Platz 1/72 T-33A Shooting Star (Bicentennial)
KIT #: AC-8
PRICE: 2200 yen  from Platz Hobby
DECALS: One option
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, 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 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.

Now we have a new tool kit 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 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 in Bicentennial markings from the 5041st Tactical Operations Squadron based at Elmendorf, Alaska during 1976. It is basically an overall white and the decal sheet provides the red and blue bits. All of them. You can paint some parts red like the fin, horizontal stabs and tank fins if you wish. For the blue, you could paint the large blue area on the nose as separate white decals are provided if you choose this. However you do it, the presentation will be quite striking. As was typical of many aircraft so painted, the number '76' appears in the serial number..


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.


May 2012

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