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Andrew H
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Trainer: Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo – 1/48 Tamiya

December 9, 2021 · in Aviation · · 24 · 2.1K
This article is part of a series:
  1. Trainer: Ryan PT-20 - Testor's 1/48
  2. Trainer: Northrop T-38C Talon II - Trumpeter 1/48
  3. Trainer: Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo – 1/48 Tamiya
  4. Trainer: Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Fledgling, "Jeep" - Dora Wings 1/48
  5. Trainer: Lockheed T-33A "T-Bird" - Hobbycraft 1/48

So this is the second build that I had promised a few days ago, another kit saved from the proverbial . This -2 kit, much like the Hobbycraft P-36 that came before, was purchased for something like $6 many years ago, with the only caveat being that the decals were 100% unrecoverable. This was of no concern to me as there are some decent aftermarket selections available, yellow-wings or otherwise.

If my memory serves me correctly, I began the kit right away, by assembling most of the cockpit, getting the wings glued together, and getting the horizontal stabilizers tacked on... all stuff that can be done in no time at all. Because this is an older Tamiya kit, it is OK, but not great. Many parts have uneven molding lines or slight misalignments, but in general the molding is pretty solid, despite some minor issues with overall form. One thing I sought to improve was the pilot's seat, which was replaced with a "thinned" down seat from my Tamiya Wildcat, which had more detail and a better form. In the cockpit, the side panels have great detail, relatively speaking. Following this work, the kit was shelved until last month.

Upon pulling it down from the shelf, I had it in my mind what I would do to finish off this kit... For the scheme on this aircraft, I decided I'd do something a little different. I had seen a photo of a crashed aircraft from NAS Miami, which had a Fairchild H-1 aerial gun camera mounted to the starboard engine cowling. Looking up the BuNo, I found that other modelers had done this scheme to good effect. The only catch would be that I would have to scratch build the mount, and the camera. However, this challenge was overcome in short order, much to my satisfaction.

The rest of the kit went together swimmingly. Despite being an older Tamiya kit, it still builds up well. The only thing I did on the exterior was add some light rivets on the upper panels. For paint, I used the usual Mr1500 black, followed by Vallejo Light Gull Gray overall. The tail was painted with Insignia red, highlighted by some Guards red, both MM. I sealed the paints with X22. The decals can from the extras bin. After the decals had set, I decided that I would apply Tamiya X-21... This is not that first time that I had [nearly] screwed up a paint job with this stuff.

I don't understand what I did wrong really (X-21 and X-22 are both Acrylic), so any tips might be helpful.

I began applying it to the port wing, moving up the port side fuselage, then I sprayed the empennage. It was then that I noticed the X-21 was having a fit. I tried to clean up as much as I could, with the wing coming out OK, however the red took a beating. I did very little to correct this blunder, choosing to leave it looking as is. I applied Vallejo Matte varnish over all this, and finally weathered with Burnt Umber artist oils. Some chipping effects done with dry brush and Prisma pencil. Tamiya weathers pastels were also used in some areas.

Other than the tele-sight being incorrect, I'm happy with how this build turned out. This little may not have had it's 15 minutes of fame when used by the US, but it was a pretty stout little fighter, and likely a decent trainer. Here represented is F2A BuNo 1391, which crash landed as part of a training exercise at NAS Miami in 1942.


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Reader reactions:
22  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

24 responses

  1. Andrew, @pb_legend
    Right On ! This stubby little Tamiya Buffalo looks great. I'm partial to anything that was flown over Florida, especially during WW2. If memory serves me, there might be another photo (or two) of this plane in the old Squadron F2F Buffalo In Action book. You did a marvelous job with her. Pappy Boyington said "This is a sweet flying ship, and you can turn it around in a phone booth." (or something close to that). Then the US Navy loaded it up with all kind of weight, and the rest is history as they say. The Finn's loved them too.

    Good job ! I definitely pressed the "like" button.

    • Thanks, Louis! I had trouble posting the pic here, but it would have been an uncited rip from Google, anyhow. Searching "FA2 Buno 1391" will give you a shot of the plane in ruin, but if you have any more info about this aircraft, that would be neat to know. I assume it was likely part of the fleet at one time.

      • Andrew, @pb_legend
        Here’s a few pictures of the Buffalos that were flying from Miami. These are the pictures that I mentioned were in the Squadron "In Action" book last night. Full credit for these go to the author and sources from the Squadron book.

        This one is one of the planes that I have wanted to build up for a while now.

        Maybe 2023 will see it happen.

        • @lgardner, those are fantastic photos, and the caption for the crashed 1391 sure explains a lot! I had wondered about the oil spewing out of the cowling, and the bearing failure now perhaps explains that. More interestingly is the fact that it was repaired, which paints a scene reminiscent of the patchwork P-400s in the SOPAC, '42. I have a Special Hobby F2A-3 kit that includes some of the "patchwork" trainers. I had intended to use the camera/mount from this kit, only to find those spruces missing from my second-hand kit. I do have the decals, however, which may actually include this aircraft that you want to build. I'll PM you about it. Thanks!

  2. That turned out great. An interesting Finish I have never seen. Lack of a spinner really changes the look.
    After Midway all the remaining F2A's were dumped in Florida. Even the XF2A converted to a -2. And here they were used till used up.

  3. Your Buffalo looks terrific Andrew@pb_legend! The weathering looks absolutely spot on and that’s some impressive antenna rigging you did here. What did you use?

  4. Turned out well Andrew in fact better than well!
    A great result like it a lot!

  5. High quality build, Andrew @pb_legend
    The overall build and especially the weathering make this tiny fighter look amazing.
    Definitely pressed the 'Like' button.

  6. Nice work @pb_legend - that kit is the first of the "modern Tamiya" kits - I remember when it came out it sold for the then-insane price of $7-8 (this at a time when most kits still sold under $2.50 max)

  7. A wonderful work, Andrew of the now classic but nice, solid Tamiya kit.
    Love your scratch builds a lot, as well as the chosen scheme.
    Excellent weathering!

  8. Nice job, Andrew, bringing her back from purgatory. Well done!

  9. That turned out really nice! Beautiful.

  10. Very nice, Andrew. That’s one of my favorite kits and you’ve done it in an unusual scheme.

  11. Really neat job on the weathering, the undercarriage, the camera rig and the marking selection. LIked!

  12. Oh man, that looks so fine Andrew! ? Terrific weathering and in agreement with Eric, your rigging work is just great. @pb_legend, that lil' ship rocks! ? & ? ?

  13. @pb_legend
    X-21 is a flat base and is meant to be added to glossy paints to make them flat and is not meant to be applied by itself. If you do that then the results will look like snow. What you need is Tamiya Flat Clear XF-86, or a lacquer clear so that the acrylic flat doesn't activate the acrylic clear, especially with a wet coat. But be careful as a lacquer clear can wreck decals (test first) if applied too wet.

    Hope that helps.

    • Woody, +1, thank you for the explanation and recommendations ! It was starting to look like snow when I started to panic, and realize that it was still able to be mostly wiped/ literally washed off. By then the damage was done to the tail, however since it wasn't protected by x-22

  14. I really like that Buffalo scheme - have never seen it before, and I prefer it to the usual "yellow-wings" pre-war livery. I love the weathering - you really notched up the realism, and the gun camera is a really nice touch as well. Great model!

  15. very good looking model!

  16. Terrific job on your build. Looks great!

  17. Andrew, What a wonderful looking Buffalo. I really like the scheme. I was going to do this exact paint scheme on my Tamiya kit, but managed to mess it up the build very badly (long story). Yours looks really great, Its nice to see one done this well in this scheme !

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