Mitsubishi F-2A/ XF-2A buffalo

Seriously late and over-budget, the F-2A maritime attack aircraft entered service with the JASDF in the year 2000. For a unit cost not much less than that of a F-22 Raptor, the JASDF got a plane less capable than a Block 50/52 F-16C. There are two complete kits included in the box, for a total of forty grey plastic parts and six clear plastic ones. The grey plastic parts have a pebble-dash finish, resulting from the spark erosion method used to make the moulds, and are quite crude, though with no flash or other mould flaws. That said, smoothness is restored under eight or nine coats of primer, paint and Klear, before you get to applying decals. The clear plastic parts are much more smoothly and cleanly moulded. The kit also includes a Cartograf decal sheet and four-part instructions in Japanese..


The main components fit together much better if you remove their hefty locating pins. The undercarriage parts are also quite crude and the model looks much better on the ball-and-socket stand. That way, you can also use the pilot! The cockpit tubs are basic, and come with a moulded-in seat. This includes a locating tab for the pilot, which should be removed. If you don’t include the pilot, you won’t want it. If you do include the pilot, you’ll still want to remove it, because, once the pilot has been installed, the canopy won’t close if you don’t. I painted the cockpits medium grey, with very dark grey for the seat and instrument panel, and olive drab seat cushions. The pilot had an orange flight suit with a white helmet and gloves, a very dark grey oxygen mask and a satin black visor.  I removed the locating lug from the jet exhaust nozzles, so that I could paint them away from the airframe, and install them at final assembly. I also painted and decaled the tailfins and drop tanks off-model. The canopies include locating tabs on each side. Don’t be tempted to remove these – you would be creating gaps if you did, and they’re not noticeable on the completed models Fit is good but not perfect. All major components required sanding and Tipp-Ex to remove join seams. The models include no underwing stores – Platz do a set of these, which you can buy separately, but the instruction sheet does include a diagram showing what can go where, thus discouraging you from mounting 5001b PGMs on the wingtip missile rails. The stands snap together in a most satisfying way, and with that, construction is complete!

Colour options Mitsubishi F-2A/ XF-2A

The three options allow an XF-2A, used by the JASDF Technical Research and Development Institute, in overall semi-gloss white, with orange and blue trim, and matt black radome and anti-dazzle panel, and a camouflaged F-2A in 3 Sqn. JASDF 50th Anniversary commemorative markings and a sharkmouth. You can also finish this aircraft without the commemorative markings. This aircraft is in dark blue/ medium blue camouflage, with light grey radome, black tailplane tips and orange drop tanks. There has been considerable debate about the precise shades of blue to be used, but Platz give FS numbers for USN Sea Blue and Intermediate Blue, and I went with the Humbrol versions of those colours, Humbrol 144 and (discontinued) 181 respectively..


Scale: 1/144

IW No: PF-4

Price: V1500 (approx. £7.28)

Panel lines: recessed

Status: New Tooling

Type: Injection Moulded Plastic

Manufacturer: Platz

Sample supplied by HobbyLink Japan

Large areas of orange and blue trim on the XF-4A,and the black tailplane tips, sharkmouth and yellow commemorative markings on the 3 Sqn. machine, are provided as decals, and, even though printed by Cartograf, they needed a lot of encouragement, and much Micro Sol, Micro Set, and Klear, before they would settle down adequately. If I were doing the XF-2A again, I would, in fact, paint the orange areas. That said the smaller items settled down without any problems at all. I found Precision Paints Strathclyde PTE Red to be a perfect match for the XF-2A’s orange (Ah those Glaswegian 303s! – Editor) and Citadel acrylic Enchanted Blue for the blue of the 3 Sqn machine.


The models scale out at about 3mm too long and about 3mm too wide. However, they do look like F-16s on steroids, which is, after all, the point of the exercise.
Although not up to the standards of detail and finesse currently achieved in this scale by Dragon, Sweet and Revell Germany, this kit was fun to build, quite challenging to paint and decal, comes with stands and pilots, and the models look good on my desk. On this basis, thoroughly recommended.

Connected themes: metal aircraft models, diecast model plane, army model kits, Mitsubishi F-2A/ XF-2A buffalo, rc scale plans, rc scale model aircraft, new airplane model.

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