Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 – 1/32

  • 25 posts
  • Last reply 53 minutes ago
Viewing 1 - 15 of 25 posts
  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    Well, I know I have several projects started in Group builds that I need to get to (and will soon), but I also have this build that went into a coma about two years ago. After finishing the Shiden Kai, I had a hankering to do a low complexity 1/32 project that didn’t need riveting.

    I had stopped working on the Buffalo long ago when I ran into doubts about the cockpit color. I had finally done it in silver like most factory issued Brewsters to be on the safe side. Nevertheless, I did not like the toy-like look of it at all and just left it in disgust to gather dust and cat hair. Now with sufficient research, I am satisfied about repainting most of the cockpit RAF Green (much as the Finns repainted their Brewster cockpits green and the RAF did to their Lockheed Venturas). The RAF pilots manual which I recently acquired appears to confirm my color choices well enough and the pit looks MUCH nicer in RAF Green than silver. Here are the results of two days work.

    I am adding detail to it now and working at the same time on the wheel and engine bay.

    I built up the engine so it is also largely complete with an ignition harness made from solder wire. I actually did a lot of work on this a while back by completely rebuilding the ignition harness core with new stubs from styrene rod that would be large enough to drill out for the wires. The solder wires slipped in very well finally and everything was quite strong in construction

    Today I clear coated the RAF Green cockpit side walls and large components of the interior to give everything an oil wash. I’ll be adding instrument panels and wiring in the next couple of days as well as control sticks for throttles etc.. gear knobs and data plating. The fit on the model overall is a bit crude but pretty good for everything that needs to line up, including the engine, key bulkheads and interior bracing. It’s a typical Special Hobby kit, which is to say very good quality for short run.
    This will be the third RAF Buffalo Mk 1 on iModeler but mine will be a little bit different in subject and finish. I hope will meet the fine standards set by Bill Koppos and K J Bricknell. In any case, I am really looking forward to having one of these in my finished collection. I think the RAF Buffalo is one of the best looking of the series with a quite distinguished service record against overwhelming odds.

  • Bill Koppos said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    Well Colin I guess we are brothers from different Mothers (or at least our interests run in similar veins). Glad to see a big Buff in the works , as you may know it’s a favorite of mine. Will be following your build closely. Jim Maas the Buffalo specialist reminded me, the Brits paid cash money for these, pre Lend-Lease. They therefore could get them in their official colors, interiors included.
    So, is it going to be the Boscomb Down test bird? A Crete defender? Maybe a 2 PRU machine? Waiting to see.

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    Thanks for your interest, Bill. Thanks also for the insight about commissioned RAF Brewsters. I didn’t know about the cash payment angle. Yes, we definitely have similar taste in airplanes and probably historical subjects as well. Not sure what you think of my other current build, the Tempest (above). All together a different sort of fighter, compared to the Buffalo or Shiden Kai. Anyway, this Brewster will be fun to do. It will not be so different from your model as all that, given that it will still be a frontline RAF underdog. In this case it will be one of two aircraft out of Singapore which are quite popular in other scales, either Noel Sharp’s NF-O 488 Squadron or Mad Read’s TD-F 423 Squadron. One day I will also do a Dutch East Indies machine as well. I really like the color scheme on that one.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    That’s a very good project, Colin @coling, nice that you restarted it. The cockpit looks great and, for the engine, what can I say…. A masterpiece it is.
    Looking forward to it.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    This is a great, second, start of a beautiful aircraft, Colin.
    Work on that engine is outstanding.
    For sure I’m going to follow this thread.

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    Count me in too Colin @coling

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 week, 5 days ago:

    Another nice project, Colin (@coling). Your work on the engine really makes it a stand out. I have built a couple of Tamiya Buffaloes in early war US colors. You have to admire the early war pilots who flew this plane against the Zero and others. Looking forward to the rest of the build.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Nice to know that information on the cockpit @billkoppos. Since that was indeed the case with all the other cash-and-carry airplanes, I don’t know why I didn’t realize that before.

    @coling – this makes up into a nice kit. I did an F2A-2 about 10-12 years ago from this kit series. Too bad nobody ever found out if Geoff Fisken had an airplane that was “his”.

  • Louis Gardner said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Colin, @coling
    You can add my name to the list of those who will be watching this one for updates……….. The work you have done so far looks very good. In the stash, I have several of the Tamiya Buffalo’s, one of the Classic Airframes F-2 A1 “US Navy” versions, and one of the Special Hobby releases, all in 1/48 scale. So far I have only built two of the Tamiya’s and they were painted as per the instructions…………. which we all know were wrong.

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week ago:

    Thank you, Spiros, John, Erik, George, Tom and Louis. I was really inspired by your enthusiasm and did some pretty intensive work this week. I hope you like it. Summary and photos below.

    Below (after three pics of the real thing) is the latest progress on the Buffalo cockpit. Pretty much everything is done now except the seat, seat supports and harness. Along the way, I studied all the photos I could of the cockpit and made the most intensive use of the pilot’s manual for the Buffalo Mark 1 available in PDF online, which I excerpt first.

    This manual is a goldmine of info, including strong evidence that the pit was mostly painted a dull color as opposed to the silver lacquer in many other Brewster models (as distinctly seen in other cockpit shots in b/w). I made some interpretations on the manual pics that differ for other modelers. For example, I made the area under the rudder bar RAF Interior Green because two out of three photos in the manual show it in the lighter color while only one shows it in a kind of rubbery black. The black is more standard in other model Brewsters ,and I would say that it was eventually painted over on British instructions (as in the other two photos). The one great thing about the manual is that I know the names and functions of nearly every part that I attempted to represent or modify in the cockpit. Sometimes knowing what something was helped me to interpret how to paint or position it better (see below).
    The photos that follow below are amongst the last I will take before the components are glued in permanently. These pics can show much what will be partly hidden later. They also show how darn tricky it is to get everything to fit relative to everything else. There are several odd errors in the Special Hobby kit that I had to fix. First, the emergency hydraulic hand pump handle collided with the main switch panel on the starboard side. Even though it is meant to be angled, it still did not come close to clearing the panel edge. I therefore cut off and repositioned the handle. Next, the stalk containing the undercarriage and flap control levers was trapped and partly hidden under this same switch panel. I cut it off and moved it closer to the seat.

    This allowed me to put a decal for a placard on top and greatly improve the look of the pit.

    Finally and most frustratingly, the fine photo etch screen which is the oxygen bottle support bracket was oversize and would not fit sandwiched between the seat back and the rear bulkhead.

    Fortunately, the manual photo showed that the real thing had a notch cut in it to make it fit and that the kit part could be modified to both better match the real thing and fit in the space.

    I also cut a notch in the handle mount to slide the mesh farther forward.

    It was tricky to cut, file and add a new crosspiece to the etch, but the surgery worked and it fit very well finally (see final photos with fuselage closed up experimentally).

    The third odd thing about the SH instructions was how they showed the main control joystick mounted backwards! Unfortunately, a number of modelers appear to have followed the kit instructions and put it in the wrong way around. Every period and museum bird cockpit photo showed the stick in the position I installed it, that is as a “D” shape, “belly” towards the control panel when viewed from starboard (see above pic of model and real joy sticks in following photos). This is also more logical when thinking of how the pilot would pull the stick back into his lap when climbing and how that would be nearly impossible the other way round. A fourth thing is that the SH instructions have you assemble the port and starboard auxiliary instrument panels reversed. In other words, STEP 2 should be STEP 1 with regard to mounting on port and starboard cockpit sides. The etch also kind of dictates this and I studied the look of each panel carefully in the manual to confirm the shape of the panel and its orientation. The shapes and details are very subtle and, again, I have seen a few photos of SH models built with the panels glued in upside down (probably while struggling to get them to look right when following the kit instructions).

    OK, so what did I do in detailing? On the starboard side, I highlighted the electrical switches with Rub n Buff, painted main control knobs SG Black to contrast with the Flat Black panel and added decals for one bezel and another for switches (from spares and Airscale).

    This surface detailing could bring the panel to life better since it is so visible and central.

    Otherwise it would be a bit of a dull slab. The one thing pit photos of Brewster show is the incredible density of wiring under this switch panel and elsewhere around this side of the pit. I copied as much of this as I could using stretched sprue and solder wire attached it the plastic pieces before painting it with Dk Gull Gray and Rub in Buff Silver gluing it in.

    I also did this behind each auxiliary control panel.

    I scratch built the trapezoidal R3003 control unit bracket and the wiring for it and the tiny bracket for the cockpit light. The metallic boxes are for the identification lamp switch bracket, electrical junction boxes and R3003 wireless control. None of these are properly done in kit resin and had to be modified or made from styrene rod and sheet. They were painted with Rub n Buff thinned with mineral spirits – great stuff for small metallic bits.
    BTW, the etch main instrument panels are from the kit and are very nice, once painted up.

    Also nice etch came from the kit for the gun charging handles. I replaced the kit resin pieces for the rudder pedals with F4U1 pedals modified from an old True Details set I had –these were both more accurate and detailed. The rudder pedal framework and hydraulic bits were kit resin and plastic.

    On the port side, the throttle quadrant was also modified from the TD Corsair set. I actually lost the kit resin part so I had no choice here. I detailed it with Airscale decals and added control rods and wires from the quadrant to the forward fuselage as per photos.

    I detailed the bar with the trim and other controls using stretched sprue for wiring, spare etch for some handles and blob of super glue for knobs. All cockpit ribbing and floor riveting was accentuated with an oil wash over the MM Acryl RAF Cockpit Green and a layer of Tamiya clear.
    The tube running from the main panel down the port side is the windscreen heater hose (see pics below). I had fun with this one.

    I first tried to make it from two oxygen mask hoses from a Tamiya F-4J glued together. That turned out to look awful. When studying manual pics, I realized the hose was very much like a household dryer house with a spiral stretch (not like a ribbed oxygen hose). The best way to do this was spiral a thin piece of masking tape around styrene rod. I coated that with future to seal it up and painted it a neutral grey color. Success!

    I have now test fitted everything to check how to get the bits to fit in their slots when closing up the fuselage.

    I only have to add scratch-built tube supports for the seat and the seat itself, which will be natural metal (Vallejo). Notice how the seat supports probably extended the tubes which existed in earlier models.

    I think there is only ONE pic of the RAF seat close up. Here it is with a support cross piece behind.

    I hope you like what you see so far of my modeling efforts. Please excuse the lengthy text, but I think some might appreciate the description of the work (especially when just learning how to do these things). Comments and/or questions welcome.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 week ago:

    This is very nice work on the cockpit @coling. The good news is, with this model you can actually see most of this when you’re done.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week ago:

    What a meticulous work, my friend @coling!
    What you have done is pretty amazing! Wiring and hosing! Lost of words!
    Your research and logic conclusions upon deciding for some parts placement is stunning.
    …..a needle for the compass!! This superdetiling envelope is pushed to maximals!
    This is one of the most detailed and sought after cockpits I’ve seen.
    Well done, my friend!
    Eagerly waiting for your progress!

  • John vd Biggelaar said 1 week ago:

    Fantastic work on that interior, Colin.
    The cabling is very realistic.
    The research you did really pays off on the actual build.

  • John Healy said 1 week ago:

    This looks really great, Colin. Your reasoning for the cockpit color makes perfect sense.

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 week ago:

    So beautiful Colin. Very nicely detailed @coling.

Viewing 1 - 15 of 25 posts