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Collect Aire 1/48 RA-5C Vigilante Kit Build Review

By Fotios Rouch

Date of Review August 2009 Manufacturer Collect Aire
Subject North American RA-5C Vigilante Scale 1/48
Kit Number - Primary Media Resin, White Metal, Vac
Pros Was only RA-5C kit before Trumpeter's release Cons Accuracy, decals
Skill Level Expert MSRP (USD) Out of Production


Back in the late 90’s the Vigilante would consistently make the top 10 most wanted plastic kit lists and was even the subject of an April fools fake announcement by the one who shall remain nameless!

Before the arrival of the Trumpeter kit, the only way to have a Vigilante in one’s collection was to build the Collect-Aire resin kit.

The Collect-Aire Vigilante is not an easy build. It requires patience and planning. Each individual part needs to be prepared by filling pinholes, sanding, polishing, detailing, etc. This was the standard process for most resin kits from the 90s.

I chose to add more detail than the kit offers. There is no end to how much you can superdetail any kit so you need to decide when to stop. Since I chose to pose my Vigilante in a canopies up position I wanted to improve on the interior detail. The Aerofax publication on the Vigilante was very valuable for this project.

I used styrene stock, fine wire, and Reheat photo-etch cockpit detail parts for the cockpit. Cockpit work took a while to complete but I felt that it was worth it. I have included pictures of the cockpit before priming, after priming and after painting to show the amount of work that went into it.


Some more detail work went into the landing gear where I added brake lines and some more wheel well detail.


I used brass rod and tubing to reinforce the tail and elevator joints.


I used the kit decals which went down ok but were a bit matte and fragile. When the decal was taking place, I guess there was no info on pilots names so for pilot’s name we get the name of Collect-Aire proprietor! I thought it was funny and so I left it alone.


The kit looks ok when finished and definitely looked fine when I completed it many years ago. It is not accurate in length and it is difficult to pinpoint where the missing portions are but it appears that they are along the forward portion of the fuselage. Back then it was the only option and I am glad I built it. The Trumpeter kit is not accurate in the forward portion of the fuselage either but that is another article for another time.