Cars

Building the VW 1300 Beetle 1963 “Herbie”

Tamiya 1/24 scale

by Edwing E. Merlo Paredes © 2013 Modeler Site

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The Volkswagen Beetle is undoubtedly one of the most popular cars in all the history. The attractive and singular body’s shape has turned it into an icon in our recent history. At the end of the 60s, Disney Studios decide to immortalize the small car taking it to the cinema screen in Herbie, a movie in which this beetle played a central role and five sequences came later. The first movie The Love Bug which was known in Spain as Ahí va ese Bólido, was premiered in 1969.

 


Herbie was initially based on the luxury Sedan or “export” with sunroof of 1963. As it was not always the same car in the different movies, Disney had to replace it with different models of other years which were modified to resemble the 1963 one. The car color is pearl white, an original tone of 1963 (color code L87), its interior was matt grey for nearly all the movies so as to avoid lights reflection. The idea of how the car would be decorated came from Bill Walsh, the film producer and baseball fan. The number 53 was placed in honor of Don Drysdale, a baseball player from Dodgers of Los Angeles; and the white, blue and red colors for patriotic reasons. It is said that over 70 cars were used for the movies filming, parades, presentations and the like. It’s also said that these days only about 20 cars survive (only 3 from the original film)

The Volkswagen used in the 1969 film was a Beetle Ragtop from 1963, so, I had to look for a kit with similar characteristics and from the available models, the 1966 is a lot like it.

Tamiya and Hasegawa offer 1966 Beetle kits, both of them come with excellent details, but unfortunately the one from Hasegawa doesn’t have a detailed engine. Nothing to say about the excellent Tamiya kit and its details that match the real car. Besides, the hood as well as the trunk (boot) come open showing quite detailed and lifelike interiors.

There are just a few differences between the 1966 and the 1963 beetle, at least speaking about their exteriors. In those days, Volkswagen used to devote more to their vehicles mechanic and performance than to their bodies designs.


Building

There are just a few differences between the 1966 and the 1963 beetle, at least speaking about their exteriors. In those days, Volkswagen used to devote more to their vehicles mechanic and performance than to their bodies designs.

The most important modifications I’ve made to my model was to place a smaller handle on the rear hood under the number plate smaller, trying to represent the one in the 1963 model Another modification was to gap the roof to place then the “Ragtop”. It was a complicated task especially when cutting the plastic due to the bent shape of the roof, that made it even more difficult to sketch a cut line.


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