Nice info. Matt! In Europe, The Finnish pilots loved the Buffalo and had many aces against the Russians during the early part of WWII. Here's a quote I found:
"The most famous aircraft is that of Brewster B-239 BW-364 "Orange 4", flown by Finland's top ace of World War 2, Eino IImari "IIIu" Juutilainen. He got 28 kills in this aircraft and it was his favorite. Other pilots flying BW-364 got an additional 8 kills against the VVS, bringing this airframes score up to 36. Juutilainen himself finished the war with 94 kills, his other victories against the VVS and later the Luftwaffe, were scored with his trusty Me109G-2.
Finnish Brewsters had the highest kill ratio of any aircraft in World War 2, scoring 496 kills against the loss of just 19 Brewsters. That's 26:1...and in early 1941 when the VVS first met the FAF Brewsters in combat, the ratio after just a few months was 67:1."
But back to the Pacific - I think your "hit and run" theory is right on - no way a Buffalo could get in a turning duel with a Zero and survive. They are really aircraft from two different generations. But flown correctly, the Buffalo was a capable fighting machine.
Matt - I have some extra decals for Dutch and British Buffaloes (aftermarket-AeroMaster I think) that I will never use if you want them. I assume you are building the 1/48 Tamiya kit, but who knows - you might also be going 1/72 or 1/32???