How are Tamiya’s model kits? (2022 Review) 

Are Tamiya model kits any good? 

From the early 90s when Tamiya began creating wooden models for educational purposes, the model kit manufacturers have made a big name in the industry as the king of kits. Tamiya has made exclusive plastic model kits loved by both adults and kid modelers around the globe. 

Thanks to their precise craft, Tamiya’s model kits always look great displayed on the shelf. But, are Tamiya model kits really as good as many modelers make them to be? With emerging model kit manufacturers like Airfix, Revell, and Dragon making a wave in the industry, competition seems to be on a rise. Yet, many modelers choose to stick with their long-time childhood model manufacturers.  

Tamiya VW bus

How good are Tamiya model kits?

One of the many reasons Tamiya model kits have become popular is because they are pretty reliable in terms of simplicity, fit, and quality. Even some of their older kits, like the 1/35 armor, have superior build. 

Many beginner modelers who use model kits from brands like Revell and Airfix may feel that building a plastic model is difficult due to their complex build properties. However, Tamiya kits are specially designed to be easy to assemble and user-friendly, even for beginners. With Tamiya kits, the fun of assembly, painting, applying markings, and weathering on your models is limitless. 

So, if you’re wondering how good Tamiya model Kits are, the simple answer is that they are awesome. Many modelers regard Tamiya as the “king of kits” because when it comes to fit, ease of assembly, and details, Tamiya offers all and more to satisfy modelers’ preferences without being overly engineered and complex. 

Tamiya model kits pros and cons

Pros

  • Slick engineering
  • Straightforward instruction manuals 
  • Clean and crisp details
  • Smooth assembly
  • Affordable
  • beginner-friendly
  • Highly detailed

Cons

  • You’ll need to buy the paints and tools separately
  • Tamiya paints do not work well with the hand brushing technique

Tamiya’s Parts quality

One thing that Tamiya is really strong at is consistent quality. Since Tamiya has been in the industry for longer than many new manufacturers, some new competitors engineer their models to beat Tamiya’s detail, which may turn out nice. But, their next kit may not be up to the same standards.

Another feature that makes Tamiya’s model kits stand out is that they focus on both buildability. Most manufacturers focus on making huge number of parts that the whole kit becomes over-engineered and become difficult to build.

In short, Tamiya kits are beautifully engineered with an almost bulletproof fit and quality, so that they provide consistent results, last long, and are way easy to build. 

Tamiya’s parts fit

With Tamiya, you can expect to get a good model out of the box. While you may need to sand most models to smoothen them before applying paints, you won’t don’t need sandpaper for Tamiya kits because they usually fit perfectly. 

Tamiya builds their kit parts for clear cut and perfect fitment, so you don’t lose any detail during the build phase. 

How good are new Tamiya models

With so many years in the industry, you would think this industry leader will lose touch with new competition. Bit, that’s not so. 

Like the older models, newer Tamiya kits from the Elefant to the Nashorn, M10 Wolverine, M40 Howitzer, and some French and Japanese tanks are still simple and easy to build. These newer models have the ease of build that escapes best-selling Dragon or Revell models. 

How good are old Tamiya model kits

Famous for their armor modeling kits, older Tamiya models have been around quite a while, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. Even with their 200-part kits versus 1200-part kits of newer models from companies like Dragon, they still build very well. 

The 1/35 armor back in the 1970s, M41 Walker Bulldog that was first tooled in 1969, and even the M113, which had soldiers with M-16 rifles, makes a really decent kit and is highly recommended here for newbies as it builds up so well.

Tamiya’s instructions

Painting is the most challenging build stage for many modelers. But, the good thing about Tamiya model kits is that they come with a clear and straightforward instruction manual so that nothing goes wrong during your build. 

Tamiya have spare parts

Tamiya model kits come with some parts, not all. Some are pretty rare so you need to buy them individually. 

However, it may be challenging to get spare parts directly from the company. You have to go through the distributors to get these spare parts for your model kits. 

Are Tamiya model kits worth your time and money?

The increasingly complex, time-consuming nature of many model kit brands and their expensive pricing make them challenging for many modelers to invest in. 

Tamiya models offer more detail that modelers can enjoy. They’re models are good, as you can expect from Tamiya, and they are definitely worth your time and money.

The fact that they are still sticking to their founding premise of offering high-quality kits that are simple to build with low parts count makes investing in Tamiya models worth the time and money. Plus, the fitment will 99% of the time be a perfect match for your model, and the proportions will always look good. 

Does Tamiya have all difficulty levels?

Tamiya kits are simple and easy to build, and even the parts fit perfectly. Although new beginners won’t always find it easy, especially if it’s their first time, the instructions manual is so good that it makes building anything on the first try possible. The only difficult build stage would be the painting phase since it requires more technical skills, precision, and attention to detail. 

The good news is that both beginners and advanced modelers can find different Tamiya model kits that suits their skills level.
Tamiya models although designed for ease won’t work the same for all modelers. As a beginner, you want to make sure that you can easily handle the model you choose.  

What are the 3 best Tamiya model kits?

Three good Tamiya model kits you can find in the market today are: 

  1. Tamiya German Hanomag Kit

One of Tamiya’s best-selling armored cars, the miniature 1/35 scale Hanomag model was designed in 1938 with details almost exactly like the German Army protective carrier. The armored car features an open-top rear, hatch-end and five figures striking realistic poses. 

  1. Tamiya US Navy PBR 31 Mk.II Patrol Pibber

Another uniquely designed kit by Tamiya, the four-crew US Navy PBR 31 MK.II Patrol Pibber is a 1:35 scale miniature of the real life 32ft long and 12ft wide US patrol boat used during the Vietnam war in Southeast Asia. Attached to this model are four realistic figurines, a moveable turret, detailed cockpit and machine gun. 

  1. Tamiya America Grumman F-14A Tomcat

Tamiya’s Grumman F-14A Tomcat model kit is the miniature representation of the US Navy interceptor fighter that first flew on December 21, 1970.This model features 373 plastic parts including a twin-engine, two seats, two Sidewinder missiles, drop tanks, and even a full set of four Phoenix. 

Conclusion 

Although Tamiya has been producing model kits since 1948, their model kits, whether the old or new ones, are still some of the best in the market. With Tamiya models, you know exactly what to expect as far as fit, quality, and detail is concerned.