The VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen (literally Floating/Swimming
Car) were amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders, used extensively by
German ground forces during the Second World War. The Type 166 is the
most numerous mass-produced amphibious car in history.
Volkswagen Schwimmwagens used the engine and mechanicals of the VW Type
86 four-wheel drive prototype of the Kübelwagen and the Type 87
four-wheel drive 'Kübel/Beetle' Command Car, which in turn were based on
the platform of the civilian Volkswagen Beetle. Erwin Komenda,
Ferdinand Porsche's first car body designer, was forced to develop an
all-new unitized bodytub structure since the flat floorpan chassis of
the existing VW vehicles was unsuited to smooth movement through water.
Komenda patented his ideas for the swimming car at the German Patent
The earliest Type 128 prototype was based on the
full-length Kübelwagen chassis with a 240 cm (7.9 ft) wheelbase.
Pre-production units of the 128, fitted with custom welded bodytubs,
demonstrated that this construction was too weak for tough off-roading,
had insufficient torsional rigidity, and easily suffered hull-ruptures
at the front cross-member, as well as in the wheel-wells. This was
unacceptable for an amphibious vehicle. The large-scale production
models (Type 166) were therefore made smaller, and had a wheel-base of
only 200 cm (6.6 ft).
VW Schwimmwagens were produced by the
Volkswagen factory at Fallersleben / Wolfsburg and Porsche's facilities
in Stuttgart; with the bodies (or rather hulls) produced by Ambi Budd in
Berlin. 15,584 Type 166 Schwimmwagen cars were produced from 1941
through 1944; 14,276 at Fallersleben and 1,308 by Porsche. Given these
numbers, the VW 166 is the most mass-produced amphibious car in history.
Only 163 are known by the Schwimmwagen Registry to remain today, and
only 13 have survived without restoration work.
This is a 1/35 Hero Hobby Kits plastic kit to build a Schwimmagen Type 166 (Basic Type) with decals for 3 german versions.