Heller SA

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Heller SA is a French company that produces plastic scale model kits of aircraft, tanks, cars, and ships.

History[edit]

Heller was founded in Paris in 1957. Its first model kit was a 1/100 scale Sud Aviation Caravelle, produced the following year.[citation needed] In 1963, a production facility was established in Trun, Orne.

Heller was acquired in 1981 by the Hobby Products Group of Borden, owners of British model company Humbrol. In 1986, rival kit maker Airfix also joined the group. Production of Airfix kits, already in Calais, would subsequently move to the Heller factory in Trun. Heller, with the rest of the Group was sold to an Irish investment company, Allen & McGuire, in 1994. In 2005, Heller was the subject of a management buy-out.[citation needed] However, in 2006 the company went into administration.

The effect of Heller's problems was to bring Airfix into financial problems and with them the rest of the Humbrol group.[1]

Product range[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

The early Heller aircraft line — in a mix of scales 1/100, 1/72, 1/50 and 1/40 — were rather crude with large rivets, thick canopies, and low level of detailing. During the 1970s they concentrated on 1/72 and 1/50 and the quality improved rapidly, kits from the end of that decade were often very well detailed and sophisticated. The Heller line included many types of aircraft that couldn't be found elsewhere, like the Bloch and Potez twins, Dassault Ouragan and Dassault Mystère, Saabs Tunnan, J21 and Safir, and the big French transports, the Noratlas and the Transall. Notable[who?] later kits were the PZL-23, the Morane-Saulnier 230, and the SBC Helldiver (biplane).

Still later, Heller's Constellations, DC-4s[citation needed] and DC-6s were welcome additions to the 1/72 multi-engine flight line, along with the striking Canadair 215, a purpose-built fire bomber.

The early 1/50 helicopters were crude and questionable as to scale fidelity,[citation needed] but here again they were unique subjects: Frelon, Puma, Alouette, Gazelle, Llama, etc. "It's like a French Aurora kit," quipped a seasoned modeler[who?] in 1969, examining the Alouette for the first time.[citation needed]

Spacecraft[edit]

Heller made a set Apollo kits which included the Command/Service Module and the Lunar Module. It was well-detailed for its time, however, the kit represented the Block I configuration of the Apollo hardware, which was not flown during the manned missions and was only used for early low Earth orbit test flights.

Heller also made a kit of the Ariane V in 1/125 scale. The International Space Station was also made in the same scale as the Ariane V. They also made an Ariane IV in 1/288 scale.

Ships[edit]

And there were ships, again unique as to subject. A large, sophisticated kit of HMS Victory is arguably the centerpiece of the ship line.

Vehicles[edit]

Heller made kits of the Citroën 11CV, the WWII-era front wheel drive sedan, in 1/43, 1/24 and 1/8 scales. There was a series of 1/24 old cars and small trucks including golden age European types—Delahaye, Delage, certain Bugattis, the 4.5-liter "Blower" Bentley, and others that were not, and have not yet been, kitted by other manufacturers in that scale.[citation needed] These were sophisticated kits for their time.[citation needed]

Heller contributed to the vast universe of 1/35 armor: lend-lease jeeps and deuce-and-a-halves, a Panhard armored car, and a squad of Chasseurs Alpins. Heller also produced a grand 1/35 Super Frelon, one of the first aircraft kits scaled to support the armor culture.

Figures[edit]

Monuments[edit]

Junior range[edit]

Composed by the "Cadet" series of kits.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Boys book of Airfix

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]