TamiyaCon IX - A Show Report

What to do on a rainy day?

It was a 4 hour drive for me to go to TamiyaCon IV at Tamiya's North American headquarters in Aliso Viejo, California. And it was worth it! When I arrived at the show on Saturday morning around 11am it was a bit rainy and overcast. The rain was coming in waves and people were running around to avoid getting too wet. I neglected to bring a raincoat or umbrella. After all this was southern California... rain?!?! Walking up to the area near the front of the building I immediately noted the presence of several AFVs. An M3 Halftrack, a Ford-built Willey's Jeep, 37mm anti-tank gun, and a very nice M5 Stewart light tank. They were surrounded by onlookers and several men dressed in period clothing. Ahh...reinactors I thought. A good idea for a model show. There were also several sporty cars and motorcycles on display. The biggest draw in that location though was the large tent where people were picking up Tamiya kits at bargain prices. I thought about buying something. And even committed myself mentally to buying a Bradley if they had one. They didn't. But they did have a large assortment of other kits for sale.

Going inside I noted immediately that there was no entry fee. "Nice", I thought. There were people bringing in entries and carefully making their way with boxes to the display rooms. To the right of the main door was the Tamiya showroom. I imagine this is a scaled down version of their showroom in Japan. It had numerous kits and dioramas on display. I only wish the glass cases were a bit more condusive to photography.

The first room I encountered was the Figure, Armor, and Dioramas room. At this early hour on the first day of the show I saw immediately that there were still lots of entries to come. But there were still quite a few to look at so after looking around a bit I began to shoot some photos. Oddly enough the first piece to grab my eye in the room was this enormous diorama of the USS Missouri (1:350) and 2 other ships. This dio was a "what if" topic on the subject of "what if the Missouri had been finished early and accompanied the Enterprise on her fateful mission to bomb Tokyo. The dio featured a cut-down third of the carrier as well as a supporting destroyer. The carrier even featured a cut-away section where it was sliced across the hull. This piece actually won the top honor at the show, the Master Modeler award.

  • Photo from TamiyaCon (2004)
    This huge 1/350 scale diorama won top honors at the show.
  • Photo from TamiyaCon (2004)
  • Photo from TamiyaCon (2004)
  • Photo from TamiyaCon (2004)
  • Photo from TamiyaCon (2004)

About the Author

About Jim Starkweather (staff_Jim)

I started building models in 1971 when I was 6. My first model was a 1/32 P-40 Warhawk. Revell I believe. From there I moved onto the standard cars, Apollo spacecraft, and other kid orientated kits. I don't know what got me started on Armor. I must have seen a Monogram tank kit one day and said "Mom...


Nice one Jim! Looks like a lot of fun! Did they really have an RC mock battle in that sandbox? The buildings look nice. Would have been very cool to see AFVs running around in there. Thanks for sharing!
APR 26, 2004 - 08:53 PM
John, Yeah I couldn't get a really good view but I think the German tanks were whooping up on the poor Americans. They had some kind of hit system where the more hits the slower the tank responded. Kinda neat. Still it seems a bit unfair that you can never get really surprised since you have a 360 degree view of the battlefield. Jim
APR 27, 2004 - 02:28 PM
They most likely used Tamiya's own hit system that's compatible with their RC kits.
APR 27, 2004 - 02:38 PM
Great article! About that 1/9 Sherman: wasnt the commander and the turret ready??Im preety sure they appeared in FSM and in Military in Scale!
MAY 08, 2004 - 04:41 PM
Jim, Thanks for putting my Bradley on the Home Page! Its a real honor. Wexman
MAY 13, 2004 - 10:14 AM
Wexman, Thanks for providing such a great model to photograph! I thought it was one of the nicest modern pieces at the show. Cheers, Jim
MAY 13, 2004 - 01:50 PM