By your command...


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CMK 1/35 Volkswagen Typ 87 'Beetle' Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review February 2008 Manufacturer Czech Model
Subject Volkswagen Typ 87 'Beetle' Scale 1/35
Kit Number T35013 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat German WWII soft-skin subject Cons No part numbers on trees or parts tree drawings. Doors, trunk and hood molded shut. Decals may shatter
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $15.00

First Look


Under the designation Volkswagen typ 87, this denomination belonged to various versions of Volkswagen vehicles with four-wheel-drive. The car was manufactured during WWII for the German Wehrmacht. Among the variants was the car with the civilian body known under the designation “Kommandeurswagen” (command car) VW 877. This was an off-road vehicle which represented a combination of the body of civilian car type VW 60 and of the “Kubelwagen” chassis.

The car was driven by a normal air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine giving an output of 25 hp. The four speed gears were in order to improve traction complemented by off-road speed. The vehicle was manufactured in this design from 1941 in a limited number and was delivered mostly to the Afrika Korps of the Wehrmacht. For service in Africa the car was fitted with huge balloon tires for operation in sand. This required a modification of the front axles and widening of the fenders. The engine and the electrical equipment was protected against dust and moisture. Most of the command cars were fitted with a roll-up canvas cover to go over the sun roof opening.

The advantages of this car were it’s capability to move off-road and to protect the crew against rain, wind, dust and cold. The disadvantages were the limited mobility of the crew if needing to leave the car in combat conditions and the insufficient luggage space.

CMK is a model company based in Prague, Czech Republic.

This kit comes in an end-opening type box. The box art shows a VW typ 87 driving over sand with something burning on the horizon behind it. It is in overall earth yellow, with the Ramcke Luftwaffinjager Brigade one (also known as Fallschirmjager-Ramcke Brigade) “Drache” (white kite outlined in black) on the passenger side front fender with the black letter R on it. It has the license number WH-580429 and an inaccurate Afrika Korps palm tree and swastika emblem on the doors. This emblem has been censored. The swastika appears as a white square. This is due to the fact that CMK markets this kit to Germany where the insignia is forbidden. This is the only marking provided in the kit on the decal sheet. However, on the decal the swastika is correct.

A little about the Ramcke Brigade: It saw action in the Medeterranean Theatre and North Africa. It was named after its commander Oberst Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke. The brigade joined Rommel’s Afrika Korps and arrived in North Africa in July 1942. It fought until the capitulation of Panzer-Armee Afrika in May 1943. It performed excellently while in Africa, providing a counter to Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) long-range-desert group.

Inside the box is a single sealed cello bag that contains two trees of light gray parts, a single outer body shell part (also light gray), a tree of clear parts (inside it’s own cello) and the decal sheet.

The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that is folded in the center into four pages. Sandwiched in the center of this is a second sheet, printed on both sides, to form a unstapled six page booklet.

Page one begins with a line drawing of the side of a VW typ 87, followed by the history of the vehicle in four languages including English.

Page two begins with rather small illustrations of the parts trees. Unfortunately, these drawings have no part numbers on them and neither do the parts trees. You will have to identify the parts you need from studying these drawings and the assembly steps. Bad move CMK. This will make for some tedious assembly work. Above the largest tree it says “do not use parts 20 & 23”. With no part numbers shown on these drawings, how the heck is one to know what parts those are??? Over the smaller gray parts tree drawing it says “do not use part no. 51”. Again, a mystery as to what part that is??

Beneath the parts tree drawings is a side and top view line drawing of the vehicle. I don’t know what purpose this serves, as it is not the marking and painting illustrations. Probably just to show the interior layout looking down through the sunroof?? Under this is a single international assembly symbol of a star that means to use a decal when it appears in the assembly steps. The bottom of the page has a list of three Humbol or Tamiya paint colors to use to finish the model.

Pages three through five show a total of eight assembly steps. I had to count these, as these steps are not numbered.

Page six has a 4-view line drawing of the only painting and marking option offered in the kit. Overall dark yellow with red leather seats and black tires. Markings are the ones described earlier as the box art.

The largest medium gray parts tree holds: the vehicles underbody attached to the fenders, seats, wheel discs, two types of regular tires. Fenders, gear shift handles, inner door panels (the doors are molded shut) bumpers, door handles etc. (48 parts)

The doors, hood and trunk lid are all molded solid and would take major surgery to open. However, there is no trunk interior or engine compartment to put under the hood or trunk lid, but the doors would be nice to maybe have in the open position.

The smaller medium gray parts tree holds: another seat, the huge balloon type tires, a notek lamp and a MP 40 sub-machine-gun etc. (17 parts)

The clear parts trees holds windows, two types of headlight lenses (full and slotted blacked out ones) and the taillight lenses.

The decal sheet (already described above) completes the kit’s contents. I built one of this kit way back in 2001 and gave it away to a fellow armor modeler friend of mine. I remember that the decals shattered so bad that they were unusable. I had to used good ones out of my decal spares box on it. This kit was bought more recently than that and maybe the decals have been improved. It will remain to be seen.

No figures are provided in the kit.

This is a neat little German WWII vehicle. It should find it’s way into a lot of collections of WWII German subjects.

Recommended to armor modelers with little experience as this is an easy build.