson motor.

Remember that the production runs of many kits continued for several years. It looks to me that if those runs crossed the "Johnson threshold" (1987?), they started getting Johnson motors in all Non-Japanese release kits.

* = By saying "Every" I refer loosely to vintage era, not necessarily every kit up to today.

@matman Possibly correct. Maybe the extra cost of transporting kits from Japan --> rest of world, meant they decided to offset that cost with a slightly cheaper motor (the Hong Kong made Johnson) from circa 1987 onwards?

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Hibenaculum, I really like your work and effort!

With regards to motors, it's probably not useful to delve too much into them. More likely than not, they just used motors from whichever supplier they had contracted from in bulk with the best prices at that time. Tamiya was only made in Japan until 1994 when they opened the Philippines facility. 

As Japanese do have a preference for local brands, they may have consciously placed Mabuchi brand motors into kits destined for the local market. The anomaly of a Johnson motor could have simply been a case of running out of available mabuchis at that time.  Too many possibilities such that we won't ever know unless we were inside their production line. 

I prefer Mabuchi motors. They are shinier!

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Most of the kits i had bitd were johnson motors so its hard to say for me what else was out there .

One kit i had a hard time with was the sonic fighter , i ended up using a johnson as most of the cars i saw on the net were that way but some others were white end bell in blister packs .

Im about 90% done on a vtg frog and im going with a black end bell courtesy of @beefmuffin as i do remember my hornet having one , my wild willy from bitd was a white end bell .

To me its all like trying to get the right msc and motor but it all seems very random in my experience so i guess what im saying is there is no right or wrong combo as sometimes there is no way to know where your kit originated from

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@Rosey You're totally right, I got fooled. Too much staring at kits in one night :D

@huasze cheers for that :)

Yeah, it's definitely not a big deal about the motor thing. It's funny in a way, because some people prefer the non-Japanese release boxes (due to the absence of loads of Japanese writing that they can't understand). Yet this research means that if you do prefer them, any post-1987 kit will actually have the white-ended Johnson motor, and you might prefer not to have that. After all, I think Mabuchi was the motor always mentioned in the catalogues too.

Honestly, my kit collection is a mix of both types. And as I always say - anyone with any NIB vintage Tamiya kit at all, should always be thankful they have it, because there are far more vintage Tamiya fans out there who aren't that lucky (yet enjoying the hobby just as much, as they should be). These little details are trivia and "nice to know" history for those who've been lucky enough to fork out for these rare kits, and nothing more.

On that note, another bit of trivia to add, while we're on this.

Motors in box art...

I had a look at box art tonight. Did you know that the Road Wizard (kit #53) is the first Tamiya kit where you can actually seen even a hint of the motor on the actual box art illustration? It is shown through transparency only. After that, the Boomerang (#55) and the Hotshot II (#62) are the next kits where you can actually see the motor on the box art illustration. But every other kit before them had been illustrated in such a way as to conceal the motor from view entirely. Either by illustrating the car on the non-motor side, or just not illustrating the motor at all.

It was clearly a conscious decision of Tamiya to not illustrate the motors in the beginning, in order to make the illustrations look more like real cars. I have always felt that the box art was really just "a fantasy rendition" anyway, designed to inspire us kids, and not intended to be an exact rendering of the toy car inside. Hence I never use the term "box art" these days - for me it's "catalogue photo" that I consider gospel for any build ;)

With that said, of those 3 kits I mentioned where the motor is visible (Road Wizard, Boomerang and Hotshot II) all of them show the black ended (Mabuchi) motor. I'd

http://tamiyaclub.com/pictureframe.asp?t=n&id=img22062_25102007085427_1.jpg

http://tamiyaclub.com/pictureframe.asp?t=n&id=img15643_27102007155525_1.jpg

http://tamiyaclub.com/pictureframe.asp?t=n&id=img18963_15032009140526_1.jpg

I only looked at kits from 1 - 62 for this research. But I'd almost bet that there are no kits (later, ever) that have a white motor illustrated in box art. Correct me if I'm wrong though, always happy to be wrong...

And finally...

So what about the changeover from the Mabuchi RS-540S (black plastic endbell) to the Mabuchi RS-540SH (black inset metal endbell)?

I have a Japanese release Hotshot II kit here with the RS-540SH. And all the other Japanese release Hotshot II kits look to have the same. And if you look at say, all the Thundershot kits (which was also released in 1987) in the showrooms, all the Japanese-release kits also have the RS-540SH as well.

This seems to mean that the RS-540SH became the standard motor in all Japanese release kits, at around the same time that the Johnson became the standard motor in all non-Japanese release kits. Perhaps these changes were connected? :)

 

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48 minutes ago, Hibernaculum said:

This seems to mean that the RS-540SH became the standard motor in all Japanese release kits, at around the same time that the Johnson became the standard motor in all non-Japanese release kits. Perhaps these changes were connected? :)

Did any of the Thundershot chassis kits come with white end-bell motors (Japanese / Non-Japanese)?  I was pretty sure they all came with the metal inset ones.  I was looking into it because I just picked up a beautiful Terra Scorcher that had the metal-inset motor and I wanted to check that it was original and not a modern replacement.  Everywhere I looked the Terra Scorcher at least only had the metal end-bell version... granted I wasn't looking for it exclusively, just enough to know it wasn't not original issue.

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Ive owned two original nib thundershots and they both had black end bells, I think my thunder dragon nib did as well

However used thundershots purchased before the re-re seem to all come with white??????

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@beefmuffin - those kit pics really need to show the box front as well, to see whether they have Japanese writing or not, otherwise there is no way to know if the motor-inclusion pattern is consistent ;)

9 hours ago, taffer said:

Ive owned two original nib thundershots and they both had black end bells, I think my thunder dragon nib did as well. However used thundershots purchased before the re-re seem to all come with white??????

  • All Thundershots and Thunder Dragons were manufactured in 1987 or later, so...
  • Any Japanese kit examples of them have the Mabuchi RS-540SH motor (black metal end bell).
  • Any non-Japanese kit examples of them have the Johnson motor (white plastic end bell).

 

To be really clear and recap the theory, as it stands. It goes like this...

  • All cars had production runs spanning several years. e.g. The Frog kits were manufactured between 1983 - 1988 (from memory)
  • The following rules only apply to kits with standard 540 motors (not 380s, and not special motors).
  • If an individual example of a kit was manufactured before 1987/1988, then:
    • The motor inside will be: Mabuchi RS-540S. This has a black plastic endbell.
  • If an individual example of a kit was manufactured around 1987/1988 or later, then:
    • If it does have Japanese writing on the box, the motor inside will be: Mabuchi RS-540SH. This has a black metal endbell.
    • If it does not have Japanese writing on the box, the motor inside will be: Johnson 540. This has a white plastic endbell.

 

Like all theories though, it may need to be refined if we can find examples where it isn't true.

However, be careful of reboxings. For example. This Road Wizard has a Japanese box lid. This means it should have a Mabuchi motor. But instead it has a Johnson. However, if you look more closely, you can also see the kit internals include the red MRC (Model Rectifier Corp) customer card with the hand drawn Scorcher on it. The kit internals are a USA release kit. The box lid is Japanese. So the lid had to have been swapped over, at some stage, from a Japanese kit.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

@beefmuffin - those kit pics really need to show the box front as well, to see whether they have Japanese writing or not, otherwise there is no way to know if the motor-inclusion pattern is consistent ;)

OK let my try to find and intersperse links below... then a few new examples below exploring the current theory.  Any time an example diverges from the theory I'll bold and italicize the conflicting details.

Quote

1) Thundershot - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=71611&id=15643img15643_17022008222047_2.jpg

 

2) Thundershot - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=63544&id=20318

img20318_27062007203438_3.jpg

 

3) Thundershot - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=114249&id=37496

img37496_08052012121730_3.jpg

 

4) Thundershot - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=128099&id=45478

img45478_08012016122149_4.jpg

 

5) Thunder DragonJapanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=116034&id=37496

img37496_11092012201651_2.jpg

 

6) Thunder DragonJapanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=128352&id=45478

img45478_10022016220911_2.jpg

 

7) Fire Dragon - Non-Japanese - White EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=116426&id=37496

img37496_07102012181125_2.jpg

 

8) Fire Dragon - Non-Japanese - White EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=57018&id=17591

img17591_19012007010726_1.jpg

 

9) Terra Scorcher - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=125482&id=5927

img5927_10012015120550_2.jpg

 

10) Terra Scorcher - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=121674&id=40595

img40595_18122013202508_2.jpg

11) Thunder Dragon - Non-Japanese - Metal EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=114651&id=24856

12) Thunder Dragon - Japanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=116034&id=37496

13) Thunder Dragon - Japanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=112157&id=5927

14) Thunder Dragon - Japanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=58707&id=9757

15) Thunder Dragon - Non-Japanese - Metal EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=36155&id=945

16) Thunder Dragon - Non-Japanese - White EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=35387&id=9871

17) Thunder Dragon - Japanese - White EBhttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=23410&id=4901

18) Thunder Dragon - Non-Japanese - White EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=11931&id=31

19) Thunder Dragon - Japanese - Metal EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=8658&id=944

20) Thundershot - Non-Japanese - White EB - http://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=108298&id=34053

21) Terra Scorcher - all Japanese and Non-Japanese kits I found had Metal EB

...except this onehttp://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=5136&id=24

22) Fire Dragon - all kits on TC follow the Japanese - Metal EB / Non-Japanese - White EB rule

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so because I had English manuals they may have been altered? (they are gone now so I doesn't really matter!)

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Stellar research there Ben, really great.

The high number of examples of the Thunder Dragon that diverge from the motor theory, is weird. When other models barely have a single car that diverges from the theory. It definitely seems like a stack of Japanese release Thunder Dragons had the Johnson with white EB. It effectively wrecks the theory, apart from the fact it seems limited to the Thunder Dragons. ******* you Thunder Dragons!! :lol:

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5 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Stellar research there Ben, really great.

The high number of examples of the Thunder Dragon that diverge from the motor theory, is weird. When other models barely have a single car that diverges from the theory. It definitely seems like a stack of Japanese release Thunder Dragons had the Johnson with white EB. It effectively wrecks the theory, apart from the fact it seems limited to the Thunder Dragons. ******* you Thunder Dragons!! :lol:

Yeah so I think no 'rule of thumb' is going to be sufficient to determine which kits came with what and when and have to stick to cataloging examples.  Though there's no harm in observing that the majority of kit X, variant Y came with motor Z so long that's definitely a clear trend and clearly indicates the existence of, and possibly the estimated rate of incidence of, examples that contradict the trend.  We don't want to inadvertently call into question the authenticity of kits or unintentionally suggest that kit contents have been re-boxed, etc.  When it comes down to uncertainty as to the absolute genuineness of the contents of NIB kits this is what drove me to start to only collect sealed ones.  Obviously, there is a certain amount of satisfaction denied by not being able to look inside - especially related to this topic (it would be nice to see what variants they are) - but there's the alternate satisfaction of knowing the contents are exactly as they were intended.

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9 hours ago, beefmuffin said:

Though there's no harm in observing that the majority of kit X, variant Y came with motor Z so long that's definitely a clear trend and clearly indicates the existence of, and possibly the estimated rate of incidence of, examples that contradict the trend.

Agreed. That's how I'm feeling also. It seems like the Thunder Dragon is an exception. The rest - if it's a non-Japanese kit, and the kit was manufactured after 1987-ish, it tends to have Johnson motor. That's where I'm at, at the moment.

Regarding sealed kits...I guess based on what we have been researching...

Sealed kits made post-1987 = mostly guaranteed to have Johnson white endbell motors. Because Japanese kits were never sealed, only really those sold by MRC (USA).

Sealed kits made pre-1987 = prone to variants. ie. Tamiya kits had more parts variants in earlier half of the 80s. (Wouldn't you like to know if a sealed Sand Scorcher was Mk1, a sealed Hotshot was Mk1, or a sealed Wild Willy was Mk1 (SWB)? ;))

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3 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Wouldn't you like to know if a sealed Sand Scorcher was Mk1, a sealed Hotshot was Mk1, or a sealed Wild Willy was Mk1 (SWB)? ;)

Twisting the knife, Rob...TWISTING THE KNIFE!  LOL

I was curious, based on this discussion, to go check the motor variants of some of the NIB kits I'd sold in recent years... many of which I sold specifically because they were unsealed (of course, my NIB collection was never enormous and is smaller now that it's only sealed kits... but I'm content to grow it slowly as I stumble on the odd bargain here and there).  Here are pics I could dig up of probably 2/3 to 3/4 of the sold kits.  It looks like there were examples of early Frog, Hornet and Blackfoot kits... based on our observations.  In the case of Thunder Dragons I wonder if there was any impact of the 'earliness' of the kit on non-JP versions coming with white EB motors or if they all (or nearly all) did throughout production.  Hmm...

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One thing I notice is that of the 3 Blackfoots we have 3 configurations;

1) Black MSC + Black End Bell

2) Black MSC + White End Bell

3) Beige MSC + Black End Bell

Also, the Midnight Pumpkin was Black MSC + White End Bell.

I'm pretty sure they were all U.S. release kits.  As I understand it the Black MSCs were the earlier variant, as ostensibly were the Black End Bells.  The first one has Black and Black, but the 2nd one is Black + White and 3rd is Beige + Black,  Thoughts?

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