Tamiya 1/48 F2A-2 Buffalo






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Probably Brewster's only really successful aircraft was themodel 339. In addition to enjoying some export success (much of it having to dowith little else being available), the model 339 entered the US Navy as the F2ABuffalo. It was really the Navy's first high speed monoplane ship board fighterso gave the service a good introduction on how to handle the type. It wasn't asmaneuverable as the Grumman F3F fighters that had been used prior to that, butthe additional speed was much appreciated. 

The model 339 was sold to Finland who enjoyed much success withthe aircraft against the Russians. Frankly much of this success goes to Finnishpilots and the way that the aircraft were used more than to any sterling qualityof the 339. The Belgians also ordered model 339 as did the Dutch. The Belgianorder was taken over by the British who used them in Singapore and Malaya. TheDutch used theirs in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Unfortunately, withoutthe results obtained in Finland.

First USN version was the F2A-1 which entered service in 1939.It provided the Navy with valuable experience in handling monoplane fighters,but was a bit underpowered. The next version was the F2A-2 which featured alarger and more powerful engine. These entered fleet service in late 1940 aspriority was placed on overseas orders. They were soon replaced by Wildcats andthe Buffalos were given to the Marines. The only action Marine or USN Buffalosparticipated in was the defense of Midway where the Marine's F2As were cut topieces by the Japanese A6M2 Zero. After this they were hurriedly replaced andspent their remaining years as trainers. The last one was gone in 1943 and noneexist. (For those saying there is one in Finland, that is not a Brewster buta Finnish built 'Humu' which is only based on the 339 airframe.)


This is probably the first modern 1/48 kit that Tamiya designed. This was doneabout 20 years ago and that issue was more than just an F2A, including parts fora model 339 as well. There are differences between the two. When this kit wasreissued around 8 - 10 years ago, gone were the additional bits to make a model339, and now only an F2A-2 can be built with the existing kit.

Thekit is molded in a silver plastic with nicely engraved panel lines. The moldshave held up nicely over the years and there is only a tiny trace of flash, mostnoticeable on the prop. Also noticeable are the blank areas where the model 339bits used to be. Some smaller parts are marred by ejector pin marks, mostnotably the inner gear doors and landing gear struts, however most can becleaned up without too much trouble. 

The interior is quitewell detailed and complete. There is also good detailing on the cockpit sidewalls and the wheel wells. The only option on the kit is the installation ofbomb racks and bombs. In fact, if you want your kit without them, you'll have tofill the holes already drilled into the wings! The canopy is a single piece andcannot be displayed open unless you cut it.

The instructions are superb as one would expectfrom Tamiya. Colors are given for Tamiya paints. There are two differentaircraft provided for on the decal sheet. One is from VF-2 on the Lexington, andthe other is VF-3 on the Saratoga. VF-2 removed the large radio mast andrelocated the end of the antenna wire on the port wing. The decals look to bequite usable, albeit a bit thick.

Overall it seems like anothereasy to build, no hassle Tamiya kit. I just wish they had included the model 339parts.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by asite that has over 1,500 visits a day, please contactme or see other details in the Note toContributors.