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Revell Germany 1/24 scale Trabant 601S

How quaint! Revell Germany’s fully detailed Trabant captures the boxy lines and clunky details of East Germany’s 23hp people mover perfectly.

East Germany’s people’s car, the Trabant (frequently referred to as the Trabbi) was built in several versions from 1958 to 1991. The small car was powered by a two-stroke, air-cooled 600cc engine that developed a sedate 23hp. Despite the shortcomings, customers waited years to get one. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many of the plastic-bodied cars were abandoned. But the car has gained a cult following in recent years.

This isn’t the first time Revell Germany has released a Trabant, but this kit is the first with a complete engine and comprehensive interior.

Molded in white plastic, the parts feature crisp surface detail and no sign of sink marks. There are a few ejector-pin marks, but most are hidden on the finished model.

The windshield and windows, thin and clear, are designed to be attached from outside after painting. You will need to paint the rubber seals surrounding the glass, but the moldings are sharp so it’s relatively easy. No plated parts are included, but all of the parts that are bare metal on the car are molded on a single sprue so they can be painted together.

Five tiny vinyl tires feature realistic tread detail and minor mold seams.

Color callouts are provided for Revell paints only. (A cross reference to Testors paints is available here.)

Decals provide body trim and badges as well as license plates and national decals for several Euro-pean countries.

Starting with the engine, you can appreciate just how tiny the car is. Fortunately, the fit of all the parts is good – it’s sort of like building a watch – except for the air cleaner (Part A30), which sits a fraction of an inch too tall and interferes with the hood. Trim the locating pins and make sure the part fits snugly atop the engine to eliminate the problem.

I painted almost all of the car’s components before assembly, touching up after construction to remove blemishes.

The interior went together well. I liked the inclusion of pedals and seat belts as well as decal instruments.

The instructions give two body color options, neutral gray and light blue. Research indicates these colors were very common, but the cars were available in a few others. I used Tamiya spray can neutral gray – a little dark in retrospect, but it lends a very utilitarian appearance.

Final assembly went well, and the finished model really nails the Trabbi’s anachronistic style. I had a blast building Revell’s little 601, and it’s a fun conversation piece among the pickup trucks and muscle cars in my collection.
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