Platz 1/72 T-33A 'Hamamatsu Air Base'

KIT #: AC 11
PRICE: $37.00
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard


Hamamatsu Air Base is known as the birthplace of the JADF. located in Hamamatsu Shizuoka in Japan. The air base is well known as the place of the JASDF’s aerobatic, demonstration team Blue Impulse’s inauguration. In 1954 the Japanese ASDF established a flight training school and since then this place has played an important part of the air force air-training category.

The T-33 was the first jet trainer for the JASDF flight training. The US Air Force developed the T-33A from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 shooting star adding two seates and longer fuselage. Many countries all over the world adopted the T-33 for their training and the production quantity was over 6500 units. In 1955 the USAF supplied the T-33A to JASDF and Japan started operations with this aircraft as the main trainer.

 The T-33 was nick named T-bird or San San for more than 30 years until the T-4 trainer started to arrive.. The T-33s were gradually retired. In March 1990 the T-33 squadron that used the T-33 dissolved along with their T-33As. The last flight ceremony of the squadron was held in September 26th in 1990. All of the T-33As were retired by June 2000. The retired T-33As are now being displayed at some museums in Japan.


This is a very nice model of the T-33. The first thing that captures you when you open the box is the impressive decal sheet which features any one of the six options on offer. The markings take you back to the mid 1950s at Hamamatsu air base that was the home for 68 T-33s. No photo etch parts are included and the decal sheet can produce a great model. 

The moldings of parts look of high quality on every single part of the 58 gray plastic items. No flash to remove and parts have fine recessed panel lines and other fine surface detail. There was one shallow sink mark on the fuselage side at mid section just behind the air intake area. This is hardly noticeable and a little filler will remedy the situation.

Back to the decal sheet, this really amazed me with the wealth of detail that included a good number of fine legends which in spite of their size can be readable.  These included instruments for the pilot instructor and trainee, wing sidewalk ways; flaps warning stripes, aircraft numbers, anti glare patch and unit tail markings. The headache is to locate each of over 200 separate decals that I regarded as an enormous challenge to identify on the instruction sheet where they are clearly indicated and with some effort can all be located. Cartograf of Italy printed the sheet including the well-registered roundels. The 6-page instructions are well illustrated and were easy to follow the assembly stage by stage sequence.

For a look at what comes in the box, please visit this preview.


Construction starts with assembling cockpit office, comprising two instrument panels, two seats, a cockpit tab complete with side instruments, and two control sticks. There is also a canopy arch which raises the canopy and fits inside. Painting and decals to fit inside are also done at this stage. All of the parts fit so well to one side of the fuselage and checked for correctness when both fuselage halves are checked together. Nose balance weight was added and secured with white glue and the fuselage halves were glued together. The fuselage is split into a forward and a rear assembly, so that the cockpit area is to one part and exhaust detail which fits in the rear part. These were then glued together.

 The lower wing is one piece and there are two upper wing parts. The wing tip tanks have a print that fits inside a slot at each wing tip. These tanks also exhibit a high level of detail.

 Undercarriage and air brakes are also well detailed that continue to add much to the finished model. The air brakes can be assembled in the closed or deployed position and there are decals details to the inside of these in the event they are left open.

 Very few spots require filler, particularly at mid fuselage to the underside. The only tricky part during the assembly was fitting the bracket that holds the nose wheel well doors together at the centre (part C4). I also found that the best way to fit the intake splitter plates (C9 and C10) was first to put these in their respective place where it is held by C-22 at each side then apply glue from inside the fuselage open section.


 When it comes to the color schemes dictated my only reservation is with regards to the yellow wing tip tanks and the rear fuselage area on two of the suggested side views. I have checked on line and downloaded several photos of T-33 in Japanese service and to my surprise none of these, which came from same squadron, had yellow areas and wing tip tanks. My conclusion is that these were all day-glow orange and what could have been misleading was that these would eventually turn yellowish due to extremes of weathering, particularly in hot weather. To play safe I picked a T-33 I spotted on line and which I could make from the decal sheet provided, so my fancy fell on No 205.


This was an enjoyable build. The only extra bit I added was the tiny ‘L’ shaped antenna located under the nose that I replaced with one made from metal wire. I recommend the kit to anyone with an attraction to jet trainers or those interested in post war colourful Japanese aircraft.

Carmel J. Attard

March 2015

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