Beetle & bird

We tested the New Beetle Cabrio by Wiking (art.no. 032 01 27)

zwei flotte Käfer auf Tour

A brand new convertible that comes with a pretty girl for less than 9 Euros (purchased in 2006)? A notion that does not only make male hearts beat faster... But this is exactly what Wiking, the venerable Berlin-based manufacturers, offer to the modeller community: A miniature Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible including a brunette driver - certainly an accessory that can add some summery air to your diorama or model railway layout. Will the model car meet our high expectations?

FrontansichtRemoving the blister packaging was a bit of a fiddly job but allowed us a first closer look at the flashy convertible. The dark, Alaska green metallic paintwork contrasts nicely with the beige ‘leather’ interior, and in combination with the silver rims and trim strips it even gives the miniature vehicle a ‘premium look’. Unfortunately, at the same time, it makes the front and tail lights which are produced from clear plastic literally ‘disappear in the darkness’.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t take more than a short glimpse to recognise the well-proportioned model car as a Volkswagen New Beetle convertible. The manufacturer’s attention to detail is obvious and makes you forget the artless, often unglazed (but nowadays still sought after) vehicles they used to produce some decades ago.

Unfortunately, there is a visible scratch in the windscreen (which, by the way, doesn’t fit properly into its frame). Apart from that, seats and wheels seem to be a bit too small. The overall impression of the model car is good though.

BeifahrerseiteAll the important details of the true-to-scale bodywork have been reproduced; measurement testing proves the compliance with H0 gauge. Naturally, miniaturisation of the metallic particles of the varnish is not that easy (actually, they often use the same lacquer for real cars and model cars), but exposing the Beetle to light at different angles makes the paintwork shine in an impressive variety of colours. The front and rear Volkswagen badges as well as the silver trim strips represent a high quality production standard.

The mirrors don’t deserve a full point score; the exterior ones are rather clumsy (although you can spot the built-in side indicators), and the “interior mirror” is nothing but an engraving in the wind screen - that reminds us of the middle ages of model car production. Freestanding mirrors, preferably with silver faces, would have been the icing on the cake.

HeckansichtApart from the missing number plate lamps, the Beetle model has got all the lights of the real car. But, as mentioned above, their appearance suffers from the dark body colour. Only a bright illumination source can reveal that the tail lights are red, and the clear glass head lights look dull and grey. That’s a real pity, because they should be one of the car’s characteristic features. You will spot engraved fog lamps, side indicators and the third break light, but the ambitious modeller won't be satisfied and will enhance these small but nevertheless important details with some paint.
 
An absolute highlight of the Wiking Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible is its realistic-looking, super-detailed interior which comes with plenty accessories such as handholds, loudspeakers, cup holders, rear belt buckles, leather seat stitching, air outlets - obviously almost everything has been reproduced, the model car makers haven’t even forgotten the famous dashboard vase beside the steering wheel!

Drawbacks are the rear headrests which are a bit too small and the backrests of the front seats which are too low. Hence, in case of a rear impact, the pretty driver wouldn’t get off without a whiplash injury...

The miniature alloy rims look exactly like the real ones, although they seem to shine a bit too silvery. If you want, you can correct that with some drops of a more realistic aluminium paint. Even though the wheels look a little lost in their wheel housings, they are almost true-to-scale.

conclusion

Well, where there is light, there are always some shadows, too. All in all, the New Beetle Convertible by Wiking just manages to get the verdict ‘good’. Without any doubt it is a flashy model car (with a pretty driver) that will enhance not only lifestyle dioramas. Detail fanatics as well as aesthetes get their money’s worth. Nevertheless, we would recommend choosing a lighter colour to make the light units appear a bit brighter.

 

synopsis*
Packaging (50) 33
Protection of the vehicle (25) 20
Unpacking the vehicle (10) 5
Information content (15) 8
Visual overall impression (350) 286
'First impression' (50) 42
Proportions / recognisability of the real vehicle (50) 47
Closeness to scale, subjective impression (40) 32
Condition / intactness of the model (30) 22
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 20
'Look-and-feel' / subjective impression of the model quality (40) 37
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 27
Fineness of detail (30) 26
Lights (20) 1
Wheels and tyres (20) 17
Farbharmonie (10) 8
Vehicle body (200) 175
Closeness to scale (40) 35
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 37
Fineness of detail (30) 25
Colour quality of the plastic, if applicable: paintwork quality (35) 35
Quality of prints, colour and chrome applications (35) 35
Interior and exterior mirrors (20) 8
Lights (150) 95
Completeness / presence of all lights (50) 47
Attention to detail (50) 42
Closeness to reality in terms of colour (50) 6
Interior / Dashboard / Seats (100) 91
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 37
Fineness of detail (40) 37
Steering wheel / handle bars (20) 17
Wheels (150) 133
Closeness to scale (50) 45
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 35
Fineness of detail (40) 37
Colour quality of the rims (20) 16
Gesamtwertung: gut 813
(max. 1000)

*Find out more about the test criteria for model vehicles here.

Tested October 2006     German flag   © Volker Labitzke - www.tiny-world-BIG.com - please visit our  main page