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First Look Review
Zündapp Janus
Zündapp Janus
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Zündapp Janus
Item: 027571
Series: Vintage car
Collection: CARS&TRUCKS
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2013 / 05-06

One of Herpa’s series is Nostalgia of Eastern Europe. Zündapp Janus is a recently released new type in the series, featuring amazing paint and finish, an interior, soft tires and fine detail.

Zündapp Janus
    Zündapp (aka Zuendapp) was a major German motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1917 in Nuremberg by Fritz Neumeyer, together with the Friedrich Krupp AG and the machine tool manufacturer Thiel under the name "Zünder- und Apparatebau G.m.b.H." as a producer of detonators. In 1919, as the demand for weapons parts declined after WWI, Neumeyer became the sole proprietor of the company, and two years later he diversified into the construction of motorcycles. The company collapsed in 1984.*
Tens of thousands of Zündapps were built for the Nazi war effort; post-war the design was taken by the Soviets and reissued as the Ural motorcycle family. Post-war Zündapp was tasked with bringing mobility to the eastern Utopia.
    Zündapp Janus is a microcar model made by Zündapp in Germany between 1957 and 1958. It was the only car ever made by the company. Originally Zündapp made motorcycles, but in 1954 decided to make a more weatherproof vehicle. They looked at designs from Kroboth, Brütsch, and Fuldamobil before settling for a design by Dornier Flugzeugwerke. The novel design featured a front-opening door for access to the front seat, as well as a rear-opening door for access to the rear-facing rear seat; this "coming or going" design was given the name of the Roman god, Janus, usually pictured having two faces: one looks forward while the other one looks back. The car was powered by a mid-mounted 2-stroke single cylinder 245 cc (15 cubic inch displacement) engine unique to the Janus developing 14 hp (10 kW), enabling a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). The suspension was of the MacPherson strut type that proved to be very comfortable.
    Production started in June 1957. Only 1,731 cars were made in the first six months. By mid-1958, Zündapp abandoned the project and sold the factory to Bosch. A total of 6,902 Zündapp Janus cars were made.

    While in racing and sports cars the mid-engine configuration leads to optimal car handling, acceleration and braking, the engine was much lighter than the rear passengers, leading to a variable centre of gravity.*

An excellent enthusiast Zündapp site can be accessed via Click here for additional images for this review, at the end of this review.

herpa Zündapp Janus
This neat petite model is packaged in Herpa's light plastic end-opening carton with a red paper label. The model is snugly held in a form-fitted plastic cradle.

The model is completely assembled. It is molded in plastic with fine detail and expertly assembled. Fine subtle detail is molded onto the multiply compound curved body. A driver side mirror is separately attached, as are the bumpers. Each headlight is a clear lens. The windows are clearly molded.

With the exception of the exhaust pipe, underframe detail is merely a token. The wheels are soft plastic or rubber with great tread detail.

Inside the passenger compartment is a nice set of seats and a steering wheel. A wiper blade is molded into the windscreen. Small trim detail is molded on the body and painted.

Finish is high quality although there is a hint of overspray in the crease of compound curves of the body. This Janus is a two-tone weiß/rot (white/red). Chrome trim is precisely painted around the windows and body trim, plus in the hubcaps. The tires are whitewalled. Herpa also offers this Janus in minzgrün/mint green and one in mausgrau/mouse grey .

One of the most remarkable features of this sharp car are the crisp Zündapp emblems on the front and rear doors, plus 'Janus' on each front fender. These features are printed - not decals. Herpa does not use decals.

On the road
Herpa has created a beautiful little model with their HO-1/87 scale Zündapp Janus. It is an excellent addition to their Vintage Car series. Excellent printing and finish despite a hint of overspray in a crease of the compound curves of the body. Fine molded detail and clear lens for headlights, plus separately add parts.

Modelers and collectors of late-1950s Eastern European subjects should be impressed with this neat little innovative vehicle. I happily recommend it.

Please tell Herpa and retailers that you saw this car here -on RailRoadModeling.


Zündapp Fool. [Web.] n.d.

Wikipedia. Zündapp Janus. [Web.] 27 August 2013.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Excellent printing and finish. Fine molded detail and clear lens for headlights, plus separately add parts.
Lows: A hint of overspray in a crease of the compound curves of the body.
Verdict: Modelers and collectors of late-1950s Eastern European subjects should be impressed with this neat little innovative vehicle.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 027571
  Suggested Retail: 12.50 €, $17.00
  Related Link: Vintage / Old Timer series
  PUBLISHED: Sep 21, 2013

Our Thanks to Herpa!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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