The Staff Car arrives in a tough, attractive conventional box, and the immediate surprise is just how simple the kit is. Tamiya’s Staff Car is far more basic than other kits in the series, such as the German Steyr, and comprises just:
32 x grey styrene parts
6 x clear styrene parts
1 x metal chassis/floor and a screw to attach it
Decals for 2 x versions
The moulding is typically good for a new Tamiya kit – crisp, without flash or sink marks. The body shell is an impressive piece of moulding and the curvaceous shape has been captured with multi-part moulds with just the faintest hint of mould-lines to remove on the front wings. Sadly, as with all the kits in the series, the door are moulded closed.
Assembly should be a breeze with so few parts – this really is a weekend project, even for a notoriously slow builder like me! Interior detail is limited to a pair of full-width seats, steering wheel complete with gear shift etc. and a dashboard. The inside of the bodyshell is featureless and the one-piece chassis/floor has no pedals or other interior details.
The wheels and tyres are nicely moulded, as is the radiator grill. The bonnet (hood) is a separate part, but there’s no engine included in the kit. Rounding things off, there’s a neatly detailed driver, with separate arms, head and torso. The officer’s uniform is crisply defined and will repay careful painting.
Instructions and decals
Tamiya’s instructions are always good, and with a simple model like this there’s not much scope for confusion about what fits where. The assembly is almost self explanatory and Tamiya include matches for their own paints throughout.
Decals are included for a US Army vehicle and also a civilian version. Strangely, no painting details are given for the latter, beyond a small note at one stage that reads "Paint as you like..." and a single, small, front view on the side of the box. The decals are nicely printed with quite a matt finish. They provide stars and serial numbers for the Army version, and registration plates for the civilian car, but there's no speedometer for the dashboard.
So, a nice, but rather basic kit that will certainly prove useful. If the half-documented civilian vehicle is something of a mystery, then Tamiya’s pricing policy is an even greater one. The UK price of £15.99 is really too high for such a basic kit, much more expensive than the similar Citroen staff car, for instance. To make matters even more confusing, Tamiya have issued the same model in a double-pack with their old, but still excellent, P-51D Mustang for only £10 extra. Whether you regard the car or the plane as the “bonus” - that’s an excellent value set.
I bought my model at HobbyLink Japan
as part of a larger order, which brought everything down to a much more reasonable level, being just over half the UK price.
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