Tamiya 1/24 New Beetle






See review


Scott Van Aken


Kit is curbside


How many of you who can consider yourselves a baby boomer owned a VW Beetle? I know that I did. These little cars were cold in the winter, hot in the summer, cramped, had pathetic luggage carrying capabilities, boasted a rear seat only good enough for children, and a single instrument. They were also fuel efficient, easy to maintain, easy to get parts for (there were millions of them on the road), and fun to drive. The last Beetles in the US were mid-late 1970s models, though they were still being built into the 1990s in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Frankly, time overtook this late 1930s design and no matter how much the car was improved, it was never up to modern standards. Several decades passed and it was decided that perhaps it was time to bring out a successor to the beloved Bug. I would bet that much of the thought behind it was that those who owned the older version would be nostalgic enough to want one of the newer cars.

Though reminiscent of the older VW, the new Beetle has many of the traits of the older one; lack of rear seat room, the four cylinder horizontally opposed engine,  McPherson strut suspension, and overall shape. Despite these similarities, it is modern in all other respects. The engine is liquid cooled and a diesel is optional. The engine has more horsepower, the interior is much more modern and up-to-date. Oh yes, it also costs over 10 times as much. I bought a brand new beetle in 1969 for $1,800. A 2001 beetle runs about $23,000!



Upon opening the box (and Tamiya still uses real boxes), one is confronted with a spectacle of yellow and black. The body and interior tub and seats are in a yellow color while the chassis and chassis components are in black.  All of the sprues are separately bagged to prevent scratching. There is a sprue of aluminum parts (I say aluminum as it isn't chrome) for the wheels and the headlights. The four rubber tires are individually bagged. Clear parts are also separately bagged and Tamiya has provided masks for the windows, which is a nice touch. 

Detailing is as one would expect from a leader in plastic kits. This particular model is a curbside (that means it has no complete engine). However all of the under chassis bits such as the suspension and exhaust are separate parts. A decal sheet (not shown) provides the instrument cluster, license plates, speaker grilles and the little logos for the wheel centers. 

Instructions are superb and give all the correct color callouts, though they are in Tamiya paints only. The masks are for the inside of the windows as like most modern cars, there is a black border around all of the windows. The windows apply from the inside, so they will have to be masked prior to any painting. There is no headliner detailing and you will have to remove the copyright from that area if you wish to do any additional detailing in there.

Overall, it looks like a very good kit and I'm sure it is as easy to assemble as any other Tamiya kit.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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