LeO Variations

I promised to take another look at the LeO 451 Heller kit box art again. A fair number of old kits get several different boxings, this one has at least four.


One is a classic ‘all action’ style, most popular in the sixties, where the guns are firing, bombs are dropping and flak bursts going off, usually also with aircraft going down in flames and smoke trails if the artist could squeeze those in. We have two versions of it here.


In the seventies there was a lobby to ‘reduce the violence’ on box art, and in many cases art was retouched to remove all the excitement, or as here, a new, much more peaceful scene was provided. (I should say I’m not certain of the dates of the Heller box art pieces here specifically, though the concepts applied in general.)


Later still came the period where made up kits were presented in photos on the box – showing you what you got, not the dream you were buying. In most cases, other than dioramas (suffering from the ‘not included in the box’ problem) they were usually pretty dreadful.

Unlike the aircraft. The Lioré-et-Olivier LeO 45 family were an excellent series of fast bombers used by the French Armée de l’air through World War Two, and beyond, as well as by the Axis aligned Vichy French units. A number of design innovations, including the technique of achieving engine cooling were not seen outside the French designs.


And lastly, we come back to the image we started with two days ago, firstly as presented from the Heller online catalogue, showing well how it folds over the sides of the box and integrates with the box ends, crucial for off shelf storage and sales. (Note it doesn’t show how the box opens, and is just a set of flat illustration panels put together in the digital image.)


And here’s a version that’s been reconstructed as the art alone, with all the text and so forth removed. It’s a good painting!


James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Main reconstructed box art from here, modern 3/4 shot from the Heller website here, other images various sales web pages.

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