August 03, 2014

Random Anime Picture #87: Say Hi, Tony!

For the most part, I really don't much care for Leiji Matsumoto's WWII OVA entitled The Cockpit.  Of the three parts, only the middle one, "Sonic Boom Squadron", is any good.  Which doesn't mean that the other two don't have a bit of eye candy.

This is from part 3, "Knight of the Iron Dragon," and that's a Kawasaki Ki-61 Army Type 3 Fighter, better known as the "Tony".  It was the only Japanese fighter in WWII to use a liquid-cooled inline engine and proved to be pretty good, all in all.  Over 3000 were built, and served all the way until the end of the war.

I still don't recommend The Cockpit, but it's not all that often planes like the Ki-61 get any love.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:42 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 I've read that by the end of the war, the Tony was the only fighter the Japanese had which was still competitive. (The Zero had long since been outclassed by the Hellcat and the Corsair, because American pilots had learned how to exploit its many weaknesses.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 04, 2014 11:16 AM (+rSRq)

2 Of course, by the end of the war Japan's pilots were inferior to America's pilots, due to lack of fuel and thus inadequate training. No plane can surmount that disadvantage.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 04, 2014 11:46 AM (+rSRq)

3 It's the only early-war plane that was still competitive, yes, but not the only Japanese fighter that could fight on an even basis. 

The Kawanshi N1K, better known as "George" was probably at least as good as a Hellcat in both speed and agility, not to mention armor and self-sealing fuel tanks.  It wasn't even with a Corsair, but it was in the same area code.  There just weren't that many made (around 1000 of all types, including the floatplane version that gave birth to the design), and they all suffered from reliability issues.  More were lost to operational problems than to combat.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 04, 2014 12:18 PM (bAT/z)

4

Given that the Tony was powered by a licensed version of the famous Daimler-Benz DB 601 (The same engine used by the most common - and popular - marks of the Bf 109.), it is not surprising that it could hold its' own for so long.  The Italians also licensed the DB 601 and built a capable fighter around it, the Re.2001.

As a side note - Eric Brown regarded the Bf 109 as close enough in performance to a Corsair that victory in combat would depend mainly on the pilot skill and the conditions of battle.  That suggests the same would be true of the Tony, let alone the George. 

Posted by: cxt217 at August 05, 2014 10:20 PM (JwUCI)

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