The Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo (that’s a gramatically correct sentence btw) F2A-3 is a much heavier aircraft than it’s predecessor in game: the F2A-1, all that extra weight considerably lowers it’s maneuverability. Obviously this variant gained weight thanks to several improvements to the plane: better engine, heaver hitting armament, self sealing fuel tanks, and armor. The issue here is that for all that extra mass it doesn’t get any armor in game, moreover the F2A-1 has self sealing tanks in game even though it didn’t irl so that’s another thing the -3 doesn’t improve on in WT
While I couldn’t find any manuals online, I’ve found two pictures which I think show an armored headrest for the pilot
Feedback, extra pictures, and documents on the F2A-3 are welcomed
somewhere out there is a biography from a New Zealand Buffalo pilot from Singapore - he notes that their a/c lacked the armour they were supposed to have, and specifically mentions 1 pilot recovered from a crash with only a fatal single 7.92mm bullet wound through his seat… I had thought that occurred in Burma - but that would then not be the chap in the link below…
My memory is a bit hazy - I read the book a decade or more ago - might be this guy - Geoffrey Fisken - Wikipedia
ETA - I think it was about Vic Bargh - another NZ buffalo pilot who did fly in Burma -
The F2A-3 was the last variant of the F2A to enter production, with 108 aircraft produced in total. The F2A-3 received additional fuel tanks and armour protection, but this made the aircraft significantly heavier and less agile.