Making his debut with Marvel Comics in 1962, Spiderman has been an icon of the comic superhero scene for over 50 years. Similarly, since the end of World War II, and with a bit more longevity, the VW Beetle has become a worldwide automotive icon in and of itself. Combine the two, and you get Polar Lights’ Marvel Comics The Amazing Spiderman Volkswagen Beetle.
Targeted for ages 8 and up, the kit is part of the Snapit series designed to introduce youngsters to the hobby of scale modeling with subject matter to capture vivid imaginations. Molded in red, black, clear, and chrome-plated parts, the Spidey Beetle features a detailed engine with opening hood, opening trunk with spare tire (in the front, of course), and a full passenger compartment. Vinyl tires and metal axles are included to make the finished Bug functional as well. Stickers, printed on clear film, are the marking media of choice. Optional wheels, bumpers, and mirrors are included to allow the modeler to customize the Bug to suit their particular taste.
The kit’s overall shape and proportions are very good, but it has a fairly substantial parts count for a beginner’s model. Moldings were found to be largely free of flash, although a few mold parting lines were prominent on the fenders, but were easily removed with a sanding stick.
Front-and-center on this build, using his own modeling “spider senses,” was my son Camden (age 8). A veteran of many a build and several reviews, Camden was eager to dive in to this project. His first observation was that the body needed to be a bit more red, so out came the spray can of Testors Italian Red Custom Lacquer (borrowed from Dad, of course). Dad also noticed that some of the red-molded parts needed to be black, so out came another spray bomb to do the inboard wheel sections and the running boards.
A good bit of concentration was required to follow the instructions, locate the parts, and get them properly paired, aligned, and mated. Snap fits, in most cases, were challenging so Dad had to do a lot of the squeezing. Mating features between chrome parts and the regular plastic were almost universally troublesome, requiring the attention of a hobby knife and pin-vice drill to tailor the holes and pins to properly interface with their complementing parts.
Of all the assemblies, the interior and the engine were the easiest for 8-year-old hands, although radiator hosing baffled son and father alike, as it just didn’t seem to be long enough on either side. The opening hood and trunk are cool features, especially with screw-down retainers, but the hinge design forces the trunk and hood to sit a bit ajar in the closed position.
After a few bench sessions to keep things moving, interest began to wane – and this from a kid who loves to model. Tough snap features, finicky chrome parts, and the outright duration of the build were making it tough for the Beetle to compete with Polar Lights D7 Klingon Battle Cruiser sitting on his ready shelf.
Another couple sessions got the car assembled and stickers applied. The stickers went on well, and were some of the best peel-and-stick decals we’ve seen to date.
As it was somewhat challenging and frustrating for an experienced 8-year-old modeler, this kit is probably better suited for teens and adults with an interest in comic characters. While a cool kit with some nice and novel features, in good conscience, we cannot recommend this kit for young beginners, but can recommend it for older and more experienced builders.
Thanks to Round 2 Models for the sample kit and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.