Matchbox 1/72 Halifax


PK 604




3 options


Scott Van Aken




Like the Americans, the British went for the idea of strategic bombing in a big way and developed several heavy bombers. The Halifax was one of those developed to a 1936 specification for a large bomber. Initially to be powered by two Vulture engines, those engines proved to be unavailable so four Merlins were substituted. As with the Stirling, the wingspan had to be around 100 feet so the plane would fit into existing RAF112 foot-wide hangars! The aircraft first flew in October 1939 and by late 1940 it was entering service, making its first mission in March 1941. The aircraft was used almost exclusively in the night bombing role, where it was discovered that the front turret was rarely used. On later aircraft the nose and power plants were changed. Eventually, in 1945, the Luftwaffe was so decimated that the RAF switched to daylight bombing. The Halifax quickly disappeared from the RAF once the war was over.



Molded in brown, black and dark green, this is as typical a Matchbox kit as you could find. Finely raised panel lines are intermixed with trenches where the engraved bits are located. The general level of detail is simple as befits most Matchbox kits. The cockpit, for example, consists of generic seats, control columns and pilots. There is some black box detail in the radio operator's compartment, but the thickness of the clear bits will distort any attempt at detailing this section.

The kit offers separate bomb bay doors, but I don't see any bomb load. The engines appear to be a rather complex construct, but should provide no real challenges to an experienced modeler. There are options for several different variants of the Merlin-powered Halifax that include new noses and the ability to add or delete turrets as needed. Two different fin styles are also provided.

Instructions are well done in the standard pictorial style. As is the norm with Matchbox, all the detail painting is provided in a separate section. Generic colors are used as well as Humbrol numbers, though these may be from an earlier series so one needs to be careful in that regard. Any differences between variants is noted in the construction sequences.

 Marking options are for three aircraft. First is the box art aircraft, a GR.II from 58 Sq of Coastal Command during 1943 in 'sea grey over white'. This aircraft has the non-turreted nose, upper and tail turrets with the radome on the underside. It also has the larger 'square' fins. Next is a B.I from 76 Squadron during June of 1941 in Dark Earth/Dark Green over Black. It has the nose turret and tail turret with no upper turret. It carries the early 'arrow' fins. A very similar B.II from 10 Sq during 1942 is the third option. Colors are the same as the previous aircraft. Decals are well printed, though a bit thick. Despite their age, they should perform well.


This is a kit one sees built rarely. Face it, Matchbox kits don't usually do well in contests as the builder needs to do a lot of work to bring them up to current standards. There are aftermarket sets that will help. The only other Halifax in 1/72 is the elderly Airfix kit which provides the radial engined version. However, if you'd like a nice bomber model that can be built with some ease (as most Matchbox kits do fit quite well), then this is for you.

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