|Date of Review
||Handley Page Halifax B.I/B.II/B.V
||Nice array of variants straight
out of the box
||Missing B.V four-bladed props,
three-part decals (see text)
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 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.
Modelcraft Canada has reissued the Matchbox 1/72 Halifax
B.I/B.II kit. Unlike the multicolored styrene of the
Matchbox days, Modelcraft has thankfully produced this kit
in white styrene. Presented on four parts trees, plus a
single tree of clear parts, the molds of this kit are in
Detailing is an interesting mix of raised and scribed
lines. The detailing on the wings and tail surfaces are all
scribed, with nice surfaces representing the fabric-covered
flight control surfaces. The fuselage has raised panel lines
except around the nose. The raised panel lines are fine
while the scribed panel lines are a bit too deep and wide,
but shouldn't be much of an issue after paint.
With all of the optional parts in this kit, about the
only version you can't build is the Hercules-powered B.III
out of the box. The kit has two different noses, two
different vertical stabilizer types, two sets of engine
As with most of the Matchbox series, this kit is an easy
build, though some experience at dry-fitting and
filing/trimming will be beneficial to obtaining a good fit
for all of the parts and subassemblies.
The nose and fuselage have a wide array of windows in
them, which in 1/72 styrene translates to parts that are
about as thick as they are round. For these, I'd recommend
leaving off the kit and after you've finished with painting
and weathering, use a product like Microscale Crystal Klear
or even plain old Elmers White Glue to replicate these
Markings are provided for three aircraft:
- Halifax B.I, L9503, TL-P, 35 Sqn (RAF), 1941
- Halifax B.V, LK640, SE-Q, 431 Sqn (RCAF), 1943
- Halifax, B.II, JP165, D, 58 Sqn (RAF), 1945
A note in the instructions indicate that the B.II version
should have four-bladed propellers, so you'll need to find
suitable replacements should you wish to build this version.
This will build into an impressive model straight out of
the box. To my knowledge, this is the only styrene kit of
these marks of the Halifax in 1/72. I do refer to the
previous Matchbox as well as the current Modelcraft
releases. Airfix did release the Hercules-powered B.III in
this scale as well.
My sincere thanks to
Modelcraft for this review sample!