About Ultimate Tamiya
I started Ultimate Tamiya, the 13th web site in the Ultimate RC Network, as a shrine to the ever-expanding and always-loved RC products of Japanese model manufacturer Tamiya. The long-term goal of this site is to catalog every single radio controlled vehicle Tamiya has ever made. Ultimately you will be able to come here for descriptions, high-quality photos, and tips for at least one example of every major Tamiya RC chassis since the beginning, including even the rarest of classics. Along the way, I'll take brief detours from time to time to put together a unique project or two, but always keeping to the true Tamiya spirit of each & every vehicle.
On occasion you'll see me trying my hand at club racing with some of the newer models that fit into a class that's run at my local track. With the timeless golden oldies from the 70's and 80's, I'll take extra care to examine & photograph every detail. There will surely be some controversy when I start to buy highly-prized NIB kits and defiantly break their shrink wrap, build the models, and take them for their maiden drives on video! I'm sure Mr. Tamiya never intended for his kits to stay boxed up for eternity. Speaking of whom...
Surprisingly, Tamiya started life in 1946 as a saw mill, founded by Mr. Yoshio Tamiya in Shizuoka City on the main Japanese island of Honshu. It wasn’t long before the mill began developing and selling wooden models, and over the next two decades the company would progress from a leader in wooden model ships, to producing plastic static model kits, to releasing motorized models. Their first radio-controlled vehicle, a Sherman tank, hit the market in 1974.
The year 1976 is the one RC fans the world over embrace as the true beginning of the Tamiya we love so much today, as it saw the release of Tamiya’s first RC car, the 1/12th scale Jägermeister Porsche 934 Turbo. This vehicle had a very simple, thin, flat, flexible metal chassis plate, rear-mounted 380-sized motor geared directly to the rear axle. The body came as a myriad of hard plastic parts the modeler had to paint, detail, and attach individually, like as if it was a model kit. This came as no surprise at the time, as it was literally lifted directly from one of their contemporary static model kit offerings.
In the 1970’s when Tamiya made its entry into RC, the hobby was already beginning to thrive thanks to a healthy and growing nitro onroad racing community. In November 1979, though, Tamiya shook things up dramatically and changed the hobby forever with the release of the Rough Rider racing buggy, followed a month later by a full-bodied version called the Sand Scorcher. Using a chassis based on the design of the real-world Volkswagen Beetle, complete with cast metal rear arms and dual front trailing arms, these new cars were rugged and capable, introducing the world to the scale off-roading craze that has continued ever since.
Today, Tamiya consists of at least 8 business entities worldwide, but remains headquartered in Shizuoka City, and also has major offices in USA, Germany, and Hong Kong, with its main manufacturing facility in the Philippines. Tamiya continues to be one of the top-selling RC manufacturers in the world, and also continues to produce plastic model kits, educational models, and other motorized hobby lines such as Mini 4WD and Dangun Racers.
About the author
Though known to most online as "The JANG," my real name is Bamidele Obataye Shangobunmi and I'm a native of California, USA. I've been a motorsports and model car fan since I first learned how to say the word "car." My foray into hobby-level RC'ing began in 1999 with the purchase of a ready-to-run Traxxas Rustler. Modifications to that first truck would eventually make it a popular and very successful competitor on the local racing scene and inspired my first RC website, Ultimate Traxxas, which would later blossom into Ultimate RC and the Ultimate RC Network of sites, all of which I own & operate today. My soul is in customization and innovation, and in my workshop I design and build my own parts of aluminum, carbon fiber, and other raw materials to either dramatically improve the performance of lower-cost RCs, or completely transform them into entirely different vehicles. I've raced 1:10th scale stadium trucks (off-road and dirt oval), monster trucks, and sedans. As of January 2008, I've owned (and operated) over 155 RCs. I've studied the principles of full-scale race car handling and aerodynamics at length and have dabbled in full scale racing, including 1/4 mile drag, touge, and SCCA Rallycross where I brought home a class win in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Professionally I'm a user experience & interaction designer for web applications and software and have worked for PayPal, Silicon Graphics, Inc., Ask.com, Houghton Mifflin, and others.