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Paul A H

Handley Page Halifax B Mk.III - 1:72 Revell

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Handley Page Halifax B Mk.III

1:72 Revell


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The second of the RAFs famous four-engined heavies to enter service, the Halifax was originally designed to meet the same Air Ministry Specification as the Avro Manchester. In common with the Manchester, the H.P.56 design was developed from a twin-engined design into the four-engined bomber that we are all familiar with. Although overshadowed in popular culture by the Avro Lancaster, the Halifax was built in prodigious numbers and served with distinction. The types first operational raid was on the French city of Le Havre on 11 March 1941. By the end of the war it was reckoned that the Halifax had dropped 224,207 tons of ordnance on Hitlers Fortress Europe, at the cost of nearly 2000 aircraft lost. The Halifax was a versatile design and it adapted for a wide range of roles including anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance and electronic warfare. The Halifax continued to serve after the end of the Second World War and examples of the type were still in service with the Pakistan Air Force in the early 1960s. The B Mk.III was the main production variant and utilised the Bristol Hercules radial engine in place of the Rolls Royce Merlin. It featured a glazed nose with single machine gun and apart from the first few examples, extended wingtips.

It feels like a long time ago that Revell released the first iteration of their new-tool Halifax. That kit took us on something of a rollercoaster journey, from disbelief that it was actually a new tool (caused mainly be Revell's decision to use the old Matchbox kit for the early publicity shots), joy at the realisation that it was a new kit after all, and then despair when it emerged that the kit incorporated several fairly major errors. My review followed a similar journey. Back in those days we received review samples from Revell at the same time (or even before) they were released to the trade. In my eagerness to get a scoop, I rushed the review and missed what turned out to be the biggest error in the kit; the overly wide engine nacelles. Happily this kit goes some way to addressing that issue as it dispenses with the chubby Merlin pods and introduces the more convincing-looking Hercules nacelles, as well as an all-new wing. It was speculated with regard to the old kit that it was designed from the outset with a multi-purpose wing and that this led to the Merlin-engined variant ending up as a rather messy compromise. I must admit that I favoured this idea, but the appearance of a new wing in this kit seems to scotch that theory.

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The kit arrives in the same deep, end-opening box as its predecessor. This is rather prone to being squashed, so this may be one to build now rather than stash at the bottom of a pile of kits. Inside are 10 very pale grey sprues and a single large clear sprue holding an impressive 257 parts (although not all of these are used). Just like its predecessor, the kit is nicely moulded with crisp, finely engraved panel lines. Just like the B Mk.I/II, the kit features a nicely detailed interior. Inside the front fuselage there is a full set of parts to represent the cockpit and the crew stations for the engineer, radio operator and navigator. The instrument panel, radio and other equipment feature nice raised details, although a few decals are provided if you dont fancy painting these parts by hand. The fuselage sidewalls are also detailed with raised ribbing at the front and rear ends. The roof of the bomb bay sports two large wing spars, which should give the finished model plenty of strength. Having built the previous iteration of this kit, I can vouch that this method of construction works very well indeed.

The main landing gear bays have to be assembled before the wings. They feature some reasonable surface details and should look fine once in place. I recall from my build that the main landing gear legs put up a bit of a fight, but they went in alright in the end. The wings themselves slide onto the aforementioned wing spars and fit as well. The nacelles for the Hercules engines fit around the landing gear bay structures (at least in the case of the inboard engines). The engines themselves are each made up of five parts (six if you include the collector ring) and they should look pretty good behind the cowlings. Unfortunately the shape of the propellers is a little off, but the usual options and approaches apply. The hedgehog exhausts are nicely realised though. As before, the ailerons, elevators and rudders are all moulded separately and can be posed in different positions. The B Mk.III's extended wing tips are also included.

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Two different types of main gear legs are supplied, with the unused pair marked for use if you are building a B Mk.V. The Mk.V's Tollerton nose is also included. While the inclusion of extra bonus bits and bobs are always welcome, the original Merlin engines and wing are not included in this kit (maybe not such a bad thing) and so you will need to cross kit with the original boxing in order to arrive at a Mk.V. The bomb bay doors are moulded in a single piece scored down the middle. This part will need to be cut in order to depict the bomb bay in the open position. The doors will also need to be scribed lengthwise to represent a hinge line that Revell have missed. Ten bombs are provided to fill the bomb bay, but they are pretty average and you can only place them two abreast instead of three. An H2S radar fairing is included too.

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Two marking options are included:
Halifax B. Mk.III, 424 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, based at Skipton-on-Swale in December 1944; and
Halifax Mk.VII, 644 Squadron, Royal Air Force, based at Tarrant Rushton in April 1945. The decals are the usual Revell fare: crisply printed, nice bold colours but slightly matt. From the code number on the decal sheet, they appear to have been printed by Cartograf; so much the better.

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Conclusion

Fans of Bomber Command aircraft probably fear that this year has been a dream from which they will awake at any moment. First we get a very nice Whitley, then a pretty decent radial engined Halifax. While not without fault, this is a much better offering than its predecessor. I imagine it will serve as a solid platform for many a fine model, and who knows, one day they may re-tool the parts for the Merlin-engined variants. Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo-revell-2009.gif

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Thanks for the review Paul :)

I got one of these on the strength of Tony O'Toole's current build, it looks a beautiful kit. I also managed to scrounge a set of Aeroclub props which cheered me up no end, and the Xtradecals set was just gravy :D

Cheers,

Stew

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Thanks for the review Paul and the info which will tell me that I'm holding off on converting the previous MK I/II until I snag this MK III for the undercarriage (Tollerton nose already acquired via Freightdog).

Cheers,

Dave

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