1/48 Academy T-33A Trainer

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on Nov 8 2018



Ive always liked the visual simplicity of the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, which was modified after the Second World War into a trainer, the T-33, to introduce new pilots to jet power, of the subsonic variety. The rakish swept wing of later designs (e.g. F-86, F-100, etc.) was absent with these first generation jets. It was just as well, as the swept wing revealed concepts like compressibility and the shock wave that required new equations to understand and design alterations to minimize the adverse effects of supersonic flight.

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I had an effortless time assembling this Academy gem: all parts were designed and tooled to literally fall into place with little or no gap or flash. The cockpit consoles had raised details to allow detailing and avoid use of decal type depiction of dial size and location. Only the seats were relatively barren, but I had to remind myself via photos that the seats on early jets were bare-bones functional. I added seat belts and shoulder restraints using Tamiya masking tape, cut to scale width.

As said, I built this kit out of the box. I used a light application of Ammo/Mig black wash in recessed lines for weathering, as these trainers were rather well maintained, what with the schools of pilots using these aircraft requiring regular maintenance.

The kit even saved me the expense of buying any aftermarket decal sheets, as the decals included those for the 318th FIS, based at McCord AFB, near Ft. Lewis, Washington. I rather like the blue-toned starburst tail emblem and the two-tone blue arrow motif on the wing tanks. But take note! Academy goofed on the two-tone blue arrow decals: the upper half is to be a light blue; the bottom is a dark blue. The decal sheet, however, is not faithful to the colors on both sides. Academy printed the decals for the port (left) side with the dark blue on the upper half; the starboard side decal is correct. You cannot flip them around or apply them backward (or else the arrow will point in the opposite direction on one side)! This is a minor annoyance; Id still recommend this kit for a good looking T-33A.

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text by Carl Jarosz