Many of the popular Tamiya R/C models we knew in the 1980s have been remade in recent years. But the remakes are quite different to the original ones.
If you are looking for an introduction to this subject, please see my earlier article A quick guide to Vintage vs Remake Tamiya R/C kits.
However, if you need some more detailed information about actual parts differences between vintage vs remake Tamiya R/C cars, this is the article for you.
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…
The Turbo Panther was Nikko’s perfect little R/C buggy for 1986 – probably the peak year of the R/C buggy craze, when they were among the hottest toys in the world.
Looking like a smaller version of the more expensive 1/10 scale buggies, yet still quick for it’s 1/16 scale, it was a big seller both in Japan and abroad. It even had it’s own TV commercials and was a direct rival for Taiyo’s Jet Hopper, released the same year.
This month, Australia loses another “hobby” store when Dick Smith Electronics shuts it’s doors for good, after 48 years.
I really enjoyed visiting DSE stores while growing up in the 1980s, just as I did with Tandy stores – mainly due to the toys.
So if anyone else can remember the days when they sold Tamiya R/C cars, electronics kits, and some of the 1980s coolest robot toys, then let’s take a look at some archive material that proves they really were a fun store to visit back in their heyday.
It’s no secret that there’s a booming market out there for retro items, particularly toys. A lot of companies are remaking products or brands as a result, and more seem to appear every month.
All of the big decades of toys feature as a source for these revivals, but the 1980s seem to get special attention. I have a theory as to why – and it isn’t just because kids of the 80s now have incomes. I think 1980s toys were particularly primed to become collectibles in the future.
A 1/12 scale R/C model from Tomy that you’ve probably never heard of before, the “Radica A Lancia Stratos” was a 70s kid’s chance to drive the legendary Stratos rally car.
It had advanced features for the time such as a working differential, working indicator lights, Digital Proportional transmitter and more.
Let’s take a look at this lost gem from Tomy.
In the spirit of the festive season, perhaps it’s time I dedicated a page to everyone else’s R/C car memories (not just mine)…
What memories do you have of receiving R/C cars (or other cool retro toys), at Christmas?
What cars did you receive (or miss out on) back in the 1970s, 80s or 90s?
And what are some of your best (and worst) memories of R/C cars around Christmas time?