Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Julien

Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 Royal Air Force - 1:32 Special Hobby

Recommended Posts

Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 Royal Air Force
1:32 Special Hobby

 

box.jpg


The Buffalo was designed by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in 1935 a US Navy requirement for a carrier based fighter to replace the Grumman F3F Biplane. As such it was one of the first US monoplane fighters. The prototype first flew in 1937 with deliveries commencing in 1939. Brewster had production difficulties and only 11 of the early F2A-1 aircraft were delivered to the USN with the remainder of the order being diverted to the Finnish Air Force. The US Navy and Marine Corps would order and receive the later F2A-2 and F2A-3 models although it was realised by this time that the Buffalo was no match for more modern fighters. It had been suggested that the later orders were just to keep the Brewster factories running, in fact they would later go on to produce Corsairs and other aircraft for the USN.

Overseas Finland ordered the aircraft in 1939, the aircraft being assembled by SAAB in Sweden. The Finnish after initial doubts liked the aircraft. The cooler weather in Finland solved overheating problems with the engine, and the aircraft went on to become a success with 477 Soviet aircraft being destroyed for only 19 Buffalos. Belgium had ordered the aircraft but only one was delivered before the country fell to the advancing Germans. Their order was subsequently transferred to the British. The British facing a shortage of combat aircraft purchased the Buffalo. The original assessment by the RAF was not brilliant. The aircraft lacked pilot armour, was under gunned, had poor altitude performance and there were issues with overheating, maintenance and controls. The UK still ordered 170 aircraft which were sent to Australia, New Zealand and the RAF. The aircraft were initially sent out to the Far East. The aircraft were plagued with reliability problems in the hot climate, performance was poor, and the pilots did not have adequate training on the aircraft. Given all these problems and the superior numbers of Japanese aircraft the Buffalos did not fair that well. Some did escape to the Dutch East Indies where they would join those operated by the Netherlands East Indian Army.

Overall while the aircraft was an advancement over the biplanes it replaced by the time it came into service the aircraft was already outclassed by the newer generation of fighters. In US Service it was replaced fairly quickly by Wildcats, Hellcats and Corsairs.

The Kit
Even in 1.32 scale this is not an overly large kit. It arrives on 8 sprues of grey plastic, a clear sprue, a sheet of photo-etch, an instrument panel film, and a bag containing 25 resin parts on 6 casting blocks. Even though this is re-release and the original was first released in 2008 there seems to be no mould wear. The kit features finely engraved panel lines, the parts look to be well moulded with no obvious defects All of the resin parts look cleanly cast, with only a little flash to clean up on a couple of parts. The instructions are of an older type and not as good as the new kits SH are doing today.

 

sp01.JPG


Construction starts in the cockpit, the instrument panel is made up by sandwiching the film between a plastic back and the front PE part. These are attached to a front part from which the rudder pedal assembly hangs. A centre instrument panel, along with two side ones are made up in the same way as the main one.

 

sp12.JPG


Next up is the pilots seat. The seat itself is only one part but the photo etch seat belts need to be added to this. The shoulder straps and lap belts are each two parts. The seat base can then be assembled which contains the primary flight controls, a floor mounted compass and other controls. PE parts are used here as well. Once complete the seat is attached to its armour plate, and then to the base. The control rod for the seat passes under the pilots seat.

 

sp02.JPG


Next up for construction is the forward bulkhead of the cockpit to which the instrument panel will be mounted. A lower box/tank structure is made up and the foot ways for the rudder pedal attached to the top, the completed instrument panel assembly is then added to the top. The rear cockpit bulkhead is also constructed at this time.

 

sp04.JPG


Construction then moves to the inside of the main fuselage. Various controls, radio boxes, the fire extinguisher, throttle controls etc are made up and added to this area. Once all these parts are in then construction moves back to the area in front of the cockpit, and the forward side of the cockpit bulkhead. The structure to hold the machine guns and their ammunition boxes is added, along with struts and fixings for the main landing gear which occupy the area under the guns & ammo. Lastly onto the front of all this the mounts and bulkhead for the engine are added.

 

sp11.JPG


Now that all of the internal sub assemblies are complete they can all be placed inside the main fuselage, and it can be closed up. Following this the engine can be made up. This consists of some detailed parts as it will be visible through the cowling. The cowling is then constructed around the engine, and the whole thing can be installed onto the front of the main fuselage. The tail planes, tail cone, and decking behind the cockpit are then installed at this stage.

 

sp03.JPG

 

sp08.JPG


Next up for construction are the main wings. These are of conventional upper/lower construction. However before they go together the bays for the main gear arms must be made up. There is a rear bulkhead to be installed along with four ribs. In addition the barrels for the wing mounted guns are fitted at this time. Clear lights are also mounted in the underside of the wings at this point. The completed wings can then be added to the main fuselage.

 

sp05.JPG

 

sp06.JPG


It is now time for the main landing gear to be built up. Each main wheel is in two parts which are joined together, The main landing gear leg is then added along with the gear door. the gear door arms are attached into the wing and the retraction struts into the area inside the main fuselage. The tail wheel is also built up at this point and attached.

 

sp07.JPG


To finish up the model the pilots head armour and rear canopy bracing struts are added. The cockpit transparencies are added along with the underside one. The propeller is made up and attached. Aerials are added along with the pitot tube, and a ring & bead gun sight added to the engine cowl.

 

sp09.JPG


Clear parts
There is a lot of glazing on the Buffalo and the clear parts are exceptional. They are thin and distortion free with enough relief to make masking an easier job.

 

sp10.JPG


Markings
Markings for 4 aircraft are provided. The decals are by Aviprint, look to be in register and colour dense.

 

  • AN172 - 21 Sqn RAAF Sungei Patani 1941. Pilot Flt Lt Kinnimont scored 4 kills while flying Buffalos. Leter to command 77Sqn RAAF in Korea flying Meteor F.8s.
  • AN213 - 243 Sqn RAAF Sembawang 1941. Polit Sqn Ldr Harper a Battle of Britain Veteran.
  • W8138 - 488 Sqn RNZAF Kailang 1941. Scored 3 kills on Buffalos, later KAI over Java in 1942.
  • W8209 - 453 Sqn RAAF Sembawang 1941. Scored 3 1/2 Kills on Buffalos. Later KIA when he deliberately rammed a Ki-43 after running out of ammunition.

 

dec.jpg

 


Conclusion
Even in 1.32 scale this will not build up into a massive model. The parts are detailed enough for the larger scale and this should build up into an impressive model. Very highly recommended.

 

bin-new.jpg

 

Review sample courtesy of
logo.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im building this at the moment, and have to say, it builds quite quickly and relatively trouble free. For a Mk1 though, you will have to add a gunsight and armoured glass screen behind the windscreen. SH did include a resin gunsight on one of the USN boxes, strange they did not throw it into this boxing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some issues to remember if building an RAF version (I converted the 1/32 SH F2A-2 to an RAF version )

The upper wing ID lights (just inboard of wing tips) were deleted on RAF versions will need to remove.

The RAF Roundels should be US Insignia Colours. Airframes were delivered with Roundels painted already Not RAF Roundel colours. I doubt seriously that the Port under wing Roundel had a yellow surround.

The Upper section of the Oygen bottle containment frame/meshing is there, where's the rest (sides at least)

The Oxygen regulator (starboard side) is missing

TRD9 switch seems to also be missing (Portside)

Undercart warning horn missing.

The Port side sliding canopy is mising the "knock out" panel

You will need to add the gun camera lense on Starboard wing leading edge ( outerside of gun barrel)

However if wanting to build OOB then you will get a reasonable representation of an RAF 339E Buffalo.

NOTE: If building the 488 Squadron airframe, Squadron Codes should be RAF Sky, not MSG

Noel Sharp; actually was not killed in action over Java, he was flying the last of the replacement 488 Sqn Hurricanes and his aircraft was shot up. He managed to crash land, and was last seen running from his downed machine into the jungle surrounds - never seen again, currently MIA

Regards

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, thanks for the info.

They give you the option of not having a yellow surround on the underside roundel. There is a photo etch part to add to the sliding canopy for the knockout panel.

Do you have a pic to show what the gun camera lense looked like?

Thanks.

Julien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a duplicate of this topic posted that caused some confusion. That topic has been removed and this one moved to the correct place. Thanks for confusing us all Julien :thumbsup:

(for the avoidance of doubt, this was not supposed to be an April Fool's joke)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grand, thanks Mike, that will teach me to take a copy straight away when I see something that I can use on a build

Cheers

Dennis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for confusing us all Julien :thumbsup:

I try my best....... :frantic:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, thanks for the info.

They give you the option of not having a yellow surround on the underside roundel. There is a photo etch part to add to the sliding canopy for the knockout panel.

Do you have a pic to show what the gun camera lense looked like?

Thanks.

Julien

Hi Julien,

This first photo show where the Gun camera lens is on the leading edge in relation to the gun.

RAFBuffalo339E-1%20copy_zpsdxlbxdrh.jpg

This second photo (would be original RNZAF) shows 488 Squadron pilots uder the Straboard wing, and the arrow shows the camear lens. Apologies ths photo is not so clear (photo of photo), note the lens is shaped like the leading edge

FILE0128%20copy_zpstgjtoblv.jpg

Hope that helps?

Regards

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming very late to the party on this one but modellers should be aware that there are several mistakes with the markings in this kit:

  • W8209 wore the code letters 'TD-E' not 'TD-F'.
  • AN172 probably did not wear any unit code letters nor 21 Sqn's boxing kangaroo marking.  AN172 was a reinforcement airframe made operational with some haste in mid-Dec 41 and flown up to Malaya.  Sadly, it never arrived, crash landing on a beach on the western coast due to the pilot getting lost in bad weather.
  • W8138 code letters were most likely a Sky Blue shade using the same paint that was used for the fuselage band (488 Sqn was the only unit whose code letters didn't overlap the fuselage band and the letters are tonally similar to the band in monochrome images).
  • No RAF Far East Buffalo ever had a yellow surround for the port underwing roundel. 
  • To be truly pedantic, there should be a period between the 'W' and the numbers for the W-series airframes (W8138 and W8209).

I know Alan gave his interpretation of some of the above...I'm just adding my grist to the mill. :)


ATB,
Mark

Edited by mhaselden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×