Hobbycraft 1/48 T-33 Shooting Star


HC 1548


$14.98 MSRP


Two options


Scott Van Aken




It could be said that more post-WW2 jet pilots have flown the T-33 than nearly any other jet trainer. Developed from the standard F-80C, the T-33 is actually faster than the fighter from which it was developed. This has as much to do with the lengthened nose promoting improved air flow to the engines as any other thing. Flown by countless countries throughout the world, there are still T-33s flying in a very few military forces, including the Canadian AF, who has a few with their test squadron. Thanks to its uncomplicated and rugged construction, the T-33 is a favorite amongst jet warbird enthusiasts.



Thanks to Hobbycraft, we have a second option to the old Testors/Hawk kit when it comes to the T-33. Though the kit has been around for nearly a decade, it is still a good one and comes in several boxings. This particular one is for a Korean War version. However, here is where things get a little confusing, at least for this reviewer. The kit has the type of tip tanks that were more common for the F-94A in that they hang from the underside of the wing tips instead of fitting on the ends. For that, a new sprue with the 265 gallon  tanks and wing tips is provided. Also provided is a sprue with bombs and rockets. Now I've not a lot of references on the T-33, but it seems to me that the weapons are more for the AT-33 than a regular T-33. The AT-33 was developed for South and Central American countries that needed a trainer with some limited attack capabilities and wasn't built until after the end of the Korean War. The AT-33 had the larger Fletcher tip tanks that are not provided with this kit. Now I was able to find two photos of T-33s with the 265 gallon tanks; one was a very early Canadian T-33 and the other an ATC  TF-80C. None of my references show Korean War era T-33s so if anyone can help in this regard, I'd appreciate it.

Getting back to the kit, it is rather well detailed with the usual engraved panel lines, except for the aft panel line on the gun access door. I think this is for an RT-33 or other variant planned by Hobbycraft. There are some areas with ejector pin marks, notably the wheel wells, flaps and gear door interiors. The transparencies are a tad thick and the main canopy seems a bit on the flat side, though it could be an optical illusion caused by the somewhat thick plastic. The interior is OK, but nothing outstanding. Those wishing a more detailed interior should look into an aftermarket set. You also have the option of adding nose guns.

Instructions are typical mid-Hobbycraft, offering no color information during the construction phase so you are on your own in terms of seat, interior and wheel well colors. Other than that, the instructions are pretty good. Markings are provided for two aircraft. One is the box art plane from the 51 FIW. The yellow band will need to be painted as only the black borders are provided. The other is from the 21 FIS. The tanks and nose are red and will have to be matched to the decal. The tail stripes provided on the decal are much thicker than those shown in the decal placement diagram. A medium green anti-glare panel decal is provided, though you may wish to paint this on. Decals are well printed and glossy. Since this is a 'black box' printing of this kit, these decals should work well.


So there you have it. A nice T-33 kit, but with some research needed to ensure that all the bits actually are pertinent to the type being kitted. One thing for sure, with those tip tanks, you will have to do some looking to find something that matches and I doubt if any aftermarket sheets will be useful unless you are doing a Fletcher tank equipped plane.

Kit courtesy of me and my constant digging through the vendor's tables at swap meets!


Shooting Star, T-Bird and Starfire by Rhodes Arnold, 1981

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