16 July 2015

Comics Imagi-Nation - Republic of Kampong (Yoko Tsuno, 1985)

I already wrote this post entirely once, but Blogger ate it! So here we go again...

Cover of the book (from which I've taken all the drawings in this post)
In The Cannon of Kra, Yoko Tsuno, the series titular hero and insufferable know-it all female electrical engineer do-gooder Japanese origin is hired to investigate shipments of giant siege canon shells to Kampong where her two usual sidekicks, Vic Video and Pol Pitron, just happen to transport radioactive wastes from the country power plant to an island storage facility...

Caution: spoilers!

  • Kampong is a modern city state in South-East Asia, lying on the coast of the Kra Isthmus (probably on the Eastern one, based on the significant Cambodian diaspora and assuming they "just" crossed the Gulf of Thailand to get to Kampong);
Isthmus of Kra
  • The country is made mostly of islands with a continental part cut in two by a river; 
  • Katao, the capital of Kampong, lies on the right (South assuming an East coast Kampong) bank at the mouth of that river together with Sokmo International Airport and the nuclear power plant;
  • The harbour and oil refinery lie on the left bank and a road and railway tied-arch bridge links them to the city.

  • Kampong economy is based on its oil industry but large Japanese banking concerns are starting to take an interest into the country's wealth;
  • Locally produced and relatively cheap jet fuel has turned the country into a popular hub for airlines

  • Up to the events in the book, two factions coexist relatively peacefully (to the extent of "enemy" fighters intercepting each others, flying in relatively close formation and chatting over the radio) in Kampong;
  • The Republic of Kampong Air Force is shown operating SAR Sea Kings and F-16 (A & B) out of base sharing runways with Sokomoto International Airmport;
RKAF F-16 at Sokomoto AB
  • The rebels fly F-5 out of a base located on one of the islands;
Rebel F-5
  • All aircrafts are painted low-vis grey (with hi-vis orange nose and tail band for the Sea King);
RKAF Sea King
  • The RKAF roundel is white with an horizontal blue isosceles triangle;
  • RKAF (top) and rebel (bottom) roundels and extrapolated matching flags...
  • The rebels have a two half-circles one (white on top of blue, although the orientation of the roundel isn't very consistent through the book);
  • Nothing is known about ground and naval forces.

  • Sakamoto is a former (WW2) Japanese officer turned weapon dealer (selling, at least initially, weapons from IJA cache he was in charge of) and the main figure of the Kampong underworld, he travels around in his personal float zero;
  • The book plot revolves around a Sakamoto sponsored rebel scheme involving the hi-jacking of nuclear wastes shipments in order to make dirty shells for a not-Schwerer-Gustav railway gun (another IJA leftover) and blackmail Kampong government into submission. 
Yoko Tsuno on her way (flying her personal toy jet) to single handedly destroy the "Cannon of Kra"!
 Wargaming in Kampong: 
  • The whole rich city-state in South-East Asia think makes it hard not to think at Singapore;
  • The aircrafts (F-16 and Sea King) might just have been chosen because they where models readily observable in Belgium (the author home country) in an age before the all-the-photographic-documentation-you-can-want-just-one click-away internet;
  • Singapore do fly both the F-16 and F-5 but not the Sea King;
  • Japan does or did operate variants of the F-16 and of the Sea King but not the F-5;
  • At the end of the day, and that's the beauty of imagi-nations, I'd probably mix and match Singapore, Japan and maybe some South Korea ORBATs into a fictional high-tech Asian army boasting both high-end US tech and interesting equally advanced local production depending on miniature availability and personal taste...

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