I've had a few of these in the stash since they were released in late 2009, but until now I haven't been able to get my hands on any Trabant paint, understandably there isn't that much call for it here in the U.K, luckily I managed to find a place in Germany (https://www.trabantwelt.de/) that would ship aerosol paint to me, I decided to build this one in Champagne beige, hopefully when it's finished it will look something like the photo of the real Trabby below, the paint will be decanted and sprayed on using my trusty Paasche VLS airbrush.
Thankfully this later release from Revell is so much better than their earlier release which was first released back in 1990, but for a kit release in the 90's was of very poor quality.
This newer release is molded much better, has full engine detail and the interior is well molded, if you want a model to build of the Trabby, this is the kit to get, not the older Revell version (Model # 7334).
As with all my builds I love to get all the details correct, and came across a great website with all the information you'll need for modelling a Trabant, (http://www.trabant-original.de/) anyone wanting to build a model of the Trabby in Champagne beige, but doesn't want to go to expence of importing the paint, just get your local paint mixer to mix up some RAL 1024, this is a 100% match for the Trabant Champagne, sadly I only found this out after shelling out on a few tins of Trabant paint.
I can't remember the last time I actually used paint from an aerosol without decanting it to use from my airbrush, the process is a lot easier and safer than people will let you know, if you follow a few simple steps.
Out of a 400mls can on paint you will get around 185mls of actual paint, the bottle on the left hold 125mls, and the bottle on the far right hold 60mls.
The body is molded with the roof panel, bootlid and bonnet as separate pieces, parts fit is very good, although the photo's to the left only show the parts resting in place and not fixed in place, the boot and bonnet can be opened once finished, the parts fit is probably better than on the real thing.
Along the top of the front wings, doors and rear wings are small trim moulding, I thought about putting them on after the body had been painted, but after doing a few dry runs, I decided that it would be easier and make a cleaner job if they were fixed in place first and masked off after the body had been painted, the trickiest part is getting them all to line up ...
Rear Light housing fitted into place
Body ready for paint
Headlamp surrounds fixed to the body, these need to be painted bodycolour
The inner wings and bulkhead are supposed to go in after the engine has been installed, there really isn't any other way of doing it, as the front transverse leaf spring has to go in before the inner wings go in, but I really wanted to paint the bulkhead and inner wings as one unit, so at this stage I'm using the floorpan as a jig, once the glue on these two parts have dried up, then the other inner wing can be fixed, they will then be painted as one unit and installed after the spring and engine has been fitted.
(Photo Above) There's a bracket under the front transverse leaf that need fixing to the chassis, the chassis will be airbrushed satin black, to hold the bracket in place, the spring was held with a few clamps and the bracket was fixed into place, the spring can be removed and airbrushed before going back into place.
(Photo above) Engine finished and ready for paint
Today, 22nd November, was spent sorting out the smaller parts and mounting them on wooden cocktail stick or used spring clamps so the parts can now be primed, the parts will then be sorted so they can be painted in there required colours.
The bodyshell and other body parts, apart from the front & rear bumpers and interior panels, were primered and painted with the Trabant paint I bought in from Germany, my German is very rusty and the only word that really made sense on the can was Acrylic, but I'm pretty sure the paint is an Acrylic enamel, as it took some while to go from the tacky stage to the touch dry stage, these parts will be left to gas out for a few days until they get wet sanded and polished,
The bumpers and interior parts that need to be done in body colour will be done using a smaller airbrush.
The bodyshell and bootlid (Photo's on the right) were re-sprayed today, the body did need wet sanding, it will now be left to harden for at least 24 hours before starting the polishing process, the bootlid came out that good, I think the wet sanding can be by-passed and it can be just cut & polished, I also started work on the interior, looking at the photo's of the real thing, I decided not to follow Revell's call out on colour in the instructions, which listed a much lighter shade for the seat faces and a darker brown for the sides, this one will be done with the seat faces done in a dark brown and a light tan for the sides, (see photo on the right)
Above - Floorpan painted, I've never seen underneath a Trabant, and they probably wasn't as tidy as this, but it looks good enough for me, photo on the left shows the bootlid re-primed.
Photo's left and right show the bodyshell after being wet sanded using 4200, 6000, 8000 and 12000 grade papers, followed by various grades of polishing compounds.
After thinking long and hard about how I was going to do the trim at the top of the wings and doors, I came up with using aluminium Bare Metal Foil, on the full size Trabants the trim is an aluminium channel that hides the screws that are used to fix the body panels onto the steel monocoque underneath, then a rubber strip is inserted in the aluminium channel, this will hopefully be replicated by masking off the bmf and using a black art marker.
Roof panel glued and clamped in place
(Above) The inner wings and bulkhead are supposed to go in after the engine has been installed, there really isn't any other way of doing it, as the front transverse leaf spring has to go in before the inner wings go in, but I really wanted to paint the bulkhead and inner wings as one unit, so at this stage I'm using the floorpan as a jig, once the glue on these two parts have dried up, then the other inner wing can be fixed, they will then be painted as one unit and installed after the spring and engine has been fittted ...
Photo on the Left, shows a slight problem with the rear suspension parts, the part on the left (A22), the part should look like the one on the right,(A21) spot the missing bit ?
A parts replacement request was sent to Revell AG, hopefully the parts will arrive soon, luckily I have plenty to do on the build, so these parts won't bring the build to a standstill.
Photo's on the left showing the interior panels and front & rear bumpers airbrushed in body colour.
Photo above :- After wet sanding the bootlid, the paint was too thin and went back to the primer in spots, after trying unsuccessfully to repaint the bootlid, the paint had gone past it's best and even after filtering the paint it was still coming out the airbrush with lumps in the paint, this is the first paint I have used that starts to cure even when sealed in a glass jar, luckily I have another can of this, this time I am only going to decant the amount I need to use, and not the complete can.
No parts in this kit are supplied as chrome, although to be honest, there isn't any chrome parts on the full size Trabant, but one thing that really needs to be done in chrome, or at least polished aluminium is the headlamp reflectors, these were first airbrushed in grey plastic primer, then the reflectors were covered using chrome Bare Metal foil, the reason behind given the parts a coat of primer was to give the BMF something to fix onto, BMF doesn't stick well to bare plastic.
Today, (15th December), was spent mainly doing a few detail jobs, as well as putting the aluminium trim on the right side of the model, the headlamp reflectors were, after being covered using BMF, the bulbs which are molded as part of the reflector were picked out using Tamiya clear yellow acrylic, mainly to make them look more like bulbs than just small blobs of chrome, a black wash was added to the engine cylinder fins and the trim that goes onto the C pillars of the little Trabbi, just doing these small detail jobs make the parts look more realistic.
After leaving the body on the side after putting on the aluminium trim I knew I had to do something to replicate the rubber trim on top of the aluminium channel, masking off and airbrushing it would have been a massive job, then I came up with another idea that I was hoping would do the trick, sometime ago I bought some permanent art pens that have a fine tip at one end and a broad flat tip at the other, my idea was to run the flat tip down the trim leaving the aluminium trim still showing on the edge, luckily it worked.
Photo's left and far left ....
Again, as this kit has no chrome parts included, to make the rear lamps more realistic the recess where the rear light lenses fix into were covered in chrome Bare Metal Foil, slightly more realistic than painting them silver, as suggested in the instructions, the photo on the far left shows the recess after using the BMF.
Fixing the bulkhead and inner wings together instead of putting them together as separate items as instructed in the instructions,ended up being a good idea, the engine needs to go in first, then the transverse leaf spring, and then the inner wings and bulkhead, the whole assembly was fixed into place using a slow setting epoxy glue and held into place using spring clamps and G clamps, once everything had dried up, the clamps and masking tape was removed and then the smaller parts in the engine bay could start to go in.
Because the front fog lamps and the rear fog lamp and reverse lamps are all molded as parts of the bumpers there is quite a bit of masking to be done after the bumpers themselves are painted in body colour.
Once the masking had been finished the bumper end caps, over riders and fog lamps were all airbrushed in satin black acrylic lacquer, (See photo's below)
Washer bottle and brake master cylinder added.
Above :- Front grille painted in Tamiya AS-30 silver leaf, once dry a black wash was added to the recessed detail.
Photo left and far left, wheels and tyres all finished, there's some real nice detail on the sidewalls on these tyres.
The interior is getting the flocking treatment, the photo shows the flocking after just one application, the smaller area shows it will a second and final application, the glue used was watered down PVA wood glue.
Above :- Boot interior finished, the colour is the same as the interior and parcel shelf was done, this photo shows the colour more accurate than the other photo's for some reason.
Photo right and below, shows the interior getting close to being finished, the pedals, gear lever and seat belt buckles plus the rear seat installed.
Seat Belt Finished, belt buckle done using aluminium Bare Metal Foil
Rear Lights airbrushed using Tamiya clear orange & red acrlics
Dashboard fitted into bodyshell
Interior dry fitted into bodyshell,Parts fit was perfect.
Front fog lamps were airbrushed using Tamiya clear yellow acrylic, the inside of the lamps that on the real Trabbi would have been the reflectors, were done using chrome BMF, the lenses were fixed into place using 5 minute clear epoxy, photo's far right show the front indicators airbrushed using Tamiya clear orange acrylic paint, the trim was done using chrome Bare Metal Foil, and attached to the bodyshell using 5 minute clear epoxy, the air vents on the C pillars were airbrushed using Alclad aluminium and again fixed into place using the same 5 minute epoxy as used for the front indicators.
Photo's left and above left show the front & rear of the Trabbi finished,
Photo's above & below shows the rear screen fitted, they were first polished using Novus plastic polish, then masked up using Tamiya masking tape then airbrushed using matt black VHT paint.
Photo's above and to the right show the rear windows fitted after the rubber seal had been airbrushed on, they were fixed into place using Devcon 5 minute crystal clear 5 minute epoxy.
Front side windows fitted, the instructions don't mention it, but molded into the windows are the rubber seal that would on the real thing be fitted to the top of the door, and is the water seal between the window and the door frame, this needs masking off and painting flat black, the windows were fixed in using GS Hypo crystal clear cement.
Above, left & right, front and rear seats, because the front seats are to be done to replicate a two tone brown and tan vinyl, the seats were first airbrushed in a lighter shade of brown (tan), once dried they were masked off so the darker shade of brown for the seat base and backrest could be airbrushed, once this is dry the seats will need to be masked once again so the matt black headrest can be airbrushed.
As with most of this build, there is more masking to be done, the door panels were first primed then painted in body colour after they were set aside to dry out they were masked using Tamiya masking tape, and trimmed so the door cards themselves can be airbrushed in a darker brown.
The seats were masked up again, this time leaving the head restraint unmasked, and airbrushed using Tamiya flat black acrylic, the side panels were airbrushed using Testors leather, a nice shade of brown, the door handles and window winders will need to be picked out using satin black.
One thing that drives me crazy is seeing models with their wheels fitted "Wonky"
So when I fit my wheels to any of my models I always use a square against the wheel until the glue dries up.
Photo's on the right showing all four wheels attached and all touching the ground at the same time, which is always a bonus.
Above :- Parcel Shelf Finished
Photo's above, left and above left shows the front seats fitted and the lower dash panel installed, a brown wash was added to the lines on the front seats to show the detail in the seats, the lower dash panel was airbrushed and flocked the same colour that the floor was covered in.
Photo's above and above right shows the interior finished, the seatbelts were fixed to the interior side panels by a few drops of superglue after opening up the locating holes slightly with a micro drill, it was probably the paint that had gotten into the holes rather than a design fault.
The side panels were fixed into place using slow setting epoxy glue held in place with clamps while the glue dried, there's a locating pin at the front and a couple of tabs at the rear, which locate together very well.
With all the interior set aside while the glue dries, work now commenced on the dash panel, which had previously been airbrushed in satin black lacquer, looking at different photo's of Trabant dashboards on the internet shows the switches on the dash in totally different colours, different amounts and in different positions, so I did them shown in one photo I found on the 'net using enamels on a 10/0 brush.
Photo's above and below shows the interior fitted and the body and chassis fixed together, 5 minute epoxy was used for this.
Photo above, shows the front windscreen fitted, it was first polished like I did on the rear screen and painted in the same way.
Photo above, the little "Trabby" is starting to look like a finished model, not a lot to do now to get her finished.
Fuel tank painted gloss black with the filler cap picked out using aluminium Bare Metal Foil.
Photo below showing the flocking on the interior finished, just the parcel shelf and the boot interior to get finished.
Door panel masked up ready to airbrushing the door handles and window winders in satin black.
Photo above & Below, Door panels finished.
Steering column finished, gearlever was painted using a 10/0 brush using Plastikote chrome enamel
Not being 100% happy with the fit of the bonnet I did a little tweaking with the hinges and got it to sit much better, now the bonnet lines up with the top of the slam panel.
Rear side windows airbrushed in VHT matt black acrylic