Sunday, 16 March 2014

Robbe FLF 1618 Part 1 - Unboxing

One type of vehicle that was still missing from our RC fleet was a truck. Tamiya has very nice models; we liked the Globe Liner a lot, but the Mercedes delivery truck would have made more sense for us.

One day we were looking at the offers on eBay and found an old kit from the German manufacturer Robbe. A week later the auction ended and we had the pleasure to win it. Another two weeks went by until we could hold our latest wheeled toy in our hands:

This is a Robbe Flughafenfeuerwehr (airport firetruck), kit no. 3625. It is modeled after a Faun FLF 1618, which uses the fire extinguishing technology of Magirus Deutz. The original truck was stationed in Munich, Germany. Only two of the original vehicles were ever made.

So far we have not been able to find out how old this kit actually is. Apparently it is from the mid to late 80ies, so roughly 30 years old. The documentation does not contain any date unfortunately, and the Robbe website does not list the truck at all, not even in their archive section.

The kit box has the dimensions of a small flat-pack furniture. The final model will be 71cm long, 18.5cm wide and 25cm tall. It is 1:15 scale -- the original truck was a massive 10.8m long!

On the top where all the hardware pieces, wheels, water cannon parts, etc.

The kit has a few vacuum-formed parts; the tub on the left is the roof of the cabin, and the long piece contains a battery box, a box for the exhaust on the roof, a console for the cabin, and the mount for the blue light in the rear of the truck. The separate piece on the top left is for the receiver.

The main chassis is a simple piece of U-shaped aluminum. A hole for the motor and gearbox is already cut out, and holes for the suspension are already drilled.

The orange piece with the brass rod is the drive shaft and gearbox. It is actually from a boat -- Robbe was quite well known for their highly detailed model boats.

Even though the kit was exceptionally well packaged by the seller, the roof got damaged in transport. But it looks like it can be fixed.

The kit is very old-school. The parts are flat ABS sheets, and you get a bunch of tubes that you have to cut to length for support and joints. Now where did we put that miter saw ...

The decals were unprotected and got a bit dirty through the years. But they are very simple and easy to replicate. Notice the fine details on the dials for the dashboard.

This large sheet of thin, flexible plastic will be used to cut windows and light covers.

The pieces of the truck are ABS sheets, about 2mm thick, that are pre-cut. The sheets have warped over time and may need some support and straightening.

Close-up view of a stamped part

Most pieces have numbers stamped on them so that they can be easily identified in the manual and plans.

This is the base plate of the truck. The cut-out on the left is for the water tank. The one on the right for the motor and gearbox.

At some point in time a bit of fluid got into the box and corroded the steel rods. No big deal, easy to replace. Notice also all the dirt that collected on the ABS sheets. Unfortunately it is not possible to share the awesome vintage smell of this kit!

On the bottom of the box was a quality control sheet and instructions for the water cannon.

The kit contained two large sheets of plans. This first one shows the steps of assembly.

Very interesting are the schematics at the bottom-right. The larger one is for the overall wiring of the vehicle, including diesel sound unit. The smaller one is for working indicators. Two micro-switches are operated by cams that are directly mounted onto the servo horn. Very simple!

The large plan is replicated onto two overlapping sheets of paper. It shows the truck in 1:1 scale, as well as cut-through diagrams. There is also a small section devoted to the drive train and chassis.

Lets have a closer look at all plastic bags containing the various hardware:

The motor looks like a standard size silver-can. It has the pinion pressed on, which will make it a challenge should the motor need replacement. The motor has "Made in Hong Kong" stamped on it!

There are eight leaf springs, which are quite stiff. The rear ones are different than the other six. The axle housing is prepared to accept both input and output shafts and gears to drive multiple axles. The gears are plastic and are known to break, especially when old.

This bag contained the four horns, three blue warning lights, the steering wheel, and the vertical bars that will be used to make the handrail on the roof of the truck. These handrail pieces originate from a boat and need to be trimmed for using on the firetruck.

Here are the pieces of the water cannon. The small carton tube on the left top is sealed with sticky tape and holds small screws and other hardware. The water cannon can be turned as well as raised and lowered remotely.

The rims are very simple, but they have simulated bolt detailing. The green piece will hold the gearbox. The front axles are already molded into the plastic. The white gear goes into the differential.

The plastic bag on the right contains a lot of screws, washers and nuts. We are not sure whether the brown haze is due to rust or dried grease, but we suspect the later.

The rubber still seems to be in good condition. It is very hard; I would say even harder than the stock Tamiya CC01 tires. Notice that they have numbers stamped into them. We have two "1", two "2", and one each "4, "5, "7", "9". I assume those numbers indicate which part of a particular mold they came out.

The main chassis is a U-shaped piece of aluminum. The cut-out is where the motor and gearbox will sit in. There are holes in the side where the leaf springs will mount to.

The gearbox and drive shaft on the bottom originate from a boat. The shaft is running very smoothly in some kind of bearings.

These tubes made from ABS will be used to make the exhausts.

The instructions are in a nice A4 sized book that contains German, French, English, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. This photo shows the English section, which was clearly typed on a typewriter! No computers back then. The instructions do not contain any drawings, they always refer to the plans.

The German section seems like it was laid out on a computer already back them, or at least a professional typesetting. The first paragraph has comparison of the model and the original.

Here is an overview of all the plastic sheets that come in the kit. Quite a bunch of ABS planks!

Stay tuned, we will post updates throughout this challenging build!

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