I started with Tamiya kit cars in the 1980's and returned to the hobby in 2020. In 1985 my best friend in 4th grade elementary school and I discovered Tamiya RC cars. I was 10 and noticed the local hobby shop I frequented in Connecticut carried them.
In the spring of 1986 we managed to coordinate our savings and March birthdays around this new activity. Soon we were both hard at work building, repairing, and upgrading our first kits. My Grasshopper endlessly raced his Hornet around back yards and found terrains.
The next five years up to high school I put most of my spare time and resources into Tamiya RC cars. Each year coinciding with spring I saved and used my birthday for RC cars and parts. By 1991 I had four cars.
The stores near me only carried a handful of kits to see, but they often had parts bags for many other ones around at the time. The little pictures of the kits on these parts bags were the only way to see what was out there beyond what the store carried. I was captivated by what the details in these simple illustrations revealed about the real life model. Instead of collecting kits, I collected these tags and sold or traded the parts.
My favorite and most used car was The Fox. My second favorite and least used car was the Tamiya Toyota Celica Great Britain Rally Special. This was the last and most complicated four wheel drive car I had built.
Within a few minutes of driving it down my street the left plastic rear arm snapped. Getting replacement parts wasn't easy back then so I put the car on my shelf and continued to play with my more durable Fox.
A year or so later high school started and my RC car activites rested for the 1990's, 2000's, and 2010's. School, career, travel, moves, marriage, and two boys made RC a fond memory.
Then in 2020 my son saw my Fox RC car and asked me if it worked. I got curious if I could get it running again and what is going on in the world of RC.
Hobby shops with Tamiya RC now don't seem as close by as they used to. However, the internet is now an amazing marketplace. I began looking for parts and kits that would be fun introductions to RC for my kids. It wasn't long before I found a hobby shop with one Tamiya Grasshopper 2 kit and all the past online activity in the 2000's and 2010's.
The next morning we were building our first Tamiya RC together. It all came back to me, why I loved the brand and experience. Each kit is a story, a sort of charter in our lives like a family pet we care for. I'm surprised at the availability of some 30+ year old kits, parts -and the prices. In the 80's collecting didn't cross my mind. I simply had cars I enjoyed using and fixing. Now I'm enjoying getting back into the RC experience.