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POKÉBUG - Converting the Revell-Germany VW New Beetle

by Juho Ala-Jaaski



First some facts about the Pokébug

The Pokébug is a specially ordered VW New Beetle. It costs $27,000 USD and includes a stock yellow beetle, but with the Pokémon package added which includes the ears, tail, markings, built-in Nintendo system in the trunk and beanbag toys of all the 151 Pokémon. The Pokébug is made to look like Pikachu, Pokémon #25, and also the favorite yellow guy of most people.

The conversion

The first time I saw a picture of the Pokébug I knew I wanted to build one! I used the Revell-Germany kit, which isn't the same kit as the Monogram offering. The Revell kit ISN'T a snap-tight kit, which is good. The Tamiya kit would have been better for this conversion as it has a separate trunklid and that would allow for building the Nintendo system into the trunk. I won't review the Revell kit here and now, but instead I'll walk you through the conversion.

Getting started

I started the conversion with the body as I had to allow the paint dry, and this was best done while assembling the interior and the chassis. I made the tail from sheet styrene, it's 1.57 inches tall, and 0.78 inches wide the the top and 0.19 inches wide at the bottom. The tail was glued into a slit cut into the trunk lid with a sheet styrene backing to hold it in the right position.

The ears were made from the same sheet styrene and they're 0.51 inches tall and 0.70 wide at the base. The ears were glued just inside of the doors on the roof at a slight angle. I "eye-estimated" all the measurements, but a friend of mine who's a real "Pokéaddict" told me they looked just about right so I guess they must be pretty close. The bumpers were glued on at this time. Note that the front extra lights on the bottom of the nose aren't there on the pictures of the real thing, as they're a feature of the home marketed version and would have been very hard to remove on the model.

The body and the tail and ear bottoms were painted with Revell-Germany's bright lemon yellow enamel paint. All the markings were hand painted except for the Pokémon logos on the doors and the wiggly lines below them. These are decals made by a friend of mine, Bobby J. Kasza!! THANK YOU Bobby!!!!

The orange on the cheeks is home mixed from yellow and red. The brown stripes are Tamiya Red brown, and black is black with a clear gloss coat on top of it all. The mirrors were added after the body and the black trim was painted, as well as the antenna. The licence plate - PIKABUG, New York - was printed with my home PC on regular typing paper. The VW logos for the trunk and hood came from the kit's decal sheet. All the door and body seams were highlighted with a black wash, these are VERY prominent on the real beetle!

Picture of the built-in Ninetendo system in the real Pokébug.

The rest of the kit

The rest of the kit was assembled according to the instructions. I used an official New Beetle color manual for the interior colors. I opted for the light grey/dark grey interior, with a black dash board. The VW logos on the wheels and the steering wheel are decals from the kit as well as the speaker grilles and the driver's speed, rpm., and fuel indicators.

If you want to add the built-in Nintendo system then go for the Tamiya kit instead the Revell kit as in the US it's easier to get and has a separate trunk lid so you can pose it open. Also, if you want to add the stuffed Pokémon characters to the trunk, then you're up for quite a bit of scratchbuilding as there are 151 of them and they would be about half an inch at the tallest in this scale!

The hub caps have tiny pictures of different Pokémon on the spokes. My model doesn't have these as I couldn't get any decals for them anywhere!

The rest of the kit was painted according to the instructions, except for the wheel backs which had the part that shows through the wheels hubs painted silver. I forgot to add a small flower vase for the dash board, but it would hardly be visible on the finished model anyway!

Special thanks to Bobby J. Kasza for the decals, and to my father for the kit!

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