Tamiya 1/48 Volkswagen Type 82E
KIT #: 32531
PRICE: 900 yen (SRP 1000 yen) {$18.50 SRP in US}
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


On 26 May 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben. He gave a speech, in which he named the car Kraft-durch-Freude-Wagen ("Strength Through Joy Car", usually abbreviated to KdF-Wagen). The name refers to Kraft durch Freude ('Strength Through Joy'), the official leisure organization of Nazi Germany. The model village of Stadt des KdF-Wagens was created near Fallersleben in Lower Saxony in 1938 for the benefit of the workers at the newly built factory.

The factory had only produced a handful of cars by the start of the war in 1939; the first volume-produced versions of the car's chassis were military vehicles, the Type 82 Kübelwagen (approximately 52,000 built) and the amphibious Type 166 Schwimmwagen (about 14,000 built).

The first Beetles were produced on a small scale in 1941.

A handful of KdF-Wagen (Typ 60) were produced primarily for the Nazi elite from 1941 to 1944, to overcome the water-cooling problem of the northern African desert heat. Kübelwagen (Typ 82), the beetle for the Wehrmacht (Typ 82 E), the Schwimmwagen (Typ 166), and a handful of other variants. The factory produced another wartime vehicle: the Kommandeurswagen (Typ 87); a Beetle body mounted on a 4WD Schwimmwagen chassis. The Kommandeurswagen had widened fenders to accommodate its Kronprinz all-terrain tires. 564 Kommandeurswagen were produced up to 1944, when all production was halted because of heavy damage to the factory by Allied air raids. Much of the essential equipment had already been moved to underground bunkers for protection, which let production resume quickly after hostilities ended. Due to gasoline shortages late in the war, a few "Holzbrenner" Beetles were built powered by pyrolysis gas producers located under the front hood.


I am a huge fan of Tamiya's 1/48 military kits. They build well and don't take up much space on the shelves. Over the years, the line has grown considerably so there is a lot that is offered. This is #31 in the series and produced in 2006. Some in this line, mostly early AFVs had cast metal chassis, but this kit does not.

All Tamiya kits that I have built in this series are curbsides and this one is no exception. There is very nice engine detail molded onto the chassis pan and one starts the build there. It is here that the decision needs to be made as to whether this is a military or civilian car as the civilian version has hub caps. Wheels fit onto a plastic axle. One then turns over the chassis and installs the seats steering wheel and a driver (if you wish to use it).

All the windows save the windscreen are a single clear piece and installed from the underside along with the dash. There are decals for the instrument. There is a separate hood. The rest of the car is lights and bumpers. Note that you are given the option to install a Notek light on the army car and clear headlamp lenses for the civilan car. The civilian version also has chrome bumpers and trim which the modeler will have to paint, so keep that in mind.

Instructions are the long, skinny variety that Tamiya uses for its smaller kits. All painting info is in Tamiya paints. Markings, which are basically license plates, are provided for three vehicles. To of them are in dark yellow; one is a German Army car from 1945 and the other is with the Reich Traffic Administration in Minsk during 1944. The third one is a civilian car in overall gloss black.  


Another very nice little model from Tamiya that should appeal to both the military and civilian vehicle fan. It is a kit that retails in the US for about twice the price from Japan, but can be found at various outlets for less than the US SRP.



February 2017

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