Descended from the Lockheed P-80, the T-33 made its first flight in 1948 and was used for several decades by most of the Western air forces to learn how to fly jet aircraft. Even today, many remain in service. I always see a few examples each summer in the warbirds show at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.
Platz’s T-33 Shooting Star has some interesting features, like a split fuselage, detailed interior, and markings for five Japanese air force aircraft.
Building the interior was straightforward. The instructions do not call out the decals for the instrument panel, but they are included. While decals are provided for the seats and interior walls, no decal or photoetched-metal seat belts were included. Since the canopy allows easy viewing of the interior, you may want to make up your own seat belts. Also, you’ll need to add weight to the nose; this model is tail-heavy with the wheels installed.
The canopy is a single piece, so you would have to cut off the windscreen to show the canopy open.
Assembling the tail section, I noticed a gap between the right side and the vertical stabilizer that needed filling. Once finished, I matched up the back half with the fuselage front and found a slightly larger back half. That’s harder to smooth out.
However, since there’s no engine, to get a better fit of the fuselage aft and forward sections, I suggest that you glue and smooth the back halves to the front halves before installing the interior.
I painted the exterior with Tamiya bare metal silver (AS-12), the fuel tanks Gunze Sangyo orange, and the interior Testors interior black and gull gray. The markings I used were for a scheme applied to mark the 50th anniversary of Tsuki air base. The decals were quick to stick and hard to move into place, but needed decal solvent to persuade them to lay down over the rounded surfaces.
I built this kit in 10 hours, but I would recommend it to intermediate modelers.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2012 FineScale Modeler.