REVIEW: Schuco Volkswagen VW T1 Samba Bus •

REVIEW: Schuco Volkswagen VW T1 Samba Bus

When is comes to Volkswagens it isn’t all about the Beetle or the Golf GTI.  Early on the company had success with their VW T1 Samba, some may identify it as the first true minivan or multi-purpose vehicle. At the time it showed promise, but with all things cool, the retro look and styling today brings upwards of $100,000 plus is full restoration.  What minivan can do that!

The funny thing about our next scale model review is the catalyst that drove it.  I originally gained an appreciation for the model in early spring of this year with the sealed resin release from KK Scale back in May.  Thankfully I went in a different direction.  The VW T1 Samba model deserved more than any static display piece could do, so I remembered our friends at Schuco did the same in scale.  I present the 1:18 scale, diecast, Black/Red replica from Schuco’s diecast series.  The model here is based on the 1959-1963 platform.  Retail is about $200CND and features a host of goodies, which I will detail in length below.

From an exterior point of view the paint work on the VW T1 Samba is clean and polished throughout.  The Black/Red two-tone exterior is super cool. Chrome work and pin stripping is well done indeed.  Paint finish is somewhat matted in appearance, though true to the period. As mentioned above the model is crafted in good-old diecast and features a host of opening bit and a few surprises too.

Overall body lines are true to the original piece and shutlines/panel gaps are very good for the most part.  With the number of opening elements I personally think it’s a great achievement by Schuco.  There are manufacturers today than can’t even get a simple door to close and fit right!

The model isn’t perfect.  My first example came with some serious suspension or should I say stance issues.  There was a reverse rake, meaning the front of the bus was sitting visibly higher than the rear.  It just looked wrong.  I immediately brought this to Schuco’s attention, a replacement arrived a week later.  Though the replacement had challenges too, driver side door hinge was broken.  I will definitely give Schuco props here, customer service was truly above and beyond, a standard I wish more companies would live by.

This model has no less than twenty-three widows.  One cool feature are the windows situated in the front driver and passenger side doors, each allows you to slide them open and close.  The cool factor doesn’t stop here.  Side gas door is functional, side mirrors adjustable and there is also a fully retractable moon-roof.  All elements work flawlessly.  Well done Schuco!

The front of the VW T1 Samba bus has the striking famous Volkswagen emblem.  One you might have seen wrapped around the necks music rappers in the early nineties LOL.  Wipers, headlights, and turn signals are all crafted with care.  Photos will reiterate my words.

Rear of the bus follows suit.  The model provides access to the interior and motor, more on both areas below.   Some fragments of the exhaust system are visible too.  Though I mistakenly forget to snap some images, the undercarriage is highly detailed as well.  Talk about a FULL 360 approach to scale modelling, this thing has it all!

The wheels on the VW T1 Samba are true to form.  Schuco did a great job representing the period wheels.  It is somewhat hard to see but the tires also show script around the perimeter; Continental tire and other informational data is provided.  This is a great example of getting the little things right.  The end results definitely speak for themselves.   Well done Schuco!

The power plant is housed in the lower compartment in the rear.  Access is easy and operation of hatch is flawless too.  Note the nicely engineered hinge work.  The motor with this example is highly detailed, much more so that the T2A Box Van (Red Porsche) I added a number of years back from the brand.

A look inside the model reveals a lot more goodness.  The front section is clean and true to the original bus.  The hinge work on the doors is very cool and allows for roughly 270 degrees of sway.  Dash is painted to match the exterior Red, the remaining is found mostly in Beige with Black seating throughout.  Notice the positional seat that reveals a full spare.  Going that extra mile once again, very cool!

The mid section of the T2A Box Van has accessible doors.  Again, operation is flawless and shutlines are more than acceptable.  Seating is again positional.  Notice the interior lighting detail on the rear wall.  The rear compartment is accessible too.  Prop rod is available to hold the hatch in place.  Note the nicely executed u-shaped bar rail in Silver that encompasses most of the rear area.  Nice attention to detail here folks.

What more can I say about Schuco’s example of the 1:18 Volkswagen VW T1 Samba Bus.  It is fantastic!  This folks is what scale model collecting is all about.  It is time we focus on these rare gems, as we know resin has taken a big leap forward in recent years.  Yes they cost a penny or two more than our resin counterparts, but the extra dollars invested will surpass any static piece in spades.

On the flip side Schuco does need to address their quality assurance. At this price point the models should be delivered issue free.  I highly suggest you carefully review your model in detail after purchase, especially those who do not display their collection in full.  I did however appreciate there service after the sale, it has proven to be effective so far.  I guess this is expected from a brand that has been around longer than most here have been on this planet.  Keep up the awesome work Schuco, you have a fan for like.  Enjoy the pics!

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5 Responses to "REVIEW: Schuco Volkswagen VW T1 Samba Bus"

  1. spikyone says:

    Looks like another great model, for me Schuco are making the standard of model that we used to expect from AutoArt. Lots of opening stuff and good execution at a reasonable price.

    Just one thing, you’re about 5 years out with rappers wearing VW badges! Beastie Boys started it around the time of Licensed to Ill, which came out in late 1986 – yeah, I’m old.

  2. flathead says:

    I have the red-orange/ivory Schuco T1 Samba, and,yes, it IS a great model. Now I have to decide which T2 to purchase.

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