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CMK 1/35 Volkswagen Typ 86 Kastenwagen Ambulance Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review February 2008 Manufacturer Czech Model
Subject Volkswagen Typ 86 Kastenwagen Ambulance Scale 1/35
Kit Number T35018 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat German WWII soft-skin vehicle that can be built in 2 schemes Cons Car doors molded solid
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $21.95

First Look


When, in 1938,  the war drew near, Ferdinand Porsche was compelled to pay his attention to the development of military versions of his originally developed “Volkswagen” (people’s car). It had become known as KDF –Wagen (Kraft durch freude – Power by pleasure). One of the results of this activity was the type 82F.

This car had a standard body of a sedan type built on an off-road chassis of the type 82 Kubelwagen model. The result was the increase in the car’s clearance height, this improving it’s off-the-road riding qualities. Therefore, it became for the German Wehrmacht useful on all battlefronts of WWII.

In 1941, a version with all-wheel drive, known as the type 877 Kommandeurwagen (for simplicity incorrectly designated as type 87) was manufactured. Only a few were built.

The Volkswagen cars were manufactured and used not only during the whole of WWII, but also a long time after it ended. They became a base for various reconstructions and modifications. With the petrol shortage in Germany, towards the end of the war, cars utilizing an alternate fuel – wood gas (see CMK’s kit T35017-VW typ 230 – gas generator version) were built.

By a single other modification of the car’s rear part, a delivery van with a large freight cargo hold was developed. These vehicles were used as an ambulance. This version being designated Typ 86. Even the German post used this version. That modification carried the designation Typ 83 (both subjects of this kit).

CMK is a model company based in Prague, Czech Republic. They have released 4 different kits of variants of the Volkswagen “Beetle” as it was used by the German army and civilian use.

This kit comes in an end-opening type box. The box art shows a typ 86 ambulance driving down a rain soaked grassy Luftwaffe airfield with two Me 110 night fighters parked in the background. A neat box art illustration. It is painted in a base of sand gelb and has spots of red brown with dark green outlines all over it like leopard spots. It carries the red cross insignia on the cargo box at the rear and the license plate no. WL227209. The two side panels of the box have one paragraph histories of the vehicle in 6 languages, including English. These paragraphs are labeled with full color flag illustrations for the countries that the languages are for.

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

The instructions consist of a sheet that is folded in the center into four pages of 7 ¼” x 10 ¼” format. There is a single sheet that is sandwiched into the center of this and printed on both sides making a six-page unstapled booklet.

Page one begins with a side-profile line drawing of the vehicle. This is followed by the history of the VW in Czech, English, German and French.

Page 2 begins with parts tree drawings. The larger of the parts trees illustrated does not have any part numbers shown, neither does the clear parts tree illustration. You will have to identify parts by their shape in the assembly step illustrations. Bad move CMK. However, CMK did give the new body shell a part number and the parts tree of the cargo box parts is numbered. The parts illustrations are followed by some international assembly symbol explanations and a listing of Humbrol and Tamiya brand paints suggested to paint the model. The bottom of the page gives the first 2 assembly steps.

Pages 3 through 5 give the balance of a total of 7 assembly steps.

Page 6 has two 4-view drawings of the two schemes offered on the decal sheet (already described above).

The largest light gray tree is common to all 4 different kits of the VW Beetle that CMK markets. It holds: the vehicle’s floor piece with fenders attached, axles, wheel discs, steering wheel, dashboard, seats and their legs, shift levers, two types of wheels with tires on them (one type has baby-moon hubcaps, the other type has no hub-caps), inner door panels, transmission hump, front and rear bumpers etc. (51 parts) Three parts on this tree are excess and not needed to complete this version of the VW. They are the back seat and the rear window shelf.

The smaller light gray tree is new. It holds the parts for the wood cargo box that mounts on the back of car. It also has an abbreviated engine cover. The parts for the box are detailed inside and out and the rear doors to it are separate. So, it could be posed open or closed. However, beyond the molded in wood plank detail, there is nothing else to go in there. It could be detailed out with some benches, stretchers, medical equipment – or –in the case of building it as a post office vehicle equipment that might be seen in a vehicle used by the postal service. So, some scratch-building possibilities. It is too bad that the doors on the car are molded solid and cannot be opened without major surgery. There are also no figures in the kit.

The next new part in this kit is the different body shell than the other CMK kits. This one is just the forward half of the car.

The clear parts are common to the other CMK version of the VW Beetle. It holds windows and head and taillight lenses. The windows for the rear of the vehicle are excess, because of the cargo box filling that area. So, 4 of them are not used for this version. The headlight lenses are 2 types: full size and with slits in the center to reduce the beams so Allied aircraft cannot spot the car easily from the air at night. (11 parts)

The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents. It has the word REICHSPOST in yellow to go on the side of the cargo box for the typ 83 version and the license plate no. IA-105256. For the ambulance typ 86 version there are five Red Cross insignia to go on 4 sides and the roof of the vehicle and the license plate no. WL-227209 for Luftwaffe. The camouflage for the ambulance scheme is described already above. The Reichpost vehicle is overall panzer gray.

This is one neat version of the military type VW Beetle. I am going to mark mine as the ambulance when I build it. Italeri, I think I saw, has a kit of the Kubelwagen with stretchers and medical crew. It would go hand in glove with this kit in a diorama. The four different versions of the VW Beetle that CMK markets are enough different that a modeler should get all four. They are easy builds and a good starter kit for the novice or the even for more advanced AFV modelers.

Highly recommended.