Doing the Samba

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Doing the Samba

Revell 1/24th scale Volkswagen Samba bus with Hasegawa and Masterbox people

Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus with figures

Finished model

Built and painted in April 2020 by Everard Cunion (Lootenant Aloominum)

An exceptionally well-engineered kit. However, it is not perfect and I struggled in a couple of places.

Part built Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus

I found the middle bench seat difficult to attach firmly.

I misinterpreted the construction of the dashboard. I assumed the top and bottom parts closed up, and I cut off the front of part B62 – the underside of the dashboard – and cut a big slot in it to accommodate the steering column bracket, and cut away the ends to get it to fit. I now realize from looking at photos of the real thing that there is supposed to be a gap in it (glove compartment) so it likely fits perfectly well without modification.

Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus with figures

Back end with rear top hatch open

To get the engine hatch to close, I had to cut away the flanges at the sides, which serve no purpose anyway. It is a sloppy fit (by the generally high standards of this kit) as a result of which there was a gap above it. I glued it closed, which is a shame because that hides the engine.

The front doors’ hinges have cut-outs for their attachments to the body, but I had to enlarge them. That is tricky because both hinges and cut-outs are small. I accidentally cut off a hinge spigot in the process. Luckily it was a lower one where the door is thick enough so that area of contact is large enough for friction alone to hold it in place. It opens and closes, as designed. Having said that, all the doors (but not the rear top hatch) have large gaps all round, but they are only really noticeable when the doors are closed.

Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus with figures

It is about 6.5 inches (17 cm) long and 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) wide.

The instructions indicate that you should clip the roof on, but not glue it. I found that the only way mine would stay in place was to glue it on. Even then, I could not get it to fit until I cut the lugs off the top of the front panel (that is, the front of the vehicle, with the windscreens) because the roof is a tad short. (Maybe I got something out whack earlier causing the rest of it to be too long, I dunno.)

Beware: You don’t get number plates for the larger U.S. plate decals. The decal sheet contains the clue: Those decals – and only those – are surrounded by dotted lines with scissor graphics. You don’t treat them as decals, but instead cut them out and glue them on.

Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus with figures


Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus and Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet. with figures

It is smaller than the Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet except in height.


Masterbox 1/24th scale Claire Trucker with box

Lady getting out of a car

In contrast to the Revell Samba Bus kit box, which is stuffed full, the Masterbox figures are the ultimate in almost empty boxes. The Hasegawa motor racing figure set has some spare space, but nothing like this!

In these photos, I placed each finished figure on top of its box to illustrate the point, which is not significant, but kind of amusing maybe.

Masterbox 1/24th scale Kitty Princess Trucker with box

Kitty (Princess)

Revell 1/24 scale VW Samba Bus with figure

Open top. The kit comes with an alternative closed canvas top.

The Master Box 1/24th scale woman (Claire) is sort of half in and half out of the left side of a vehicle. However, I only just realized that the big passenger doors I had planned to sit her in are only on the right side of this vehicle. And the other one (Kitty), a young lady asleep complete with pillow, I planned to put on the rear bench seat, but that is too narrow. She just fits on the back shelf – on an air bed (or something) that was the canvas top for an Airfix 1/76th scale DUKW.

Masterbox 1/24th scale Kitty Princess and Claire Trucker figures

Seeing this photos showed me where some retouching was necessary.

I had more success with the three blokes in the scene, who are originally Hasegawa race car figures. They have only full face helmets, but in the scene that this vehicle is destined for, a 1970s open-face helmet is called for. However, the modification was not too difficult.

Hasegawa 1/24th scale figure

This guy is a tad less than three inches (7.5 cm) high.

Roof bars

Revell VW Samba bus with added roof bars

Roof bars

I made roof bars out of missile rails, shackles, and Sidewinder fins left over from a 1/48th scale Sea Harrier.

Revell VW Samba bus with added roof bars

Taking delivery of alloy tubes

Woman: “Hurry up you guys!”
Guy in green and black: “What you gonna make with these aloominum toobs?”
Guy in tan and green: “Hang gliders.”
Guy in green and black: “No way! Outstanding, man! Tell you what. There’ll be no charge. You can have ’em.”
Guy in tan and green: “Thanks. Much appreciated.”
Woman: “Gee, that’s swell.”

1/24th scale scatch-builtStd Rogallo wing on Revell VW Samba bus

Discussing the flight test plan

1/24th scale scatch-builtStd Rogallo wing on Revell VW Samba bus

Hang glider pilots in the 1970s were gentlemen (and, some of them, ladies)…

1/24th scale scatch-built standard Rogallo wings on Revell VW Samba bus

In the early 1970s it was usual to leave the control frame rigged when transporting.


Mercedes bends, Revell 1/24th scale Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet, in Plastic models — miscellaneous land vehicles

UP is where it’s at, 1/24th scale scratch built standard Rogallo hang gliders