I don't build that many “new” Tamiya cars so this has rather crept up on me, but has anyone else noticed that something has happened to the little parts / screw bags in Tamiya's kits?
I first saw this in the re-release Sand Rover (# 58500) I built at Christmas (2011), and the FAV (# 58496) I build at Easter (2012) – yes I’m a bit slow on starting builds sometimes – It seems screws & small parts are now bagged up in the order you’ll need them if you follow the manual. I’ve just started on a re-re Bruiser, and the bags are “linear” in that too.
For example, looking at the manual for the original Bruiser, I see (as well as all the moulded parts) it has a "Frame Assembly", "Blister Pack A" including "Piston Rod Bag" & "Metal Parts Bag", "Blister Pack B", and a "Metal Parts Box", including "Radius Arm Bag", "Press Parts Bag", "Rubber Parts Bag", "Screw Bag A", "Screw Bag B", "Screw Bag C", "Screw Bag D", and a "Rod Bag" ... obviously the Bruiser has more parts than most cars, but the bagging & naming conventions will be familiar to you if you’ve ever built any Tamiya RC kit from new - bags of parts tend to be organised by function, material or manufacturing process, along with a number (usually four) of lettered bags organised by some inscrutably Japanese methodology that's nearly - but not quite - entirely foreign to Western logic.
However, in the re-release Bruiser (# 58519) the parts bags are simply “A” (which includes everything you need for manual construction steps 1-9), “B” (ditto for steps 10-17), “C” (steps 18-26), “D” (steps 27 -41), and “E” (steps 42-51).
Maybe it’s just me, but some of the “flavour” of the kit seems to be lost now a naming/bagging convention like this has been adopted. It’s not all bad news though - at least there’s still a “Tool Bag” in the re-re Bruiser kit.
Arranging parts “logically” does make a certain amount of sense – only having one bag at a time means fewer mixed up or lost parts, and less rooting about means a shorter & less frustrating build, and having fewer parts bags means fewer product lines, so Tamiya get to streamline their production line, warehousing & spares supply a little.
There is of course an argument that fewer bags means they have to be larger, contain more parts – and therefore retail for more, so if you only need one part from a bag then you get hammered even more ... I suppose that is true, if you only need one part - but how often does that happen?
It seems to me that it’s always a case of needing one part out of three of the “old style” bags, plus a couple out of three more, but with larger bags this is much less likely to happen ... of course I’m sure the cost differences will mean both scenarios cost the same – it’ll just _feel_ like more under the new system.
Overall though, I mourn the passing of the “old” system – “debagging” the fittings & fasteners into a bowl or takeaway dish was part of my kit building ritual – and having to hunt around several of those makeshift containers to find the bit you needed was part of the fun of building a Tamiya kit.
I suspect Tamiya had a special bell to ring when circumstances conspired to require someone building one of their cars to look in _every single bag_ to complete a step ;)
Written by TB member Jonny Retro