This distinctive German car was the most produced amphibious vehicle in history with over 14000 being built.
Let’s take a brief look.
Obviously this is not quite Naval hardware, but armies have long been interested in amphibious vehicles and transports, especially in Europe where rivers and small lakes are regular features of the landscape. And although Germany never had a really successful amphibious truck (like the American DUKW), they led the pack with this swimming 4 wheel drive car (the American “amphibious Jeep” was held in much lower regard).
The Schwimmwagon was developed from the Volkswagon Beetle. That vehicle had already been militarized into the 4 wheel drive Type 86 Kubelwagon. Ferdinand Porsche foresaw the need for an amphibious version. Obviously the body had to be completely re-engineered, and the first attempt was not wholly successful. On the same wheel base as the Kubelwagon it simply had too much flex which compromised water tight integrity. So a slightly smaller version, the Type 166 would enter full production.
It was 4 wheel drive only in first gear and reverse, but could drive about 50 mph on roads or 6 knots in the water. Water propulsion came from the stern mounted propeller that was stored up against the trunk lid when driving on land. It was driven by a direct linkage to the main engine which meant it only had straight ahead thrust. The front wheels worked as rudders.
Production ran from 1941-44 and the vehicle was popular within the army.
This is the Tamiya kit. As is common with these smaller models it was fiddly in places, but overall well engineered and presented no major problems.