1/72nd Trumpeter N. American RA-5C Vigilante,USN
This is my first first attempt at building a Trumpeter kit and I chose a good one. This project started back in 2012 for the ARC 100th Anniversary USN Group Build. It was one of several projects that was started for that GB, this representing the USN during the Cold War period. This was the only project in the GB that didn’t get finished. So I dabbled on it off and on for the last 2 years until finally finishing it this weekend.
The A-5A Vigilante was first developed as a nuclear strike capable aircraft for the USN as part of the nuclear triad. To replace the Skywarrior ironically. This role was very short. First flight took place in August 1958. A requirement that was first proposed in 1953 for a supersonic carrier borne aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons. At the time the largest and most complicated aircraft to operate off the carrier. Powered by 2 GE J-79 turbojet engines, the same engines that powered the F-4 Phantom. The unusual bomb bay design was internal and located between the engines. The tail cone would eject to allow the weapons to slide back and drop away from behind the aircraft.
The Vigilante had a crew of 2, pilot, BN and later the RAN,recon/attack navigator. The called a “heavy” when clean the RA-5 was quite agile and fast, fighters had a hard time to keep up with it. Which also made it extremely difficult to trap for inexperienced and unwary pilots when landing. The A-5B added an extra set of hard points on the wings, internal fuel tanks were added which gave it the distinctive hump in the dorsal area of the fuselage.
The Reconnaissance version, increased wing area, and the recon canoe pallet under the fuselage to house the cameras,sensors and equipment. The RA-5C retained the AN/ASB-12 bombing system that in theory it was still able to carry weapons although it never did in service. The Vigilante served on until it’s retirement in 1979 with RVAH-7, out of NAS Key West.
The Trumpeter kit is like a 48th scale kit shrunk down to 72nd scale. It’s not like the old Revell or Hasegawa kits which are still decent but not as complicated. Lot’s of parts in this kit. I used Eduards zoom set to enhance a pretty detail cockpit which is actually pretty good as it it is. This is one cockpit that deserves to be viewed with the canopies open. Despite the amount of parts it really goes together quite well. The parts call out and process is pretty good. The nose gear design has it installed before the fuselage halves are cemented together, don’t really care about that too much as it leads to a chance of breaking, though it is quite sturdy. Seam work on the tail cone to tail around exhaust cones really needs a lot of cleanup. The canoe hides the center seam when that gets installed. Engraved panel lines may be a little deep but some may not like that but it is what it is. Using Floquil Reefer White for the under surfaces and flaps and tail. Aeromaster Lt Gull Grey for the upper surfaces. MM steel for exhaust cones, Alclad Steel for the tail cone. The markings are Superscale Decals for RVAH-14, flying off the USS Independence (CV-62) in 1973. Now I can recall why I didn’t finish the Vigilante in time was I couldn’t find any decals other than what the kit provided. No problem finding AM decals in 48th scale, heck of a time finding a set in 72nd scale. Overall a fun challenging kit to build. This Vigilante is large. Even larger than the F-105 in 72nd scale. Looks great parked next to the F-8 and Skyraider which it shared a flight deck at one time. Thanks for viewing.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.