Heller is a French brand of plastic models mainly ladders 1/400 th , 1/125 th , 1/72 th and 1/35 th and figurines to scale 1/72 th . Founded in 1957 by Leo Jahiel in Paris, she has been living in Trun (Normandy) since 1963.
Faced with the success of the forerunners such as Airfix in the 1950s, Heller is the first French brand to compete in the production of polystyrene models .
Its first model, the Caravelle 1/100 th (59 pieces) is available at Christmas 1957 and met with great success: nearly 400 000 copies will be sold in the following years. Its dimensions and its presentation, and the finish mark the will of the top of the range against the competition.
The next model is the Fouga Magister 1/40 th (55 pieces) in October 1958 and the SO.9000 Trident 1/50 th (27 pieces). In 1959, the Marine Standard 1 / 50th (57 pieces) is a real innovation because it has a large number of moving parts: landing gear, train and folding wings. The innovations are multiplying very quickly with sometimes eclectic scales that depend mainly on the adequacy between the size of the presses and those of the parts to be molded.
The collection is rapidly diversifying with boat models, the first being the Lavera tanker, and cars. In 1974, more than 250 different models are available such as the Cadet series of 20 to 30 pieces which is simple to mount to the historic ship Royal Royal of nearly 2,300 pieces. The brand is at the best of its success. From an economic point of view 1974 saw the creation of the group “The French Toy” by Sofinex (subsidiary of Crédit Lyonnais ) grouping the brands Jouef , Solido and Heller 1 .
In 1977, three years after the Sun Royal , Heller renewed success by offering the legendary Citroën Traction 15/6 across the 1/8 th . While editing is not within reach of a beginner because the huge box is full of more than 1,000 pieces, but also with its sixty centimeters long and all its finely reproduced details, it remains to this day an exceptional piece . For its development Heller had not done things in half, 6,000 hours of work in design office for the plans, 40 people dedicated to the manufacture of molds for more than 18 months and bought two life-size cars 2 .
In 1980 “The French Toy” is put in liquidation and its various components bought by various groups, Borden in the case of Heller 3 , 4 .
In 1999, Heller bought the Alsatian company Joustra (contraction of Jouets de Strasbourg), producing plastic and creative toys like the Telecran .
In 2005, Heller reissued the original Caravelle model.
In 2006, the company is put in judicial regulation. In this situation, the company MANOP (precious object of Manufacture) buys Heller January 15, 2007. This recovery ended with the dismissal of 33 of the 71 employees, more than 45% of the workforce 5 .
March 21, 2016 Heller-Joustra , again struggling after a upturn in early 2010 6 , is taken over by Maped 7 , a French group initially specialized in school supplies but in the process of diversification since 2014 8 .
- 1957: Leo Jahiel founds Heller in Paris
- 1958: launch of the first model: the Caravelle 1/100 th
- 1963: integration of manufacturing and product development in Normandy in Trun (Orne)
- 1975: grouping of Heller, Jouef , Solido and Delacoste in a structure named “Le Jouet Français”
- 1977: Humbrol , a British company , makes paint for Heller
- 1980: bursting of the “French Toy”
- 1981: Heller and Humbrol become sister companies in the Hobby Products Group (HPG), a subsidiary of US food giant Borden
- 1986: HPG buys competing brand of Airfix mock-ups
- 1988: closure of Heller’s Paris headquarters and consolidation of all activities in Trun
- 1993: Launch of the “Kit” concept, the models are sold in blister retail with accessories (paint, glue, brushes) in the “Classic” range marketed in the network of specialized retailers
- 1994: The Irish company “Allen & McGuire”, an American pension fund manager, organizes the acquisition of HPG in Borden and increases the capital of Heller SA to 31 million francs
- 1995: The Heller brand is marketed in 56 countries
- 1996: the “KIT” range represents 60% of sales
- 1997: Creation of “Heller Kit GmbH”, a distribution subsidiary in Frankfurt , Germany , which integrates a graphic studio in Trun.
- 1999: Heller SA buys Joustra from the Thirion group , takes over the industrial site of Joustra in Illkirch (67)
- 2003: Joustra’s “Supergraf” toy is voted Toy of the Year.
- 2005: Joustra’s “My Toy Factory” toy is voted the Toy of the Year and the company is MBO- bought .
- 2006: In July, the company is put into receivership and in November Hornby PLC acquires Airfix activities .
- 2006: release of versions and derivatives of the A380
- 2007: At the end of January, Heller is sold to MANOP (Manufacture d’Objet Précieux), headed by Mr. Leneman Benjamin.
- 2011: Heller leaves the VBCIs 1/35 th .
- 2016: Purchase by Maped .
Some famous models of Heller
- Caravelle of Sud-Aviation (plane),
- SO.9000 Trident (airplane),
- Breguet Alizé (plane),
- Mirage IIIC (airplane),
- Mirage IV (airplane),
- Missile Parca ,
- Renault 8 Gordini (auto),
- Alpine berlinette rally Monte Carlo 1973 (self),
- Matra formula II (auto),
- Citroën Traction 15/6 (auto),
- Clemenceau (French aircraft carrier),
- Surcouf submarine FNFL ,
- Santa Maria (flagship of Christopher Columbus ),
- Royal Sun (Navy line vessel of Louis XIV). With more than 2,300 pieces, this model is probably the most prestigious (and most complicated to realize) of the brand Heller,
- Honda 750 (motorcycle),
- Kawasaki 750 (motorcycle),
- Kawasaki 500 (motorcycle),
- AMX-13 (tank),
- AMX-30 (tank of assault),
- Renault TN6C-2 bus (Parisian platform bus),
- Citroën Type H (pickup truck),
- Ferguson “Petit-Gris” (agricultural tractor).
- Jean-Christophe Carbonel, Heller, the French model , History and Collections,, 160 p. ( ISBN 2-915239-66-5 , online presentation [ archive ] )
Notes and references
- ↑ ” Biography Joueff – history of this brand ” [ archive ] , on car-collector.net (accessed September 13, 2016 )
- ↑ source 1977 Catalog
- ↑ Robert Paturel , ” Restructuring of French companies in 1981: Waiting ” Industrial Economic Review , vol. 21, n o 1, 3 th quarter of 1982, p. 98 ( DOI 10.3406 / rei.1982.2060 , read online [ archive ] )
- ↑ ” History of the firm Jouef ” [ archive ] , on lestrainsjouef.free.fr , (accessed September 13, 2016 )
- ↑ ” A new named owner for Heller mock-ups ” [ archive ] , (accessed September 13, 2016 )
- ↑ ” Heller-Joustra regains its luster of yesteryear ” [ archive ] , on lejournaldelorne.fr , (accessed September 13, 2016 )
- ↑ Cécile Prudhomme , ” The toys Heller Joustra fall into the purse of Maped “, Le Monde.fr , ( ISSN 1950-6244 , read online [ archive ] )
- ↑ Isabelle Davier , ” Maped offers the toys Heller Joustra ” [ archive ] , ledauphine.com , (accessed September 13, 2016 )