Powered by an air-cooled engine that was less vulnerable to bullets and shrapnel (no radiator to leak), and possessing a flat bottom that would glide over snow, mud and sand, the Kübelwagen was a popular staff car because it could perform. Over 50,000 were cranked off the assembly line by the end of the war.
It was soon agreed there was a need for a variant that could "swim" across rivers and other water barriers. This led Ferdinand Porsche's design team to modify the 4-wheel drive Kübelwagen Type 86 (the "vanilla" Kübelwagen was 2-wheel drive). Elements of the Type 87 "Beetle" Command version were also incorporated. Interestingly, the all-wheel feature was available only in 1st gear. After some modifications to reduce the size and thereby improve performance, some 16,000 Schwimmwagen were manufactured from 1941-1944. Riverine propulsion was accomplished by a rear-mounted screw lowered by hand and attached to the drive train.
The aging Tamiya and Italeri models of the Schwimmwagen have had PE and resin upgrades for years, but the kit canvas tops remain among the ugliest pieces or work in the hobby. Having already released a resin canvas top for the Kübelwagen (reviewed here on Armorama
), we now review DEF Model
's top for the popular Schwimmwagen
what you get
Inside the usual DEF Model
a single molded piece of greenish resin
2 support pylons in greenish resin
I have seen various PE sets for cars like the Schwimmwagen with elaborate constructs to make a deployed top and its frame structure. My reaction in most cases is "you've got to be kidding!" The fragility of the structure and the complications of making a "canvas" top from something like tissue paper soaked with white glue makes me think the designers of those PE sets are on drugs.
Now DEF Model
has come to the rescue with this fully-deployed top. The only caution to it is make sure you use a razor saw or carefully cut the top from its pour plug. Otherwise it's pretty much cut, glue, paint and weather.
Unless you're a super-detailer who can construct your own "canvas" top from white glue and tissue paper, this is the only game in town. Normal modelers like you and I can't hope to do better than this.
Thanks to DEF Model for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed on Armorama when ordering yours.