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Revell Germany HLF20 Varus 4x4

FSMNP1016_04
HLF20 Varus 4x4
Revell Germany No. 07452
Model Type: Injection-molded
styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, clear Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $91.95
Pros: Parts fit good in general; plenty of places for detailing
Cons: Sparse engine detail; rear hose reel cannot be glued in place
Varus1
Varusrear
Varuside
It’s big, it’s red, and it has 295 parts. What is it? A German firetruck.

It has a different look than the common North American firefighting vehicle – resembling an enlarged work van – but behind those roll-up doors is the apparatus most people associate with firefighting and rescue work.

This is sort of a curbside-plus model. The engine and drivetrain are there, but when the cab and firefighting body are in place, the only view of these parts is from the bottom.

The single-piece frame is impressive. Truck modelers familiar with traditional American kits know the joy of attempting to assemble a square, straight frame from sometimes-reluctant frame rails and crossmembers. That wasn’t an issue here.

The rest of the parts are spread across 21 sprues of white plastic and one of clear. There are no plated parts.

The cab is a single-piece casting that’s generally clear of flash and mold seams. Cleanup took only a minute or two. There are a number of extra parts; it appears Revell has offered other HLF kits in the past.

The instruction booklet’s 28 pages include 19 color suggestions, and on the back page, full-color illustrations showing the location of all the markings and help in clarifying some of the colors callout in the instructions’ 90 steps.

Construction begins with the nine-part engine, then moves on to the chassis. Parts all fit positively, with no slop. The four-wheel-drive system and suspension appear to be totally represented, with an air-ride rear suspension that includes multiple locating links, shock absorbers, an antiroll bar. The front suspension includes leaf springs, shocks, tie rods, an antiroll bar connected to drop links, and the steering gear box and drag link.

Although it’s well-detailed, the steering isn’t poseable.

The interior is full of interesting fire equipment, including a satellite-navigation display with a decal for the screen, and bright yellow air tanks for the crew to carry into an inferno.

This is one area the builder needs to pay attention to which parts to use, as there are Mercedes-Benz parts from an older version of this kit that don’t get used on this platform-style assembly.

I wanted to clearcoat the decals for durability, but that meant I had to spray the semigloss black last. When I removed the masking, I pulled up two of the decals. It probably would’ve been better to mask the semigloss black, then clear over the decals.

I spent quite a bit of time painting and decaling all of the details that go behind those rollup doors. For the most part, everything fit well.

An inner framework holds all of the equipment modules, and acts as a frame for the exterior parts.

The modules fit fine, but I had to do a bit of carving and fitting of the front and rear panels of the equipment body to get it to fit without large seams. There isn’t any practical way to assemble these parts ahead of time to resolve fit issues.

The trolley that hangs on the rear bumper carrying a hose reel can’t be glued into place if you want to open the rear rollup door to view the pumper equipment.

This was an interesting subject that went together well. There are a lot of details, and plenty of territory to indulge in bouts of superdetailing.

For truck modelers who want to try something a bit different? This is a great place to start. 

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