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Tamiya 1/48 Volkswagen Type 82E Staff Car Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2007 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Volkswagen Type 82E Staff Car Scale 1/48
Kit Number 32531 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very versatile kit with some nice details Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.95

First Look


The Volkswagen 'Beetle' dates back to the original name of the car 'Volkswagen' or "Peoples' Car" in the early 1930s. Adolf Hitler was building up Germany's industrial power and one of those items on the list was mobility. Ferdinand Porsche was given the task to create a car for the German worker and in 1938, the Beetle entered production at KdF-Stadt

When production turned to support the war, the Type 82 Beetle was pressed into service in various roles, including as a staff car. While not as glamorous as many other types of staff cars used by senior officers, the Type 82 was warm and dry on the inside and was therefore more comfortable transportation than many of the other alternatives available to the mid and junior officer ranks.

After the war, the city of Wolfsburg and the renamed auto company 'Volkswagen' was put under British occupation and the car company was pressed into service to meet British military requirements. By 1948, the VW started gaining commercial recognition and was being exported abroad. The Beetle had become an international icon and a fundamental part of post-war German success.

I'm not sure how I overlooked this little gem when it was first released, but I had to get one when I did spot it and see what the kit looked like. I am not at all disappointed.

Inside the box, the kit is presented on one parts tree molded in tan styrene as well as the outer body shell. One set of clear parts is also included.

Like the real thing, the kit is built around simplicity, but doesn't skimp on detail. Construction starts with the chassis and mounting the wheels onto the main axles. The wheels are molded separately from the tires which will make the job of painting the kit much easier. You do have your choice of bare wheels or wheels with the famous dome hubcaps.

The interior has two front seats and a rear bench seat, steering column and steering wheel, gear shift lever on the center hump, and an optional driver figure.

The windshield is molded separately from the other windows, but with a little careful surgery, you can remove one or both of the front windows to portray the vehicle with those windows rolled down. The rear window is the classic split window design.

There is no detail under the hood even though the hood is molded separately. Come to think of it, there isn't much detail under the hood of the real thing either, just the gas tank and spare tire. The rear hood is molded in place, so you won't be seeing that four-cylinder air-cooled engine in this build.

Add the light covers and a few other details, and you've got yourself a wartime Bug. My first car was a 1955 Beetle, still had the small rear window but the split frame in the rear window was gone by then. It would not be hard to update this kit to a post-war Beetle to pose around late 1940s RAF and British Army subjects as well as around US aircraft in the 1950s and beyond.

Markings are given for three different schemes:

  1. German Wehrmacht, Berlin, 1945
  2. Reich Traffic Administration, Minsk, 1944
  3. German civilian car during WWII

This is a nice gem of a kit that has lots of possibilities not only in 1/48 WWII German vignettes, but in post-war scenes as well. You might want to stash away a few of these. I will definitely be stashing more into my own collection.