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Ryefield Volkswagen Type 82E staff car

Build review of the 1/35 scale car kit with a full interior
The Beetle, Kafer, Bug, Vocho, or KdF wagens. Call them what you want, they are one of the most recognizable vehicles in history. Although Porsche built them, Bela Barenyi working for Mercedes-Benz is credited for the original design and won a court case in 1955 over copyright infringement. Ferdinand Porsche started production under the name Volkswagen in 1938 and production ceased in 2003 after more than 21 million units had been made. The German military used several versions, the type 82E being the most common.

Ryefield Models 1/35 scale Type 82E is a fine kit, but it’s not a Type 82E. The chassis tunnel is larger and has the gear linkage with the 4x4 selector molded on the top. The model actually represents the Type 87, which used the Kubelwagen 4x4 chassis, as opposed to the 2-wheel-drive chassis used for the Type 82E. The kit also includes front differential and half shafts for the front wheels.

The kit comprises three tan parts trees, plus a separate body, a clear tree with windows and lights, and a small photo-etched metal (PE) fret with license plate frames as well as a VW logo, five vinyl tires, and a decal sheet for three variants.

Underneath the car, the exhaust and heater shrouds are finely molded with sharp details. Cement the torsion bars right side up; I didn’t and the final model has a raked look. Kronprinz wheels and Continental balloon tires are provided if you choose to replicate the Afrika Korps vehicle.

The lower engine is molded into the chassis, but the top end builds from 11 parts and nestles into the upper chassis. The rest of the chassis contains separate pedals, a shift lever, and a 4x4 gear engagement lever.

To finish the interior, I added the dash with finely recessed lines, steering wheel and shaft, seats with detailed cloth effect, and a gas can with finely molded writing.

The windows were clear and they include molded gasket seals around them, but the windshield edges needed sanding for fit. Clear parts are also supplied for the head and taillights, and the license plate light.

The trunk and hood can be posed open with optional hinges. The front trunk lid fit fine up, but the rear engine cover hinges were too long; I trimmed them for fit. There are no hinges for the driver and passenger doors, but they can be posed open with careful gluing on the door jams. Test fitting showed the doors, hood, and trunk fit fine closed. I appreciated that the kit has separate inner door panels, which makes painting easier. All of the door handles and wiper arms were separate.

The kit’s three options are a desert tan vehicle with balloon tires, dark yellow with dark green, and dark gray, which I went with. The only diagrams and color callouts are on the back of the box.

These cars were different between variants and few exist today, so it’s hard to establish what colors were used. References are a must for this kit if you want to paint interior details. I used Birth of the Beetle by Chris Barber (Haynes, ISBN 978-1-85960-959-0).

The kit fits well, other than the windscreen. Overall details are good and shapes appear well executed. Anyone who purchases this kit will be happy with it.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2020 issue.
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