Hasegawa 1/24 1963 VW Type 2 Microbus
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Curbside that includes resin surfboards.|
The Volkswagen Type 2 (also known as Transporter or Bus) was the second automotive line introduced by German automaker Volkswagen. It was a 1192 cc 36 hp introduced in 1950, initially based on Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1, also known as the "Beetle". The Type 2 is the forerunner of modern cargo and passenger vans. The Type 2 spawned a number of imitators both in the United States and Europe including the Ford Econoline, Dodge A100, and the Chevrolet Corvan, the last even adopting the Type 2's rear-engine configuration. As of 2009, updated versions of this line are produced for international markets, both as a passenger and cargo van and as a pickup truck. It is also unofficially known as a "microbus", a "minibus" or "hippie van," the latter due to its popularity with the 1960s/70s counterculture movement.
In the Disney Pixar movie Cars, the character Fillmore, voiced by the late George Carlin, is portrayed as an anti-establishment hippie-type, and is a psychedelically-painted VW Microbus.
Your editor learned to drive in a 1959 camper version of this vehicle (similar to that shown in the photo) that was owned by his father. It was an overall medium blue that slowly turned to a powder blue due to a total lack of waxing over its life span. A really neat part of this package was a full tent that attached to the side. It was the size of the car and not only had a full floor, but also a smaller annex for a chemical toilet. The frame for it attached to fittings on the roof of the car and you can see those fittings in the image at the front and back.
Its anemic 1192 cc 36 hp engine had to push a considerable amount of extra weight and was so geared that one could put the car in first gear, and while it idled, the driver could hop out and walk beside it. Opening the elephant-ear doors while driving down the road at even 30 mph would cause the vehicle to distinctly slow down. It was so geared that 60mph was top speed and it would occasionally reach 65 going downhill with a tail wind. Often on long trips, we would simply put a brick on the accelerator pedal and leave it there. Cave man cruise control. Sadly, the engine gave out in 1969 and my father sadly traded it in on a standard VW. Having a camper and being a teenager was often the best of both worlds (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
I am not sure if this is the same kit that has been boxed by Revell, but it sure looks similar. This is a special edition so comes equipped with resin bits. In this case, it is a pair of surfboards and a roof rack. Doood! The kit itself is superbly molded. No raised panel lines on this one. It is a curbside without a full engine and none of the doors open. You can cut them free, but as mentioned in the instructions, you have to remove the hinges and there is no interior door detail. There is a full driver's compartment and this is a fully equipped VW bus as it has a radio in addition to the fuel gauge and speedometer. My father's 1959 version had no fuel gauge. When the engine started to sputter for lack of fuel, you reached down just below the seat and turned a knob that opened the 1 gallon auxiliary fuel tank, hoping that you remembered to close this knob when you filled up.
For the passenger area, there are two nicely done bench seats (bench seat in the front as well, you know). Since this is an upper class VW, it has chrome on it. The bumpers and hubcaps are nicely done as are the headlight wells and a number of other small items like door handles and mirrors. Typical of VW and others, the mounts for the outside mirrors are the upper front door hinges! The clear parts are very clear and you will spend quality time painting the black rubber seals around all those small windows on the side and for the skylight. The canvas top is molded closed with no open option. There are a couple of license plate shapes for you to choose from.
Instructions are very well done and show what few options are available. Painting info is with Gunze paints and some mixing is needed, especially for the exterior blue. The decals are very nicely done and provide all the stripes and other logos. Many of the decals are for the two surfboards, which will need to be colorfully painted. Both are the older style banana boards. As one looks at the parts layout, you can see that there are bits not used on this version.
The VW bus is iconic when it comes to many of us and we can all recall 'flower power' vans cruising the streets, some of them with us behind the wheel! It is a superbly molded kit and should make into an equally superb model.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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