Profile Photo
Andrew H
43 articles

Trainer: Lockheed T-33A "T-Bird"Hobbycraft 1/48

June 25, 2022 · in Aviation · · 17 · 1.1K
This article is part of a series:
  1. Trainer: Ryan PT-20 - Testor's 1/48
  2. Trainer: Northrop T-38C Talon II - Trumpeter 1/48
  3. Trainer: Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo – 1/48 Tamiya
  4. Trainer: Curtiss-Wright AT-9 Fledgling, "Jeep" - Dora Wings 1/48
  5. Trainer: Lockheed T-33A "T-Bird" - Hobbycraft 1/48

I'm presenting today another short article for another 50's jet that is now on display in my cabinet. I had no idea I would be on such a 50's jet kick of late, but please bear with me for one more before sharing another prop plane in the coming weeks.

The subject matter a later model Lockheed , often known as a . These aircraft were used as a jet for many years, and by many services, across many nations, and was largely a two-seat design transference of the Lockheed F-80. I initially decided to build this kit as a compliment to my F-80 and Korean War T-33, because though those aircraft had a part in the Forgotten War, I also wanted to highlight the T-33's career as a highly successful jet trainer. Achieving this required a kit with the integrated wing-tip tanks (ala Starfighter), and a good set of decals. The kit selected was Hobbycraft's wildly affordable boxing (also now Academy), and a bespoke T-33 sheet from . The decal decision was not an easy choice, as I also had an older Bare-Metal-Foil sheet with a number of well known US training squadrons.

Due to the fact that I already have a T-33 "on the ground", I decided to build this one wheels up, with a pilot figure in place. I'm not particularly fond of painting faces, and I feel that this shows in the figure. I took the opportunity to customize the pilot's helmet using some spare decals. Displaying the aircraft wheels up also did away with having to display HC's subpar landing gear struts (when compared to Monogram's F-80 components), and overall just made the build much simpler. The gear doors fit surprisingly well, given that the closed position is not an option in the instructions.

For paint, I decided to try something new, and that is Mission Model's Chrome, overtop MR 1500. The MMP Chrome sprays much thinner than Vallejo, and as such you can modulate the silver tones and shading all while spraying the same color. This worked well for what is a homogenously colored aluminum aircraft, and also one that is typically well polished. I thought this would be fitting for my display model, and thus also opted for no practical weathering effects. The paint was sprayed over with X-22, which ultimately changed the look of the MMP Chrome, giving it a more 2D painted effect. I'm sure there are better options to preserve the sheen, but I was not up for experimenting at the time, and besides, I am still happy with the outcome. The decals went on as well as you'd expect Cartograph decals to (save for some shape differences, as this sheet was for the GWH kit), and all was again sealed with X-22 before spraying the anti-glare black and doing minor panel line highlighting.

I hope you like this colorful T-33A, a/c 53-5819 with the 81 TFW, .

Also, my Lockheed family is expecting another arrival at some point in the future:

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. What a beautiful build! The metal looks so good! I am currently struggling with an Airfix Vampire and can only admire that smooth finish. Beautiful!

    • Thanks Felix! If it's any consolation I believe you may be making that Vampire harder than you need to. If I'm not mistaken, those aircraft were lacquered aluminum, so highly monotone. I hope all works out for you.

  2. Nice T-33… it looks great.

  3. Nice to see someone has had success with Mission Models Paints. I don't need a paint that's so finicky it needs its own airbrush. Tried some and returned the rest to the shop, then binned the ones I'd opened.

    Nice result on this - the T-bird always looks good.

    • Thanks Tom, it seems this chrome is a good bit different than their normal line of paints. I've used some of their other colors and they've sprayed fine for me, but they are very fragile, as in if you breathe on them post-painting, they get tacky. All the same, thanks!

  4. Great job, Andrew (@pb_legend). Korean war planes, especially T-33s, are always very cool. Very nice metal finish. I have a couple of these kits lurking somewhere that I hope to build sometime. I got a chance to log an hour in a T-33 just as they were phasing them out. They were a lot of fun to fly.

    • George, what an experience! It would be neat to try to replicate that aircraft as closely as possible when you do get around to building. If not, I have some decals that i can spare, just let me know!

  5. beautiful T-33! Natural metal finish is superb, much better than the results I got using Vallejo

    • David, thanks. Vallejo can be great for achieving varied tones, but on a whole it can be rather 2D unless layered up. I appreciate you dropping by.

  6. Looking superb, Andrew!

  7. Excellent result, Andrew @pb_legend
    She looks amazing in metal.

  8. @pb_legend, That is so nice and she does look great "wheels up". ? I love the stand (any info on that you can share Andrew?) and so appreciate your group photo! Great job! ?

    • Thanks @garybrantley, no secret here... the stand is a GeminiJets stand for 1:200 diecast that I found for a good deal at my LHS (which sells a boatload of die-cast). I hope it helps!

      • Thanks so much for the added info Andrew! I've been contemplating an "in-flight" display for a few years now, and that would be a first for me at that. That sort of presentation is certainly "growing" on me. ?
        Yes, it does help! ?

Leave a Reply