The first thing I noticed when I first opened the box was that it was quite literally packed to the top with parts. The next was the beautiful detail of these parts. However in keeping with Dragon's fine tradition with supplying their beautiful model kits with the worst possible instructions ever created by man or beast this kit did not disappoint. If Dragon models ever sees this I would like to ask them. How is it that you put all this effort in producing some of the finest kits in the world yet are a complete dismal failure when it comes to instructions? All these instructions show are pictures of the completed model with arrows pointing to parts with a number indicator, and some of those numbers are wrong. As for assembly procedure and in what order sorry but you're on your own. Thankfully though they at least had the courtesy to supply a tree parts diagram. One notices that when the model is finished you're left with a lot of unused parts. I suspect these parts must be for a 1/6 scale Kubelwagen. That being said once you've struggled through its building you are left with one hell of a model. A real head turner. The mother of all Schwimmwagen kits.
The VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen (literally Floating / Swimming Car) were amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders, used extensively by the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the Second World War. The Type 166 is the most numerous mass-produced amphibious car in history.
Volkswagen Schwimmwagens used the engine and mechanicals of the VW Type 86 four-wheel drive prototype of the Kübelwagen and the Type 87 four-wheel drive 'Kübel/Beetle' Command Car, which in turn were based on the platform of the civilian Volkswagen Beetle. Erwin Komenda, Ferdinand Porsche's first car body designer, was forced to develop an all-new unitized bodytub structure since the flat floorpan chassis of the existing VW vehicles was unsuited to smooth movement through water. Komenda patented his ideas for the swimming car at the German Patent office.
The earliest Type 128 prototype was based on the full-length Kübelwagen chassis with a 240 cm (7.9 ft) wheelbase. Pre-production units of the 128, fitted with custom welded bodytubs, demonstrated that this construction was too weak for tough off-roading, had insufficient torsional rigidity, and easily suffered hull-ruptures at the front cross-member, as well as in the wheel-wells. This was unacceptable for an amphibious vehicle. The large-scale production models (Type 166) were therefore made smaller, and had a wheel-base of only 200 cm (6.6 ft).
VW Schwimmwagens were produced by the Volkswagen factory at Fallersleben / Wolfsburg and Porsche's facilities in Stuttgart; with the bodies (or rather hulls) produced by Ambi Budd in Berlin. 15,584 Type 166 Schwimmwagen cars were produced from 1941 through 1944; 14,276 at Fallersleben and 1,308 by Porsche. Given these numbers, the VW 166 is the most mass-produced amphibious car in history. Only 163 are known by the Schwimmwagen Registry to remain today, and only 13 have survived without restoration work.
All Schwimmwagen were four wheel drive only on first gear (and reverse gears with some models) and had ZF self-locking differentials on both front and rear axles. Just like the Kübelwagen, the Schwimmwagen had portal gear rear hubs that gave better ground clearance, while at the same time reducing drive-line torque stresses with their gear reduction at the wheels.
When crossing water a screw propeller could be lowered down from the rear deck engine cover. When in place a simple coupling provided drive straight from an extension of the engine's crankshaft. This meant that screw propulsion was only available going forward. For reversing in the water there was the choice of using the standard equipment paddle or running the land drive in reverse, allowing the wheel-rotation to slowly take the vehicle back. The front wheels doubled up as rudders, so steering was done with the steering wheel both on land and on water.