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Schwimmwagen Kit

Tamiya 1/35 Schwimmwagen Type 166 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2008 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Schwimmwagen Type 166 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35224 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat German soft-skin vehicle; propeller can be folded or deployed; neat unbuttoned jacket on driver Cons Vague or nil information on some of the marking schemes
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $18.50

First Look

Schwimmwagen Kit
Schwimmwagen Kit
Schwimmwagen Kit
Schwimmwagen Kit

The Volkswagen “Beetle”, which has been called a German national car, was conceived and designed in 1938 by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the originator of the famous sports-car manufacturer “Porsche”. The Beetle’s excellent features were matchless durability and inexpensiveness. Then, the German Army decided to develop a military vehicle based on this small, tough and inexpensive car.

As a result, several kinds of military vehicles were manufactured for trial. The amphibious Schwimmwagen type 128 was one of them. After further refinements, the vehicle was officially designated the “Schwimmwagen type 166” (subject of this kit) and mass production began in 1942. It’s high-set exhaust pipe, at the rear, looked quite humorous, but of course it was so set in anticipation of the vehicle’s use in the water. The rear-mounted engine had a displacement of 1,130cm and an output of 25 hp, propelling the car up to 80 km/h on land, while on the water to 10 km/h.

When running on the water, the vehicle used a propeller at the rear. It was raised above the rear engine deck once it was back on dry land. The steering on the water was done just like when it was on land, by change of the direction of the front wheels, which served as a rudder. In total, 14,276 type 166’s were produced by the end of 1944, and those were actively employed to fulfill reconnaissance, liaison and various other duties during WWII.

This kit comes in a small tray and lid type box. The box art is in Tamiya’s signature style for the boxarts on their kits. It is a color illustration of the Schwimmwagen posed on an all white background. The boxart shows a Schwimmwagen painted in earth yellow with dark green wave pattern camouflage. It has the license number WH-136149 in black letters on a white plate (this license number is on the decal sheet in the kit, but not illustrated on the instructions). We are never told what unit this vehicle was with and no other markings are on it.

One side panel has a 3-view color illustration of the Schwimmwagen in the same paint scheme and the license number WH-1572751 (again, this license number is on the decal sheet, but the scheme is not shown on the instructions, nor are we ever told what unit it was with and no other markings are on this one either).

The other side panel shows a Schwimmwagen in overall panzer gray. It has the license place number WH-1381549. Like the previous other 2 schemes above, no other marks are on it and the plate number is on the decal sheet, but no shown on the instructions. We are not told what unit this one was with either. Bad moves Tamiya.

Inside the box is 2 light tan parts trees in two stapled shut cello bags that are tight to the tray in all four directions. Inside one of these bags is a small stapled cello that holds a sheet of clear acetate that has the windshield die-cut into it and a sheet of black vinyl screen. The decal sheet, instructions and a single sheet of “Important information concerning this kit” printed on both sides, in 13 languages (including English) completes the kits contents.

Printed in black and white on the inside bottom of the boxes tray is box art illustrations of 16 other AFV model kits that Tamiya markets, and 3 boxarts of figure kits. On two of the side walls of the tray are black and white illustrations of an airbrush and compressor that Tamiya markets and illustrations of some of their paint jars. So, the tray becomes a catalog of their kits per se.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 10 pages of 6 5/8” x 10 ¼” format.

Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the kit made up. It is in the markings of a vehicle of the Grossdeutschland Division (to be explained later, and – on the decal sheet). This is followed by the history of the Schwimmwagen type 166 in English, German, French and Japanese.

Page 2 begins with general instructions, illustrations of some hobby tools, a listing of Tamiya brand paint colors, suggested to use to decorate the model and some cautions (in the same four languages). The bottom of the page has the first assembly step drawing.

Page 3 through 8 give a balance of a total of 18 assembly steps.

Step 4 is for assembly of the engine compartment with a complete engine. This compartment can be posed shut, or open with a support strut in step 16.

In step 17 you opt for whether you want the propeller deployed or folded up.

Step 18 is the assembly step for the seated driver figure. He is wearing a steel helmet, but has no rifle or weapons.

Page 9 and 10 give three more marking and painting schemes, which makes six total – when you count the other three on the kits box lid. These are all four-views and for:

  1. A Schwimmwagen 166 of the Volks-Werner Brigade 8 (presumed) 1944. It is in overall dark yellow (dunklegelb) with the license number WH-1573264, front and rear, and a tactical marking for HQ of a tank company
  2. A Schwimmwagen 166 of the sPzABt. 101, Normandy, June 1944. This vehicle is in a base coat of dark yellow (dunklegelb) with spots of waves of red brown and dark green over it for camouflage. The illustration shows the license plates as BLANK. However, the numbers on the illustration that tell you what number marking on the decal sheet to use refers to SS license plate number SS-318449. Why it is deleted on this illustration is beyond me. There is a division mark on the side of the car, just above the front wheels. It is blank, also, on the illustration and the number it refers to on the decal sheet is for a white shield with crossed keys on it. This is the division marking for “Hitlerjugend” SS. Strange, that Tamiya has whited out this and the license plate on these drawings
  3. A Schwimmwagen 166 of the “Gross Deutschland” Division, Russia, March 1944. This vehicle is in a base of dark yellow (dunklegelb) with waves of dark green over it for camouflage. It has the white helmet divisional insignia for Gross Deutschland on front sides of the vehicle with the white words Pz. Gren. Re GD below it. The license number is WH-1637551

Light tan letter A parts tree holds: the front axle assembly, the wheels, engine compartment walls, floorboard, radiator frame, fire wall, fuel tanks, spare tire mounting, engine compartment lid, upper hull part etc. (22 parts).

Light tan letter B tree holds: the rear axle arms, engine parts, power take-off for the propeller, shift levers, seats, foot pedals, steering wheel and it’s shaft, dash board, notek lamp, passenger compartment, seats and their supports, passenger grab bar, fuel caps, siren, shovel, headlights with black out slits, exhaust parts, propeller assembly, the seated driver figure, rear-view mirror, windshield frame, an oar and some tools etc. (66 parts)

The single light tan body tub bottom piece completes the light tan parts in the kit.

The driver figure is divided into separate torso, arms, legs, head and steel helmet. He wears his jacket completed unbuttoned, which is kind of neat.

The windshield part that is die cut into a sheet of clear acetate, the black nylon piece of screen, to use for engine air intakes and the decal sheet complete the kits contents.

In addition to the markings for the 6 schemes (mentioned above), the decal sheet also has a couple of black data plates with white lettering, that go on the dashboard, a load capacity stencil, that appeared on the side door of some Schwimmwagens (but not all) and tire pressure stencils in either black or white.

This kit is very well detailed. Parts are all crisply molded and exhibit no flash. I particularly liked the unbuttoned jacket on the driver figure. However, I think that there should have been a rifle provided for him at least.