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North American RA-5C Vigilante - Warpaint Series No. 97


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North American RA-5C VIGILANTE


Warpaint Series No.97



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It was a pleasant surprise for me when I found that Guideline Publications had brought out the North American RA-5C Vigilante in their Warpaint series. It is produced by Charles Stafrace and is compiled in what is now their easily recognised and highly respected format of high resolution photo cover and with an average of 62 pages of text, photos, illustrations and pull-out general arrangement plans to 1:72 scale. This volume, which is number 97 in the series, is produced to Guidelines' excellent standards with a fine mix of historical narrative and interspersed with beautifully illustrated profile drawings by Richard J. Caruana; plus sheets of informative data on versions, units and air-wings, including their deployments.

This aircraft is one of those from the era of hi-vis colour markings and the book is a boon for those modellers who wish to finish their Vigilante build with colourful unit and wing markings. Having said that, the Vigilante could be classed as a bit of an odd-ball in that it had many 'first of type' features but also had an unpopular record with its crews. As Charles states in his introductory paragraph "The North American RA-5C Vigilante was a paradox, introducing aerodynamic, technological and electronic features that were state-of-the-art at the time of its introduction and which were to become standard characteristics in the combat aircraft that followed it." however it was not a popular aircraft with its crews as it cited as being very difficult to land on an aircraft carrier with the high approach speed resulting in a number of ramp strikes and associated losses of aircraft and crews.

Most pages contain descriptive narratives detailing the history, advancements and variants that evolved and are interspersed with good quality colour and black/white photographs, plus illustrated with fine colour profile drawings which are professionally produced by Richard J. Caruana. A few also have data tables containing informative facts such as the specifications and dimensions of each type.

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As I have already mentioned, the book contains some beautifully illustrated profile drawings of the Vigilante. Each profile depicts a specific aircraft in full colour livery and markings. Beside each profile there is a narrative which describes the serial, squadron and location for the aircraft at the particular date described. In many cases, alongside the narrative is an image of the unit badge.

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Articles contained within the chapters give a useful insight into the development of the early pre-production airframes, again with fine colour images, and describes the efforts and issues that progressed with it becoming accepted as the RA-5C VIgilante.

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There are over 50 colour photographs of aircraft within this 62 page book and another 60 or so black and white photographs also. In addition there are over 35 full colour profile view illustrations of individual airframes.

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The pages are interspersed with tabulated data inserts, as with the one below detailing the buNo serials and their designators. Around the inserts the historical narratives continue and are complemented with photographs, many in colour, to further enhance the referencing of the these aircraft for the model enthusiast.

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Each book in the Warpaint Series is well known for having a set of scale plans of the subject aircraft and this edition is no exception. The pull out plan is A3 size and is printed on both sides with line drawings, giving plan and profile details of the A-5 in diagrammatic detail and is printed to 1:72 scale.


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Along with the excellently produced profile illustrations and individual narrative, there is also an enlarged imprint of the unit/wing emblem (if carried) for that aircraft. The extra detailing here is of great help to those possibly seeking to make their own decals if none currently exist.

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Additional tabulated data sheets provide where, and when these aircraft were deployed as with the table below that provides information on the ships or stations they were allocated to, for what period and their associated tail codes.


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All modelling enthusiasts have a desire to know more and Guideline do this by adding walkaround style photo images, detailing areas close in such as the cockpit, instrument panels and wheel wells etc.


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Conclusion


Another fine book from Guideline Publications, detailing the markings and colour schemes of this famous aircraft. The illustrations are complemented by good historical narratives which flows nicely around a multitude of photgraphs and finely drawn illustrations. This is yet another book which should become an essential reference work on the RA-5 Vigilante alongside the modelling bench.

Review sample courtesy of


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