What's it worth?
If you're actively involved in the collecting
scene it's a question that comes up on a daily
basis and is always hard to pin-point the exact
value of the subject in question. Whether it's
a part or complete model this article attempts
to unravel some of the terminology and offers
ways to help you value vintage Tamiya artefacts.
First up we'll deal with model categories, these
are the label given to complete models or sets
of parts as follows:
New in box (NIB)
Easy, if the model has not been assembled
and remains in the original packaging then it
is said to be NIB
This applies to parts as well such as bodysets.
Plastic trees and small parts would be referred
to more often as new in pack (NIP). Values of
NIB kits depend on a number of factors:
- Age of model
- Model X Factor (Basically how likeable the
- Condition of box and contents
- How many are available for sale at that time
There are examples of supposed new in box kits
in plastic shrink wrap that have never been opened,
I'm not sure how genuine they are and of course
you can't verify the condition or completeness
of the contents. I'm not even sure such a kit
would be worth more than a mint example that had
been opened but the plastic would certainly help
to keep the box mint. Be careful how you store
NIB kits as dampness, extreme temperatures and
sunlight can all take their toll. A new in box
Sand Scorcher could demand as much as £1200.
New in box 3 speeds tend to fetch even more and
a NIB Supershot as shown here would be between
£500 - £700 typically.
The exact definition of this is often misinterpreted.
People mistake this to mean "Newly built"
and apply it to a model that may have been run
since but was recently built. This is wrong though.
A new built model must consist of ALL new parts.
Doesn't matter if it was from a kit or made up
from separate new parts as long as the parts are
100% new and the model was never run. Then and
only then should it be described as new built.
Our example here is a new built Supershot made
up from all new parts sourced separately.
New built models demand good prices mostly, not
as much as NIB generally but still good prices.
Watch out though that the model is complete and
all original as a rare missing part could cost
you a fortune and be hard to source, for example
the official Supershot Technipower motor.
New examples of this motor are hard to find! Using
our Supershot example a new built Supershot all
original, built and painted to a high standard
would be worth £250 - £350 usually.
This is probably the hardest one to define
as the standard of model in question will depend
on the standards of the restorer who carried out
the work. Generally a restored model will have
been run at some time and all parts cleaned and
damaged parts replaced. There comes a point in
any restoration where you have to decide to stop
buying new parts because you will end up with
a new built model! A good restored model would
have many new plastic parts, cleaned throughout
with new tyres and be in generally excellent order.
If the model has been run since the restoration
and there is evidence of this then really it should
be relegated to "runner" category below.
Values do vary for even the same model because
it depends on the depth of the restoration. A
very thoroughly restored Supershot would be worth
perhaps £150 - £250.
A runner model will have been run and show
the usual signs of this.
Unless you're running gently on soft carpet it's
hard to avoid the usual signs of use such as dirt,
dust, tyre wear etc. Runners vary tremendously
in their standard but most collectors would describe
a model as a runner when it's basically beyond
the point where it could be restored. There's
nothing wrong with this as these models are intended
to be run anyway and it's always nice to build
up runners from left over parts from restorations
which is what I tend to do. The difference between
a runner and restored or new built model should
Runner values would be the lowest of all categories
above for obvious reasons and they are often incomplete
and have non-kit parts such as aftermarket tyres
etc. The rarer and more desirable models to the
collector such as the SRBs or 3 speeds would still
fetch good prices as parts donors for resto projects,
the basis of restorations or to be run. A more
or less complete and original Supershot runner
would normally be worth £50 - £150
How to determine a value
The best way of all is to ask around, websites
such as Tamiya Club (www.tamiyaclub.com)
are an excellent place to start with a massive
community of fellow collectors. If you're involved
in this network you can easily ask others. Experience
in the trading arena counts for a lot and will
give a good idea of values.
Ebay is your friend?
A useful feature of Ebay is the ability to
search completed listings. You will need an Ebay
account to do this, simply search in the normal
way but at the bottom of the search options is
a tick box to "show completed listings".
This will show items matching your search criteria
that have finished in the last 30 days along with
the value. Comparables like this often give a
good idea of value but remember prices on Ebay
are dependent on a many factors as follows:
- How many similar items were listed at that
time (Less means higher values)
- Seasonal variations (Ebay prices tend to be
higher in the winter)
- Quality of the listing and item location
- Reputation of the seller
- How many people were looking for the item
at that time and who saw the listing
It's a tough subject and one that stirs up debate
and differences of opinion but hopefully this
article has given you a clearer understanding
of the terminology and an idea of where to start
looking for comparables.