T-33A Photoetch Sets

Published on
August 20, 2017
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
Great Wall Hobby
Company: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Product picture

Most modern model kits, although well detailed, could use some aftermarket parts to give the kit that extra “pop” of reality. Eduard has done such an accessory with their “Big Ed” kit for the 1/48 Great Wall Hobby T-33 kit. The “Big Ed” kit actually contains four items: a painted photoetched T-33 interior and exterior detail kit; painted photoetched steel seatbelts for the ejection seats; a photoetched set of landing flaps; and finally, a die-cut mask for the kit.

I started with the interior part of the interior/exterior set. Once bent and glued into place, the panels really add to the realism of the cockpits. I had trouble creating the bends on both photoetch part 10s, which are aircraft form holders. Another deviation that I highly recommend doing is to use the kit’s flat backing on the instrument panel (the kit’s instrument panels are designed as a sandwich, with a decal in the middle). Using the flat backing and Eduard’s instrument panels results in a realistically thin panel. A drop of floor polish on each instrument and it looks ready to fly!

Eduard’s steel seatbelts were the next item I installed, after painting both seats. The T-33 does not normally have the survival pack and parachute (the “cushions” on the ejection seat) installed unless the aircraft is about to go flying. I left out both the pack and parachute on my ejection seats and had very little in the way of fit problems with the seatbelts. Folded correctly (the actual seat belts are approximately three times the thickness of a car seat belt), these seat belts are some of the most realistic replicas that I have seen.

The external part of the interior/exterior set can be tricky. Install part 27 first, as I found the hardest part was fitting parts 23, 24, 25, and 26, all in the main landing gear wheel well. I installed the four parts 33 just before I began painting the model to keep from popping them off of the model. I also recommend paying particular attention on how parts 18 and 19 are folded, as it can be possible to fold them backwards. As a final nice detail, the tabs for both of the main gear doors are replaced with a far more realistic hinge, identical to the real aircraft.

To me, the most challenging individual item in this Big Ed kit was the flaps and flapwells. Each flapwell is a delicate and very intricate flat photoetched item. It is easy to break off one of the flapwell ribs if care is not taken. Even though the ribs slide into notches during assembly, gluing the ribs in place keeps them from popping back out (usually at the worst time!). Build the flapwell photoetched parts before tackling the kit’s flapwell preparation. You have to grind off all of the detail that is molded into the flapwells to start with. Dry fitting the finished flapwells revealed that more plastic needed to be removed, bringing the edge to almost paper-thin.

The flaps themselves are another delicate part that can have ribs easily lost. Running down the center of the ribs is a photoetched strip that has several tabs that bend over. Aligning the ribs to the notches within the strip can be frustrating, as the strip bends easily at those notches.

A tip on using the Big Ed masking set-the set shows masking the edges of the main canopy with pre-cut pieces off of the sheet, then masking the rest using masking fluid. I used Tamiya’s masking tape and found it to be a much better way of masking off the canopy prior to painting.

Time and patience will be rewarded when using this Big Ed set for the T-33. While the Great Wall Hobby kit is a good base, using the Big Ed set just adds to the realism and can also be the basis of an even greater build! My thanks go out to Eduard for providing this sample kit for review.


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