The Brazilian Air
Force (ForÁa Aťrea Brasileira - FAB) operated 58 T-33 aircraft from 1956
to 1975. Their roles ranged from trainer for the F-80C, ground attack and
even fighter. The TF-33s replaced the F-80s and Meteors in the fighter
role and served until they were, in turn, replaced by the Northrop F-5E
In service they
were painted in overall alumilac (aluminum lacquer or dope), though the
two preserved examples Iíve found pictures of are in pearl grey. The FAB
shifted from using aluminac to grey on their trainers sometime in the late
60ís or early 70ís so it is possible this carried through to the
T-33s. This particular example was used by the 1/14 Aviation Group, based
ís southernmost state,
I bought this kit
on impulse back in 2002. I was looking for decals for a Brazilian P-47 and
instead found Microscale sheet 48-0185 which includes two Brazilian T-33s
and a Bolivian one. Since I like the plane, I got the whole package.
images below to see larger images
This kit shows its
Hobbycraft roots, though it is better than the earlier ones (e.g. Spitfire
XIV and Seafire XV). I found the thick engraved lines; the indifferent fit
of the cockpit and of other parts; the poor fit of the main wheel wells
and wing to be very annoying. I ended up with a lot of filler in the wing
roots to fuselage join, which caused problems later.
The accuracy of
the Microscale sheet was somewhat disappointing as well. The decal for the
1/14 Aviation Groupís blue tail band is too dark, the Southern Cross
representation on the band is poor, the red flash behind the air intakes
is too short, the FAB stars are of the long type when they should be of
the short type, and lastly the legible stencils are all in Spanish: this
is fine for the Bolivian version but not for the Brazilian one.
Then I discovered
FCM Decals and sure enough sheet 48-04 has a T-33 from the 1/14 Aviation
Group. The sky blue tail band is not provided as a decal; instead the
Southern Cross stars are provided on a clear background and they look the
part. The FAB stars are of the right type, but no intake flash is
Painting was a
challenge due to the amount of masking and complications. This was my
first try at Alclad so I started with the wingtip tanks and used glossy
Tamiya X-14 Sky Blue as a base, waited a week and then sprayed Alclad II
Duraluminum. It looked good, then three months later I discovered the
Alclad had cracked badly in one tank. After sifting through conflicting
reports on the Internet I figured I had sprayed too thick a coat of Alclad.
So, off with the paint and on with Alclad II Grey Primer & Microfiller
to be safe.
Things were going
well until the primer gummed up on the airbrush tip and I sprayed what
looked like concrete right into the wing root and fuselage join. Much
cursing ensued, followed by a thorough cleaning of the airbrush. Then lots
of sanding and buffing of the model, which cracked the filler in the wing
join. More putty, more sanding and buffing. I never got the surface to be
smooth again and I came close to tossing the model a couple of times.
this the Alclad went on well, though it peeled off with the primer in a
couple of places while I was doing the intricate masking around the air
intakes. So I let the kit sit for over a week before I continued masking
and had no further problems. The other colors were Tamiya acrylics and I
buffed the flat ones until there was a sheen.
Any acrylic overspray was easy to clean off the Alclad with a little
alcohol. I coated the whole model in Future, decaled, then coated with
Future again. I used Future mixed with Tamiya Flat Base for the flat black
used a mix of the kit decals, FCM for the FAB markings and stencils; and
the intake flash from Microscale. The kitís decals and Microscaleís
went on great. The FCM decals, on the other hand, were nice and thin but
the film was fairly rigid and almost impervious to Micro Sol. They just
did not conform into the panel lines and I damaged the finish in two
places when I added too much Micro Sol. Then I damaged a decal when I
masked and re-touched the tail band. Much fun... a never ending build.
Iím happy to note the current crop of FCM decals look to be much better
than the first one both in detail and film quality.
glad I finished this model, even though its one to be observed from a
distance. My mother thinks the T-33 is the most beautiful airplane ever
built and she was thrilled this model stayed with her in the guest room
during her visit this year.
hereís to persistence and to moms who are into aviation. Happy