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Something Very Ethnical
Building Revell´s Werner bike and figures

n by Frank Spahr


Beginning with some comparatively crudely-drawn comics in the early 80ies, Rötger Feldmann, also known as Brösel has produced a considerable number of comic books, several films plus ultimately a flow of merchandise such as calendars, posters, puppets, even cigars and a special beer - all around his creation Werner, an anarchic biker from the very north of Germany. The character, sharing several autobiographic traits with Brösel, started his career as a plumber's apprentice with chaotic Meister Röhrich and fellow worker Eckhart until he settled down to a pleasant life as a cult character, devoted mainly to fiddling around his bike, delivering one-liners and consuming beer in large amounts. Recurring personnel in Brösel´s stories is a rocker gang with a slightly cholerical president, several fellow bikers and other friends plus their opponents from the police and the state vehicle authority (TÜV) which makes sure that vehicles technically comply with state laws. Quite hard on a guy with distinct ideas of his own of how a bike should look ...

It is interesting that Werner is popular throughout Germany in spite of being a distinctly Northern German character, speaking a regional dialect nearly unintelligible to the average German plus using lots of idiomatics of his own, but it somehow works - even in Bavaria!

The Werner movies often center around some new engineering wonder in the bike sector, such as the famous Red Porsche Killer of 1988, a monster bike with four Horex engines mounted in a row and designed to beat a Porsche 911 in an acceleration contest. The bike was actually built and the race (which lasted just a few seconds) performed in the summer of ´88 as climax of a gargantuan bike and rock festival that completely grid locked traffic north of Hamburg. So it was only a matter of time until the modelling industry teamed with Brösel´s merchandising company, and Revell has produced an ambitious model of Werner´s latest mount, the Satte Literschüssel plus a seated and a standing Werner figure. Revell and Andi worked closely together, so that Revell could offer the model on time for the premiere of the movie last summer. 

As I already explained in my previous article How About Werner, the term aims at the bike's cylinder capacity of well more than one litre. Brösel´s brother Andi, head constructor, utilized parts as weird as possible, including a shovel as a seat, a wooden fork and tractor wheels.  The frame (partly made from brass) looks as if it was  taken from Meister Röhrich´s plumber supplies. Being a Werner fan right from the beginning, I bought both the bike and the Werner figures, set my current project aside (still that Skyraider, since early October) and started.

First of all, the kits are moderately priced and offer value for money: I spent about 60 DM on both kits. I don't know about their availability or pricing outside Germany, nor about the degree of interest they might cause among international modelling community - perhaps readers of this will let me know about this.

The kit

Both kits are made with a beginner in mind, at least to a certain extent. The parts are molded in different colours - not unlike Matchbox Revell kits from the 70ies. Actually this makes painting easier or - for the real beginners - even expendable. 

Given Werner´s obsession with screws, Revell proudly stated comes with real screws!  (this is a pun that won't translate: In German, you say: Er schraubt an etwas herum for He's fiddling around with something, and people who spend all their lives fiddling with their bikes-lawnmowers-cars-planes are called Schrauber). So you get a number of steel screws for mounting parts of the bike. There's even a length of wire to be installed dangling out of the broken headlight. The tyres are made from rubber.

The instructions are printed in full colour (!), embellished with Werner cartoons and made in general layout to fit in with the comics, good work, Revell! The only thing that I couldn't figure out was the placement of the various tubes and wires, so I, well, used some creative liberties. Otherwise, all went along well concerning the instructions.

Construction

Sadly, fit is merely on the average (see the adjacent photo), with a considerable amount of sanding and some filling to be done.  The same warning applies to this kit as to Arifix's Wallace and Gromit: not for beginners! I guess it would only suffice for scaring them away from our hobby. But for us, it's a really cool thing and a change from recessed panel lines, RLM colours (er, not quite, but more about that later) and the usual stuff we normally tend to worry about.

I found two major problems during the construction:

No.1 was the moment when (in step 16) the various subassemblies were mated: I had seen before during dry fitting that the fit of the cylinder halves left something to be desired, but had no means for correcting that. You really have to mate the framing with the engine and the rear wheel before you can start making your corrections, which is particularly hard with parts that have to be sprayed with a brass/silver mixture. You'd just wish you might assemble them, fill the gaps, sand the seams and finally spray-paint them undisturbed from other assemblies. 

Problem no. 2 occurred when the model was nearly completed. Suddenly an all-important locating pin on part #11 broke, splitting the entire fork/front-wheel assembly. It was clearly a case of too much load on the styrene, and to all of you I can only recommend either replacing the peg with a metal one as I laboriously did (I used a 2.35 mm diameter dental drill shaft) or, if possible, having this part cast in metal. I also had the feeling that some of the screws to be used in the fork assembly were way too short, leading to poor overall stability. This is positively a case of  "look, but not touch".

The figures were built comparatively easily, but they needed a good amount of sanding (Revell even packed a one-way-nail-file into the box, cool idea) and some filling. I painted the skin and several other colours with leftover acrylic paints from Wallace and Gromit and couldn't resist using RLM blue on the jeans and RLM red on the chicken feet on Werner´s cap. Kind of a Luft ´99 feeling, if you know what I mean...

The models stand now on display in my practice, and not only the kids like them ...

Summary

When you think it's time for a change between your standard fare, consider these. At least as long as there's no kit of Modellbyggar-Arne available...

n


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