North American RA-5C Vigilante Pitot Tube and AOA Probe

Published: June 24th, 2014     
Reviewed by: Matthew Cottrell - IPMS# 48174
Scale: 1/72
Company: Master Model
Price: $4.99
Product / Stock #: AM-72-062
Product provided by: Master Model

Master Model, maker of fantastic turned-metal details, has released a new set of 1/72 probes for the RA-5C Vigilante. The Vietnam-era RA-5C, a supersonic nuclear bomber turned capable reconnaissance aircraft, features a prominent pitot tube with multiple diameter changes along its length. Master's set includes both the complicated pitot tube and an AOA (angle of attack) probe. The set can be used on any 1/72 RA-5C kit, and should be an outstanding upgrade. In this review, I've compared the parts to the Trumpeter kit.

Both the pitot tube and AOA probe are rendered in turned-brass, and they seem impossibly small for the detail present. The Master pitot tube is significantly longer than Trumpeter's part, and it seems to more accurately match the 1/1 aircraft. Master has also accurately captured the multiple diameter changes of the pitot tube. There really is no way in which the kit part can compare to Master's replacement. Installation of the pitot tube into the kit's nose is easy, as it slides in with no resistance. A bit of CA glue would attach it firmly, however, as can be seen in the photos, there is a fairly large step between the nose and the pitot tube. This will require some sanding of the kit's nose to create a smooth transition. A second option would be installing the kit's pitot tube, trimming the majority of it off, drilling a hole for the Master pitot tube, and then installing the Master tube into the base of the kit's pitot tube to eliminate the step altogether. Both methods will require a bit more work than is typical when using Master Model's parts.

On Trumpeter's RA-5C the AOA probe, on the right side of the aircraft's forward fuselage, is represented by molded-on nub. The actual AOA probe is a thin metal sensor that tapers to a point. Master Model has accurately captured this pointed shape, which is attached to a large peg. To use the AOA probe the molded-on nub is drilled out, the AOA probe's peg is inserted into the hole, and once the peg is flush with the fuselage, simply secured from behind with a drop of CA glue. This leaves only the sharp AOA probe protruding from the side of the fuselage.

Once again, I'm very pleased by Master Model's product. This is their fourth set I've had the pleasure to review, and I've also purchased replacement pitot tubes for my personal projects. The replacement pitot tubes are very reasonably priced, and they add a delicate, durable, and in-scale touch to help your builds really stand out. They're highly recommended.

My thanks to Master Model for supplying these probes, and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.

  • Instructions
  • Detail parts
    Detail parts
  • Comparison to kit part
    Comparison to kit part
  • Pitot tube assembled
    Pitot tube assembled
  • AOA probe compared to kit part
    AOA probe compared to kit part

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