Heller Posts

Designer Notes: Heller Liore et Olivier 45 Bomber Kit

Lincoln Futura Philippe de Lespinay

Philippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.

Heller Liore et Olivier 45 Bomber

169150-11185-69-pristine

This WW2 light-duty bomber was my first attempt at designing an aircraft model kit. I tried to introduce much detail in this 1/72 scale model, that included for the first time ever in a plastic model kit, inner cockpit detail such as decals for dashboards, accurate seating arrangement, radios…

leo_45_3view_700dpi

heller_files_leo45_instructions_1000p

The landing gear doors were fully functional, the modeler able to simply open them in the exacting correct position as the design was using flexible hinges from the very plastic they were molded from.

s-l1600-1

also drew and organized the assembly instructions that show the cockpit detailing and the lower retractable machine gun station. The landing gear detail was also very accurate and this model drew very high marks from the specialized magazines when issued

 DSCN7575

Designer Notes: Heller Porsche 917LH

Lincoln Futura Philippe de LespinayPhilippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.


Heller Porsche 917LH

Heller Porsche 917 kit

Another that was not issued in the original form, I drew the car in 1969 as a Porsche 917LH, but it was later modified in the “K” version and issued as such. I would actually have preferred this, the more brutal-looking 1969 model.

Here are some of the built kits in the 1978 Heller catalog. The 917 was now the “Kurz” version.

Heller Porsche 917 kit
heller_porsche_917_3view_800p
heller_porsche_917_3view_800p

Designer Notes: Heller Matra MS5 Formula 2

Lincoln Futura Philippe de LespinayPhilippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.

Heller Matra MS5 Formula 2

Heller Matra MS5 Formula 2

For many of these kits, there is very little original information still available. I was able to scan some of the prints I had kept, that constitute apparently the only surviving company archive as things were thrown about as the company changed hands several times.

Heller Matra MS5 Formula 2

All what survived of the MATRA MS5 documentation for the mold makers. This was the second kit I did for Heller after the Alpine A210. The model and decals represented the car of Jean-Pierre Beltiose.

Heller Matra Forumla 2 kit

Here I am in the MATRA MS5 at Velizy. This was Joe Schlesser’ F2 car with the Cosworth FVA engine. Great and fast car!

Heller Matra MS5 Formula 2

In the early 1970s, AMT released some Heller kits under their own brand. The Matra was paired up with aHeller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III kit and featured new box art.

AMT Matra F2 Brabham F3

Designer Notes: Heller Ferrari 330P4

Lincoln Futura Philippe de LespinayPhilippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.


Heller Ferrari 330P4

Heller Ferrari P4 330P4

One of my favorites Heller kits was this Ferrari 330P4. It was drawn strictly from pictures, as I was never allowed to approach the actual car at the 1967 Le Mans race. The kit turned good but the pattern maker made a mistake in the roof line.

Heller Ferrari P4 330P4

I built this kit for the company to use in promotional photos, but used two sets of body parts so as to have the nose removable from the main body, which it is not possible in the actual kit.

Heller Ferrari P4 330P4

Heller Ferrari P4 330P4

Here I am at my drawing table in 1966, at the Heller design department, rue d’Hauteville in Paris. The pictures on the wall are the telltale of some of my favorite machinery.

Philippe de Lespinay Heller model

Designer Notes: Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

Lincoln Futura Philippe de LespinayPhilippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.


Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

As with many of Heller’s kits, Paul Lengellé beautifully illustrated the box art.

Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

Here’s the original drawing of the kit’s parts. The engine and gearbox were the same as on the MATRA MS5 kit, so they are not represented here.

Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

I built the kit for use by Heller in trade shows in 1968, and these pictures were taken by a professional for the company. Please note the suspension springs in steel wire wound around an ordinary nail, that make the model look so much more realistic than any of the period.

Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

The chassis was assembled from molded flat sections and could almost pass for the real thing.

Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

The only “bad” detail on the model is the Weber carburetor that is not only inaccurate but looks a bit stupid. But have a look at that Hewland MK9 transmission!

 

Heller Brabham Cosworth BT15 F3 Formule III

In the early 1970s, AMT released some Heller kits under their own brand. The Brabham was paired up with Heller Matra F2 kit and featured new box art.

AMT Matra F2 Brabham F3