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 Brabham Ford BT26
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)
This was the Brabham BT26 car driven by Jacques Bernard “Jacky” Ickx, the first to use the Ford Cosworth DFV engine. I drew the engine only once for the Lotus 49 model, as the tooling was a separate mold for all three models. (We’ll cover the Lotus 49 in a future post.)
I painted this for the 1970 catalog in less than 1 hour, because time was of the essence. It is done with China ink and water.
Jack Brabham races a BT26 in 1968.
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