FOR decades it has been an open secret that Tamiya have been building their plastic model kits in Cebu. These plastic-fantastic toys that we all grew up with, whether in 1/24 scale or the famed Mini 4WD series, were all being built right under our noses all along – and Tamiya themselves weren’t even trying to keep this a secret.
Keen eyes will spot that every box of Tamiya model kits will have “Made in the Philippines” marked in small lettering, and more recently Tamiya have gone so far as to create a few ‘Philippine special editions’ of certain Mini4WD cars.
To be more specific, so far there have been two cars created as limited edition models for the Philippine market, namely the Strato Vector Lil’s Hobby Center Limited and the Gun Bluster XTO Philippines Special Edition.
Now however it looks like Tamiya is clearly leaning onto the fact that they work from the Philippines by creating an entirely new model, a vehicle unmistakably iconic for our people: The Philippine Jeepney.
Dubbed the ‘Dyipne’, the new model is set to commemorate Tamiya’s Mini 4WD Asia Cup 2019 that will be held here for this year. Thanks to the efforts of local distributor Lil’s Hobby Center and their new circuit/parts shop The Brickyard, Tamiya will be bringing the international competition here along with the reveal of the new model.
To be more technical, the Dyipne will be based on the new FM-A Chassis. Mini 4WD afficionados know that the FM chassis distinguishes itself by having the motor up front instead of the conventional rear layout, and this makes the FM chassis arguably ‘imbalanced’ for being much better than other layouts – enough to the point that some local competitions classify them separately from other cars.
The FM-A is an evolution of the venerable FM chassis with a slightly wider track and more reinforcements, and is comparably competitive in terms of balance and performance given its inherent weight distribution benefits. The Dyipne’s shell – obviously its selling point – won’t be winning you races in competitive circles though given its shape and overall bulk. (Autoindustriya.com/Photos courtesy of Lil’s Hobby Center)