SOLIDO S1800511 Volkswagen Sports Bug 1973

Far from being just yet another Special Edition Beetle Solido’s Sports Bug is pretty special for a very important reason. It is an unquestionably North American version Beetle – something that is, very surprisingly, rarely found in the world of scale models.

I am very excited by the fact that Solido have not only chosen to model the GSRs equally distinctive North American cousin but have, in doing so, recognised the significance that dealership promotion had in it’s history by adding the Sports Bug striping and black taper tip exhaust pipe options into their detailing.

As with the GSR previously the model is slightly disappointing in that it depicts a standard interior rather than the sports seat and steering wheel combination common to both of those Editions. Setting this aside the Sports Bug is a “must have” not just for Canadian and Stateside collectors but for many fans in Europe as well. I suspect it will also notch up a retrospective interest amongst collectors in the other Solido SEBs. I know of quite a few fans who are now seeking out the earlier issues as this catalogue sub-set theme has grown in number. Sat all together the set of Solido SEBs certainly make an authentic, and visually attractive, collection!

Owner/enthusiast polls in our own, linked, Special Edition Beetles facebook Group and the VW Sports Bug facebook Group during the model’s pre-production stage last year showed that preference for Saturn Yellow and Marathon Metallic were almost equally balanced as the favourite paint colour. From the point of view of scale model sales I can fully understand the Solido production team’s decision to go for Saturn yellow. It is after all the more vibrant and therefore more eye-catching of the two colours from a point of view of grabbing potential customers attention. Inevitably there will now be a clamour from the Sports Bug fraternity for a Marathon Metallic version as well – as there was for the Big Beetle to be produced in Moss Green following the Ontario Blue release.

I suspect though that it is here, with the Sports Bug, that the series of SEBs from Solido based on their 1/18 scale 1303/ Super Beetle will end. Apart from the 1973 City Beetle and the 1974 Luxuskäfer with their respective black rally side stripes the remaining SEBs based on the 1303/Super Beetle are, from a general scale model market point of view, barely distinguishable from a standard Beetle save for their Lemmerz sports wheels. That “as yet unmodelled” list includes the 1973 German Sportkäfer, Swedish Extra Bug, French Marron Glace and the 1974 German Winterkäfer.

Indeed most, including the City and Luxus, would require Solido’s extra investment in tooling up for the 4½J x 15” version of the Lemmerz sports wheels to be credibly authentic. Although the Sports Bug now brings us a North American spec Beetle even more investment would be needed to bring forward the 1974 North American Sun Bug with it’s much larger bumpers – and more tooling investment again to make the 1975 UK Chocolate Beetle with bumper mounted indicators. Investment that was hardly worth it in the later case as the Chocolate Beetle is but yet another example of an SEB that, to most casual observers, is just a standard beetle with Sports wheels.

Being realistic there are, I reckon, only so many variations on the Solido SEB theme that the scale model market can absorb before a consumer saturation point with consequent sales stagnation is reached.

Recognition of these realities in terms of low commercial viability of further, comparatively, minor variations on the 1303 SEB theme from any manufacturer in 1/18, including Solido, was one of the motivating themes behind the production of the SEBeetles decal sheet. I have a sneaking suspicion that although the decal sheet has been very well recieved and will help satisfy some SEB owners there will still continue to be a hunger for quite a while yet for “ready made” versions of the other colour variations of the Big Beetle and of the Sports Bug in Marathon metallic.

Even so, realistically, with all these factors considered I return to my comment that I would not be surprised if the Sports Bug is the end of the SEB line from Solido. Time of course will tell if I am right or not but in the meantime if it is the last version they make what a finale it is with, for me, the best saved until last …

SEB Scale Model Overview:

  • Overall historical accuracy of the reviewed scale model compared to Volkswagen’s original SEB. 100%
  •  Emotional appeal of the reviewed scale model. 95%
  •  Rarity or uniqueness of the reviewed scale model as a SEB subject 100%
  •  Choice of subject version from the particular Special Edition Beetle Series. 100%
  •  Overall impression of body shape, proportions and stance of the reviewed scale model. 70%
  •  Detail accuracy of the reviewed scale model compared to manufacturers original vehicle in terms of representation of interior and exterior components, paint colour and finishing. 75%

SOLIDO S1800511 total score: 90%

Appreciation: My grateful thanks to SOLIDO for making it possible to review this Scale Model for the benefit of SEB enthusiasts worldwide at the earliest possible opportunity after its release onto the market.

Stephen Paul Hardy, England. 16th April 2019

Further reading on this website:
The individual profile for the 1973 Sports Bug Retro Speak RS004
Scale Models SMR003

This page last modified: 2019-04-16