Hasegawa 1/72 B-239 Buffalo 'Finnish Air Force'
KIT #: 00915
PRICE: $25.99 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: SLimited reissue with


The Brewster F2A (company Model 139) was an American fighter aircraft which saw limited service during World War II. In 1939, the F2A became the first monoplane fighter aircraft used by the US Navy. In December 1941, it suffered severe losses with both British Commonwealth and Dutch air forces in South East Asia while facing the much more maneuverable Zekes of the Japanese navy and the army's Oscars. It also saw action with US Marine Corps squadrons at the Battle of Midway, where it was equally outclassed. Hindsight being what it is, had these pilots not tried to dogfight with the much more experienced Japanese, and used 'hit and run' tactics, the aircraft may have fared better. The F2A was derided by some American servicemen as a "flying coffin", due to poor construction and perceptions of its general performance.

Despite this reputation, the F2A proved a potent weapon with the Finnish Air Force, against the Soviet Air Forces. These Finnish planes were identical to the F2As flown by the US Navy and Marines as they were pulled from the production line to be hurried to Finland for combat in the Winter War. One of the reasons the Brewster was so much more successful was due to using proper tactics for the aircraft and because they were flown by much more experienced pilots.

In the end, the Brewster gained a reputation as one of the most successful combat aircraft ever flown by the Finnish Air Force. In service during 1941-1945, Brewsters of Lentolaivue 24 (Fighter Squadron 24) were credited with 477 Soviet aircraft destroyed, against the loss of 19 Brewsters: a victory ratio of 26:1.  However, the substantiation of this claim is so far incomplete, and all claims have not been connected on actual losses (as of 2007).


The king of limited reissues has provided a kit that has been absent from their catalogue for a considerable time. The Buffalo isn't all that new, but yet not one of their very old molds either. It still, however, suffers from more ejector pin marks that I'd like to see on any kit. Interior parts, landing gear doors and wheels are just some of the parts that have these pests. There is even one on the control column.

The base kit is for the USN F2A variation, but there is a small sprue that includes parts more common to the land based aircraft, like a larger, 'balloon' tail wheel and the omission of the life raft container. Hasegawa's detailing is up to their usual standard for engraved panel lines. The interior is well detailed  with the usual decal for an instrument panel. A notch will need to be cut to install the DF loop antenna. As the RAF and Dutch versions had a different tail cone, that is a separate item on this kit. There was also a different engine used in the F2A-1, but I don't think Hasegawa has ever kitted that version. As it is, one gets a four piece cowling with a respectable engine. The Finnish version uses the uncuffed prop blades and those are provided. Clear bits are well molded with a separate windscreen, canopy and backlight. Whether this can be posed open is unknown, but usually with Hasegawa kits in this scale, it cannot.

Standard Hasegawa instructions with Gunze paint references. Markings for four aircraft. Three are standard aircraft with yellow  cowl fronts, underside wing tips and fuselage bands. These three are in the markings of three of the more successful Finnish aces; I. Juutilainen, L. Nissinen, and E. Riihkalleo. The fourth is a very late war plane when the swastika marking was gone and that is shown on the box art. The kit decals are very nicely done and the new style so no worries about using setting solutions. For those in countries where the swastika is banned, plain white discs are provided for insignia. To my eyes, the blue in the insignia is far too dark and should be more of a light blue than a navy blue. May want to consider aftermarket for these. Fortunately, several companies do replacement insignia in the correct shades.


Those who have been wanting to see a reissue of this kit now have an opportunity to grab one. No collection of WWII aircraft should be without one of these.

October 2008

My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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