The kit offers the choice of Civilian or Army finish although there weren’t really any true Civilian Beetles during the war with all these produced going to State or Party Officers with the remainder going to Military use.
The kit has 43 parts in light beige plastic with 4 in clear plastic and the decal and instruction sheets for a fairly simple kit.
As with the real thing which only had the bare necessities included the kit is fairly basic and represents this simplicity fairly well with the full lower body pan that has the lower detail included plus the representations of the lower engine and suspensions front and rear.
The rear exhaust is a separate part and you may want to drill out the exhaust pipe for a better look and the axles fit through locating holes allowing them to revolve after the wheels are attached.
Added to the lower body pan are the front and rear bumper bars and you should ensure these are attached the right way up as it’s easy to put them on upside down, especially the rear one. The two cross bumpers have the longer extension above the bar and on the front bar is a separate horn and number plate which help to ensure the bar goes on the right way up.
The wheels are designed with separate rims and hub caps for military or civilian use and there are actually a few different designs of the hub cap used with the smooth one provided being one of them. There is a fairly heavy mould line around the centre of the tyre tread which needs to be sanded off leaving the tyres with a well used look with only the military pattern tyres included with a few different “civilian” tread patterns used on non-military Beetles. The wheels simply glue to the ends of the axles and will rotate if you are sparing with the glue.
The interior has a separate central hump with gear lever and very finely moulded hand brake but as with other Tamiya vehicle kits there are no driver’s foot pedals provided but these are not easy to see after the body is added and more so if you use the driver figure included but it would have been nice to have these provided.
The two front seats and rear bench seat are again very basic as per the original and adding texture to these would help visually and the steering wheel is again very finely moulded and doesn’t look at all over scale.
The body is moulded in one piece with separate front hood with the instrument panel added to the inside; this has the basic details included which again were basic on the original and includes decals for the instruments and VW logo to add nice detail here.
The body has very nice contours included which match photos of the real thing well but there is a fine moulding seam line down the middle of the fenders and over the roof just above the doors which will have to be carefully sanded smooth, not a big problem.
The clear windscreen is a separate part with wipers included which will require careful painting and this should be inserted from the outside of the body, not from the inside with a locating tab at the top ensuring good placement. The large clear shell for the side and rear windows fits neatly inside the body but there are a couple of raised pin marks that should be removed from the inside of the roof so the clear part sits flush to the inside roof. There is no rear view mirror included which should be fairly easy to make from thin card and rod.
You may want to leave the clear windows separate until after painting and due to the design of the clear parts and the easy fitting of the lower and upper bodies this is probably the best option to avoid excessive masking.
Added to the body is the separate front hood and head light inserts with separate clear lenses for the civilian version and blackout slit covers for the military version and also for the military version you have to open up a hole in the left fender for the NOTEK light. At the back is the central engine door light and number plate and separate small tail lights which are different for both sides, so take care when added these and also because they are very small and slippery when handling.
Also included is a driver figure with separate arms and head without any headwear making him fairly universal with quite nice uniform details for the scale but there are quite heavy mould lines on the body and arms to be removed.
The figure is posed holding the steering wheel and fits very well behind the wheel if you want to add this which of course you would do before fitting the body halves together.
The fit of the upper and lower bodies is very good meaning you can paint the two separate and fit together later along with the clear windows which should make the painting process a lot easier.
The small decal sheet has the front and back number plate numbers for 4 beetles but only the first three are shown in the instruction sheet:
Decal sheet and clear parts
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A very simple little kit as per the original with most of the features of the wartime Beetle captured well with just the foot pedals and rear view mirror the obvious omissions with this translating to simple construction and should be useful for both military and civilian dioramas.
There are numerous possibilities for variations built on this basic chassis such as ambulance version, delivery truck version with open tray added to the back and various modifications to run on woodgas. The hottest version though is the type 87 which has four wheel drive with wider fenders and large off road tyres as well as fold back open roof used by the Afrika Korps for the original off roader.Highly recommended.
VW Beetle at War
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
On the Web:
Volkswagen VW Typ 82e 1943
Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten.
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Page created August 21, 2006