by: HG Barnes [ ]
Recently I saw a sprue review of the Special Hobby Brewster Type 239 Buffalo (Finnish Version). As I watched it seemed clear something was very familiar. In my stash is a project on the 2018 itinerary. The Classic Airframes Brewster Type 239 Buffalo (Finnish Version) is indeed the very same kit as what is offered now. Special Hobby have bought the rights and claim they had to buy a new machine to fix issues with the old mold (as stated on their web-site).
I thought it might be interesting for you to have a look back in time and quote and age old saying that "everything old is new again."
The United States government authorized Brewster Aeronautics Corp. of Queens, New York to sell 44 denavalized F2A-1s, as model 239, to Finland who was heroically defending itself from attack by the Soviet Union. Arriving to late to fight in the "Winter War", the Brewster 239s soon became the primary Finnish fighter. Assigned to the elite LeLv 24 squadron, they initially equipped four eight-plane flights. When war broke out again, in June 1941, LeLv 24 had become an exceptionally prepared unit and quickly mastered its Soviet aerial opponents. LeLv 24 employed its Brewsters for the next three years achieving an amazing 30.6 to 1 victory ratio; Brewster BW-393 (used by several pilots) accumulated 41 victories. Brewsters remained in Finnish service until 1948. The Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola acquired the only surviving Brewster, BW-372, for eventual display in its Finnish colors.
The B-239 was armed with one .30 cal. and one .50 cal. machine gun in the fuselage and two .50 cal. wing guns. It had a wing span of 35 feet and a length of 26 feet. Its Wright 1820G-5 radial engine could propel the aircraft to 311 MPH at 18,000 feet.
Regardless of which manufacturer, be that the old or new one, the kit is intended for the experienced modeler. Due to the nature of low pressure molded kits and various media some time will need to be taken to clean up and fit parts. With that disclaimer out of the way let's dive in.
Three Sprues of grey plastic come in a resealable bag as do the very respectable clear parts. The four resin parts along with the photo-etch and instrument film are separately placed in small zip-lock bags. Clearly those involved in its creation wanted the modeler to have an pleasent expeirnce. It doesn't end there. Once you leaf through the instructions a beautiful sheet of Cartograf decals appear in perfect register with minimal carrier film and super thin.
The instructions are excellent even though they're in black and white, but with everything else that's going on this is minor inconvenience. I love the explanations of how to approach each step when it's needed and that they tell you to dry fit parts about a dozen times throughout. The one thing which has been rectified by the new manufacturer is color diagrams for paint schemes. The old layout is fine so long as you don't give yourself an ocular migraine staring at which camouflage pattern to choose.
The sprue trees are NOT numbered so you'll have to refer to the parts layout in the manual to find what you'll need. Not an issue considering you don't have 12 trees to fish through. As stated above, there is work needed to be done to clean up the flash on most of the parts, but with great raised and recessed detail on them it's worth the effort. The clear parts can be summed up like this, I've seen better and I've seen much much worse.
The resin for back of the engine is insanely high detailed and the interior of the landing gear bays along with the gun sight is a nice touch. The PE is no doubt made by Eduard and gloriously outfits the cockpit along with some added touches to the landing gear, bombs and racks.
The Cartograf decals are typically splendid and have call-outs for eight different versions. These include some of the winter camouflage schemes and two of the most renowned Finnish fighter pilots of WWII, as you can see by the photos.
There is not a single review which doesn't mention that this is the best example of the Brewster Buffalo in 1/48 you can find. Considering how important and unique this subject is makes it a terrific addition to the aircraft enthusiast's collection and ultimately your shelf. So you might say that bringing up the past, in this case, is a very good thing. Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
Special thanks to Rod at The Kit Bunker https://kitbunker.com for giving me the heads ups when it came into his sales bin.