FM 1/48 Handley Page Halifax Mk.III Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2005||Manufacturer||Fonderie Miniature|
|Subject||Handley Page Halifax Mk.III||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||6042||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, White Metal, Photo Etch, Vac|
|Pros||Very nice details in this multimedia kit||Cons||You're going to need a larger display shelf!|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$99.95|
The Handley Page Halifax was the most advanced strategic bomber in the RAF's inventory from its service introduction in 1941 until overshadowed by the Avro Lancaster in 1942. The Lancaster was faster, could fly higher with a larger bomb load, and was adaptable to carry a variety of weapons.
While the Halifax was relegated into second place as a bomber, a great deal of bias within Bomber Command pushed the Halifax out the spotlight for many years. Nevertheless, statistically the Halifax carried the lion's share of iron over target, second only to the Lancaster. Despite the bias in Bomber Command, the Halifax remained in production throughout the war since the aircraft had one advantage over the Lancaster - room inside the fuselage. The Halifax became a star in bomber support with versions equipped for electronic reconnaissance, electronic warfare, aerial ambulance, transport and glider tug.
The first two versions of the Halifax were powered by the Merlin engine, whose performance on the airframe were causing many of the limitations that put the aircraft in Bomber Command's sights. Handley Page was able to switch powerplants to the Hercules radial engine with the Mk.III version and this change improved the aircraft's performance, but not enough to compete against the Lancaster.
For a nice summary of the aircraft's development and the various types and sub-types that were created from the Halifax, check out Volume 8 of Wings of Fame.
Who would have imagined a 1/48 scale Halifax in styrene? Leave it to Fonderie Miniature to tackle such a project! The kit is a typical limited run kit with the styrene parts presented on ten parts trees (duplicate trees not shown), the two lower wing halves, plus a tree of clear styrene parts for the fuselage side windows. As you can see in the photos, the kit is made in white styrene with some flash that will require a bit of clean-up during assembly.
As you might imagine, the kit is huge. The bare fuselage half alone is still 17 inches long! The kit can be posed with the flaps up or down and the bomb bay doors open or closed.
The power eggs (engines) are a combination of styrene and resin parts. The Hercules engine is case in resin, with both banks of the engine cast as one part! The flame-suppressing exhaust is also cast in resin with very impressive detailing as well. The cowlings, cowl flaps, and propeller are all styrene, with the remaining air scoops in resin.
The flight deck is an amazing multimedia affair with the basic structure in styrene and details presented in white metal, resin and photo-etch, all enclosed by vacuform transparencies. What is great about this section is that the pilot's station on the upper flight deck, as well as the navigator, bombardier, radio operator and flight engineer's stations on the lower deck/nose compartment are all present and very detailed. There will be plenty to see through those windows!
There is one thing you won't have to worry about. That is the strength of the landing gear. The real landing gear was a rugged design and it is well-represented in white metal in the kit. In addition, the main wheels (styrene) are weighted (flattened on the bottom) so it will stay put on your shelf.
The kit includes a 4000 pound cylindrical bomb as well as 250 pound bombs to arm up your aircraft, or perhaps you'll model that photo in Wings of Fame with a Rolls Royce Merlin being removed from the bomb bay after it had been transported to a needy maintenance team.
Markings are provided for three aircraft:
- Halifax Mk.III, LL553, H7-Q, 345 Sqn (Free French), 'Guyenne'
- Halifax Mk.III, LV907, NP-F, 158 Sqn, 'Friday the 13th'
- Halifax Mk.III, MZ426, EY-G, 78 Sqn
This will build into an impressive model straight out of the box. If you're into quarter scale 'heavy metal', this model will look great next to your Tamiya Lancaster, Monogram B-17G, Revell B-17F, and Monogram B-24D/J. Even if you're not into larger bombers, with a few antennas, you can also replicate the Halifax Mk.III (BS) ELINT or jammer aircraft. This is definitely recommended for the modeler with good multimedia experience!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!