In-Box Review
Schwimmwagen Canvas Top
Schwimmwagen type 166 Canvas top set
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Powered by an air-cooled engine that was less vulnerable to bullets and shrapnel (no radiator to leak), and possessing a flat bottom that would glide over snow, mud and sand, the Kübelwagen was a popular staff car because it could perform. Over 50,000 were cranked off the assembly line by the end of the war.

It was soon agreed there was a need for a variant that could "swim" across rivers and other water barriers. This led Ferdinand Porsche's design team to modify the 4-wheel drive Kübelwagen Type 86 (the "vanilla" Kübelwagen was 2-wheel drive). Elements of the Type 87 "Beetle" Command version were also incorporated. Interestingly, the all-wheel feature was available only in 1st gear. After some modifications to reduce the size and thereby improve performance, some 16,000 Schwimmwagen were manufactured from 1941-1944. Riverine propulsion was accomplished by a rear-mounted screw lowered by hand and attached to the drive train.

The aging Tamiya and Italeri models of the Schwimmwagen have had PE and resin upgrades for years, but the kit canvas tops remain among the ugliest pieces or work in the hobby. Having already released a resin canvas top for the Kübelwagen (reviewed here on Armorama), we now review DEF Model's top for the popular Schwimmwagen.

what you get

Inside the usual DEF Model box is:

a single molded piece of greenish resin
2 support pylons in greenish resin

the review

I have seen various PE sets for cars like the Schwimmwagen with elaborate constructs to make a deployed top and its frame structure. My reaction in most cases is "you've got to be kidding!" The fragility of the structure and the complications of making a "canvas" top from something like tissue paper soaked with white glue makes me think the designers of those PE sets are on drugs.

Now DEF Model has come to the rescue with this fully-deployed top. The only caution to it is make sure you use a razor saw or carefully cut the top from its pour plug. Otherwise it's pretty much cut, glue, paint and weather.


Unless you're a super-detailer who can construct your own "canvas" top from white glue and tissue paper, this is the only game in town. Normal modelers like you and I can't hope to do better than this.

Thanks to DEF Model for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed on Armorama when ordering yours.
Highs: Crisp molding with detailing and realism only resin can convey.
Lows: None apparent, other than be careful removing the top from the pour plug.
Verdict: Highly recommended for the old Tamiya kit.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: DM35063
  Suggested Retail: $14
  PUBLISHED: Sep 20, 2016

Our Thanks to DEF Model!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks, Darren, for getting this one published.
SEP 20, 2016 - 01:11 AM
Do you have to call the Tamiya kit old, it makes me feel old to hear that . . . Do you think it will work with the older Italeri or the new Merit Kits?
SEP 21, 2016 - 10:46 PM
Hero kit not Merit. Perhaps I am getting old . . . .
SEP 22, 2016 - 04:44 AM
Don't know if it will work with either kit. We're all getting old, I'm afraid.
SEP 22, 2016 - 06:05 AM

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