Status: New built
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Being as much into photography as I am RC, I'm very interested in how Tamiya stage and photograph their models. Much like modern box presentation without blisters, the product photography seems to have lost the uniqueness and special quality that made it so attractive back in the day. An evenly lit car on a clinical white background is the norm these days.
Looking through the old catalogues and guide books there's quite a variety of surfaces that the models are photographed on, from wooden planks, to perforated aluminium sheet and textured black acrylic. Quite often the cars are accompanied with parts, Hop-up Options or in some cases like the Bullhead, thematically relevant props like the US flag and air horns.
I'd previously shot some recreations of the King Cab and Mountaineer photos on the wood floor in my hallway, but there's not enough room to set the light up properly so a while back I bought a cheap pack of laminate flooring in order to construct a small (1.5 sq meter) 'Stage' in my spare room that I could assemble and dissasemble as needed. I put together several of the boards on top of boxes to lift it about 30cm off the floor, then used stacks of magazines to support a couple more boards for the elevated rear section. Like the origial versions of 'Toys they're not' I chose three different types of models. My Mountain Rider, Sand Blitzer and Zakspeed Capri.
The camera I used was a Canon 5D Mk3, with a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS 2 lens. This was mounted on a tripod and set to 70mm zoom, with the aperture set at the minimum of f/32. With a DSLR you need a narrow aperture to ensure the whole scene is in focus.
A good camera helps but the key to good results with this kind of shot is lighting. You could have the best camera but if they light is poor the photo won't look good. I have a modest setup consisting of three Canon 600EX-RT remote flashes and a selection of modifiers - diffusers which soften the light.
Setup (for those interested)
• Speedlite in 60x60cm single baffled gridded softbox camera left following trajectory of the raised boards.
• Speedlite camera right firing through 110cm diffuser.
• Speedlite in 60x60cm double baffled softbox fired for multiple exposures at varying angles above the cars.
• Black fabric backdrop.
With two lights fixed I fire the third at different angles to light all the parts of the scene I want to, then combine the results in Photoshop. I can then refine further by painting areas of the shot to reveal or hide the light. Finally I crop to the guide book's square format and add the text.