Ebbro Interview Part 1, The Early Days

Interview with Masato Kiya
His Tamiya Days, Ebbro Now and in Future
culled from five and a half hours of talks over two days

Interview / text by Masahiko Asano (Studio Cubics)
Model culture writer / automotive model analysist

an unofficial translation from the Japanese text in
the July 2013 issue of Model Graphix magazine
--- all rights reserved, Model Graphix magazine Japan ---


---- First, from your experiences after entering Tamiya Inc…  You’re from Hokkaido, Kiya-san, right?

Yeah, I was born in 1950, in Wakkanai.  And in about the autumn of my 3rd high school year, I wrote a “Let me join the company” letter to Tamiya, and a “Come have a look” answer came back.

----What were your reasons exactly, for wanting to join Tamiya?

The 1/12 Honda F1.

----… Um, but you joined the company in ’68, right?  And the RA273 was released in November ’67, so if you joined Tamiya in the autumn, it wouldn’t have been released yet?

It was pretty close to the time it was released, and I had previously seen articles in magazines about Tamiya’s RA273.

Before that, I had also built all of their 1/50 masterpiece series, and that “…Ah, they’re going to release the Honda F1!” was what cinched my job seeking timing.  And when I reported to Tamiya, I had seen the real thing in Shizuoka.  Before that, there had been the Kogure 1/12 Lotus 33 Climax, but that wasn’t at what you could call a scale model level, so it was awesome that Tamiya had suddenly leapfrogged so far ahead in one go.

----About what time was it decided that you could join the company?

A letter came as soon as I got back home to Wakkanai.  Back then there were no tests, just an interview, so I guess I seemed pretty keen.

----And your posting to the molds department…?

I pretty sure I was told that before entering the company.  There was the Apollo Program craze back in those days, wasn’t there, and it was like “We’re in a battle with Arai, and if we don’t finish our molds as quick as we can we’ll be in trouble”.

We were doing our injection molding at an out-sourcer at the time, and I was charged with taking our molds to the injection factory and setting them up, with our designers on hand.  It was a place where we had to make some serious on-the-spot decisions, like at what level to compromise and what not to compromise.

----Then it was a crunch over whether to be picky and have late sales, or not be picky and have early sales.

Yes!  Arai wouldn’t be picky and rush their sales dates ahead anyhow (laughs), so we had to choose one or the other.

And as we were doing that, I was told “Go to America” because of the oil shock, and what happened after that is as I told you, the other day, in our talk with Chief Executive Tamiya-san.