Italeri 1/35 Volkswagen Typ 87 'Beetle' w/Afrika Korps Soldiers Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||February 2008||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Volkswagen Typ 87 'Beetle' w/Afrika Korps Soldiers||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6426||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.|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$25.00|
History: the Volkswagen sedan was developed in the 1930’s to try and provide a cheap vehicle for German citizens to own. This never became the case, and most of the vehicles were used by the Wehrmacht (German army). During WWII, the German armed forces used the car in various roles: sedan, ambulance, and one even had a gas generator mounted in it to use various fuels.
Due to it’s great reliability and simple maintenance, this vehicle (later named “Beetle”) had good results on all fronts. From the basic vehicle there was developed the full military versions, known as the Kubelwagen and the amphibious Schwimmwagen, the so-called German “Jeep”.
Have you ever had the feeling that we models need a score-card to keep track of who is selling whose molds under their label? Well, the minute I opened the tray and lid type box of this kit bells went off. Hey!! I have seen this kit before and even built it!! I was sure that it was the CMK molds reboxed by Italeri. So, I pulled out a second CMK kit that I had of it and lo and behold it is! The only new stuff in the box is the six figures and a different decal sheet. Italeri’s box is way blousy for what’s inside.
There is a large letter L void around the parts. The box could have been way smaller. The box art shows a Volkswagen Typ 87 with the license plate number of WH 580429. This is the same license plate number that was shown on the box art of the CMK kit, but there the similarity ends. Italeri’s car does not have the Rampke Brigade logo on the front fender or the Afrika Korps palm tree with swastika on the doors. It has a white loading stencil on the doors instead. It is painted in overall earth yellow. The illustration shows it surrounded by six Afrika Korps infantrymen in various poses. One of them is moving a 50 gallon fuel drum.
More of these drums are shown in the background, so it is obviously a desert fuel depot scene. A side panel shows color photographs of the model made up into a diorama. The other side panel has another color photo of this diorama and one paragraph histories of the vehicle in six languages, including English. These paragraphs are labeled with color illustrations of the flags for the countries these languages are for.
The kit contents consist of two trees of very light gray parts and the outer body shell part (also in light gray) and the clear parts trees that are all CMK original molds. There is also two trees of light tan parts that are by Italeri, I presume, as they are molded in Italeri’s usual signature color of styrene. Everything is cello bagged. This is unusual for Italeri to cello bag their parts trees, usually they are bare in their kits.
The light gray ex-CMK trees do not have any part numbers molded into the trees next to each part, so – you will have to refer to the parts tree drawings to identify the parts you need for particular assemblies. The parts for the figures do have numbers on the sprues.
The instructions consists of a large sheet that accordion folds out into 10 pages of seven ½” x 12 “ format.
Page one has the history of the Volkswagen Typ 87 in six languages including English. This is followed by “Cautions” in 11 languages.
Page two begins with the parts tree drawings, followed by some international assembly symbol translations and a listing on Model Master paints suggested to use to finish the car.
Pages three through six give a total of 12 assembly steps. Steps one to nine are for assembly of the car and 10 to 12 are for assembly of the six figures and the 50 gallon fuel drum.
Pages seven to nine have marking and painting instructions for four different schemes. All these are 4-views showing the top, side, front and rear of each.
- A Volkswagen typ 87 of the Afrika Korps in Lybia 1942
- A Volkswagen typ 87 of the Luftwaffegeschwader 53, Northern Italy 1944. The “Pikas”
- A Volkswagen typ 87 of the German Office of Colonial Policy, Germany 1941
- A Volkswagen typ 87 captured by the British Army, Germany 1945/47
Page 10 has “important information concerning this kit” in no less than 20 languages, followed by a coupon to mail to Italeri for any service needed for the kit.
The largest light gray tree is marked as letter A on the instructions, and…as mentioned is ex-CMK. It holds: front seat cushions, front seat back-rests, front seat support legs, front and rear bumpers, steering wheel, inside door panels, shift and brake levers, rear seat full-span bench, rear deck piece, floor panel, wheel discs, regular type tires and rims with baby-moon type hub-caps and regular type tires without the hub-caps, the bottom chassis piece with fenders molded on it, the front axle, exterior door handles, a siren and windshield wiper-blades. (45 parts)
The second (smaller) light gray, ex-CMK, part tree is marked as letter B on the instructions. It holds: an alternate bucket seat for the rear of the car, huge balloon type desert tires and rims, a notek lamp, a MP40 machine pistol, and some other panels (17 parts)
The upper body shell is all in one piece in light gray and has the hood, trunk and doors molded solid into to it. Opening any of these would take major surgery. However, there is no engine compartment or engine or trunk interior to see anyway. Having the doors molded separately would have been nice though. This body shell piece is ex-CMK too.
The last ex-CMK parts tree is the clear parts. It is called out as letter C on Italeri’s instructions. It holds the glass for all the windows and two types of headlight lenses: open or covered with a slit in the cover for defense against Allied aircraft seeing the beams at night.
The first of the light tan parts (by Italeri) is marked as letter E on the instructions. It holds: a kneeling figures parts with separate legs, torso, arms and head, two standing figures: one with just both his arms being separate and the other with just one arm separate (the other arm being molded to him), there are two steel helmets, a soft peaked cap, a pith helmet, a 50 gallon steel drum, a shovel, bayonet in a scabbard, a pistol in a holster, a 98K carbine rifle, a mess kit, two canteens,2 mess kits, two gas mask canisters and a wood stick and a shovel (29 parts)
The wood stick is meant to be used by one of the crouching figures to pose him drawing in the sand with it. However, the box art does not show this figure with the stick only the instructions do. The sixth figure is man-handling the 50 gallon drum.
The second light tan parts tree (by Italeri) is marked as letter F on the instructions. It holds: Parts for three more figures. Two of these figures are molded with just their arms as separate pieces. The third figure is molded with his torso and legs as separate parts. His arms too are separate. Also on this tree are six potato-masher type grenades (one of which has a belt added to it), two more MP40 machine pistols with their ammo pouches for them. (22 parts)
The decal sheet completes the kits contents. It holds the markings for the four schemes mentioned above, tactical marks, license plates and division marks. Strangely, at the bottom it says Volkswagen Typ 82 E, instead of the Volkswagen Typ 87 that the kit is.