Model: Grell Trabant 601 Kübel
Line: Grell mainline
eBay link: Grell Trabant
Why I am featuring it: Those who know me will know one of my other big passions in life along with cars and travel is history, particularly military history. And as a subsequent offshoot, I collect the odd bit of militaria. It’s always nice then when my hobbies combine. Case in point is this Trabant Kübel, which you may recall featured briefly in my long form Grell article from January.
The Trabant Kübel (also known as the “Tramp”) was the utilitarian variant of “Der Trabi” added to the 601 lineup in 1966. It kept the standard two cylinder, two stroke engine but lost the doors, gained a folding canvas roof, an auxiliary heating system and military Kübels gained an RFI shielded ignition system. The light weight and rugged, simplistic mechanicals meant it was therefore well suited for light military field operations and by far the most common user of the Kübel was the East German Nationale Volksarmee or NVA, where it served with all branches. Kübels could be seen often patrolling the East German borders in the service of the DDR’s border troops, the Grenztruppen.
Grell released the Kubel in a few colours, but I personally think this military scheme is the best of the bunch. I dug my Kübel out of a tray of mixed, loose diecast in a model shop in Berlin a few years back (not the same trip I found the Welly Trabi!). I had spent the trip indulging in the history of the Berlin Wall and the former East Berlin, so this was a perfect souvenir. And Grell have done a decent job of modelling the vehicle. Great proportions and simple details make for an attractive little model. Considering these High Speed manufactured cars were released at the more budget end of the market, the overall finish is great. An overly keen military nut would complain about the livery being off compared to a real NVA Kübel, but it didn’t make the slighest bit of difference to me when I first picked it up. After Welly’s 601 I’ve got to say this is my favourite Trabi in this scale.
I used some DDR and NVA pieces I have in my posession to furnish these pictures; the background is the striped East German “Strichtarn” camouflage, the medal for loyal service in the Kampfgruppen (volunteer militia) and the pin badge from the FDJ, the DDR’s youth movement. I also had to hand a 1990 DDR pocket calendar. (A special thanks goes to Torsten Belger at https://www.germandotmilitaria.com/ for some of these items)
It’s great when hobbies collide like this, especially in a package as neat as this Grell. Their line up was always going to find favour with a fan of the obscure like myself, but this particular diecast ticks more boxes than usual.