Sunday, November 9, 2014


"...suppose this war just goes on and on and on and destroys everything in the world. Well, since the Volkswagen can get along without water, she’s bound to survive when other creatures die off! Someday the world is going to be populated with nothing but Volkswagens!"

Castle Keep (1969)

The design of the iconic VW Beetle (aka Volkswagen Type 1) is often claimed to have been significantly influenced by Adolf Hitler (for whatever reason), but Ferdinand Porche was more likely inspired by other sources (particularly Tatra, and allegedly by Joseph Ganz).

Eventually, the car that personified Kraft durch Freude became inextricably associated with the hippy movement.

In the 1/72 world, VWs are primarily diecast models. The most commonly encountered models are produced by Hongwell (also repackaged by Schuco).

Version 1

Two different models were produced by Hongwell. From real life experience with a red VW like the first version of the Hongwell model, I could tell that it was too big. In fact, it measures out to about 1/67 scale.

1/67 version 1 (left) vs 1/72 version 2 (right)

Their second version scales out exactly to 1/72 scale. If you see these models on eBay, the best way to tell the difference between them is to look at the side windows.

1/72 version 2 (left) vs 1/67 version 1 (right)

For the cabriolet version, the shape of the canvas top is also different.

1/72 version 2 (left) vs 1/67 version 1 (right)

On the other end of the spectrum is the plastic VW Maggiolino 1200 manufactured for PEZ by the now defunct CGGC Grisoni.

Wilt is 7' 1" (216 cm)

The model is marked as being 1/72, but despite what it says, the car is more like 1/87 scale.

Scala 1:72

Other cars in the series which may-or-may-not-be 1/72 include the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.

Real-X/Epoch also makes a good 1/72 scale VW, and Oxford makes a 1/76 version of the 1958-1964 VW.

Top row: Hongwell (red and green), Epoch, Oxford, PEZ
Bottom row: Hongwell

From left to right: Hongwell (red and green), Epoch, Oxford, PEZ

The Epoch and Hongwell cars are made from different molds, and may represent different models of the Beetle. Hongwell also makes a version of the Beetle with Herbie markings, but it is a repaint, so represents the wrong model year of the car.

1/72 VW Beetles

Following up on the success of the Beetle, Volkswagen introduced their van (Volkswagen Type 2) in 1950.

A 1/72 version is made by Hongwell. The wheelbase is identical to the Beetle, which is as it should be. I think that the body may be a bit too short, but it looks good overall.

I saw the yellow-and-green marking in the picture below on a car driving on the road. Does anyone recognize what it is?



Unknown said...

In japan, that sign means the person who is driving is a beginner.

EY said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for clearing that up. I guess it's being used as kind of a fashion statement here in San Diego though...