This is a box review and a summarised build review for Tamiya's rereleased Buffalo, now doning South East Asia battle colours
The Brewster Buffalo was the RAF main fighter in Malaya when the Japanese invasion began. Poorly matched against the more agile Japanese fighters, the Buffalos were destroyed in numbers either on the ground or in the air. Whatever remains after the island fotress capitulated was either rebased at Sumatra or Burma.
The Tamiya Buffalo was first produced in 1974 and was reboxed and reissued recently with a Malaya campaign decal option for an aircraft stationed at Seletar airbase, Singapore during the war.
This is clearly depicted on the boxart and is quite correct a representation of the plane art as detailed in the book Buffalos over Singapore.
clearly showing its age, the parts are adequate and come in 3 main sprue, one of which holds the clear parts.
The details are a bit soft compared to today's kits and there is some inconsistencies showing, I am sure due to constraints in the production budget. The recess lines at the front fuselage was met with raised panel lines at the back and is quite similar to Tamiya's 32 scale tomcat.
There is a choice of either American or British plane and the pilot option is also available though the details are really soft and require some cleanup.
The bird was completed in 4 sittings in whatever spare time I could muster in 3 months. Most of the tedious work went into the modification of the pilot figure to a seated on and the separation of the cockpit glazing panels.
Tamiya excelled in the ease of construction in their kits and this is no exception. The parts came together quickly and there was only some minor filling to the fuselage.
The entire kit was basecoated with Tamiya semi gloss black and finished with Gunze RAF colours. After a light toning spray in the centre of all the different coloured patches, a coat of Futures was applied and Raw Umber turpentine wash was coated after decals were applied. Before the oils dried, a clean brush was used and streaked along the airflow direction to create interest.
Some pinhole washes were added with thicker coats and also with lamp black.
One final coat of futures was applied and minor wear and tear was simulated with a HB pencil.
The glazing separation was the trickiest part and this was done carefully with a razor saw from Crazy Modeller. The kit came with a masking set to colour the canopy and extra care is needed as the material is soft and easily distorted. A bit of adjustment is also needed because the parts are not in perfect symmetry.
All in all, this is still a must build if your interest is in the Malaya campaign. Big T has a passion for Malaya and this is evident in their recent release of the Repulse in 700 scale, completing the collection for Force Z in that scale. Hopefully they will soon come out with the Tropical Hurricane mk2C and the Blenheims to complete the main RAF planes.
by CK Loo