The problem with the early Guide Books (GB) is that they are not dated. From year 2000 and onwards, the year is printed on the front page. Actually, I know of one other GB with the year on the front, the 1996 GB in Japanese version.
Principles of dating the Guide Books.
So how to date the Guide Books? Unfortunately, there are a few ways to do it.
Marking inside the GB's:
Many of the GB's have a Copyright mark (from 1985 onwards) with a year, and some have a date in the format of "8703" meaning March 1987. Those dates are fairly easy to find, they are usually close to the spine at one of the last pages. The problem is how to interprete these dates. My interpretation is as follow:
- Copyright dates show only the year, and this must be the year of issue.
- "8703" dates are most likely printing dates.
Both dates must then indicate when the GB was issued.
As we all know, the model numbers are sequential and run from 58001 and onwards. (look here for how model numbers evolved) I have most of the Guide Books and my first attempt at dating the GB's were based on matching what models were presented in what GB's. The problem with this method is that models were not issued in number sequence, sometimes Tamiya either delayed a model, or pushed it forward in the queue of releases.
Release date for the models:
Release dates are in my mind probably the most correct way of dating the GB's. Thanks to the "30 years Tamiya RC Perfect Album" we now have a complete list of release dates for each model. These dates are precise for when a model was available, and would of course affect what model is shown in the GBs.
The fact that Tamiya is supplying worldwide, there is bound to be market differences. Unfortunately, this makes dating the GB more complex. Different markets will have different preferences to what model to sell. The US market seems to be the driving force of the Tamiya RC models, and the MRC GB's have different model content than Japanese and Europe markets. From what I can see, the European market was treated as one. There seem to be no differences between countries in Europe.
Ok, lets date these GB's!'
To find a way of determining the year of each GB, I have looked to the later GBs where the year is on the front page (that's easy then...) But, the clue is that these GBs also have the "8703" type of dating, which I believe is the printing date. They all (from 2000 to 2004) show that the printing was done in March the same year as the front page indicates. (Year 2000 GB has "0003" in the spine)
All this makes sense; Tamiya producing a yearly Guide Book presenting the current available models. For some reason, March (early in the year) was chosen as the printing period.
When applying the same thinking to the earlier GBs I actually found that my earlier dating was wrong. I also discovered that manuals I thought were the same year (because of the same cover) actually are different years and/or different markets.
Following my above statements, I no longer have a 1982 Guide Book... I am guessing that the English language version of the "White Williams" could be the one, so I better get hold of one of them :-)
I have, based on the above argumentation, changed dating on quite a few Guide Books in The Database.
Year dating the GB's make much more sense to me now that I have looked into the release dates of the models and not only looked at the model numbers. This has also made me aware that there are differences in Year between the markets, and that there are many guide books with the same cover (and contents to a large extent), but which are still different in important aspects (like what models are shown)
I still do not have any Guide Book showing the 58053 Road Wizard. If someone can help me source a GB with this model showing, I would really appreciate it.
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NOW: Go take a look in the Guide book Section.
Written by Larbut