|PRICE:||2090 yen from Platz Hobby|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star is an American-built jet trainer aircraft. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948, piloted by Tony LeVier. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 starting as TP-80C/TF-80C in development, then designated T-33A. It was used by the U.S. Navy initially as TO-2 then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. While there are no more military T-33s still in active service (with the possible exception of Bolivia), the type is very popular with the jet warbird crowd. Many T-33s spent over 40 years on active service before being retired.
The T-33 is almost synonymous with Western jet trainers with dozens of nations operating the type. It was built in considerable number in Canada by Canadair and in Japan by Kawasaki, both nations operating the type well beyond the USAF.
The T-33 has been seeing some popularity in the last few years. Prior to this resurgence, the only T-33s kitted in 1/72 were by Hasegawa (one of their first generation kits) and Heller. Both were from the 60s and 70s. A few years back, Sword released their T-33 as part of their Shooting Star series, all of which are short run kits and all of which sold very well.
This is probably the fifth or sixth boxing from Platz, and judging by the labeling of some of the sprues, it will also be part of a Shooting star series. Of the four main sprues, two are specific to the T-33. Typical of Platz kits, the molding is top notch. The cockpit is very well done with raised detail on the instrument panels and decals to put over them if one so wishes. The seats appear to be the proper version. This is all covered by a one-piece canopy.
Since this is to be part of a series of kits, it is not surprising that the fuselage is modular. It is split about where the real aircraft is divided to gain access to the engine. There is, of course, no engine in this boxing, but there is a lot of detail on the inside of the fuselage that hints at something like this in the future. There are blanking plates for the engine intakes and a nice, long tailpipe for the exhaust.
Landing gear are well molded with all the appropriate struts. You also get separate speed brakes that can be molded open. As these usually bled down after the engine was shut off, it is an appropriate option. No indication of nose weight is give in the instructions, but wise modelers will add some just to be sure. From the look of things, this kit is not designed to be built gear up.
Instructions are very nicely illustrated and provide Gunze paint references as well as Model Master and FS 595 when appropriate. The instructions are mostly in Japanese so any advice given during the build will be illegible to many. The sheet provides markings for a single aircraft at two times in its life. One is the box photo aircraft celebrating 40 years and the other is the same plane prior to the repaint. Nite that the outer tanks are da-glo orange and not international orange. Both aircraft are painted silver and not bare metal. I have included some photos of both planes. One shows the box photo plane without the tip tanks so you might want to consider that option when building this kit. Decals are superbly done and include instruments along with an extensive stencil suite. You will also notice that you do not need to paint any of the special markings as everything you need, including the canopy surround, is part of the decal sheet.
Those wanting a most interesting special marking for a T-33, and one I did not know had been done, so that is a treat, this would be an excellent opportunity.
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