The T-33 trainer has been in service with various countries since 1949 and a few remain operational today. Over 6500 were produced including 210 in Japan from 1956. Japan retired these aircraft in 2000. This particular kit is of a colourful HQ Flight 40th anniversary display aircraft from 1997.
This kit was first produced by Platz in 2012 and it’s the most recent T-33 kit on the market. Platz has produced 5 boxings of this aircraft, including this one and Tanmodel reboxed Platz’s sprues in a kit of their own. This kit is probably the best on the market right now.
The kit is supplied in a standard top opening box. The kit contains the instructions which covers 11 steps, a decal sheet and a resealable bag containing the sprues where the clear parts are packed separately within this bag. The kit comprises 55 parts on 4 sprues and 1 clear part.
The instructions as you can see from the image gallery are clearly laid out and easy to follow and colours called out in Mr Color and Model Master. All the exterior parts show nice recessed panel lines and raise detail where appropriate. No flash was evident any any of the sprues, the ejector pin marks are in places where they won’t be seen and the sprue attachment points are nice and small. The instructions as stated earlier cover 11 steps.
- Step one covers the cockpit assembly and the instrument panels show some nice raised details although you have the option of removing those and using the supplied decals. The seats do not have seat belts.
- Step two fixes the completed cockpit assembly inside the two halves of the front part of the fuselage. The nose wheel bay goes in at this stage along with the engine intakes and canopy. There is a nice detail around the engine air intakes and finally recessed panel lines on the fuselage. The canopy looks very clear and should still afford good view of the cockpit when in place. There is a note to add 3 g inside the nose to make sure the aircraft does not sit on its tail.
- Step three is assembling the rear half of the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer is completely moulded on the port side of the fuselage so you might have to watch out for a deeper than normal panel line on the starboard side at the bottom of the vertical stabilizer. The engine exhaust goes in at this stage to although could probably be saved until later. I noticed the interior of these rear fuselage halves have internal details which makes me think that at some point there was perhaps a complete engine kit available for this aircraft which could be seen if the rear fuselage assembly was not fitted.
- Step four sees the wing assembled from a complete lower wing and port and starboard upper wings. There are a couple of solid pins to ensure correct wing alignment. Again there is some interior detail on the top of the lower wing.
- Step five is the nose gear assembly and the level of detail looks very good as does the nose wheel.
- Step six is the main gear assembly and again the undercarriage legs and wheels themselves look very good. The undercarriage doors look very good from the outside and have a couple of quite large locating pins to ensure they fit correctly on the undercarriage leg. These large pins should be almost invisible when the gear is assembled and in place on the aircraft.
- Step seven is putting the air brakes together in the extended position should you decide to display them this way. I’ve built one of these before and this was one of the things I had to test for a couple of times to make sure I had them assembled correctly.
- Step eight is quite straightforward and puts together the two tip tanks.
- Step nine brings together some of the larger components where the front and rear fuselage wing and tip tanks all brought together.
- Step 10 is the nose gear installation where the nose gear, undercarriage doors, air brakes and an aerial are fitted.
- Step 11 is the main gear installation along with more undercarriage doors, a part inside the detailed undercarriage bay and an aerial.
There are two decal options both for the same aircraft but at different times in its service. The main option and the one featured on the box top is a colourful 40th anniversary paint scheme while the other option is in mostly natural metal. The decal sheet contains lots of small stencils and looks to be very good. One thing I have noticed is that Platz pay a lot of attention to the decal sheets and make sure they contain all the decals that are needed. The colours look to be good and are in register.
I found the kit available here for around $18.50 plus shipping.
This is a very nice kit of the T-33 and probably the best kit available on the market right now with fine recessed panel lines and some nice detail. The main decal option is bright and colourful and the assembly should present no problems. The only thing I might add are seat belts.
Many thanks to Platz for sending the kit along for review.