Makey Awards 2011 Nominee 08: Tamiya, Inc., “Best Product Documentation”

Founded in Shikuoza, Japan in 1946, Kabushiki gaisha Tamiya was originally a sawmill and architectural lumber company that made wooden ship models as a sideline. Their first plastic model, released in 1960, was a 1/800 scale battleship Yamato. Today, Tamiya manufactures R/C sea, air, and land vehicles, robots, educational materials, and a line of modeling tools, paints, and accessories in addition to their traditional scale model line.

Since its founding, Tamiya has distinguished itself among model manufacturers for quality, not just of its molds, parts, and models, but of the accompanying instructions. Clearly illustrated with stepwise exploded diagrams and high-quality line art, Tamiya assembly manuals are consistently excellent, and in their scale models often include bonus features such as photographs and/or history of the real-world subject, plus painting and marking guides. The R/C division maintains an online archive of its product manuals for shoppers, second-hand buyers, or those who’ve misplaced their originals.

So thanks, Tamiya, for paying attention to the details, for going that extra mile for the sake of clarity, and for hours and hours of happy model-making memories. And welcome to the 2011 Makeys!


If you have a suggestion for a company to be nominated for “Best Product Documentation,” or one of the other three 2011 Makey awards, please send an e-mail to or just leave a comment, below.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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