WOW340 Kawasaki Ki.61 ‘Tony’

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The Kawasaki Ki-61 was a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service. The Japanese Army designation was “Army Type 3 Fighter”.  Allied intelligence initially believed Ki-61s were Messerschmitt Bf 109s and later Italian Macchi C.202’s, which led to the Allied reporting name of “Tony”, assigned by the United States War Department. It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled inline V engine and over 3,000 Ki-61s were produced.

The Ki-61 looked so different compared to the usual radial-engined Japanese fighters that the Allies at first believed it to be of German or Italian origin, possibly a licence-built Messerschmitt Bf 109. The new Japanese fighter caused some pain and consternation among Allied pilots, particularly when they found out the hard way that they could no longer out dive and escape as they had from lighter Japanese fighters. General George Kenney the Allied air forces commander in the Southwest Pacific, found his Curtiss P-40s completely outclassed, and begged for more Lockheed P-38 Lightnings to counter the threat of the new enemy fighter.

Our mottled 1/30 scale ‘Tony’ was flown by Captain Teruhiko Kobayashi. Kobayashi was a Japanese fighter pilot during World War II and a flying ace of the Japanese Army Air Force. Initially beginning his flying career as a bomber pilot, he rose to fame when he became the leader of 244th Sentai, making him the youngest Sentai leader in the IJAAF when he took command of it in November 1944. The Japanese ace has recorded over 12 confirmed victories, mainly against the B 29 Superfortress.

This particular version is the “Hien” s/n 3295 is the type “Hei”(C), which has 2 wing mounted imported MG151/20 machine guns and 2 nose mounted 12.7mm machine guns. In the case of his machine, 2 of nose mounted 12.7mm machine guns were removed to improve maneuverability and speed, and the gun openings were covered by leather. Originally, this aircraft wore a natural metal surface with a light blue line on the fuselage as an identification of commander, but one time 244th group moved to their base and at that time camouflage was required. This aircraft was lost in fighting with a B-29 on January 27th, 1945 in the Tokyo area when Captain Kobayashi intentionally rammed a B-29. On that day, he bailed out of his damaged aircraft and survived without major injury. The marking on the fin is the insignia of 244th fighter group. Teruhiko survived the war and reenlisted in the newly formed Japanese airforce, he was killed in 1957 when an American shooting Star fighter he was flying crashed on take off.

We have 4 of these 1/30 scale models available All figures shown are for scale comparison purposes only. This model is supplied with a free sample of RS061B Japanese Officer.

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