The History of Tamiya: From Humble Beginnings to Global Leader

A Blog by Justin Ponti
Tamiya is renowned for its quality, precision, and innovation, and has become a beloved brand among hobbyists worldwide. This blog delves into the history of Tamiya, tracing its origins, evolution, and profound impact on the hobby industry.

Origins of Tamiya

Tamiya’s story begins in 1946 in Shizuoka, Japan. Founded by Yoshio Tamiya, the company initially operated as a sawmill and lumber company. With Japan in the process of rebuilding after World War II, Tamiya began producing wooden models to meet the growing demand for educational toys. These early models were known for their exceptional quality and detailed craftsmanship, setting the stage for Tamiya's future success.

The Evolution of Tamiya’s Model Kit Line

The 1950s marked a significant turning point for Tamiya as they transitioned from wooden models to plastic. In 1960, Tamiya introduced their first plastic model kit, the 1/800 scale Battleship Yamato. This shift allowed for more intricate detailing and durability.

Over the years, Tamiya expanded its product line to include military models, cars, ships, aircraft, and more. Each new category brought innovations, such as the highly acclaimed 1/35 scale Military Miniatures Series, which set new standards for realism and quality in military modelling.

Tamiya’s Entry into RCs

Image courtesy: LiveRC

In the late 1970s, Tamiya made a groundbreaking entry into the world of Remote Control (RC) cars. Their first RC model, the Porsche 934 Turbo RSR, became a game-changer in the industry, blending scale realism with high-performance RC technology. Tamiya continued to innovate, introducing iconic RC models like the Frog, Grasshopper, and Hornet, which became legendary among RC enthusiasts worldwide.

The 1980s saw Tamiya’s expansion into the international market, establishing a strong presence in the United States and Europe. Iconic products like the 1/24 scale Sports Car Series and the 1/10 scale RC cars further cemented Tamiya’s dominance in the hobby industry.

Tamiya's Impact on the Industry

Tamiya’s influence extends beyond its product range; they have significantly shaped industry standards and practices. Their commitment to quality and precision has raised the bar for manufacturers worldwide.

Tamiya’s innovative techniques, such as slide moulding and the use of polycaps for movable joints, have revolutionised the way models are designed and assembled. Their collaborations with automotive and military companies have resulted in incredibly accurate and detailed replicas.

Tamiya’s Commitment to Quality and Innovation

Central to Tamiya’s success is its unwavering commitment to quality and innovation. The company invests heavily in research and development, ensuring each model kit meets the highest standards. 

Rigorous quality control measures are implemented at every stage of production, from design to packaging. Tamiya values customer feedback, constantly seeking ways to improve their products and introduce new features that enhance the building experience.

Tamiya Today

Today, Tamiya continues to lead the industry with a diverse and ever-expanding product range. Their popular series, such as the Masterwork Collection and the Tamiya Grand Prix, attract both seasoned hobbyists and newcomers.

Celebrating Tamiya

From its humble beginnings as a sawmill in post-war Japan to its current status as a global leader in the model kit industry, Tamiya’s journey is a testament to its dedication, craftsmanship, and innovation. Tamiya has not only set industry standards but has also created a legacy of excellence that continues to inspire hobbyists around the world.

For all things Tamiya, there’s no better place than Hobbyco! With locations conveniently located throughout Metro Sydney, finding the perfect hobby shop near you has never been easier. Experience the excitement of exploring our vast selection of Tamiya model kits and RCs, expert advice, and exceptional customer service. Discover why Hobbyco is the number one hobby shop in Australia.


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