|KIT:||Tamiya 1/48 Schwimmwagen type 166|
When I saw this swimming jeep was on sale in one of the local model shops I jumped to buy 2 boxes without hesitations (by the way, the local retail price is HK$50.00, or US$6.40, I guess it will be double in US). After I sent a photo of the kit to Scott he has mentioned to me that there is rumor about the kits (I have, actually brought the 1/48 Tiger-I at the same time) that they may be modified Bandai 1/48 series back in the1996. This article serves to see whether the Tamiya offers are updated Bandai versions or new toolings.
The swimming jeep is broken down into 52 parts, quite a few for a model of only 3 inched in length when completed. Molded in sand-colored plastic on the soft side - so be very careful when separating small parts from the tree. I spent 3 hours, including painting, to finish the kit. This proves the parts breakdown is logical and well-planned. It serves as an excellent backdrop for any 1/48 WWII Luftwafe models - in here, I placed it next to the Fw-190 (also by Tamiya) with the innovative wing-fixed conformal fuel tanks (by ex-Paragon) - which gives people a solid sense about sizes, we tend to be familiar about how big a car is but not very often about the size of a fighter.
Now, back to the rumors - is it an updated-version of Bandai kit or not? The best answer is to place the two kits side-by-side as suggested by Scott. Unfortunately, I cannot locate my Bandai kits ( I can only, for the time being, find the Panzer IV, Sd.Kfz.251, Pz.H18/2 Wespe, Sd.Kfz.184 Elefant and the Hetzer) among my 3000-plus collection. So I shall let those who have the swimming jeep in their possession to compare the trees. But I am confident enough to tell you that it should be a new kit from Tamiya. The details are more defined against the Bandai ones and the trees are all marked with Copyrighted TAMIYA 2004 All Bandai kits come with figures and non is included in the Tamiya kit - it does not make sense not to include these figures if it is an updated-version from Bandai. The most convincing evidence is the moulding gates - the ones in the Bandai kits are all in one size whereas the ones in the Tamiya kit come in various sizes. Small and intricate parts are linked with much refined gates in comparison with the ones that hold main body parts. Another point is that there are more parts with perforation or holes/openings. All these can only be achieved by more advanced injection technology. Let the pictures tell the story.
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