Hasegawa 1/72 F2A-1/2 Buffalo
The Brewster F2A (company Model 139) was an American fighter aircraft which saw limited service during World War II. In 1939, the F2A became the first monoplane fighter aircraft used by the US Navy. In December 1941, it suffered severe losses with both British Commonwealth and Dutch air forces in South East Asia while facing the Japanese Navy's A6M Zero and the Japanese Army's Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar". It also saw action with United States Marine Corps (USMC) squadrons at the Battle of Midway. Frustrated with the Buffalo's poor maneuverability and speed compared to the Zero, the F2A was derided by USMC pilots as a "flying coffin". However, during the Continuation War of 1941-1944, the Buffaloes operated by the Suomen Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) proved capable of engaging and destroying most types of Soviet fighter aircraft operating against Finland at that time and achieving, in the first phase of that conflict, the outstanding ratio of 32:1, 32 Soviet aircraft shot down for every Buffalo lost.
US Navy 'Yellow Wings' fans will appreciate this kit or should I say pair of kits. Hasegawa gives you two of the F2A kits, both an F2A-1 and F2A-2 in one box. If you haven't seen this kit, it is one of Hasegawa's better offerings, originally coming out in late 1990s. It doesn't hit the market very often and when it does, it tends to leave the shelves rather quickly.
Typical of most Hasegawa 1/72 kits, there are not really any options as you build what you are given. The kit has a fairly nice interior with a proper control stick and rudder pedal assembly. It also does not have a proper floor, just like the real plane so the pilot can see out the window on the bottom of the fuselage. Also typical of Hasegawa 1/72 kits, it has a decal for the main instrument panel. It does have a separate sliding canopy, but it looks as if the plastic may be a bit too thick to properly display it open.
Hasegawa does differentiate between the differences in the two versions. The -1 has a shorter forward colwing and a few other differences, such as uncuffed props. The former and some other bits are on a separate 'D' sprue, while the latter is on a common sprue. On the F2A-2 the different sprue is the 'C' sprue. I've posted scans of both parts layouts so you can see what these are. Both also use the windscreen that has the telescopic gun sight.
The decal sheet is very nicely done and provides two F2A-1 and two F2A-2 options. The sheet provides all various bands aside from those on the cowling. The tail will need to be painted as well. There is also a set of decals for the lower window frames so you don't have to mask all that unless you really want to. For the F2A-1, you get two VF-3 aircraft from the USS Saratoga in 1939 with the white tail bits. The F2A-2 has a pair of VF-2, USS Lexingon planes with yellow tail sections. Each kit is provided with its own instruction sheet that is typical Hasegawa with Gunze paint references and little bits of info on where to drill holes or remove bits.
A very nice boxing and thanks to recent inflation, not exactly cheap. Those thinking "Hey, I'll get this and do a British or Dutch version", well, no you won't as it doesn't come with the proper tail cone and tail wheel for that. Since Finnish Buffalos were taken from USN stocks, you could get away with doing one of those, but do your research as some were fitted with the larger tail wheels. Still, I'd have to say this is the best F2A in this scale and if you want one without having to wait years for a reissue, this is your chance.
You can find this and other fine kits and accessories atGreatModels
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