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Aoshima VW Beetle 1303S


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#1 Chuck Most

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 09:03 AM

Ah... remember those whimsical motorized Japanese kits? Neither do I - they kind of fell out of favor before I was born. :unsure: More of a novelty than a true replica, they're more or less shunned by 'serious' modelers, even though they pop up from time to time as reissues. But if you're willing to sort through the chaff, there usually is a thing or two they have going for them, even if it's only the fact the 1:1 subject car is cool.

Aoshima's Beetle falls into that category. It falls well short of Tamiya's '66 in terms of detail and parts breakdown... heck, it falls short of Gunze Sangyo's '56 in those areas, as well! If the GS '56 is a 'curbside', this one is a 'sunk a foot into soft soil side'. What little engine and suspension detail there is a tad less than adequate. The engine bottom detail is decent, but seems a tick or two underscale.

The real car is depicted on the box art (usually a red flag for me with an older kit or reissue), and the disclaimer that the product contained within may not match the photo. That's the case here- you'll get no stock wheels or tires, only aftermarket style mags (not sure if they're Empi products, but I'm pretty sure they aren't a Porsche item), and the inexplicable presence of what appears to be a set of four "Lancer" style wheel covers, which would look more at home on a lead sled than a bug! The tires look more like the mud & snow tires Uncle Dave ran on the back of his old diesel Chevette than anything I've ever seen on a Beetle.

Since this was a motorized kit, the chassis and interior are, shall we say, heavily compromised. You do get a choice of left or right hand drive, and both dashes feature pretty good engraved detail. Shame there are no inner door panels!

The body is 'acceptable' overall- to me the fenders look a bit too chunky, especially the rears. The lamp reflectors aren't great, and the glass unit is not only all one piece, it's not great as far as clarity is concerned.

Then, there's the price. I paid just under $40 for mine- quite a bit for a crude old curbside kit. Granted, I've paid a lot more money for much worse kits (usually resin), and this will build into nothing more than a nice shelf model unless you're into some big-time plastic surgery. I guess I'll leave the answer of the 'is it worth it' question up to you. Kind of depends on what you want as a finished product.

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Could I reccomend the kit? Truthfully, I don't think I could. I think it has more than enough issues to keep most modelers far, far away from it. You don't need to be a rivet counter to see it has its faults! The price is a big factor, if I could find one for less, then I might be a bit more inclinded to reccomend it to someone. But if you are like me, and have absolutely no intention of building it box stock but more as a source of building parts, it might make a bit more sense. There's plenty here to make a decent Volksrod (wink-wink), so overall I'm pretty happy, even though I wish I'd paid just a bit less!

Edited by Chuck Most, 17 September 2010 - 09:04 AM.


#2 Jim Gibbons

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 12:25 PM

Definitely funky; it's hard to tell from the body photo, but my first thought of the rear end (at least from the overhead photo perspective)was that it looked more like a Volvo P544. It looks like that if you wanted to build a stock version, you'd have to use a Revell Cabriolet for most of the parts. Have fun ratting it out!

Edit: I'm not an expert on Empi wheels by any means, but they don't look like ones I've ever seen.

Edited by Jim Gibbons, 17 September 2010 - 12:30 PM.


#3 ZIL 111V

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 02:29 PM

Originaly this 1303S kit was made by IMAI back in late 70's- early 80's in their "Junior Series" also including the: 1303S Convertible, Mini Cooper S, Renault 4CV, to name a few. The Original IMAI boxart was pretty neat showing a "sporty" yellow 1303S: sporty mags, sport stripes: lower body & 2 front fog lights...still there! http://www.modelcars...74620&hl=beetle

 

A very controversial & weird!!! German "III Reich" black version was also made in the 80's.

IMAI's "Junior Series" depicted "Junior" cars, intended to a "Junior" market (kids): Easy to assemble, "fairly"!!!accurate for kids :P , motorized & catchy boxart highlighted this series of kits.


As you mention, pretty basic motorized curbside toy to assemble &.... play with! Body proportion are a bit off as for the balance of the kit (pix worth a 1000 words)...simplicity at it's best.

GS excellent '56 Curbside...day & night with this curside Beetle kit ;)



#4 Jim Gibbons

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 03:06 PM

You're right, Paul; after I had posted, I remembered a Golf Cabriolet model I built in the mid '80s that was IMAI if I recall. It was similar to this kit as far as the motorized stuff, notched tierod, shallow rear seat for batteries, etc. At the time, I sold VW, and would rotate my VW models on my desk. One I still have is the Tamiya Kamei Golf racing version, and I motorized it (if I recall, the motor was included back then.) Yup, Tamiya did it, too. That model would keep kids occupied while I did their parent's paperwork. It made for great public relations for folks walking into the showroom; kids playing with a VW model on the floor while the folks bought a new one. I used to go to a little toy store in Woodstock, NY that had neat HO scale toy cars from France. They were a lot simpler (and much cheaper)than Viking HO models, (no glass, etc.) but were well detailed, and I'd buy a bunch of the VWs and keep them in my desk to give to the kids as a gift.

#5 DocLong

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 04:08 PM

I would LIKE to think of myself as a Empi wheel (and accessory, as well as other aircooled wheel) expert. Those are DEF. not Empi.

As far as der wagen, it's a poor kit over all, however the body is decent if you're into the 1303's...which to me look best tucking a set of modern 17" P-car wheels under the fender wells and a injected/turbocharged Type IV tucked under the decklid.

#6 Chuck Most

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 08:02 AM

I would LIKE to think of myself as a Empi wheel (and accessory, as well as other aircooled wheel) expert. Those are DEF. not Empi.

As far as der wagen, it's a poor kit over all, however the body is decent if you're into the 1303's...which to me look best tucking a set of modern 17" P-car wheels under the fender wells and a injected/turbocharged Type IV tucked under the decklid.


Kind of what I had in mind- the body is pretty much what sold me on the kit. Far from perfect, but usable regardless. I was fiddling with the kit last night, and about 90% seems as if it will go toghether without glue.

I'm half-tempted to put a motor in it, just so I can watch it drive around in circles when I'm bored! :rolleyes:

#7 Chuck Most

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 12:09 PM

this kit is a good reminder to those who think that Japanese kits are always better than those offered by U.S. based companies :)


Well stated, Dave! Aoshima's new stuff is great. This? Not so great. I'm still going to make a Volksrod out of it- toyish, crude kits like this are perfect for such things!

#8 Nick Notarangelo

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 10:25 AM

is it me or does the nose look sqwished??

#9 Draggon

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 05:54 PM

Yeah its squished. I've got one of these. I picked it up because I have a Super Beetle and it was the only kit made of it. I can get past the interior problems, but the headlights and taillights are pretty poor. And the nose, well it just doesnt look that much like a super. It should be a couple inches longer than a standard, which it isnt,and the shape of the trunk where it meets the front valence is all wrong. It's not too obvious with the bumpers, but I was gonna leave them off. All that being said, the rest of the body looks right on.

#10 Chuck Most

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:57 AM

Yeah its squished.It's not too obvious with the bumpers, but I was gonna leave them off. All that being said, the rest of the body looks right on.

He's right, and it does kill the buzz when, like Glenn, I plan not to use the bumpers! Then again... I wonder if cutting off the fenders would help? B)

#11 sjordan2

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:36 AM

He's right, and it does kill the buzz when, like Glenn, I plan not to use the bumpers! Then again... I wonder if cutting off the fenders would help? B)


And maybe he should add bat wings?

#12 TurboKitty

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:51 AM

Putting a pic of a stock Beetle on the box is pretty misleading, IMO, even with the disclaimer. B) I've seen that kit at Hobby Lobby and it had never entered my mind that it was anything other than a stock Bug. Sure glad I didn't buy one!


exactly what I wanted to say, lol. I've had it in my hands several times but the price was a big put off for me. Now that I know what's in the box, I'll get myself a Tamiya '66 Beetle. The only thing I really like about this kit are the aftermarket wheels. I can picture them on a few things, might see if I can find some :D

#13 Chuck Most

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 10:13 AM

I'd really like to see the '66 kit reissued. I'm really suprised that kit isn't seen more often- it's easily the best air-cooled Beetle kit ever. Then again, I'd really like to see somebody do a Thing kit, and apparently I'm the only one! Wish in one hand, do something else in the other... :lol: