Playmobil Playland: Officially Licensed Nostalgia Courtesy of Volkswagen

Products Reviews Toys

Welcome to the Playmobil Playland, where we take a peek inside those impressive blue boxes and see what treasures await within. Sometimes we’ll have step-by-step photos walking you through assembly, maybe we’ll discuss and review a particular set or theme, or maybe we’ll have an unboxing video.

Playmobil’s latest officially licensed line-up is definitely going to be a hit with most grown-ups of a certain age (around my age and older) as they introduce both the Volkswagen Beetle and T1 Camping Bus in glorious ’60s styled sets! I’ll start off immediately by stating that these two sets are all mine for once as both of these vehicles, but especially the T1 Camping Bus, hold very special places in my heart and memories. It’s truly amazing to me that vehicles introduced decades before I was born were so relevant to me and are still relevant today to so many. It definitely speaks volumes to their timelessness.

Instruction Booklet History Pages. Photo by Will James.

Speaking of their history, one cool item included in the instruction booklets for the kits are mini timelines and stats about both the Van and Bug, including their production dates, speed, and engine details.

Specs

Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camper Van Parts. Photo by Will James.

Playmobil Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus

  • Product Number: 70176
  • Number of pieces: 74
  • Number of figures: 2 – Adult woman and man
Playmobil Volkswagen Beetle Parts. Photo by Will James.

Playmobil Volkswagen Beetle

  • Product Number: 70177
  • Number of pieces: 52
  • Number of figures: 3 – Adult woman and man, and a child

Ease of Build

On a scale of 1–5, both sets are a 2. Despite having a bunch of cool features, both the Beetle and Camping Bus were pretty straightforward builds. There were no parts tricky to get together and the stickers were all easy to place.

Coolest Features

T1 Camper Van assembled and ready to ride. Photo by Will James.

The T1 Camper Van has all the fun features you’d want from this van (except maybe the pop-top tent introduced in later models), including a folding table and countertops and a back seat that folds down to a bed. There are plenty of storage options for all of the accessories as well from in-door shelves to the under-sink cabinet, as well as the van top storage rack with rubber straps to hold down the luggage. And, of course, the flower-power ’60s styling of not only the figures’ clothing but the décor of the van and accessories (even the drink and food containers) really cement this set as truly nostalgic and retro.

Beetle assembled and ready for beach fun. Photo by Will James.

Similar to the Van, the Beetle set also features the cool car top luggage rack and straps with the addition of a “styrofoam” cooler and surfboard that can be strapped down for a ride down to the beach. And so, of course, this set also includes the beach! The beach accessories are really cool—a real cloth towel, clear bottles (beer? soda?), a sand pail and tools, and a strip of sand with an umbrella. But possibly the coolest (yet subtle) beach accessory is the “sand” castle that looks like it was actually made by the exact kind of pail every California beach kid like me grew up with. The only minor gripe I have is that the pail doesn’t match the shape of the sandcastle, but I doubt that’s something any kid would notice.

The junk is in the trunk. Photo by Will James.

Lastly, no VW Beetle toy could be complete without an opening trunk with the engine inside. I remember being completely astounded as a kid and first seeing this design. Engines go in the front! Or at least that was the sum total of my experience at the time, and this was a groundbreaking paradigm shift in my young mind.

And while all of the above features make these great, fun Playmobil sets, the best part for me is absolutely the personal nostalgia for both of these vehicles. As a kid of the ’80s and huge Transformers fan, I grew up thinking the VW Beetle was one of the coolest cars ever. And when I was old enough to drive, I really wanted to buy an old Beetle—this was a few years before VW brought the Beetle back—and fix it up and make my own personal Bumblebee. Unfortunately, my mom did NOT like that idea, so I never got to own my own Beetle, though several friends through the years have owned them. I even tried to buy my friend’s yellow Bug when I was in my 20s, but he refused to sell it.

But the T1 Camper Van is absolutely the champ in my mind and heart. One of my best friends growing up (our families were so close that we just called each other cousins) had an orange and white VW Camper Van. And not only did we use it on many road and camping trips, but we used to play in it and have sleepovers in it in the driveway. I honestly had mostly forgotten all about those days until the Playmobil set showed up and my brain flooded me with some sweet serotonin-fueled memories. I love the VW Camper Van so much that I plan to do everything in my power to ensure that our next family vehicle is the VW I.D. Buzz (an all-electric concept van that is planned for 2023). But while I wait, hopeful, for the I.D. Buzz, I plan to play with my new Playmobil T1 Camper Van and reminisce about some of the best days of my childhood.

Disclosure: These Playmobil sets were provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.

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