Hobby Master HA7009 Finnish Brewster Model 239 Buffalo Fighter - Ilmari Juutilainen, "Orange 4", 3/LeLv 24, Suulajarvi, Finland, December 1942 (1:48 Scale)
"If you threaten Finns, they do not become frightened - they become angry. And they never surrender."
- Ilmari Juutilainen
Built by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation in Queens, New York City, the F2A Buffalo was the first production monoplane fighter to enter service with the US Navy. The F2A was an all-metal, single-engine, single-seat, mid-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear and a tail hook for carrier operations. The control surfaces, i.e., ailerons, elevators and rudder, were metal framed but covered with fabric. The struts of the hydraulically-operated landing gear retracted into the underside of the wing while the wheels fitted into the stubby fuselage below the wings. The tail hook was fully retractable into the rear fuselage while the tail-wheel partially retracted into the rear fuselage. Because of its short wingspan, the F2A did not need a folding wing configuration to be accommodated on U.S. aircraft carriers.
The Buffalo entered squadron service in the summer of 1940 and it was not long before three serious defects were identified. The first was the landing gear; it was not strong enough for carrier operations. Brewster strengthened two weak struts but a real fix would require a redesign of the aircraft. The second defect was identified by reports from Europe which indicated that the Buffalo did not meet the performance criteria of other aircraft then in combat, e.g., armor protection, self sealing fuel tanks, etc. Armor protection was added to the F2A-3 resulting in a heavier, unstable aircraft. One solution was to use a more powerful Pratt & Whitney engine but this would require a redesign of the aircraft. The third problem was the Brewster company management who had a habit of promising more than they could deliver resulting in serious delays in the deliveries of the aircraft. The final straw came when the Navy realized that the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat was a superior aircraft in virtually every respect so no further Buffalos were ordered.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Finnish Brewster Model 239 Buffalo fighter that was piloted by Ilmari Juutilainen, who was attached to 3/LeLv 24, then deployed to Suulajarvi, Finland during December 1942.
Release Date: November 2009
Historical Account: "Birthday Boy" - Eino Ilmari Juutilainen (February 21st, 1914 - February 21st, 1999, aged 85) was a fighter pilot of the Finnish Air Force, and the top scoring non-German fighter pilot of all time. This makes him the top flying ace of the Finnish Air Force, leading all Finnish pilots in score against Soviet aircraft in the Winter War (1939-1940) and in the Continuation War (1941-1944), with 94 confirmed aerial combat victories in 437 sorties.
Juutilainen entered the Finnish military on September 9th, 1932 for his compulsory military service, serving as a pilot in the Finnish Air Force starting from 1935. On May 1st, 1935, Juutilainen was promoted to sergeant. He was transferred to LeLv 24 on March 3rd, 1939. During the Winter War, he flew the Fokker D.XXI.
During the Continuation War, he served in 3/LeLv 24 flying Brewster B239s. In his BW-364 "Orange 4" (BW-364), he shot down 28 enemy planes. In 1943, he was transferred to LeLv 34, which used new Messerschmitt Bf 109s. With the Bf 109, he shot down a further 58 enemy planes. He refused an officer commission, fearing it would keep him from flying.
After the wars, he served in the air force until 1949. He worked as professional pilot until 1956, flying people in his De Havilland Tiger Moth. He flew for the last time, a Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet, in 1997. Juutilainen died on his 85th birthday on February 21st, 1999.