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1/32 Czech Models T-33A (CT-133)


ALF18
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I'm about to start a fun project. A few years ago, Czech Models came out with a 1/32 T-33 model. It has lots of goodies included, which I'll describe soon.

 

I'm building the model as a thank you to Al Pelletier, from Vancouver Island, for his hospitality. Al was an AESOP (Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator) in the Sea King, Argus, and Aurora. His first military jet rides were in the T-33, in Portage la Prairie, back in the 60s. He's busy searching for decal options, and we'll figure out what natural metal scheme he wants. I'll be doing this one just like my CF-104D, in kitchen foil.

The kit has beautiful, colourful instructions.j5n14A0.jpg

 

Instructions have the same art as the box top. As you can see from page 1, it has colour PE for the instrument panels and some other cockpit parts, as well as resin for the seats, wheels, and other parts.

Yd02LsO.jpg

 

The PE is really nice.

Lydovxl.jpg

 

Here's a little peek inside, showing the resin parts pouch and other stuff.

6bfMRIK.jpg

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Full disclosure. I know the T-33 well from the inside. When holding over for 6 months between phases of my CF-5 training, in the summer of 1986 (yes, when Top Gun first came out), I flew about 300 hours in the mighty T-Bird at Base Flight, Cold Lake, Alberta.

XTVvWKo.jpg

It was a quirky old bird, older than I was. The placards all indicated manufacturing dates in the mid 1950s. The instruments were old, including the J-8 attitude indicator, which we called the 'bowling ball.' It was black, and precessed (lost its vertical orientation) constantly. Do a 30-degree banked turn for more than a minute, and it would lean about 5 degrees into the turn after you rolled out. I used the techniques I'd learned from flying from the right seat of the Tutor (as an instructor), to fly partial panel and constantly second-guess the old attitude indicator. The T-Birds in Canadian service underwent some avionics upgrades right before we retired them, which was our usual tactic. Invest millions into an old fleet, then get rid of them shortly afterward.

This one will be the old-style instrument panel, like this one. Note the J-8 attitude indicator, second from right in the top row (next to the engine RPM gauge).

 

YmW33EE.jpg

Here I've glued the first layer of PE onto the main instrument panels. Still on the PE sheet, you can see the top portions. The keen-eyed among you will notice that the PE is all black, while the Canadian panel is a gull gray colour with black instruments. Given the quality of the PE, I decided to go with it anyway, despite the slight inaccuracy in colour.

LflMMOl.jpg

 

The instructions in this kit, while rich in colour, cite part numbers that are somewhat fictional.

It looks simple enough. Find part EA 21, then glue PE 3 and 12 to it, followed by PE 1 and 11.

Well, the PE has the numbers on it (as you can see from the above picture). The sprues don't.

TeFmzON.jpg

 

 

First of all, the EA sprue doesn't exist. There are two E sprues, one labelled T-33 (in this pic), and the other one that says F-80 (its sister kit).

kaMPnax.jpg

 

There are no part numbers on the sprues that I could find. Here are the rudder pedals from the T-33 E sprue. Luckily, the parts are unique enough that they're easy to find on each sprue.

FKoX9fO.jpg

 

 

I'll use the PE, plus some paint, to make the cockpit a relatively close match. You can see in this picture (of the back seat) that the Canadair placard is there. The panel is gull grey (I'm using Tamiya XF-25, same colour as the CF-104 cockpit), while the switches and knobs are black, red, and silver.

Today's ergonomic engineers would have a stroke looking at the layout inside this beast. Figure out the worst place to put a switch, and sure enough that's where it is.

For example, the lever that shuts off the hydraulic power to the ailerons is on the lower left panel, by the pilot's left thigh. It's a simple forward for on, and pull back the handle to shut off the hydraulics. Oh, but be careful - in the same place, just above or below it, is a very similar handle that is used to shut off the high-pressure fuel supply to the engine. Pull it aft, and the engine dies. How many times did a pilot kill his own engine instead of shutting off aileron boost? Probably far more often than the official records would say, because that kind of embarrassing mistake is best remedied by a quick inflight relight, and kept quiet.

dC33M69.jpg

 

The seats will look somewhat like this one. I forget which museum I took this picture in, it's been so long. And yes, the seats are every bit as uncomfortable as they look to be.

nRk1QSK.jpg

 

Progress soon.

ALF

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Cockpit coming along. I've put together a lot of the PE on the side walls, and chopped the resin canopy lock/unlock assembly from its blocks.

9Ud6XbF.jpg

 

I used Lumocolor permanent markers for the black colour of the toggle switches, the red of the guarded switches, and a Pilot brand metallic silver pen for the silver switches and buttons. I bent the PE for the map cases a bit open, to enhance their 3D appearance. 

UoRnqdp.jpg

 

Here's the canopy lock/unlock assembly. Only the front seater can lock and unlock the canopy, which is a good thing.

YAyeyBp.jpg

 

Now for the long, painful task of chopping the resin ejection off their moulding blocks without damaging them. Much as I love the detail of resin, I hate chopping off the moulding blocks.

ALF

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That looks like a fantastic kit - makes me want to deviate from my "I build jets in 1/48" rule...  And definite kudos for the proper fighter pilot mustache in the photo.  Going to be following this one....

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18 hours ago, ALF18 said:

 

Yd02LsO.jpg

 

 

 

Great start ALF love that all your builds have personal history and that you share it with us. 

 

Fun fact this kit is kinda like the classic airframe kits, the part number are in the instructions 1st page like you posted. Its also shoing witch on is e(a) sprue 

 

Cheers

 

Edited by Neo
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12 hours ago, Alex said:

That looks like a fantastic kit - makes me want to deviate from my "I build jets in 1/48" rule...  And definite kudos for the proper fighter pilot mustache in the photo.  Going to be following this one....

Back in '86, the mustache was obligatory! Even when I flew T-Birds for 6 months, I kept my 419 Squadron (CF-5 training unit) patches. With mask marks, in Miramar on a Wednesday night when Top Gun just came out, and fighter patches... you do the math! :) Good times were had, and the mustache was an integral part of it lol.

8 minutes ago, Neo said:

Great start ALF love that all your builds have personal history and that you share it with us. 

 

Fun fact this kit is kinda like the classic airframe kits, the part number are in the instructions 1st page like you posted. Its also shoing witch on is e(a) sprue 

 

Cheers

 

Duh! Of course, Neo. Silly me, looking on the sprues themselves for part numbers. Good tip!

ALF

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Fixed the problem with the snapped-off ejection handle. I used some small-gauge wire. My first attempt, I cut off a small length of the wire, then started to bend it. I realized that I needed tools to do that, so I got some small tweezers, squeezed... and the little bit of wire flew away somewhere, and probably will only be found when I'm done this model.

NPBrpOo.jpg

 

My second attempt, I did the bending while the wire was attached to the spool, compared the radius of curve and length with the existing part, then chopped.

WCvWn1a.jpg

 

A little CA glue, and the seat was ready to be finished off.

Q2dAEJc.jpg

 

Only some small touch-ups required, including the silver on the belt buckles.

intpINs.jpg

 

More soon.

ALF

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ALF,

How lovely to see you building something new that has attachment to personal(and colleagues) history.

This should be another epic build to follow.

:thumbsup:

Brilliant  start.

:bow:

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I have this kit in the stash so I'm following with interest. A great start to what I've heard can be a tough build in places.

 

Cheers,

 

Tom

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Thanks for your support, folks. This kit is not simple, but I'm hoping to wrestle it into submission.

This is one part where I have to be patient. I did some dry-fitting of the seats into the rail assemblies. Those assemblies (you can see them on the cockpit floor, with the solid backs) are tricky because there is no clear guide for where to glue them. That is true for much of this kit. No such thing as locating pins, and sometimes not even a ridge to give a clue. The instructions are not super clear either.

I've assembled the nose gear well (top left), painted the wheels (background), and finished the pre-assembly of the side panels (left and top right).

Why the patience? Because I have to glue one thing in place, wait for it to dry solidly, then do the next step. Otherwise, it falls apart like a house of cards.

Right after this picture, I glued the left sidewall into place, and started to fiddle with the seats. When I did that with the rear seat, I found that the silver part at the bottom of the left side wall interfered with the seat. I jiggled it into place, and promptly broke the seal on the glue holding the two rear rails in place. Grr. Those silver parts look like they're supposed to be the landing gear handles. Yes, one of the worst possible places for a landing gear handle ever. To add to the problem, the gear sometimes had a nasty habit of collapsing if the handle was not clicked properly into place in the down position. 

That's why, after selecting gear down, it was standard procedure to do a 'shake test' by jiggling the landing gear handle to make sure it didn't pop up and out of the down position. 

RMeJ1j1.jpg

 

More soon, as things dry and become more solid. My biggest concern right now is how will the tub assembly fit into the fuselage. I see some ridges as guides, but the width of the tub will be important. If it is too wide or too narrow (i.e. if I've installed the side panels slightly wrong), then it won't hold or might cause the fuselage not to close properly.

ALF

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