Trabant in turbulent times
A few years ago Revell released its new Trabant kit. It was a much better kit than their first version, released in the early nineties. According to urban legends, a few Revell employees drove to the former GDR right after the reunification, bought a Trabant, and used that one as the base for their first kit. They missed only one important fact: the lack of replacement parts made the East Germans use everything available for repairs, so that particular old car was repaired many times, sometimes with components from early Trabants. The kit reflected this accurately... 🙂 It is a common a misunderstanding that the Trabant was produced unchanged for decades. There were also upgrades under the hood, and changes on the outside as well. You should not imagine huge changes, one upgrade over the times was adding an external mirror on the right side as well, or changing the bumper design.
My wife was born in the former GDR and grew up in a family with Trabant. She still remembers the times, when they were able to travel on the rear seat, without any safety belt or children’s seat. A few years ago I found this kit is under the Christmas tree with a note: “We waited ten years for a new Trabant. I don’t want to wait for so long this time!” Yes, there are rare cases where your wife encourages you to build models!
The build itself was trouble free and easy. My main challenge was creating the metal trimmings on the body. On the real car these were made with a rubber insert on the top. I tried to recreate this, but did not manage to get acceptable results. So after a few trials I left them simply metal, without imitating the rubber part.
I decided to mix my own “Trabant-blue” color based on photos and memories. The model is not too shiny, these cars got dull relatively fast. However, remember that the body was not made from metal , so don’t show your skills of creating rust there! I have seen amazingly built Trabants, where the modeler made this mistake. The model looked amazing, but was unrealistic at the same time.
I decided to use the East German number plates and make a model from the turbulent years of 1989-90. East Germans used geographical coding in their number plates, and the plates starting with “X” were registered in the area of Karl-Marx-Stadt, nowadays known as Chemnitz. I printed a few newspaper front pages from that period and placed at the rear window. For the non-German speakers, the newspaper says: “The wall is gone! Berlin is again Berlin!”
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.