Designer Notes: Heller McLaren M7A


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 McLaren M7A

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

In 1969, I decided to make four kits of Formula One cars, but only three were produced. Unfortunately and for reasons I do not know, the tooling for MATRA MS80 was never built. But the basic 3-view and parts-distribution drawings did survive in my files.(We’ll cover that kit in a future entry)

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

The McLaren kit could be built with or without the side tanks. Again, another model that drawn from pictures and not from the real car, but it is not that far off, is it?

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

I painted the illustration below for the 1970 catalog in less than 1 hour, because time was of the essence. It was done with China ink and water. 

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

This is the only surviving document of the kit’s parts distribution. It was published in Champion, a French magazine, in 1969.

Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

This model has been released with different box art over the years, such as the one below.Philippe de Lespinay McLaren M7A Heller

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