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Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
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1/32 Czech FA2-3 Buffalo
Joel_W
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Posted: Friday, May 08, 2015 - 06:50 PM UTC
For as long as I can remember I've had this love/hate relationship with the Brewster Buffalo. Having a deep interest in WW11 aircraft, & specifically the Pacific theater of Operations, the Naval air battle at Midway on June 4, 1942 has always been a historical focal point for me.

On December 25,1941, 14 F2A-3 Buffalos of VMF-221 arrived via the USS.Saratoga CV-3, at Midway Island. On March 28,1942, 8 additional F2A-3 Buffalos arrived via the USS.Curtiss AV-3, and finally 7 Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats arrived by the USS. Kitty Hawk APV-1 on May 26, 1942. This was then the entire defensive air combat force available for the Battle of Midway.

After the air battle, these were the losses that VMF-221 suffered:
Aircraft: 12 F2A-3, 2 F4F-3
Pilots: 13 MIA, 1 KIA, 4 WIA 4
And this was what was left in flyable condition on June 6th, 1942:
3-F2A-3
3 F4F-3
VMF-221 claimed 16 kills of various aircraft. All the remaining F2A Buffalos in active service were replaced shortly after Midway, and became advanced trainers for the Navy.

I've never built a 1/32 scale aircraft since coming back into the hobby, as 1/48 scale has always been my preferred scale, but when I came across the 1/32 scale Czech FA2-3 Buffalo just gathering dust literally in the corner at a hobby shop near work that specialized in RC helicopters, I just had to have it.

The Czech Model 1/32 F2A-3 is a limited run multi-media kit, which also is a 1st for me. My goal for this build is to enhance the detailing where I can, with the main focus on creating a best display aircraft model of Capt. William C. Humberd USMC FA2-3 Buffalo on June 4,1942: VMF-221 3rd Div.Aircraft# MF-15, Sn# 1553.

As with nearly all aircraft models construction starts with the cockpit. And this cockpit starts with a sub assembly for the IP and rudder peddles. The two IP panels consist of a plastic backing plate, a acetate sheet with the Instruments printed on them. You need to paint the backs flat white, which I did with Tamiya XF-2 flat white, then the PE face, which I painted Tamiya XF-69 Nato Black as I feel that XF-1 Flat Black is just too stark for a scale black.





The rudder peddles are comprised of several various media pieces including the side pistons. I painted them Model Master Interior Green FS34151, and dry brushed them. The mounting plate that comprises these parts was also painted MM IG.



There is a secondary IP under the main IP, and depending on which variant you're building, you need to select the right panel. Of course I screwed that up, and I had to remove the panel, paint, and install the correct one. I really need to read the directions more closely as I go through this build since this kit has the options to also build the export Model 339-23.



I decided to go with Interior Green rather then Green Zinc Chromate as I was concerned that once I do the dark dirty washes for the full cockpit and interior, and close up the fuselage halves, that the overall effect would be just too dark.

Joel


AussieReg
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Posted: Friday, May 08, 2015 - 08:28 PM UTC
This promises to be an interesting journey Joel, great choice and very nice start to the build.

I haven't seen this kit before, any chance of a pic of the box?

For "scale black" I use a 50/50 mix of black and red-brown in Tamiya acrylics.

Best of luck with the build, I'll be following along.

Cheers, D
Merlin
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 12:53 AM UTC
Nice one Joel

I'm looking forward to following this one! I've often been tempted by this kit too.

All the best

Rowan
Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 02:12 AM UTC

Quoted Text

This promises to be an interesting journey Joel, great choice and very nice start to the build.

I haven't seen this kit before, any chance of a pic of the box?

For "scale black" I use a 50/50 mix of black and red-brown in Tamiya acrylics.

Best of luck with the build, I'll be following along.

Cheers, D



Damian,
I've only read about this kit on a few other sites that specialize in reviews. I was kind of shocked that a RC helicopter hobby shop would have one in stock, and still shrink wrapped. Here's a quick picture I grabbed off of the Net.
Joel


Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 02:13 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice one Joel

I'm looking forward to following this one! I've often been tempted by this kit too.

All the best

Rowan



Rowan,
Should be a rather interesting build. Lets hope I don't screw it up.

Joel
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 02:48 AM UTC
Hey Joel,
Starting another one already?
This should be interesting.
Fist a Spitfire and now 1/32nd, what next a 1/32nd Spitfire?

Any way I have as a pdf the Osprey book on the Buffalo Aces.
Should it be of use to you in this build I'm happy to email a copy your way.


Regards

Chris





Chris
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 03:06 AM UTC
I would have done a Finnish one but as the saying goes - any Buffalo is a good Buffalo !



Magnus
MichaelSatin
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 04:24 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I would have done a Finnish one but as the saying goes - any Buffalo is a good Buffalo !



Magnus



Special Hobby released this in a Finnish version as well (same kit with some detail differences) a while back. One of these days...

I built the F2A version for the Midway campaign some years ago. I thought it was a great kit and you're off to a fine start Joel!

Michael
Redhand
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:22 AM UTC
Nice start indeed!
Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:35 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey Joel,
Starting another one already?
This should be interesting.
Fist a Spitfire and now 1/32nd, what next a 1/32nd Spitfire?

Any way I have as a pdf the Osprey book on the Buffalo Aces.
Should it be of use to you in this build I'm happy to email a copy your way.

Regards
Chris



Chris,
I've always started a new build within a week or so of a finished project. Most of the time, I'm already thinking about the new build before I'm completely done with the present one.

I'd love a copy of the PDF Osprey book. Thanks so much for the offer.

After the F2A-3 build, I'm actually thinking about the Academy 1/48 scale F-4C in Robin Olds markings, as it's been a while since I've done a jet.

Joel




Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I would have done a Finnish one but as the saying goes - any Buffalo is a good Buffalo !



Magnus



Magnus,
How right you are.
Joel
Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:38 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

I would have done a Finnish one but as the saying goes - any Buffalo is a good Buffalo !



Magnus



Special Hobby released this in a Finnish version as well (same kit with some detail differences) a while back. One of these days...

I built the F2A version for the Midway campaign some years ago. I thought it was a great kit and you're off to a fine start Joel!

Michael



Michael,
Thank you. This just might be the most difficult build I've yet attempted.
Joel
Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:40 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice start indeed!



Brian,
Thanks for appreciating my most modest start. Now get back to the bench as the B-17F is calling you.
Joel
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 06:24 AM UTC
PM me your email Joel and I'll get the book on its way.
Glad to help.

It's your next build that I'm hanging out for.
You can never have enough Phantoms.Someone here says something similar.😆
and
Are you planing on doing it as his mount during Operation Bolo?


Chris

Edit.crongrats on the making the front page.



Redhand
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 03:50 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Nice start indeed!



Brian,
Thanks for appreciating my most modest start. Now get back to the bench as the B-17F is calling you.
Joel



Oh, I'm working it. I should have a post up later today.
JPTRR
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 06:32 PM UTC
Joel,

I too am feel the same about the Buffalo. It fascinates me that the beast actually wracked up a record as a world class fighter in the hands of Ilmavoimat (Finnish A.F.) pilots against the Soviets. One Buffalo actually holds the world record for kills per airframe!

The box art shows the great, late, Marion Carl's F2A-3, the only US Buffalo to down a Zero.
Redhand
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Posted: Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 07:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Joel,

It fascinates me that the beast actually wracked up a record as a world class fighter in the hands of Ilmavoimat (Finnish A.F.) pilots against the Soviets. One Buffalo actually holds the world record for kills per airframe!



The Buff is possibly unique in being simultaneously reviled and praised. (But consider the P-39 too). There is little doubt the first version was the best: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I think the key to the aircraft's performance problems was its R-1820 engine which, frankly, may not have been the best choice for a fighter plane. See About that Wright Cyclone engine . . . . The Cyclone-powered P-36s/H-75A-4s also had major engine problems.

Plus, the early-war versions of the engine on the Buff were rebuilt airline engines in many cases, and all (even the Finnish ones) had engine oil/cooling design problems that the Finns fixed but that other users didn't. (It's interesting to speculate how the Buff would have performed with the late war, bug-free R-1820 that powered the FM-2!)

The last version of the Buff was undoubtedly the worst. Same flaky engine plus much greater weight = flying coffin.

I still love the A/C and the Brewster "Buccaneer," which can be seen at the Naval Aviation Museum. What a magnificent failure!! (Now, if I only had the stones to try and build the 1/48 vac kit I have of it!)
Joel_W
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Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 02:21 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Joel,

I too am feel the same about the Buffalo. It fascinates me that the beast actually wracked up a record as a world class fighter in the hands of Ilmavoimat (Finnish A.F.) pilots against the Soviets. One Buffalo actually holds the world record for kills per airframe!

The box art shows the great, late, Marion Carl's F2A-3, the only US Buffalo to down a Zero.



Fred,
I'm actually surprised at the interest in the chubby little plane. With the USN getting F4Fs, then F6Fs and F4Us on the horizon, there was little need to develop the F2As. The export versions were really quite successful especially the ones the Fins flew.

The official USN records for the Battle of Midway have 4 downed A6M Zeros, but only one by a F2A-3.

Capt. Marion E. Carl F4F-3 #24 A6M Zero
2Lt. Roy A. Corry Jr. F4F-3 #27 A6M Zero
Capt. James P. McCarthy F4F-3 #27 A6M Zero
Capt. William C. Humberd F2A-3 MF-15 A6M Zero

And that's the reason why I'm modeling his aircraft out of the decal options offered in the kit.

Joel
Joel_W
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Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 06:15 PM UTC
Since my last update, I've been in contact with Jim Maas, who is involved in the Brewster Buffalo preservation site, and has uploaded manuals that is free to all of us who wish to have a e-copy of it.

Anyway, my intention as per the IP sub-assembly was to paint the entire interior Model Master Interior Green FS34151 after doing some basic research. Well, it turns out that the color is incorrect. Jim posted official US Gov't specifications that the correct coating should be:

Model F2A-3 Airplane (Report No. 512):

7.23 Cockpit - Detail In addition to the finish schedule of paragraph 7.21, the interior enclosure, as defined in paragraph 7.22, and all the brackets, supports, reinforcements used for structural purposes, control handle shafts, containers and flooring included in this section shall receive a coat of dull green lacquer unless specified otherwise. Note: the control handle shaft is the rod connecting the handle to the control cable or other transmitting apparatus and does not include the handle or knob.

7.24 Canopy and Windshield The metal interior of the canopy and windshield shall receive two coats of zinc chromate primer and one coat of dull green lacquer.

7.25 Pilot's Seat The pilot's seat shall receive two coats of zinc chromate primer and one coat of dull green lacquer.

7.26 Instrument Panels The instrument panels shall receive one coat of zinc chromate primer and two coats of black enamel.

The call out for clear Zinc Chromate with two coats of Dark Green lacquer now becomes an issue, as it's not a single color with a assigned FS number. Hence, the confusion of what to call it, and what it actually looked it. My assumption is that the color varied greatly depending on what the color was of the DDG over coating.

From the Buffalo historical site, they've settled on a Dark Dull Green color very similar to what was called for in a P-47D. The closest FS chip is FS34092.

Now the fun part started with looking for Tamiya color mixes as none of the standard Tamiya acrylics match the chip. I found a few mixes that made sense, and downloaded a few online examples of the FS34092 chip. All seamed to vary somewhat on my screen. I ended up taking a new bottle of XF-58 Olive Green, adding XF-5 Green, to brighten it some, and a few drops of XF-2 Flat White. The color looks close enough for me for this and future builds with DDG is called for.

The bottom line is that the color will change dramatically once a dark dirty wash is applied, and then the fuselage halved are joined, leaving most of the cockpit in shadows.

Joel

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Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 08:28 PM UTC
Great to see a Buffalo in the works, Joel! Also, good work on rounding up the data on that cockpit color. Turns out that Dark Bronze Green cockpit color was more prevalent than people thought.

Regards,

Ian
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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 12:21 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

I would have done a Finnish one but as the saying goes - any Buffalo is a good Buffalo !



Magnus



Special Hobby released this in a Finnish version as well (same kit with some detail differences) a while back. One of these days...

I built the F2A version for the Midway campaign some years ago. I thought it was a great kit and you're off to a fine start Joel!

Michael


I'm not sure if I'm just being biased as a Finn, but in my opinion the differences between F2A-1/B-239 and F2A-3 are more significant than just some details. The major differences being the front fuselage, propeller, and cockpit details.

Looks like a promising start! It being your first multimedia limited-run kit, take it nice and easy, and be sure to test fit everything too much rather than too little.


Hmm, talking of Finnish Brewsters, I think it might be high time to build another one, as it's been a long time since my last one. I feel it would be high time to one of those 1:48 Classic Airframes kits I got in my stash...
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 05:40 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I'm not sure if I'm just being biased as a Finn, but in my opinion the differences between F2A-1/B-239 and F2A-3 are more significant than just some details. The major differences being the front fuselage, propeller, and cockpit details.

Looks like a promising start! It being your first multimedia limited-run kit, take it nice and easy, and be sure to test fit everything too much rather than too little.


Hmm, talking of Finnish Brewsters, I think it might be high time to build another one, as it's been a long time since my last one. I feel it would be high time to one of those 1:48 Classic Airframes kits I got in my stash...



Eetu,
I know very little about the export versions at this point, other then which version corresponds to which F2A version. The F2A-3 is actually 6 inches longer then the -2s, the spinner was deleted, except on export versions, armor plate was added, a fuselage gas tank that made it impossible to see through the look down glass, so it was deleted, but I don't think that the tank was in the export versions, so the window remained. Of course the engine was different, and there are other smaller differences.

Research is the key here. Of course, I never seam to do enough, and do it soon enough, which leads me to end up being boxed into a corner with no easy way out.

As with the Spit Mk.IXc, the learning experience has been half the fun of the build.

Joel
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 05:48 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Great to see a Buffalo in the works, Joel! Also, good work on rounding up the data on that cockpit color. Turns out that Dark Bronze Green cockpit color was more prevalent than people thought.

Regards,

Ian



Ian,
To complicate it even further, it seams that Bronze Green was actually a different color then Dull Dark Green. From what I've learned over the last several years, pre-war, war, post war, used a series of standard colors each called out for in a bulletin at one time or another, and here I thought that the British used a complicated system.

Here's the list as far as I know:

Aluminum Dope lacquer
Bronze Green
Dull Dark Green
Interior Green
Green Zinc Chromate
Yellow Zinc Chromate
In the Pacific F4Us were known to be jury rigged with flat black above the side panels to kill the horrendous glare issues they had.

Joel
Redhand
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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 07:14 PM UTC
FYI:



Brian
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 10:40 PM UTC
Brian,
That's quite a famous picture as it everywhere where there is a discussion on exactly what is the correct color of the -3 interior. The caption that I 1st saw this picture at is the Swedish IPMS site:

Close view of a cockpit of an unidentified Brewster Buffalo at Naval Air Station, Miami, Florida in April 1943. This F2A was used as a training aircraft. The photo shows Zinc Chromate Green details behind the pilots's head. Interestingly, the rollover cage beneath the rear canopy is painted in some other colour. The instrument panel decking below the windscreen is matt black.

Interesting to note that others produce this picture saying that it's a different color. The universal problem is that it's black and white.

Joel