The best Tamiya model cars

Tamiya models are a fantastic winter pastime. CAR rounds up its favourite Tamiya model cars to build.

Four Tamiya model cars

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Tamiya is one of the names almost as well known in the automotive world as Ferrari, for example. Its model kits and remote-controlled cars are fantastically detailed and a wonderful pastime.

Tamiya has been around for decades and has lived through the rise of racing games, and is even experiencing a bit of a renaissance over the last couple of years.

Here, we cover Tamiya’s greatest model car kit sets to build. They’re all brilliant but do require patience, perseverance and the occasional expletive.

The best Tamiya model car kits

All the kits below are 1:24 scale.

Subaru Impreza WRC '99
Price: $28.90
Alternative retailers
Walmart$34.96View offer

The 1999 model Impreza WRC car came two years after Group A became WRC, relaxing rules in the process. Subaru's 1999 car was the first to feature a flappy paddle gearbox (semi-automatic). It along with other changes allowed Subaru to come second in the Manufacturer's Championship.

Renault Alpine A110 u201871 Monte Carlo
Price: $32.00
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Walmart$40.86View offer

Just like the Lancia Stratos, the Alpine A110 is best known for its success as a rally car. And no success was greater than its victory at the 1971 Monte Carlo rally (a stage the Stratos would own in the latter half of the 1970s). This model is based on the 1971 Monte Carlo winner.

Porsche 911 GT2
Price: $31.86
Alternative retailers
Walmart$29.60View offer

The 993 911 GT2 was a truly wild machine, like the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth but faster. It was of course a homologation model for GT2 class racing, featuring a twin-turbocharged air-cooled 3.6-litre flat six. It had 424bhp when it came out but upgraded to 444bhp in 1998.

Ford GT
Price: $37.80
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Walmart$19.76View offer

Ford's new version of a new version, the GT is the anti-poser supercar. It's expensive yet still blue-collar because it's not very refined. That pays off on the racetrack, which is where the latest GT is properly at home.

Castrol Toyota Tom's Supra GT
Price: $26.90
Alternative retailers
Walmart$26.89View offer

Along with the Gulf Ford GT and Subaru rally cars, the Castrol Tom's Supra GT is one of the most recognizable racing cars of all time. It appeared on the racetracks of Japan in 1995, determined to beat the Nissan Skyline GT-R that had dominated touring car racing both in Japan and abroad in recent years.

Calsonic Skyline GT-R
Price: $27.20
Alternative retailers
Walmart$27.09View offer

Speak of the devil. This model is based on the R33, which succeeded the astonishing R32. The R33 raced in the Super GT series from 1996 through to the end of the decade.

Once again we return to the Monte Carlo Rally, this time in 1993 when Toyota's ST185 Celica GT-Four sees victory. Toyota would win the Manufacturer's Championship that year, and it would also be the final year of the great Lancia Delta HF Integrale.

The once-common long bonnet coupe style is now rare, and Toyota's current Supra is therefore a very striking machine. It's certainly well-liked by us - read our Supra road test.

This is the greatest super GT car. It was frequently criticised for its grabby ceramic brakes and lack of feel but there was no argument to be had when it came to the Mercedes McLaren SLR's performance.

We finish with the Senna.

What you need for building your Tamiya model

With the static models, you won’t need batteries and chargers and a full miniature tool kit like you do with the remote-control cars. But you will need a pair of cutters, glue, and paint.

Sharp, nimble, precise. The MX-5 of the nipping world.

Incredibly strong when dry. Don't get it on your fingers.

Naturally, you’ll need to make some space on a benchtop somewhere for your construction site. However, if you’re feeling pro, you can opt for a proper Tamiya workstation that will help you keep organised and features a magnifying lens.

Tamiya Work Station w/Magnifying Lens
Price: $138.63

You can get proper carried away here playing Heinrich von Frankenstein, a must-have for all model builders.

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