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Airfix's 1/72 scale
Handley Page Halifax B.III

by Simon Wolff


Handley Page Halifax B. Mk.III
 LV 907 Friday the 13th


Airfix's 1/72 scale Halifax B. Mk.III is available online from Squadron.com




The Handley Page Halifax was the second of Britain’s four engined bombers to enter service with the RAF in WWII. But the Halifax was the first RAF four-engined bomber to drop bombs on Germany, in a raid on Hamburg in March 1941. The Mk.III was the main production variant of the Halifax and was also the first variant to change from Merlin to Hercules engines. At peak strength there were twenty-six Halifax squadrons, the type was also very versatile seeing service in glider towing and paratrooper operations plus with Special Duty Squadrons.



Sadly the Lancaster tends to get an unfair share of the spotlight out of four engined Bomber Command types. Certainly ‘Bomber’ (aka Butcher) Harris in charge of RAF Bomber Command disliked the Halifax, possibly due to earlier types poorer performance.


A few years ago (thanks to a wonderful Canadian mate) I had the good fortune to visit the RCAF Museum at Trenton http://www.rcafmuseum.on.ca/reconstructing337.htm  and see the example being restored there. This is NA 337, recovered from a Norwegian Lake in the 90’s, a later mark that was used for Special Duties. The dedication to her rebuild is quite amazing and when finished she will be the only original and complete Halifax on display in the world.
The greatest enjoyment I get out of this hobby is the friendships one makes, thanks to the friendships, encouragement and assistance of a number of fellow APMA members ( http://apma.org.au ) I was able to complete this kit. Decals from one friend (Graham Carter), four propellers from another (Warren Evans), and the loan of half a dozen reference books (Lindsay Charman, Ley Reynolds, and Peter Mitchell).

The Model

The Airfix Halifax Mk.III was first released in 1961 and like a lot of old Airfix kits has really been showing its vintage. It has been re-released numerous times over the years and I believe is due for release again this year (with new decals for the first time since release!).





I obtained a built Airfix Halifax a couple of years ago with a view to re building the model. Simple and quick or so I naively thought! The kit was totally paint stripped and major assemblies disassembled (wings and fuselage).  Generally the quality of the mouldings was quite poor with too many imperfections to list. Initially I added some minor interior detail such as seat straps and throttle controls.



Then came a long process of deciding what colour to paint the interior, interior green or black in the end I chose British Interior Green as the most likely colour, different Halifax’s seem to have had different interior colours according to who the manufacturer was and what date.
The clear parts for the kit were not in a good condition and to be quite honest the turret clear parts are bloody awful (can I say bloody?). A friend suggested the Squadron Halifax set as alternatives. These were mostly very useful albeit they are irritatingly niggly to fit! Especially the tail turret, which is a two-part vacform canopy, fitted to the kit turret base. In each turret I added some detail, with the use of the Pavla Defiant (inspired by Graham Green who built the beautiful Avro Manchester) turret kit parts as reference for the upper turret and my own photos of the rear turret from the Canadian NA 337. Unfortunately I found the Squadron nose perspex did not fit!!, however despite the work involved (in attaching the clear parts) they improve the look of the model a hundred fold. I also (thanks to another friend’s help) learnt to plunge mould a new nose perspex!



The remaining kit clears parts were the fuselage windows forward of the cockpit area, these are over thick and in the end I chose to cut these back flush with the fuselage halves (which improves the look of the windows). The hardest part building this kit was fixing the many gaps along the fuselage joins, round the engine nacelles (large enough to pass a ham sandwich through) etc these were dreadful and required a mixture of Milliput and Mr Hobby liquid putty to resolve them. The fuselage ‘port holes’ needed replacing so a clear plug was inserted in each and cut back flush then sanded smooth.
All the clear parts were dipped in Johnson Klear, which my brother kindly (which promptly sat under the kitchen sink for ten years) sent back from England (UK equivalent of Future) which really improved the clarity.
The intention was to finish the model as a Canadian example (29,000 operational Halifax missions outs of a total of 37,000 in World War II were flown by Canadian crews) which I was unable to do. In the end a friend generously donated a set of decals for the most famous of all Halifax’s LV907 ‘Friday the 13th’ of 158 Squadron RAF Bomber Command, which survived the war completing one hundred and twenty eight missions. She is finished in her last scheme with full compliment of mission markings. Although an aircraft serving in an RAF squadron her crew nationality included at times Australians, British, Canadians and New Zealanders.



Painting and Markings


For the painting I used a mixture of Humbrol Black and Revell Coal Black, as I did not feel straight black would look convincing on a scale model. As for the upper surfaces I used Model Master Dark Green and Humbrol Matt 29 Brown. One thing I still need to master is a decent varnish finish and paint that doesn’t attract every bit of fur and dust!!!!! As I had real problems with the varnishes I applied.


The Airfix Halifax looks like a Halifax however the kit is very dated (the moulds are looking worn) and I feel Mr Airfix really – really needs to retire this kit and produce a new example PLEASE!


Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Simon Wolff
Page Created 26 August, 2005
Last Updated 25 August, 2005

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