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1956 Volkswagen Kombi


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#1 Foxer

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:18 PM

This kit started as the Hasegawa Type 2 Micro Bus (1963) ’23-Window and it’s being converted to a 1956 Kombi that my Dad owned and taught me to drive on. As I looked at the first photos of the WIP I noticed the date was 2002! Yes, it has been in the works for some time and even reached finished paint stage before window edges falling under the “sanded thru plague”. The front VW emblem caused me the most trouble as it is molded on the body and was difficult to mask. About this time the first test shots of the Revell Samba Bus appeared and this looked like just what the doctor ordered to complete my Kombi! So, here’s the WIP as it has been recorded …

This is the 23-window body as it started and a few photos along the way as 12 windows got filled with sheet plastic and the rear window was reduced in size.

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I started filling the seams with Green Squadron putty as none of the seams were that large. It's been 7 years now and no shrinkage so I guess it's safe.

Edited by Foxer, 04 February 2011 - 03:03 AM.


#2 Foxer

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:19 PM

The next modification needed was to remove the bumper guards and modify the extent of the rubber bumper moldings.
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The ‘56 front turn signals were conical shaped rather than the large round units on the ’63 bus. These were also used on the Karman Ghia and were pilfered from a Tamiya Karman Ghia kit. The tail lights are smaller rounds ones and I used some Corvette bezels with lenses made from red lights from the parts box. Both are shown in the following photo.
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At the present time, the body was painted with Sand Green (light) and Palm Green (dark) paint from Model Car World and matches the 1:1 vehicle perfectly! I first tried masking the front VW emblem then hand painted it, neither of which was satisfactory. Today I received the Revell Samba and the front emblem is separate and perfect size! I also polished through to the primer on some window edges, so the body will be cleaned up and repainted.
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Another member alerted that the slotted wheels in the Hasegawa kit are wrong for a ’56 bus. Somehow I missed this and will be looking for some suitable substitute. The wheels from the new Revell samba would be correct, but they scale out to 19.1“ in diameter!

I also have taken a number of interior pieces from the Revell kit such as the front panel covering the headlight backs and heater vent, the overhead heater panel, seat handrails and maybe a few others as I come upon them. The Revell bus interior is VERY well detailed!

#3 E St. Kruiser50

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:29 PM

Hey Mike B)
This is coming along great. I love the colors B) .

I have a Hasegawa bus sittin' and would love to get it started - TOO MANY PROJECTS, TOO LITTLE.... B) .

I'll enjoy through yours :lol: .

#4 Fletch

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:41 PM

Impressive conversion, the workmanship is outstanding. I have several of the Hasegawa Buses and Delivery vans in the garage that I'll get to some day. The work that you've done here will serve as inspiration to do something with them other then build them straight out of the box.

#5 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 04:09 PM

The next modification needed was to remove the bumper guards and modify the extent of the rubber bumper moldings.


The '56 front turn signals were conical shaped rather than the large round units on the '63 bus. These were also used on the Karman Ghia and were pilfered from a Tamiya Karman Ghia kit. The tail lights are smaller rounds ones and I used some Corvette bezels with lenses made from red lights from the parts box. Both are shown in the following photo.


At the present time, the body was painted with Sand Green (light) and Palm Green (dark) paint from Model Car World and matches the 1:1 vehicle perfectly! I first tried masking the front VW emblem then hand painted it, neither of which was satisfactory. Today I received the Revell Samba and the front emblem is separate and perfect size! I also polished through to the primer on some window edges, so the body will be cleaned up and repainted.

Another member alerted that the slotted wheels in the Hasegawa kit are wrong for a '56 bus. Somehow I missed this and will be looking for some suitable substitute. The wheels from the new Revell samba would be correct, but they scale out to 19.1" in diameter!

I also have taken a number of interior pieces from the Revell kit such as the front panel covering the headlight backs and heater vent, the overhead heater panel, seat handrails and maybe a few others as I come upon them. The Revell bus interior is VERY well detailed!


Take a good look at the wheels/tires; Revell made it "easier" ?? to do either wide whites, narrow whites, or blackwalls w/these odd wheels/tires. If you look at the wheel, the visible lip of the wheel is inboard; the outer part of the wheel is meant to be painted flat black or white, depending on your style of tire. If you measure to the first engraved line on the wheel, that measures 16.32" in scale, or a visible 15" wheel w/tire mounting flange in 1/24 scale.

The wheels/tires are definitely taller than Hasegawas. The Revell rolling stock looks too tall, Hasegawa too small. Hmmm.

Also, the conical turn signals are on the Revell clear parts tree. Sort of like how you find Hasegawa Beetle taillights on the clear tree for the vans.

Edited by Zoom Zoom, 23 November 2009 - 04:11 PM.


#6 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 04:23 PM

BTW, love the Kombi, especially in that color combo.

#7 Foxer

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:53 PM

I see the wheel treatment now .. thanks for the heads up, Bob. Also, the cone type turn signals! :( Think I just got too excited with these parts before I really went thru it all, eheh.

#8 Jordan White

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:03 PM

At the present time, the body was painted with Sand Green (light) and Palm Green (dark) paint from Model Car World and matches the 1:1 vehicle perfectly! I first tried masking the front VW emblem then hand painted it, neither of which was satisfactory. Today I received the Revell Samba and the front emblem is separate and perfect size! I also polished through to the primer on some window edges, so the body will be cleaned up and repainted.
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It wouldn't happen to be this one would it? :D
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#9 Tony T

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:01 PM

Very nice conversion and back-dating! Love the colour combo!!

#10 GeeBee

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:23 AM

Very nice work, brilliant conversion,

I bought the hasegawa panel van when they first came out, and i was dissapointed that they had used the wheels from the '66 Beetle kit, also the molded in from VW emblem put me off, so i sold it on, and when the relesed the samba, i had a look and found the same problems, so i never bought one, glad to see revell come to the rescue, it may be harder to build being a multi piece body, but i've had a look through the parts, and it looks like it will build into a nice model.

Still nice to see someone backdating a model, and the colour is bang on ... I've always had a soft spot for VW buses

#11 charlie8575

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 08:34 PM

Nice job. I'd like to pick up a couple of '60s VWs for dios and such. After all, as we both know being New Englanders, you'd see those things in plenty of places.

Charlie Larkin

#12 VW Dave

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 09:09 PM

Great work on the Kombi and the backdating, Mike; the palm green/sand green is a very popular combo among the Type 2 guys I know, and you are doing it up nicely. If you can find them, the Gunze-Sangyo oval Beetle or Ghia have nice wheels and tires that are more correct for your needs. I'll check my stash and see if I have a full set to spare.

Since you're planning a respray anyway, I noticed a couple of details that could help the backdate job: The pronounced 'lip' on the rear fender and side cargo door handle recess need to go, as they weren't added until '58. The upper cargo door hinges are also higher on a pre-'58 model as well, as seen on this PG/SG '55:
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I built a replica of a guy's '58 double-door panel a few years back, and he 'schooled' me on those little details I overlooked. I've since augmented my reference library, and I'm making sure my barndoors are done right.

#13 Foxer

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:09 AM

Since you're planning a respray anyway, I noticed a couple of details that could help the backdate job: The pronounced 'lip' on the rear fender and side cargo door handle recess need to go, as they weren't added until '58. The upper cargo door hinges are also higher on a pre-'58 model as well, as seen on this PG/SG '55:


Now those are subtle differences .. SO Volkswagen! Those are pretty easy fixes to do, but I'm debating how far I go. The light color didn't have a need for repainting and there's not much paint left. If I get another supply of paint I should fix those two points.

I did check my stash of VW kits and none have the correct wheels. The one Gunze-Sangyo Bug I had was built into a '54 that I had in Germany. I see the wheels are totally correct with no slots. I appreciate the offer on the wheels and might take you up on it if you do locate any. I am going to see if I can locate a Gunze-Sangyo kit first though as I like the way that one builds up despite being engineless. The High-Tech version with engine is way too expensive from what I've seen.

And, much thanks for the heads-up on this, Dave. :(

#14 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:15 AM

The Samba.com is a great place for VW inspiration, that's for sure. I might steal the two-tone green on your Kombi for my panel van.

I think the Polar Lights "Herbie" kit has a good set of authentic-looking wheels (though the area under the hubcap isn't detailed).

Speaking of Polar Lights Beetles, I'm getting a set of Tamiya Beetle taillights from a friend for it; it's big issue are taillights that look closer to 1/12 scale than 1/25. Otherwise it's a neat kit, though lacking in VW emblems.

Would be nice if Round2 were to reissue the Beetle w/VW licensing so they could engrave the VW emblems. It's full-detail.

#15 Foxer

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:29 AM

The Samba.com is a great place for VW inspiration, that's for sure. I might steal the two-tone green on your Kombi for my panel van.

I think the Polar Lights "Herbie" kit has a good set of authentic-looking wheels (though the area under the hubcap isn't detailed).

Speaking of Polar Lights Beetles, I'm getting a set of Tamiya Beetle taillights from a friend for it; it's big issue are taillights that look closer to 1/12 scale than 1/25. Otherwise it's a neat kit, though lacking in VW emblems.

Would be nice if Round2 were to reissue the Beetle w/VW licensing so they could engrave the VW emblems. It's full-detail.



Ah.. Herbie may be another one I can look for, thou that may be harder and more expensive to find. :(

Speaking of taillights, I'm also scrounging parts for a '69 Bug I had and so far it's looking good. The taillights were new in '69 and I found some in a Revell kit I think it was. My wife had a '68 which I have already built from a Hasegawa kit and those taillights were pretty close to being correct as far as I remembered.

#16 VW Dave

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:29 PM

I forgot about the PL Herbie...Bob's right, that one has pretty decent wheels. If I don't have a spare set of Gunze wheels, I certainly have a set of those I wouldn't miss. I'm sure I also have a set of the Revell '68-72 taillights if you need them.

You have a PM, Mike.

Edited by VW Dave, 26 November 2009 - 06:30 PM.


#17 Foxer

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 04:06 PM

I'm getting back into this one and, while waiting for some paint, I investigated the wheels and tires in various kits to determine which is the closest to the originals. The various Type 2 kits are all a 1963 model year which appears to have had the same size tires as the ’56 I am modeling.

The original tire size in 1956 appears to be 560-15's as close as I can find. This is a '56 Bug standard tire and unless someone can confirm the Type 2 used a larger tire, this is what I'm using to check available tire sizes. The '63 Beetles also had 560-15 tires according to Coker Tires and possibly a 80 aspect ratio.

VW Dave graciously sent me a set of rims, tires and hubcaps that are void of the wheel slots and seems to scale out close to the actual tire dimensions. The rims are resin cast and possibly are copies from the Herbie kit, but Dave will have to confirm this. At any rate, thanks Dave and these will be mounted on my ’56.

The chart below lists all the tire info I could locate and measure on the VW kits I have here plus some 1:1 tire dimensions. As you can see, dimensions are all over the place.

Hope some of you VW crazies can get something out of this.



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Edited by Foxer, 11 February 2010 - 04:06 PM.


#18 VW Dave

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 05:17 AM

Dave - The red wheels you have are most likely from the old IMC kit.

Mike - The resin copies I sent you were made from one of the Gunze kits' wheels.

#19 AceofBass

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 08:33 PM

I am building the Revell Samba now. VERY Detailed kit! I've never even seen a Skill Level 5 model before this and didn't know they went past 3. However, I am changing bits to resemble a 70's era bus as I am trying to make a Dharma Van from the TV show "Lost".

#20 Foxer

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 07:26 AM

Dave - The red wheels you have are most likely from the old IMC kit.

Mike - The resin copies I sent you were made from one of the Gunze kits' wheels.


ah ..the Gunze rims. They do match the ones I measured off the kit I have ,, and the tires you sent measure MUCH better the real ones as can be seen in the chart! B)