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  1. Brewster F2A-1 & B-239 1:144 Mark1 Models MKM14444 The stubby Brewster F2A-1 Buffalo fighter, the operational version derived from the prototype XF2A-1, was designed and built in the late 1930s by the American Brewster Aeronautical Corporation. It was one of the first monoplane aircraft destined for carrier-borne operations with the United States Navy. This single-seat, all-metal mid-wing monoplane with flush rivetting, fabric-covered control surfaces and a retractable undercarriage was powered by a Wright R-1820-34 Cyclone radial engine. It was fitted with a Hamilton Standard propeller and its armament consisted of two machine guns in the nose and one in each wing. Deliveries of the 54 Brewster F2A-1 fighter, began in mid-1939; however, with hostilities starting in Europe, only eleven aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Navy, being allocated to VF-3 attached to USS Saratoga (these turned out to be the only F2A-1's that the navy received). The remainder of the order of F2A-1 versions were sent to Finland as the Model B-239. The difference being that these did not have the carrier-born facilities of the USN versions. The Buffalo saw gallant service with the Finnish Air Force in their fight against the Soviet Union and became popular among its pilots, earning a reputation as one of their most successful fighters. As a carrier-borne fighter for the U.S.N., the Buffalo soon became obsolescent and was replaced by the F4F Wildcat; whereas in Finland the last B-239s continued to fly until 1948. Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 & B-339D MKM14446 Following on from the success of the F2A-1, Brewster produced an uprated version with the designation F2A-2, for the U.S. Navy plus further orders were received from Belgium for 40 aircraft, and from Britain for 170 aircraft. These export variants were designated the B-339 and B-339E respectively. A further 72 aircraft were ordered by the Netherlands East Indies government which dignated B-339D's. By the time of the first export deliveries, to Belgium, Europe had virtually fallen and so these aircraft were diverted to Britain, allocated to the R.A.F. and re-designated the Brewster Buffalo Mk.1. The Kit(s) Two sets of kits have been received here at BMHQ, and these are kit numbers mkm14444 (Brewster F2A-1 and B-239 in US Navy and Finnish service) and mkm14446 (Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 and B-339 RAF, RAAF, RNEIAAF and IJAAF service). As these kits are virtually identical, the main differences are in the decals, it has been decided to incorporate both kits within this single review. Each box comes with two complete kits adn the first thing to note is that the sprues for both kits are the same, with the choice of alternate parts included for the different variants. Furthermore, the sprues for the subsequent sets in the range, i.e. mkm14445 and mkm14446 also use these same sprues; it is only the various decals that separate these models. I find this facility of great use, mainly as the modeller can build two of the same type or one of each type from the same box set. The first sprue contains the main fuselage components, instrument panel, engine facia and tailplanes; plus a choice of spinners and tailwheels. Some parts are not need for each kit and these are marked in the instruction sheets. Panel lines are recessed and finely engraved on the fuselage and tailfin. There are small enhancements within the cockpit area to define some of the internal framing, which is enough because there is very little room left by the time the seat pan and instrument panel have been added. The scale fuselage length is a mere 5cm and only 0.6cm is visible cockpit area (I think my paintbrush is wider than that). The second sprue holds the main wing assembly, including the fuselage floor, wheel struts and choice of propellers and tail pieces; dependent upon variant to be constructed. As with the first sprue, the choice of variant to build will leave some pieces for the spares box. The wing assembly's panel lines engraved with what should be enough depth to take primer and top coat, plus washes without losing their definition. Clear parts A single piece canopy component is included along with the underbelly glazing piece. The framing on the canopy, although miniscule to say the least, is proud enough to allow for masking with modelling tape cut to size. Decals The decals are the elements in which all the variants are identified; as already mentioned the sprues are common across all kits. In the case of this kit, of the Brewster F2A-1 & B-239 variants, decals are provided for four separate aircraft, namely: Brewster F2A-1 - 3-F-17 of VF-3, U.S. Navy, USS Saratoga in the winter of 1939. Brewster F2A-1 - 3-F-13 of VF-3, U.S. Navy, USS Saratoga in the winter of 1939. Brewster B-239 - BW-354 of 2/LeLv 24, Finnish Air Force, Tiiksjarvi airfield in the summer of 1942. Brewster B-239 - BW-370 of 4/LeLv 24, Finnish Air Force, Rompotti airfield in the summer of 1942. Decals for the second kit, mkm14446 Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 and B-339D, also provide decals for four separate aircraft; these are: Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 - W8189 (Q-WP) of No.243 Sq., RAF, Kallang airfield, Singapore in the summer of 1941. Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 - AN185 (V-TD) of No.453 Sq., RAAF, Sembawang airfiled, Singapore in December 1941. Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 - W8163 (P-GA) of the RNEIAAF, Andir airfield, Java, Netherlands East Indies in March 1942. captured Brewster B-39D - Japanese Air Technical Research Laboratory, IJAAF, Tachikawa airbase, Japan in 1942. Conclusion The Brewster F2A-1 Buffalo is a tiny little model in this scale; however, it should look every bit the part when completed and painted up correctly and appear quite impressive on any display or diorama setting. Care needs to be taken on which variant, components and markings to be used but these are detailed quite well in the illustrated instruction sheet. Another good choice of aircraft model from Mark1 Models Review sample courtesy of
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