SMR 001 – OttOmobile OT637 Volkswagen Beetle Jeans 2

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OttOmobile OT637 Volkswagen Beetle Jeans 2

 

“Volkswagen’s introduction of the Jeans Beetle series in 1973 came as a surprise to the automotive world – and the absolute delight of Beetle fans. It was fresh, bright, youthful and it was casually dressed. In an automotive world that generally placed value on a car proportional to its sparkling trim and luxury fittings it was shocking. It dared to have black external trim instead of chrome and it dared to wear its jeans wherever it went. It was economical, fun and broke traditions. It transports you back to the halcyon days of 1974 when bright paintwork colours were “in” and when going everywhere in your Jeans was the quintessential style of the Seventies.”

Released: June 2016 Reference: OT637 Units : 2000
Scale : 1/18th
Color : Phoenix Red L32K
Year : 1974

Scale Model Review Subject: VW 1200 “Jeans 74 / Jeans II” S716 (“export”).

We have waited a very long time for an accurate, high quality, scale model of the European produced Jeans Beetle and at last we have one! The Ottomobile OT637 represents one of the three special paint colours used in the second production series of Jeans Beetles.

The Jeans 74 / Jeans II was produced in two series by Volkswagen: S714 for the German home “inland” market and S716 for “export” markets. The OT637 Ottomobile model represents the S716 version with the less common (on Jeans Beetles) Lemmerz “World Champion” Sports wheels.

So how well does the model satisfy a long-term hunger?

Resplendent in L32K Phoenix Red the model looks absolutely stunning. I am genuinely very, very, excited by it. So many excellent details – the wheels, the dashboard, the Jeans detailing. The “feel”, the charisma, is all there. When taking photographs of my own pre-ordered example as soon as it was delivered I couldn’t help feeling that in many of the shots the model looked like a real, full size, Beetle.

Studying the model a few small points come to mind. Firstly, in my opinion, the front of the car sits slightly too low for the suspension of the standard 1200 Beetle/Jeans. There is not quite enough gap between the tyre and the rim of the wheel arch. I am guessing the model uses some components common to the OT155 Oettinger model which represents a car that did have lowered front suspension. A detail – again I suspect from the OT155 Oettinger – that owners of actual Jeans Beetles will pick up on is the erroneous air intake grill at the top of the bonnet. My only other two points of constructive criticism concern the upholstery and the glazing.

The seats look too black: but denim is not a solid colour so I do not know how the textured colour of the material could be better represented. Black denim is especially difficult because it is a sort of grey but black at the same time. However this is a small concern because the representation of the button studs look fabulous. As regards the glazing this is something I noticed previously on the OT155 Oettinger and to some degree on 1/18 resin models by other manufactures. Whilst the thin sheet glazing gives a clearer transparency than the more traditional injection moulded clear polystyrene it is perhaps too flexible in that it catches the light in such a way that evokes a lack of solidity unlike the hardness exuded by car window glass. I do have slight concerns also how, given past experience with the celluloid family of plastics that age and yellow, about the long term durability of this type of glazing on 1/18 scale resin models generally.

On both the OT155 and OT637 Beetles I cannot help feeling that injection moulded glazing would have given the chance to rectify just one other small point that anyone intimate with Beetles will understand. The window glazing bar between the front quarter light window and the main window in the doors has always been something that picks up in photographs – and in real life – as standing proud of the window glazing. This small but significant idiosyncrasy of how we read the Beetle shape is lost when reproduced by a printed line on the thin glazing.

Setting these points aside Ottomobile have done an excellent job with their Jeans II offering. They really have. It is the attention to small details that in particular sent me over the top – things like the lines of the black beading between wings and body.

Inclusion of details like that and the excellent representation of all the other Jeans black trimming and lettering add up to making a scale model that is just so much more than just a scale model – it is the capturing of the emotional spirit of the car. A point of significance is that this is the first ever scale model also that gives us a Beetle with the Lemmerz “World Champion” style wheels. Perhaps a slightly unusual twist in that they come first on a Jeans Beetle rather than 1972 World Champion/Weltmeister but the wheels were a part of the factory S 716 “export” package. The miniature representation of this particular Lemmerz wheel is outstanding right down to the VW embossed in the centre hub trim!

These wheels were also a feature of the 1975 Mexican Sport Jeans only sold in Mexico. By coincidence the Mexican Sport’ was finished in Phoenix Red as well so Ottomobile’s OT 637 will no doubt find a keen market in Mexico even if there are detail variations between the S 714 Jeans II and the Vocho Sport Jeans.

This raises another point. By releasing a perhaps lesser know version of the European Jeans Beetle series Ottomobile have satisfied an undeniable long-term hunger for a high quality Jeans Beetle model amongst collectors of Volkswagen scale model vehicles, collectors of German cars generally and probably quite a few Jeans Beetle owners who do not, normally, collect scale models but would love to have a miniature representation of their favourite Beetle. But at they same time they have now also effectively raised the demand even further.

By showing how it is possible to bring a 1/18 European Jeans Beetle onto the market in such authentic detail the demand, judging by comments circulating in April when the model was announced, for the more familiar S 761 Jeans 74 (Jeans I) in L16M Tunis Gelb is now running even higher. I sense this clamour is, if anything, even stronger now that enthusiasts have seen actual examples of the production version OT637. This demand is largely due to the fact that for many Volkswagen Beetle fans the Tunis Gelb S 761 with Lemmerz GT Sport wheels is the instantly recognisable embodiment of the “Jeans” series – and the version most readily brought to mind when the Jeans Beetle is raised in conversation. From a purely UK perspective also the Tunis Gelb S 761 was the only version Jeans Beetle imported by Volkswagen GB Ltd., and so to UK enthusiasts “the” Jeans Beetle.

A large proportion of the investment in bringing a scale model into production is in it’s preparation and preproduction stages. Tooling costs alone are significant. Given that much of this outlay has now been made with the OT637 model it is a reasonable assumption that production of further version Jeans Beetles by Ottomobile are to some degree now already invested in. The main additional preparation cost in producing a Tunis Gelb S761 would now be to produced a 4½J x15 version of the Lemmerz GT Sports wheels (The OT155 Oettinger Beetle of course having 5½J x15 Lemmerz GT Sports wheels …). Other ancillary re-tooling costs would being confined to minor details such as removing the grill on the bonnet to make the plain, smooth, “basic 1200” bonnet and to adjust the stance of the model to better represent the standard suspension height of all the Jeans models rather than that of the lowered stance of the Oettinger Beetle.

The introduction of OT637 in S 716 “export” guise has, in addition, also raised the desire of Jeans Beetles fans in Germany for the home market companion of the S 716 in the form of the S 714 “inland” Jeans II. The two versions effectively and visibly differing only by having Lemmerz “World Champion” or “GT Sports” wheels.

Musing on the subject of possibilities for further release would not be complete without mentioning that the final, arguably most desirable and best equipped, Jeans version – the S744 Jeans 75 (Jeans III) – would only need a minimal further investment to add a rear fog light and high back seats, padded dashboard etc., … and of course use the bumpers from the OT155 Oettinger with integrated front indicators …

But we shall have to wait patiently to find out if the OT637 Jeans II S716 “export” has been considered a (commercially) successful venture by Ottomobile before they risk further investment on successive companion models.

In the meantime there is little doubt that the OT637 model has been a dramatic and resounding emotional success in the eyes of Beetle fans – and Jeans Beetle owners.

Words cannot properly express my pleasure over this stunning model 1/18 Jeans Beetle model which has probably already secured my vote as “SEB Model of the Year 2016” even though we are still only six months in with six more still to go – unless of course a L16M Tunis Gelb S 761, L11C Brilliant Gelb S 714 or L20C Nepal Orange S 744 companion model gets announced in the Autumn to make the final decision slightly more difficult. Whichever way it falls though Ottomobile look set to get my vote as “SEB Scale Model manufacturer of 2016”

Beetle fans have waited a very long time for an accurate, high quality, model of the European produced Jeans edition. Now at last we have one. A dream come true for many: scale model Volkswagen collectors and Jeans Beetle fans alike. Purist pleasure in 1/18. Thank you Ottomobile: although in delivering a model many of us have been seeking for a long time so effectively you have also raised the appetite very significantly for some “more of the same… in a different flavour. Please ..”

SEB Scale Model Overview:

 1. Overall historical accuracy of the reviewed scale model compared to Volkswagen’s original SEB.  100%
 2. Emotional appeal of the reviewed scale model.  100%
 3. Rarity or uniqueness of the reviewed scale model as a SEB subject  100%
 4. Choice of subject version from the particular Special Edition Beetle Series.  80%
 5. Overall impression of body shape, proportions and stance of the reviewed scale model.  90%
 6. Detail accuracy of the reviewed scale model compared to manufacturers original vehicle in terms of representation of components, paint colour and finishing.  90%
 Ottomobile OT637 total score: 93%

Stephen Paul Hardy,
Dorset, England. 03rd June 2016

Further reading on this website:
The individual profiles for the 1974 Jeans Beetles and 1975 Jeans III

Further reading with excellent detail photographs of the S716 Jeans II, including Rhoenix Red, and photographs of owners own cars can be found at:

JeansBeetles.com 1974

and JeansBeetles.com/census


This page last modified: 2016-08-23