Item description for Master Modeler: Creating the Tamiya Style by Shunsaku Tamiya...
The blue and red star logo of Tamiya is now recognized internationally as the mark of model kits of unrivalled quality and precision. It was not always so. In the 1950s Shunsaku Tamiya joined the family firm-a debt-ridden lumber business in an air-raid flattened city. He started manufacturing wooden models-only to have that business wiped out by the arrival of plastic model kits imported from America. This autobiography shows how he responded to that challenge, successfully switching from wood to plastic before producing a series of hit products-1/12 formula one cars, slot racing cars, military miniature tanks, warships, radio control and 4-wheel-drive cars-that continues uninterrupted to this day. Model maker, craftsman, photographer, machinist and accidental businessman-this book is the self-portrait of a man whose energy, curiosity and love of perfection created a new standard in modelling and gave pleasure to millions of fans the world over.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.16" Width: 6.4" Height: 0.98" Weight: 1.31 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2002
Publisher Kodansha International
ISBN 4770028512 ISBN13 9784770028518
Reviews - What do customers think about Master Modeler: Creating the Tamiya Style?
Mr. Tamiya, the Akio Morita of plastic models Jun 13, 2008
Lots of insight not just about the plastic model business, but into how to become a world quality leader through the empowerment of its creative employees. Great read.
The Master Reveals Jan 29, 2005
This book was recommended at a meeting of my International Plastic Modelers Society chapter. As a result, it was loaned out to many members who read it and raved about it. When I finally got my turn, I was initially not that interested in it since I don't build many Tamiya models. I don't usually build tanks and their aircraft kits are very expensive. I have since changed my attitude towards Tamiya after reading this excellent story.
This book is not a comprehensive history of the company and its model kits, but a very personal oral history by The Master himself, Shunsaku Tamiya. The story begins with the origins of the company in the immediate postwar years when Tamiya struggled to keep his business alive. Tamiya originally produced wood models of ships and the book details the difficult transition to plastic kits. The story contains fascinating information about how the 1/35 scale for tanks came about (so batteries would fit inside the model to run the electric motor), how Tamiya, Fujimi, Hasegawa, and Aoshima began a cooperative venture to produce the 1/700 naval ship series, how the life-like poses of the armor figures were influenced by a Japanese animation artist, and many other tidbits of modeling trivia. The story also covers Tamiya's venture into motorized models such as their RC cars and 4WD cars.
As interesting as this information is, the real gem in this book is Mr. Tamiya's PASSION for modeling. He tells of his enthusiasm for modeling and the battles with his staff to convince them that Tamiya should make a model of a certain car or that a new manufacturing technology should be used. His relentless efforts in researching his model subjects eventually led an English military museum to open an exhibit hall named after Tamiya. Mr. Tamiya's business decisions are also detailed and make for fascinating reading. It gives a revealing look at the commercial forces that drive the model kit industry.
I highly recommend this book to all model builders. It will inspire you and probably change the way you think about the hobby of model building.
The history of the greatest models Mar 3, 2004
Although my review title has undoubtedly shown by bias towards Tamiya models, I have to say that this book is brilliant in its story. Not only can it appeal to fans of Tamiya's models, but it should also be read by those interested in seeing how a hopeless situation can be turned around to an economic success... over time! Tamiya's vision extends far past the "bottom-line at end of fiscal year" economics practiced by most companies. Had he given up as easily, we'd not have the great models we have today! There were many lean years, described in vivid detail, as the company struggled through the difficult post-war years. Most people forget that the so-called Asian miracle (economically) did not happen in Japan until the 1970s... Either way, the book is a detailed description of how a small company with a unique vision was built into one of the gold-standards of the modelling industry.
Inside the mind of Tamiya-san! May 6, 2003
Ever wonder why the scale of most armor kits is 1/35th? What was the *first* plastic model from Tamiya? How and why did he get into the plastic model business in the first place?
Scale modelers of all persuasions are familiar with the Tamiya name, and this book is an invaluable insight into the origins of the company whose influence on the industry has been phenomenal. It's an inspiring story, really "rags to riches" through hard work, perseverance, and no small amount of fanaticism (although we modelers think of it as "love of your hobby"). My only complaint is the amount of space dedicated to the 4-wheel drive racers at the end of the book, but since that has been a BIG money-maker for them I shouldn't take it too personally. Highly recommended for anyone interested in modelling or the Japanese way of doing business.
Good read; an amazing man Dec 5, 2002
Mr. Tamiya's modest attitude makes for a very enjoyable read. The story of how he built a wonderful company from a very small beginning, through some very tough periods, is amazing. Anyone who's ever opened the box of a Tamiya kit knows the unmatched quality of what he's produced. My only criticism of this book is that I wish it was far longer. There's so much more he could have said about the stories behind the F1 kits (my personal interest). But then, the same could be said for any of the other subject areas covered by Tamiya kits, and other readers would have their own favorite categories. All in all, a really good book. I enjoyed it.