by: Bill Horton [ ]
Originally published on:
The Ebbro Citroen ĎHí food truck looked great in the box. So how did it perform out of the box? Read on, and find out. There were a few surprises!
The build starts out with the chassis, suspension and floor pan. The kit is curbside, meaning no engine, but there is a representation of the sump. The steering is poseable. Because the kit would be delicate with all its open panels and also with all the attention the food and equipment would get, I decided to spend minimal time on the chassis (which like the real vehicle is very simple). I simply assembled the chassis and sprayed it semi-gloss black through my airbrush. All paints used are Tamiya unless otherwise noted. I didnít bother to do any detail painting as I donít plan to turn the truck over. Ever.
The chassis presented no problems, other than the rear wheels did not fit straight on the back axle. The wheels are nice, with large chrome dust covers. I chromed the lug nuts with a Molotow chrome pen. I painted the wheels a Testorís crŤme color for contrast. The tires are no-name skinnies with a decent tread pattern. With that out of the way, it was time to start the interior.
I decided to make my truck red, as all the builds I had seen were blue. I used Tamiya TS18 Metallic Red from the spray can; it didnít need to be high gloss, and the funky translucent plastic was easy to cover. I did paint both sides of all panels. The floor of the cab is two tone and required some masking.
The cab interior is simple and looks good built. The dash is plain with a choice of decal instruments (no explanation of which gauges go to what year truck, so I just used the ones I liked). Pedals and levers are separate. The seats have separate tubular frameworks and a nice upholstery pattern and they both assemble well and look great when done. Thereís also a sun visor and rear-view mirror. The chrome plating in this kit is great; very smooth with a high gloss.
Next is the assembly of the back truck body. These are tall, flexible pieces without a lot of contact area. The fit is reasonable, but not exceptional. The pieces use several different alignment methods, some of which work better than others. This step started to show me the main problem I had with the kit and that is sprue attachment points. Most went not to the side of the piece but overlapped onto not the mating surface but the visible surface. And theyíre huge! Some of the parts beg to be painted on the tree, and when you finally remove them you will have issues in cleaning up and touching up these points. Some of the smaller parts, like the arms that hold the window covers open, have four of these covering about 25% of the total surface area. This type of attachment is supposed to minimize disruption, not maximize, and truly is the most problematic part of the kit.
With the basic body done, many tasks remain. There are a number of wooden shelf areas to be painted and attached. I painted these with various shades of brown with an overcoat of X26 clear orange. The results (with the molded wood grain) really look like varnished wood. I painted the other wooden trays and easel in this manner. The shelves fit reasonably well. The doors (3 rear, 1 side, 2 cab) werenít as good. The rears fit reasonably well, but the side door didnít really line up with anything and I had to use a lot of glue to get it posed partially open. The real door slides on tracks and the tracks and door donít align. The cab doors fit better open than closed; the closed fit was too tight. Weíre I to build another with closed doors Iíd attach the doors prior to painting; the results would be much better.
There are a lot of details to finish the truck before the restaurant kicks in. I particularly liked the PE step plates for the front fenders; they look very realistic and were easy to bend. The Mylar chrome grille trim is VERY sticky so position three times and stick once. Despite that I managed to damage a small piece, but itís not noticeable. The clear and chrome parts for the lights work well and I used X27 and X26 to tint them as needed. I should have painted the headlights clear yellow inside but forgot. The fits were excellent except for the chrome door handles; those would not fit at all for me and I lost half of them!
Now comes the fun part; the food and restaurant equipment. The instructions donít even mention half of the things with respect to painting or assembly so youíre on your own! First, I assembled the larger pieces like the microwave, and eliminated the seams. I used the examples on the box art to get started since the box art looks amazing. There was one box or shelf that I simply couldnít figure out the purpose of, so that remained unused. I used the magazine rack and menu board as free-standing items. Iíll discuss the items and my slight modifications to them in hopes it helps and inspires some future builders of this kit.
Painting the equipment involved metallics and semi-gloss black. The hotplate was a gas; I painted the skillet black to look like cast iron and the pot aluminum. I filled the pot halfway with model railroad scenic water (resin) and let it dry. If I had thought I would have put some food item in the water! But I did make an egg for the skillet using micro krystal clear and when dry painted the egg with vallejo acrylics. After painting the cash register I painted and glued a very small piece of paper to look like the register tape. For the coffee maker I drilled out a coffee cup and filled it with brown tinted glue to resemble bad coffee. The long food case was easy to build and the pre-cut plastic for the Ďglassí was put in place with PSA glue.
There were several large food cans for the shelves, and they did have decals that look very realistic. The decals for the triple cans take some alignment care but when done look amazing. The solid white plastic wine bottles presented a challenge. What I did was paint them flat black, then applied two brushed coats of X27 clear red. The results were amazing. I then applied the kit decals, and they looked like real wine bottles.
There are a bunch of clear drink bottles for beer and juice, but there are no labels for them. This was disappointing. I painted them with various clear shades and the bottle caps with solid colors.
The bread food items made me nervous. They looked great on the box art. I painted mine XF59 as a base coat, then semi-dry brushed XF52 on the tops. The results were terrific; the loaves really look like you could take a bit out of them. Some represented sandwiches so I used a red-pink and pale yellow for the meat and cheese parts. My favorite parts were the two pair of tongs; I wish they had provided more kitchen equipment like a spatula.
The magazines were provided as decals (the decals in the kit work very well; just the right thickness and adhesion for the job). After observing the box art I figured out how to do them; apply the decals to varying thicknesses of white sheet plastic and when dry, cut them out. You wouldnít think so, but the results were great. My magazine rack has some interesting titles! I also threw a few around the truck floor for that Ďlived iní look.
On the sprues it looks like a lot of food and restaurant stuff, but in real life you need to use everything and use it sparingly to avoid a sparse look. I wish Ebbro provided more stuff, and more instructions and decals too, but given there was never a kit like this before, I think they did a commendable job making a kit that most people can assemble and paint. My group of modeling friends love the finished product!