Friday, May 2

Traveling Trabant in t-t- terrible trouble - François causes a scene with Revell's classic in 24th scale

Last month François Laloux built the very nice looking 1/48th scale Seasprite Kittyhawk  helicopter for us – and this month has has taken the new Revell kit of the much loved Trabant 601  Universal in 1/24th scale and beaten it up to within an inch of it’s life – see how he made this shiny model into a used and dilapidated wreck in today’s build review…
Kit type: injection moulded
Scale: 1/24
Part count: 150
Model by François Laloux
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit, @RevellGermany or
The fun thing with Revell is its diversity. Looking though the catalogue earlier this year, the Trabant Universal looked like a cool project to try out all kinds of weathering techniques. When you think of this car, you can just picture it, abandoned somewhere in the back of a garden, behind a shed, right?  

You can be pretty quick about this kit: like all the new tool kits from Revell, the detail and fit of this one is just fantastic. Glue and paint, that’s all you need to build it into a great looking model.

From the Revell site this is how the (unmolested) Trabant looks - impressive enough...
The actual car is pretty basic; it has a tiny 600 cc, two cylinder, two-stroke engine and a Spartan interior – and Revell replicated it very nicely in this kit. So, straight out of the box, it looks really good.
For François, this kit was all about painting. With the body parts of the kit cleaned-up and the grill cut out, a coat of primer was sprayed on straight from the can. Next was a layer of Life Color “rust & dust” – that’s where something went wrong, but we’ll talk about that later on. A darker shade of this colour was put on, using a sponge. It’s an easy technique to get life into the kit. Next was a satin varnish to start the weathering part.

The weathering was obtained by using Worn Effect from AK Interactive, which can basically be used in the same way as the hairspray technique. To get larger paint chips, Maskol was put on the kit, using a sponge. 
The colour of the car was a mint green from Tamiya – and one door in orange - with a lighter shade on the top parts and a darker shade on the lower ones. After this, the Maskol was removed and with some water, the AK Worn Effect chips the paint. It’s very simple: the more water you use, the more paint gets off! With a toothpick, scratches are made on the paintwork. This could be from branches falling on the car, kids being bored or whatever you can come up with.  
The inside of the car gets the same treatment. 
The engine compartment is just a treat: rust, dried up oil and grease, with tree leaves stuck everywhere. A very helpful product here was AK Interactive “Oil Streak”.
In order to get the vertical streaks from the years of rain and dirt, oil paints were used. The lower part of the body gets a black Vallejo wash.

The lines on the windows were obtained by using “European Dust” pigment from AK, thinned with Vallejo thinner. Dark green paint was used to imitate some moss growing in and out of the car.

The final part of the weathering was done by some micro-painting: using a very small brush painting tiny chips with liquid silver Vallejo. The diorama was made with a layer of clay, and Mini-Nature grass and flowers. Those products are really great and give a diorama that extra realistic detail. The shed is just some pieces of wood, but if you like ice-cream, using the sticks from a Magnum ice-cream is a great excuse to eat a lot of them! And…. Finished !  
Now, there is that thing that went wrong, right? When the little diorama was done, François showed it to some friends at our local model shop in Brussels. One of them originates from Poland and has seen many Trabants back home – the only ones I’ve seen were suspended on the stage of a U2 concert – and he told us that the Trabant was actually called a “plastic” car! The roof, trunk, hood, doors and bumpers were made from Duroplast, which was cotton waste and resin – so basically recycled materials.  This means that you can’t have any rust on them! Noooo !!
Now, to conclude: the Revell kit of this cool looking Cold War era car is great, it really is. The weathering products, paints and techniques: well, these all work as well as you can hope for; it is just a matter of not being afraid to experiment with them! The end result looks the part, but maybe next time, we’ll build a metal car… Hey, isn’t there an old MINI in the Revell catalogue?

François Laloux

A big thank you to Revell for providing us with the kit!
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit, @RevellGermany or