Trainer: Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo – 1/48 Tamiya
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So this is the second build that I had promised a few days ago, another kit saved from the proverbial Shelf of Doom. This Tamiya F2A-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 trainer 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 Buffalo 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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