When it comes to vintage kit-based R/C models from companies with a past history in plastic models, many people think only of the red and blue stars of Tamiya.
But rival Japanese plastic kit maker Marui made the same transition from plastic model kits to R/C buggies in the 1980s. Their models, while less well known, were just as detailed and beautiful as those from Tamiya. And around their peak in 1986 they even had their own promotional videos for playing in hobby stores…
Japanese model kit maker Tokyo Marui was one of many plastic model kit manufacturers that thrived in the 1970s and 1980s, and when the toy market went crazy for model cars that were powered and could actually be driven around (ie. R/C models), like many others, Marui decided to enter this new category.
They were a little late to the party though. Their first R/C buggy, “The Hunter” was released in 1984 at a time when Tamiya was already firmly entrenched as the dominant player.
Nevertheless, the Hunter was a gorgeous model, and is one of my favourites to this day.
And while Marui shamelessly emulated Tamiya’s bright and engaging box art, their cars were a series of beautiful off-road R/C kit models that were every bit as original and unique as those of their competitors.
I’ll delve deeper into Marui history another time. But for now, let’s enjoy some 1986 Marui Promotional videos, featuring several of their cars from this era. Complete with terrible music!
This footage first surfaced on Youtube a year or so ago (from user Matthew Davison – credit to him for sourcing the clip). I’ve taken the liberty of creating individual clips for each car, while also correcting the aspect ratio of the footage to make it more watchable.
While Tamiya were famous for their promo footage that was often playing on TVs in hobby shops back in the 1980s, most other R/C toy brands didn’t have the resources to produce such videos. So it’s nice to see that Marui were able to put this together back in the day (even if hardly any of us saw it at the time)…
Marui Big Bear Datsun
Marui CJ-7 Golden Eagle & Marui Toyota Land Cruiser
Marui Galaxy RS