Saito2

Random boxart thoughts again

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I love Tamiya boxart. If there's one skill in life I'd like, it would to be able to replicate it myself. I showed a trained artist some examples of it (wondering if he could give me lessons working up to that standard) and he was pretty blown away by Tamiya's work. Anyway, in my latest study I wondered just how much the artist(s) had contact with the actually vehicle (for example, did they drive it?) and if they were part of the naming/theme process of the vehicle. Several random observations:

The Lunch Box. Ever notice how the LB is one of the few boxart designs that somewhat "twisted" and comical (probably even more so than the Wild Willy). Did the artist run a LB? They seem to get the little van's "fun" and "playful" nature from looking at the finished boxart. As a kid, I saw the MRC photo ad before the boxart. I was surprised when I did see it. I liked how it was a "tightened up" version of the cartoon graphic (minus Vanessa hanging out the window) on the van's flanks.

The Clod Buster. The Clod was/is big. The artist must have been aware of this or its importance (selling point) by choosing a low perspective point. The Clod seems to be massive and towering from the vantage point the artist puts the viewer at. Interestingly the Juggernaut's photo box (boo!, I want boxart!) mimics the Clod's stance to a degree. Possibly, not only signifying its size but also that it was poised to take over the Clod's spot in the lineup at the time.

The Fox. The stance of the car clearly emphasizes how the body designs mimics a Fox's head. Slender, tapering snout, wing for "ears" etc.

The Frog and Grasshopper. Both hop so both boxarts present the cars leaping toward the viewer.

The Hornet. Aside form looking like one, the boxart depicts the buggy making an exaggerated, swift turn or change in direction. Hornets and bees generally move in quick darting motions like this in real life too.

The Falcon. Now this one can be subtle. Its no too different than the Bigwig for example. However the Falcon body design plus its boxart stance shows the buggy swooping in and down into the frame, much like its namesake, poised to strike.

The Boomerang. Another subtle one. The Boomer is pictured making a turn and coming back toward the viewer, much like the real thing perhaps.

The Hot Shot. Here's another one where I question if the artist drove the vehicle. Looking at how the front suspension is acting when pitched hard into the depicted turn, while exaggerated for dynamics, isn't too far off the real buggy.

The Hot Shot 2. This might be completely in my mind but the buggy's, somewhat like the Boomerang, turning and coming back to the viewer. Perhaps this signifies the "return" of the Hot Shot name in a sense.

The Bulhead. Ever drive a Clod or Bullhead? they bounce and bound a lot (much like real 1980s monster trucks). I would have thought, for its massive size, the Bullhead would be shown crushing something or emphasizing its girth. Instead, the artist cleverly zigs instead of zags showing the huge truck leaping into the picture, which actually isn't far off from reality.

I love this stuff and probably study it too deeply, lol.

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Interesting observations!  I wonder how many different artists Tamiya had doing the box art?  The style looks very similar among all of them.  The images have become so iconic I'd say the box artwork alone was a huge factor in Tamiya's success in the 80s.

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I always assumed that the box-art drawings were artist's renderings from the design process, not renderings of the finished model. Don't know why, they just always had that "concept art" feel to them to me.

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I love 80s Tamiya boxart, VLB is my favourite by a long shot but I do like the Hornet and Wild Willy very much. The contorted look of VLB is in keeping with it's chaotic handling. The sense of fun and movement on the other two's boxes still excite me. The later boxes do nothing for me.

What was the last vehicle given proper artistic boxart?

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used to love going into the local model shop to see the boxes stacked with top one showing a full frontal.....there were two in Belfast  and next door to each other as well. spent hours wondering between the two on my rare visits as a kid.

 

Also the old videos playing on loops in windows of both....SO wanted the Vanquish or at least the Bigwig.

Oh and the Guide book thumbed till it fell apart!!! Now I have most of what I watched/looked at in a display case beside me as I type this.....ALWAYS makes me grin looking at it.

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6 hours ago, 78Triumph said:

I wonder how many different artists Tamiya had doing the box art?  The style looks very similar among all of them.  The images have become so iconic I'd say the box artwork alone was a huge factor in Tamiya's success in the 80s.

Good question. I can't even find out the type of medium they used although I think it mixed. I can make out brush strokes in certain cases but in others I imagine only an airbrush could achieve the effect. The style is pretty standardized. Boxart (and securing a good artist) was a big deal in the early days of Tamiya. The early stuff (static models) had backgrounds. There was a definite changeover to their standard white background box, which I love. It looks really clean while emphasizing the model (and the dynamics of the art in motion). Somehow, I always preferred Tamiya, Marui, Nichimo, (and even Royal) etc. with their boxart over the staid photos of Kyosho boxes.

4 hours ago, markbt73 said:

always assumed that the box-art drawings were artist's renderings from the design process, not renderings of the finished mod

Never thought of it that way, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. I remember thinking to myself at times that the artist took some mighty big liberties in some cases. The original Lancia Rally was just a tiny bit different in real life over the boxart ;).

2 hours ago, Bromley said:

VLB is my favourite by a long shot but I do like the Hornet and Wild Willy very much.

I must have drawn the Wild Willy boxart dozens of times, trying to just that wheelie stance just perfect. Of course I was working with a postage stamp-sized reference from a tiny magazine ad back then.

56 minutes ago, Baddon said:

Oh and the Guide book thumbed till it fell apart!!! Now I have most of what I watched/looked at in a display case beside me as I type this.....ALWAYS makes me grin looking at it.

Same here. Still have that old, tattered guidebook too. Somedays, I just sit and chill out, looking at the collection on the shelves with the boxes set above them.

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I know what you about the box art of a model talking to you. My favourite series back then (and probably now) was the Thundershot series, but one of the many reasons the Thunder Dragon is my favourite is that the box art is by far the most dynamic of the series. The turned front wheels, the drivers eyes looking off to some corner apex beyond the box, slightly above perspective with a feeling of suspension loading and body roll, it's just so dynamic. Compare that to the rest of the series with all wheels in the same direction and no sense of motion and the Thunder Dragon is the winner hands down. 

Much like @Baddon I spent many happy hours in the local tamiya dealer drooling over those pristine boxes on the shelves. 

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2 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

One of the many reasons the Thunder Dragon is my favourite is that the box art is by far the most dynamic of the series. The turned front wheels, the drivers eyes looking off to some corner apex beyond the box, slightly above perspective with a feeling of suspension loading and body roll, it's just so dynamic. Compare that to the rest of the series with all wheels in the same direction and no sense of motion and the Thunder Dragon is the winner hands down.

I always loved Tamiya box art, too, and I totally get what you're saying. But if dynamism is what you're after, you'd have been better off looking round the corner at the plastic kits. Matchbox and Airfix had a lockdown on dramatic box art poses for their models. The Matchbox M16 Half Track was probably my favourite. I mean, how much more could possibly be going on in this image?

M16HalfTrackBoxart.jpg.9f1d4b6299dc285ed67bbe9ec5af63a9.jpg

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Very interesting topic. I think Tamiya made a concept and after that they designed the model. So there must have been drawings fist and lets say, if the topic was a hornet, it had to look like. Also the Lunchbox, what is closer to it than a van? After the design they started the construction drawings and maybe some finetune with decals at the end...

In japanese fine art drawing and printing technics are on a very high level and perfection is their way of life. Honestly, I think there is not a little coincidence in a design of a single model, I am very shure they really did know what they want to have at the end. Always keep japanese mentality in your mind.

Even Thunder Dragon, look at the design and now think about Godzilla and a robot fighting against. :lol:

But now I have to say and this is something I thought very often about the RC car hobby, I totally prefer the fantasy model cars and trucks and buggies, but the scale models of real sportscars ect. even dont touch me a little, they are not my business.

 

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Another superb thread @Saito2 👍

Anyone who says one of the first things that drew them to vintage Tamiya wasn’t epic box art has either forgotten or missed a pivotal part of buying one !

Press reporting back then was thin, variable and universally light on colour pics due to high printing costs / lower cover sales in a niche hobby - so most of us saving up for 70s / 80s kits first saw them in a model store ... increasingly stuffed with other marques. 

And Tamiya stood out right from the start :) 

Everything above about Japanese attention to detail, dynamism and box art giving us an ‘instant’ driving experience is true. 

It was also smart - because the real driving experience could often be weeks (sometimes months) away and box art gave us inspiration, confidence ... the promise it would all work out ok ... in the meantime .

Also worth remembering are the amazingly vibrant and creative colour schemes, a truly hilarious (and occasionally poignant) history of driver names, disputes over use of other brand copyright, subtle changes in angle of view, tweaks on technical side shots, changes in box size, orientation, surface finishes etc.

Done properly our boxes are a hobby in themselves and I’d be in awe of anyone here that could recreate them with modern materials ? Imagine an oil or water colour of your favourite 😬

Final point on research but someone - I think @mongoose1983 ? - nailed where Tamiya inspiration for the Bruiser came from ... an amazing old US tractor truck called The Blue Ox from memory.

Look it up on here - it’s every reason @Saito2 is spot on ... and why this thread deserves a long life as we hunt down foci for the rest 😂

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23 hours ago, SuperChamp82 said:

someone - I think @mongoose1983 ? - nailed where Tamiya inspiration for the Bruiser came from ... an amazing old US tractor truck called The Blue Ox from memory.

Here it is:

You all have a good week! :)

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Never ever ever ever get bored of looking at these beauties.  

IMG_2935.JPG

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Great observations @Saito2 and a big part of what has given me a lifelong Tamiya obsession.

Tamiya undoubtedly infused their cars and box art, with surprising abstractions that were unrelated to cars - animals, characters, objects. etc. Wild Willy was actually inspired by a real cartoon character in Japan - which may seem obvious, but I only confirmed this as fact recently after translating some Japanese texts.

Another factor in all this though... is the pace of production, and the amount of time both we - and Tamiya - had. Consider this: In 1984, one of the banner years of early Tamiya RC, they released just 5 R/C kits in total for the entire year. Compare that to any recent year, where a lot more less inspired product, is pumped out.

It’s almost enough to make me think of those years of Tamiya, as “boutique” production years, when compared to latter years. And I believe this slow pace of new products may have enabled designers to spend more time experimenting with how to fuse other fun/weird ideas, into their cars - insects, anime, etc. Many of which turned out to be magically genius combinations of cars, cultures, creatures and concepts.

Consider also that in those days, we as children were all apparently “inspired by pictures” on a shelf at a shop :D Would today’s children notice dynamic model kit box art and feel inspired by what they could create? Or are they too busy looking at their phones? 

Despite all the Saturday morning cartoons and sugary breakfast cereal we ate by the ton, the level of attention span we had in the 1980s for objects like Tamiyas was apparently pretty darn good. So much so, that we still appreciate the old fashioned craftsmanship in those same objects, 30-40 years later.

I recently had a friend visit my house with his children. His son (8) had just received a Tamiya Grasshopper (remake) kit as a gift from his Grandparents. He hadn’t built it yet though, and spent the entire visit playing Minecraft on an iPad. At one point we showed him my hobby room, filled with R/C cars. He barely looked around for 2mins before going back to his iPad - which is full of software which has been designed specifically to cause addiction in human beings. Take it from former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris.

I’ve gone off topic a bit, but... this speaks to the questions of “why did we like the inspired box art?”, “why do we still like it?”, and “why does it now seem like something confined to the past?”

The answer to all three questions, is in part, because of “time”.

Designers had more time to design.

Kids somehow had the time and attention, to appreciate.

And these days, people’s time and attention are more often stolen by other, less healthy technology.

But we have our childhoods, and our place in history - its our job to preserve and record our love for this niche corner of the toy and art world, so that there may linger some record of it’s value in centuries to come ^_^ 

And did you guys know that some vintage Tamiya kit art has actually been displayed in gallery exhibitions in Japan?

Cheers,

H.

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On some level, I wish I could understand the allure of this technology today (not that I'd want to be enthralled by it). Point blank, I'm on the spectrum though. I didn't discover this until after we had a daughter who is also on the spectrum. As such, Tamiya (and everything about it, including the boxart) has been a "special interest" of mine. It dominates my thoughts at times. I can't for instance, understand how anybody cannot be enthralled by Tamiya's boxart alone. On the other hand, I have zero interest in social media and am only interested in computers in general because they connect me to more things Tamiya including this community. I also find the internet a useful and powerful research tool, but that's it. I didn't like board games as a kid because I found them purposeless time wasters so I certainly don't care about online gaming today. There's always something physical to tinker with, fix or build that much more satisfying to me. Although, in my best interest to fit in, I am a people-watcher. Its a coping skill I used for survival I came up with as a kid.

Perhaps, much like music, times for hobbies have changed forever. There is just too much competing for our attentions and so little perceived time to cram all this stuff in. Good stuff does take time. Not that Tamiya didn't recycle platforms back then, but each one was infused with its own identity (a good part of that showing in the boxart) because, as you said Hib, they had time. Today, its "throw a 100 different bodies" on the TT02 chassis, click a pic, put that pic on a sticker, and slap that sticker on a shoebox size kit box. Still, can we blame Tamiya for having to respond to market pressures? I don't know. On the other hand, I bought a CR01 when they first came out, purely because it had boxart. I wasn't into crawlers so I was on the fence. When I saw that Toyota Land Cruiser box, it pushed me into buying it. 

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29 minutes ago, Saito2 said:

Still, can we blame Tamiya for having to respond to market pressures? I don't know.

To a degree, yes. I think.

As far as I know, they don't have shareholders. So technically, they could have let the R/C market run ahead. Keep doing plastic kits in high numbers. But downsize the R/C business in the face of change, and become purely a boutique manufacturer of a smaller number of high quality R/C products. The practicalities of this style of market capitalization... I cannot speak to. But maybe some of us know of other long-time, family owned brands who "could have become multinationals", but chose instead to contain their size, in service of a particular level of output? Because they do exist.

Instead, Tamiya have tried to keep pace with the pack, while falling into a "comfortable" mode of kit manufacture. Their kits are still good, mass market product, and still not made in China. And yet overall, they have receded in market share anyway in the end. So is the current approach working out? Not for me. I haven't bought a new release Tamiya kit in 10 years. I'd prefer if they'd fall back to releasing say, 5 high quality, artisan style R/C kits per year (with inspired box art!), than 20-30 conveyor belt kits. ^_^ 

And I've also been thinking lately (and this is also significant in the "old box art was better" discussion).... the $6 Hot Wheels Car Culture models I buy from the supermarket (made in Thailand, not China, which is also nice) feature real sponsor logos on them. Yet Tamiya can't afford real sponsor logos on their buggies, and have to make up silly fake brands? That's nonsensical today. They can do real sponsors. They just chose to start cutting that corner back in the late 1980s. And it was a purely bad decision that has continued ever since.

Briefly, on the social media subject...

I don't use it either. I guess forums like this are technically a form of "social media" too. But a key difference is they weren't designed with deep behavioral analysis to target addictive patterns of behaviour - like the infinite feeds and infinite scrolls of Facebook, Twitter and the rest. These companies exist and offer a "free" service to the public purely for the purpose of harvesting user data and behaviour. It's what renowned author Shoshanna Zuboff calls "Surveillance Capitalism" - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

10 years ago I quit Facebook.

But what's sad is - people still often ask why I am not on there, telling me I should post my website content there. "You really should join!", they say. Really? Why? :D

I have also noticed in recent weeks, that Tamiya101.com came under attack and went down (though it's back now, but hasn't been updated in a long while), and IconicRC.com has largely moved to Facebook. I think it's a great shame that certain independent R/C websites on the open web, are falling by the wayside.

My site will never be on Facebook. Even if nobody visits it eventually, I will still be there - writing stuff for myself :P  Call me Robinson Crusoe.

H.

PS. Good on you @Saito2 for addressing the spectrum issue with such positivity. Used wisely, and free from corporate motive, the open web of the Internet is very helpful for us all, to connect, share, and enjoy a sense of community.

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1 hour ago, Saito2 said:

On some level, I wish I could understand the allure of this technology today (not that I'd want to be enthralled by it). Point blank, I'm on the spectrum though. I didn't discover this until after we had a daughter who is also on the spectrum. As such, Tamiya (and everything about it, including the boxart) has been a "special interest" of mine. It dominates my thoughts at times. I can't for instance, understand how anybody cannot be enthralled by Tamiya's boxart alone. On the other hand, I have zero interest in social media and am only interested in computers in general because they connect me to more things Tamiya including this community. I also find the internet a useful and powerful research tool, but that's it. I didn't like board games as a kid because I found them purposeless time wasters so I certainly don't care about online gaming today. There's always something physical to tinker with, fix or build that much more satisfying to me. Although, in my best interest to fit in, I am a people-watcher. Its a coping skill I used for survival I came up with as a kid.

Wow, I could’ve written this, describes me perfectly.:o

I am not and have never been on Bookface, Instachat, snapgram, or tweeter. I frequent some RC Forums to share with like minded people and enjoy my hobby with others.

Off topic but very valid 

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One of my earliest memories of Tamiya Boxart was going with a friend into a neighbour's house at age maybe 9 or 10, and seeing in one of the bedrooms a Hotshot box on top of a cupboard. I was in awe looking at that thing, it was at the time like looking at a Ferrari. Uncle Pete's in Australia at the time had it for sale for $600Aud, well out of reach for myself.

Tamiya boxart is what sets it apart from all the other brands, the boxart Is just so memorable and fun, it gives you this emotional bond to the car/truck like nothing else, it's like you were experiencing what it was like to drive it before you even had the chance too, which was part of what made the whole thing so alluring.

Honestly Tamiya hit a home run with the box art and the names given to the vehicles, they're branding/marketing was genius. 

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On 4/23/2019 at 2:33 AM, Hudson said:

Never ever ever ever get bored of looking at these beauties.  

IMG_2935.JPG

 

Hey bud,

 

Where is the Supershot NIB I sold you? :)

Max

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Another example of boxart "intensions" struck me while looking at the pic @kasparov posted. The Thudershot is entering the frame downward, from above, akin to the Falcon. The angle of descent is steeper though. Perhaps this depicts the buggy as coming in like a lightning bolt. The Grasshopper 2 is making that "coming around back to you" turn like the Hot Shot 2 signaling the return of the Grasshopper moniker.

It's of note that some of the poses are certainly repeated. There's only so many angles you can draw a vehicle from and show what one needs to for advertising purposes. The standard 3/4 view was popular. Also often used was the "hooked into a turn look".  The Egress, Top Force(s), Astute(s), Bear Hawk, King Cab, etc. share this pose.  

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9 hours ago, kasparov said:

 

Hey bud,

 

Where is the Supershot NIB I sold you? :)

Max

Fear not, it's here......

IMG_2934.JPG

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9 minutes ago, Hudson said:

Fear not, it's here......

IMG_2934.JPG

Wow awesome! Had no idea your collection was so big, so they're all NIB's? Very nice Mate.

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50 minutes ago, Hudson said:

 

IMG_2934.JPG

I see your collection is just veeeery slightly off-balance, due to an excess number of Falcons... I could fix that for you, if you'd like... :rolleyes:

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I ought to clarify that these are not all NIB, I wish they were!!

Most of them are though, and Kasparov you started it all by selling me the Supershot!!  I've been quite busy since.

The 2 Bigwigs in the photo are not NIB but I do have a NIB on the way, as well as a Wild Willy.

After a number of years of collecting good condition boxed kits, I'm now slowly selling these off and using the funds for NIB's.  It's almost guilt free that way!

S-PCS - yes I do have a lot of Falcons, plus at least another 2 that are not in the photo.  That was my first buggy as a kid.  Sadly only one of them is NIB.  If you're seriously interested in a Falcon (not NIB) then please feel free to message me.

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5 hours ago, Hudson said:

S-PCS - yes I do have a lot of Falcons, plus at least another 2 that are not in the photo.  That was my first buggy as a kid.  Sadly only one of them is NIB.  If you're seriously interested in a Falcon (not NIB) then please feel free to message me.

Thank you for your kind offer, but if I'm going to set foot into originality badword, it's going to have to be NIB. You know, I have a feeling there might be no turning back after that. Might as well skip all levels inbetween and go straight for the big stuff. 

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While i was reading this...  i remembered something out of another topic.

 

tamiyaoperations2.jpg?ssl=1

Should show to the trained eye how its done i think :)

 

( what technic they use to ... draw them ? ) 

 

 

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