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T-33 Kit

Platz 1/72 T-33 Shooting Star Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2012 Manufacturer Platz
Subject T-33 Shooting Star Scale 1/72
Kit Number AC-6 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (Yen) ¥2310

First Look

T-33 Kit
T-33 Kit
T-33 Kit
T-33 Kit

The Lockheed T-33 was a two-seat derivative of the F-80 Shooting Star. Designed to provide pilots with a suitable transition trainer from piston-powered fighters into the new jet-powered F-80, the T-33 (initially designated TF-80C) fulfilled the mission quite effectively. So effectively that it became the standard advanced trainer for over 10 years as new pilots graduated from primary flight school and flew the T-33 as their first exposure to turbine-powered flight. These pilots would go on to fly the century series fighters, the B-47/B-52/B-58, as well as the many airlifters like the KC-135. The US Navy operated the T-33 as well (designated TV-1) and the type was widely exported around the world to help other nations make the transition into turbine-powered flight. Over 6,500 T-33s were produced before flight training moved on to the T-37 and T-38.

Here is another beautiful kit from Platz. This is a 1/72 scale T-33 Shooting Star and it is definitely a new tooling. Molded in gray styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees plus a single clear canopy.

The exterior surface detailing is scribed, though the scribing is a bit heavy for this scale. Nevertheless it shouldn't pose any issues for building or painting. The cockpit is nicely appointed with a pair of 'bang' seats (early ejection seats) and decals are provided for the instrument panels and side consoles.

The tail section is molded separately with the seam at the maintenance break (the tail on the full-scale aircraft is removable to allow access to the engine, a feature no longer designed into modern fighter aircraft).

While the flight control surfaces and flaps are all molded neutral/closed, the speed brakes are posed open. The landing gear is nicely done there is some good thought that went into the design of the landing gear door installation so that it captures the details of the real aircraft while providing stronger mounting for the parts themselves. The mounting tabs for the tip tanks could have been done a little better to provide better strength and a more fool-proof alignment of the tanks on the tips.

The canopy is molded as one piece with the windscreen, so if you want to pose the aircraft with the canopy raised, you'll have to do some careful surgery.

Markings are provided for nine examples in JASDF service:

  • T-33, 81-5360, 304 TFS, Tuiki AB, 1992
  • T-33, 61-5206, 305 TFS, Hiyakuri AB, 1978-1992
  • T-33, 91-5406, 103 TFS, Chitose AB, 1959-1968
  • T-33, 81-5378, 3rd AW, Komaki AB, 1959-1968
  • T-33, 81-5360, 304 TFS, Tuiki AB, 1977-1995
  • T-33, 81-5360, 301 TFS, Hiyakuri AB, 1973-1985
  • T-33, 61-5206, Aggressor Group, Tuiki AB, 1981-1995
  • T-33, 81-5378, 5 TTS, Komaki AB, 1978-1995
  • T-33, 91-5406, 203 TFS, Chitose AB, 1964-1995

I don't know if there was an error in the decals but it looks like 81-5360 was in several places during overlapping time periods. The decals are nicely done with all of the markings in perfect register and a complete set of airframe stenciling also included. The second tail number for 91-5406 is also added on a separate correction sheet in this set (not shown).

This is a nicely done kit and finally provides a more detailed option in this scale. While several companies have produced the T-Bird in 1/72 in the past, it looks like Platz has produced the best in this scale so far.

For more information about this set and the other releases from Platz Hobby, visit their website at

My sincere thanks to Platz Hobby for this review sample!