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In-Box Review
Trabant Limousine
Trabant 1.1 Limousine
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Trabant 1.1 Limousine
Item: 027342
Collection: CARS&TRUCKS
Brochure: Herpa Cars & Trucks 2012 / 05-06
Series: Nostalgia of GDR
Vintage car

Herpa continues their Nostalgia of GDR series with this Trabant 1.1 Limousine. Herpa currently offers 20 Trabants of different types in HO (1/87) and 1/43 (O scale). These are part of the Nostalgia of GDR series of 81 models.

After the Reunification in 1989, the Trabant 1.1 was released with modified front and rear part as well as new bumpers. For only two years, it was manufactured with a VW Polo engine.* Trabant is the former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Sachsen. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the communist bloc.[1]

The Trabant was a steel monocoque design with roof, bootlid/trunklid, bonnet/hood, bumpers/fenders and doors in Duroplast, a form of plastic containing resin strengthened by wool or cotton. This helped the DDR to avoid expensive steel imports. The Trabant was the second car to use Duroplast, after the "pre-Trabant" P70 (Zwickau) model (1954–1959). The duroplast was made of recycled material, cotton waste from Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye industry, making the Trabant the first car with a body made of recycled material.[2]

    DKW - Das Kleine Wunder (The small wonder). The renowned German carmaker's pre-war type F8 equipped with a two-stroke engine became the archetype of all East German family cars.

    The Zwickau Automobile Factory (AWZ) continued the production of the F8 and an updated version, the F9 after the War under the authority of the Soviets and then the East Germans.

    At the early '50s it became crystal clear that these models were outdated. In 1953 production of the F9 was transferred to Eisenach, where EMW and later Wartburg production commenced.

    At Zwickau, inside the Automobile Werke Zwickau (AWZ) a new model was developed, called the P70 (P for plastic and 70 for the displacement which is about 700 cc).

    AWZ P70 This car was the first German small car made with plastic body. The name of the material was Duroplast made out of resin, strengthened by wool.
    The AWZ P70 debuted at the 1955 Leipzig Fair. Its engine was based on the old F8: two-cylinder, two-stroke, 690 cc, 22 bhp. With this engine the car which weighed 820 kg had a max. speed of 90 km/h. A three-speed asynchronized gearbox was fitted which transmitted the power to the front wheels. The mechanical components were plain F8, but the powerplant was rotated by 90 degrees and placed further the front axle. So the wheelbase should've been lengthened by 220 mm. This resulted in better handling.

    Beside the "Limousine" body style a "Kombi" estate and even a coupé was offered. During its four year production life about 30 thousand cars were built.
    In the meantime from 1957 on, a new updated model was on the market: the P50.

    This car carried the "Trabant" badge for the first time - it was selected from various ideas submitted by factory workers.

    Comparison of dimensions: Trabant: 3375 mm length, 1500 mm width and 1395 mm height. Goggomobil T300 Limousine: 2900 x 1280x 1310 mm. Yes, the P50 was bigger than the Goggo and more powerful, but the idea was the same. The shape wasn't too bad either, in '50s style.

    The P50 as its name suggest carried a smaller engine: 500 cc, 18 bhp, still two-cylinder, two-stroke. The four-speed transmission was still asyncrohinised. Later on came the P60 with a 600 cc engine and slightly modified exterior.

    In 1964 after 132000 P50 and P60 models were built AWZ introduced the new P601.

    This car had a 594 cc, 26 bhp engine derived from the P50. It sported new cylinders, new cylinder-heads and exhaust system. The shape is ridiculous now, but it was beautiful for many in the last three decades. It's a normal limousine, not too extravagant.

    It was easy to repair, easy to live with. Sure, it soon became outdated, old design but who cared? Here, many family men still cry back to their youth when they had a Trabant. Everyone had a joke about the Trabant, but it was still the basic mean of transport. The epitome of socialism: bad, not capable of doing too many things, not too efficient but still manages to work somehow.

Herpa Trabant 1.1 Limousine
This model is announced in Herpa CARS & TRUCKS NEWS 05-06 & COLLECTION 2012 (see NEWS here)and featured in DER MASS:STAB 3/2012 (see "Link to related item" below. The model is fully assembled and packed in a light plastic form-fitted tray, surrounded by Herpa's signature red paper label, and secured in a light plastic box with opening ends. Though the plastic is flexible and the packaging appears quite flimsy, the Kūbel did survive the perilous international postal journey, arriving in a crushed box and package unscathed!

Molding is mostly flawless and the model is assembled without any blemishes or flaws. Doors, hoods and panels lines are defined with fine recessed lines. The door handles are slightly raised. Side view mirrors are molded on both sides. The grille indentions are shallow and closed - the real Trabant grille is noticeably open.

Underneath the car is a single-piece chassis with wheel mudguards and basic molded detail.

Soft tires with sidewall detail around detailed hubcaps support the model. The tires have horrible mold seams.

Detail and Trim
Brake lights are colored lenses. Uncommon for Herpa, the headlights are painted on and not clear lenses. Signal lights are also painted.

Also painted are the windshield wipers. They are just broad black streaks and look horrible!

Detail inside the passenger compartment is basic: a dashboard, steering wheel, and seats. This detail can be partial seen through the clear but small windows.

Some exterior detail is painted on, like the gas cap, and what seem to be vents near the rear windshield.

Finish and Markings
Released in weiß / white the finish is smooth and shiny. The bumpers, license plate and underbody is molded in black. A Trabant logo is printed on the front and rear hoods and legible. Herpa does not use decals.

Trabant autos were the most numerous vehicle in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. With clean molding and sharp printing, it is a nice model. I appreciate the clear brake lenses but am baffled why the headlights are not clear lenses. The grille could have been molded open, or at least deeper. The painted windshield wipers and seams around the tires look awful.

Overall this is a neat and well molded model of an important vehicle for modelers of the GDR and unified Germany.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on RAILROADMODELING.


* Herpa
[1], [2]. Wikipedia
[3]. Pal Negyesi. T R A B A N T. [Web.] http://www.team.net/www/ktud/trabi.html. 25 December, 2004

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Good molding and sharp printing. Tinted clear brake lamp lenses.
Lows: Painted headlamps, signal lights, and windshield wipers. Grille molded closed; mold seams on the tires.
Verdict: A neat model of an important vehicle for modelers of the GDR and unified Germany.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: 027342
  Suggested Retail: 9 €
  Related Link: DER MASS:STAB 3/2012
  PUBLISHED: Jul 22, 2012

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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