Revell/Matchbox 1/72 Heyford

KIT: Revell/Matchbox 1/72 Heyford
KIT #: 04060
PRICE: $30.25 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: John Doerr


The Handley Page Heyford first flew in June 1930, in response an Air Ministry specification for a new night heavy bomber.  One of the unusual design aspects was having the fuselage and engines attached to the upper wing.  This feature gave the pilot and gunners a monoplane-like field of view and fire.  Also included was a retractable “dust bin” ventral turret, aft of the wings.  The bomb bay was located in a thickened center section of the lower wing.   Servicing method and locations were well thought out.  Fuel and oil filling locations were at “ground level” in the wheel spats.  The servicing crews had no need to clamber over the aircraft during turnaround.  The bomb bays were designed so the bombs and racks were preloaded and merely hoisted and plugged in.  Because of the engine locations the entire turn around could be performed in a half-hour with the engines running.  One drawback of the layout was that the pilot sat 17 feet above ground level and needed considerable practice with take offs and landings.

 The forward part of the fuselage was all-metal monocoque construction, while the rest of the aircraft was conventional, for the time, fabric covered metal framework.  The very nose contained the bombardiers and nose gunner’s station.  Slightly aft was the cockpit proper.  Behind the cockpit and accessed by a door through the bulkhead were the navigator’s and radio operator’s stations.  Aft of the wing were located both the upper gunner and ventral gunner’s stations.   The upper gunner was also doubled up as the radio operator.  The navigator was also the bombardier and nose gunner.


The Heyford was in front line service for a short period.  It initially equipped 99 Squadron beginning in November 1933.  By 1937 it was in service with 11 squadrons and beginning to be phased out in favor of monoplane bombers.  The last Heyford was retired from active service in 1939 and subsequently declared obsolete. 



The Revell-Germany 1/72 Heyford kit is labeled as a Revell Classic.  Actually it is a repop of a Matchbox classic, complete down to the multi colored trees, in this case two, green and gray.  It is from the original molds and contains all the good, bad and ugly of the original.  It comes in a, hooray!, lid and tray type box.  I do hope the folks over there are finally getting the message about boxes.  The kit contains 149 pieces.  The molding was crisp except for some minor flash around the smaller pieces on the gray sprue.  They have raised details and the rib detail of the wings is the same generic type of years ago. 


Most of us but the very young have built Matchbox kits and understand the level of quality here.  The kit contains four figures, two pilots and two gunners.  There is no gunner for the ventral “dust bin” turret.  The details are rudimentary with no framing or detail on the interior of the fuselage, which incidentally is split horizontally into top and bottom halves, with two vertically split halves for the lower forward fuselage. The cockpit consists of a generic instrument panel, two control wheels and a generic type seat, while the second pilot sits in a tab on the inside of the fuselage.  Clearly there could be some improvement in the level of detail, that an ambitious scratch builder could undertake


The kit includes the appropriate parts to build all three marks.  The difference being a more powerful engine in the Mk II with two two-blade props installed to make an impromptu four bladed prop.  The Mk III uses the same engine and prop but is supercharged.  The Mk II and III also used different chin coolers and exhausts.  More about this subject further on. 

The Instructions


The instructions are exactly what one would expect if they have built any Revell-Germany Models.  I might add the quality of the paper has improved somewhat.  Gone is the gray almost newspaper quality sheets and it is now close to being white.  The instructions appear to be a reprint of the original Matchbox instructions.  They are in the international pictograph type drawings, which in places are somewhat vague. Remember me saying that I would get back to the differences in the Marks?  You will find it in the engine section.  Not included are the exhausts for a proper Mk II/III, the addition of the second two-bladed prop and appropriate chin scoop is about as clear as Yogi Berra could say it.  Also not stated is the Mk IA was a Mk I with the “four bladed” prop.  It seems a little research and study would be a pre requisite before building.  The paints are letter coded to the unique Revell brand names.  It seems an artist’s eye and research would be in line to get the colors right, not to mention the fact that the many of the colors in the instructions seem to be selected via the random dart throwing method.  At least the profiles included seem to reasonably accurate, at least in their choice of colors




The decals appear to be of decent quality.  You get a selection of three aircraft from three different squadrons, one earth and dark green and the other two overall green, which agrees with profiles I have seen 



This is not what I would rate as a must have model.  The faults are many but a very AMS afflicted masochist could build this kit into a stunning model.  If you have been looking for Heyford, or are like me, addicted to strange, weird and “different” aircraft then it’s the only game in town.  I would rate it as “Be afraid, Be very Afraid”


Model courtesy my penchant for, shall we say, “unusual” aircraft



Thanks to my partner, Susan Csaba, Jim Marriott, Peter O. Johnson and Chris Clifford who reviewed and helped.

John Doerr

August 2008

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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