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Book Review
Kübelwagen Typ 82
Kübelwagen - From the 'Military Beetle' to the Amphibious Schwimmwagen
  • k6

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:

The Book
Kübelwagen Typ 82 - From the 'Military Beetle' to the Amphibious Schwimmwagen is published by the German Military publishing-house Tankograd Publishingand written by Dr. H.G. Mayer-Stein. The book follows a similar format to other titles within their 'Specials' series, consisting of some 64 pages. The book is A4, soft-cover format and contains 128 black and white and 3 color photos. The book is completely bilingual (German/English) with no shortcuts taken over captions or text - what is in German is also translated. The book forms part of the Wermacht Specials series, carrying the reference number 4008.

The book's Structure
Specifically, the book is seperated into nine distinct sections. These are:


The KdF-Volkswagen (People's Car) 'Military Beetle' in Military Service

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' on Trial

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' Camouflage

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' - Maintenance and Repair

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' in Close-up

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' - Walk-around a Restored Vehicle

VW Typ 82 Kübelwagen 'Bucket-Car' - In Front-line Service

VW Typ 166 Schwimmwagen - The Amphibian 'Schwimmer'

In detail

The easiest way to give an overview of this book is to look and comment on each section as to their 'relevance' to the modeller:

Introduction - only consisting of four pages, this gives some good background as to the decision-making process which led to the adoption and evolution of the vehicle. The author stresses the nature of the manufacture - mass production and simplicity of design. The chapter covers (briefly) some of the significant aspects of the history - particularly notable was the involvement of Ferdinand Porsche in the 'militarization' of what was (at least superficially) a civilian design.

'Military Beetle' in Military Service covers by means of images the emblematic 'Beetle' in a variety of situations - as staff-car, recconaissance element or, a favorite of modellers, the ambulance version. Also clearly indicated within this section are the marked differences between the standard (road) tyres and the distinctive lower-pressure 'balloon-type' tyres designed to improve its 'off-road' performance. As former Beetle owner, I tended to look at these changes with a degree of scepticism! Included in this section are some superb photos of the interior of the vehicle - perfect for 'tarting-up' the Italeri kit..

The next six sections look at the Kübelwagen or 'Bucket Car' - as an anecdote, the name originated from the form of the seats although in later versions these were changed although the name remained...

On Trial deals with the vehicle under evaluation.It's shown in a variety of situations Three very interesting variants are shown - two in 'half-track' configuration and the third as a 'dummy' tank. Again, scratchbuilders will find some intriguing ideas...

Camouflage Self-explanatory perhaps, but this short section does demonstrate some interesting (and perhaps unconsidered) variations.

Maintenance and Repair Again, although short, this has some particularly useful ideas for the diorama builder.

In Close-up: Again, the title says it all. This is a selection of photos which although many were (obviously) taken as mere 'snap-shots' for personal albums have an enormous value for the modeller due to their clarity.

Walk-around a Restored Vehicle the subject vehicle is an excellently-restored example, which although I frequently have doubts about restored vehicles, this is one which definitely is exceptional. The fact that the photos are in black and white also adds to their 'authenticity'.

The last section covering the Kübelwagen - In Front-line Service shows the vehicle in the less 'clinical' environment - in Combat areas. A variety of theaters are shown - Russia, the Middle-East and Western Europe. Once again a huge variety of color schemes are within these pages and, as a 'bonus' photographed beside many other types of vehicles. Wehrmacht, SS and Luftwaffe vehicles are present in this section which has a bewildering variety of options for the modeller.

The last section of the book, but certainly NOT the least, is VW Typ 166 Schwimmwagen - The Amphibian 'Schwimmer'. Herein lies my major 'quibble' with the book. It's too short. Although the Schwimmwagen never reached the production numbers of it's land-bound 'cousin' it remains one of the most fascinating subjects imaginable. This does however take nothing away from the quality of the images in this section they are as good (and in a few cases superior) to other sections simply because of the variety of situations the vehicle was photographed in. This is truly a vehicle which deserves the full 'Tankograd' treatment - again due in part to the wide popularity of this vehicle amongst modellers and manufacturers alike... One aspect which is particularly interesting is just how low in the water the vehicle actually was albeit with four passengers.

The Images
For me at least, what seperates Tankograd from it's competitors are the images. It's rare in books from this publisher to actually see many photos which have been printed before. The choice of images is also carefully cionsidered. Too many publishers (even nowadays) use nondescript, vague and frequently small images in their books. Tankograd, and this is a good example, use (typically) two images per page and many times only one image. Even three images is fine as the quality of the images used is excellent. Good, clear contrast in the images and carefully edited are some of the strongest points of this publisher's books. Of course. any author is only as good as his editor. Once again, the composition is planned - not haphazard.

In Conclusion

An excellent book of a surprisingly poorly-covered subject. Too often the Kübelwagen, the KdF-Volkswagen 'Beetle' or the Typ 166 Schwimmwagen apppear as 'backdrops' to more 'interesting' subjects. Although this isn't a technical manual as such, it does give (as is frequently the case with Tankograd) some invaluable 'pointers' to modellers in a variety of aspects - Camouflage, Stowage or the effects of dust or mud are all present within this book. The emphasis is clearly (and correctly) on images of the vehicle - the captions are informed and concise but not overwhelming - other publishers/editors take note!
Highs: The subject area - a more modern reference has long been needed. Quality of images is superlative.
Lows: Some scale plans would have been extremely welcome. Coverage of the Schwimmwagen although good, could almost justify a seperate book.
Verdict: This truly is a superb book. Logically structured and edited with a plethora of original photos. As we are well served with some excellent kits on the market then this should inspire modellers even further!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 4008
  Suggested Retail: €14.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 30, 2007

Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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