Keen eyed Lamley readers will have seen this before when I introduced you all to the High Speed manufactured models comissioned by German marketing company Grell. The other day I recalled a conversation I had a few years ago in Berlin, and it gave me the idea to take this particular model on my daily walk.
The conversation I had was with a woman who had grown up in the former East Berlin, and recalled with some excitement a trip to the Baltic coast on board a Robur bus like this one: “The windows, it had lots of windows!”.
Robur was one of the DDR’s main commercial vehicle builders, based in the Saxon town of Zittau. The LO 2500 truck was revealed at the 1961 Leipzig Trade Fair and provided the base for a wide range of variants; not only buses, but haulage and transport vehicles, fire engines and army vehicles.
The LO 2500 bus was primarily used as a touring coach or for smaller bus routes and was responsible for taking many tourists on vacations and day trips. In this picture a very heavily laden LO 2500 serving as a Soviet tourist bus passes the now demolished Palast der Republik in Berlin.
As you can see, I don’t quite have the beautiful sunshine of the Baltic or the eye catching cityscapes of Berlin on my doorstep, but I do have an old English seaside town on the Irish Sea, and a slightly overcast day.
The Grell version is actually plastic bodied, and is overall a rather simple model. But it captures the form of the vehicle very well right down to the glass house roof, oval grille and distinctive step affixed to the driver’s side.
As a model it’s not the most glamorous, but I find it great when working vehicles are replicated in scale form. They’re the bread and butter of transport and something that can very easily fade into the background, but also something we all need. And they make great subjects. Tomica for example are the kings of “day to day” vehicles; as well as their buses there are vacuum trucks, tankers and delivery vans.
Being budget models (some given away with beer promotions) they’re obviously not on the same plane as Tomicas in terms of quality and desirability, but Grell took the same attention to working vehicles and translated it to the Eastern Bloc. And they nailed it with subjects like this.
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