Fairey Gannet AS.1 Carrier-Borne Anti-Submarine Search Plane (original artwork)
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Fairey Gannet AS.1 Carrier-Borne Anti-Submarine Search Plane (original artwork)

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First flying in 1949, the Fairey Gannet boasted the "Double Mamba" twin engine, which powered the plane's two contra-rotating propellers.  For long, anti-submarine missions, one of these could be stopped in order to conserve fuel. Besides marine patrols, the Gannet was later pressed into service as an electronic warfare platform, and a cargo plane. Of course, like any carrier-based plane, the Gannet had foldable wings, but rather then being hinged at one point, the Gannet's wings had two folds that collapsed them into a 'Z' shape when stored.

One of Koike's great strengths is finding ways to make aircraft look their best, even when they may not be particularly great-looking planes.  This dynamic view of the lumpy Gannet must be included as one of his finest efforts in that category.  "While she probably lumbered, the plane looks rather ferocious and determined, plus there's that big belly which no doubt has something scary hidden within.  I sure wouldn't want to have something like that after me."  A close examination of this painting reveals remarkable levels of detail -- down to the individual instruments -- within the cockpit.

This original painting is acrylic on heavy art board.  The board measures 54cm x 39cm, and the painted area is approximately 45cm x 33.5cm.