Aircraft, Uncategorized, Vector Art

Cartoon Nose Art

These are examples of some of the kinds of cartoon work applied to the sides of World War Two fighters, in what has come to be known as “Nose Art.”


Post War Piston Engine Power

The US Navy was still finishing-up the combat training of the first Naval Aviators to fly the ferocious new Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat when the Japanese surrendered before they had to face this plane in combat.

The print above depicts the next model along, the Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, shown in post-WW2 markings.  This plane, with its four 20 mm cannon and its stunning speed was a sobering opponent, even as the jet age was eclipsing piston engine power. The F8F-2 Bearcat, with its knuckle-walking stance on the ground, and its blistering performance in flight still astonishes air race spectators to this day.

As with the Bearcat above, the US Navy was wanting to obtain fast interceptors to meet the Japanese threat, and ended up creating this monster, the F2G-1D “Super Corsair,” with its massive, 28 cylinder, Pratt & Whitney R-4360 “corncob” engine and its ridiculous, “pin you to the seat” 4,400 feet per minute rate of climb. Goodyear, building Corsairs under license, was the sole contractor on these outrageous Super Corsairs. This aircraft, built without a tailhook for Marine Corps usage, is shown in the markings it wore while undergoing tests at Pax River. This Super Corsair rendering is also available with a simple white background, since the brick hangar background was developed for use in a calendar image.

Aside from its military usage, this Super Corsair created quite a stir when it showed up on the postwar air racing circuit. Just imagine the performance of an aircraft with an engine that uses 56 sparkplugs. More recently, a rebuilt Super Corsair has been a race-painted as “Number 54,” in authentic red, white, and black livery, in commemoration of an early air racer, and flown in the last few years in competition at Reno, in those original racing colors, down to the single white propeller blade, just like the one that was replaced, and painted white, on that earlier Super Corsair, for races conducted decades ago, in the Cleveland Air Races. Clearly, the racing tradition lives on.

This 24″ x 36″ print shows the last Supermarine Spitfire to be deployed overseas, at the RAF base at Kai Tek, flying combat air patrols over Hong Kong, as things heated up with North Korea and Red China.  The D-Day style “Invasion Stripes” were intended to ensure that these British planes would be identified as “friendlies.”  These powerful, late model Spitfires, with their massive tails and full bubble canopies, would’ve been impossible to imagine when the first Spitfires came on strength with the RAF at the beginning of World War Two.  The Spitfire was one of the most updated, heavily modified aircraft in history.

This 24″ x 36″ print depicts a Korean War era Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Hawker Sea Fury. The Sea Fury, a logical evolution beyond the earlier Hawker Tempest, shown among the RAF fighters, shown on the Commonwealth aircraft  page, represented the British approach to creating their own monster, the very acme of the Royal Navy’s use of piston engine power, as that era was coming to a close. These stunningly powerful planes are still being flown in the National Championship Air Races in Reno each year, some in Commonwealth military markings, and some in over-the-top racing paint schemes.

This 24″ x 36″ two-view print depicts a Korean War era Vought F-4U-5 flown by the pilots of VMF-212, a Marine Corps squadron now called the “Lancers,” but, at that time, known as the “Devilcats,” as depicted in their unit patch, appearing in the upper right-hand corner of this print. Many, many desperately outnumbered (at times, by 10-to-1) American ground pounders owed their very survival to the concentrated use of these planes in the hazardous but necessary Close Air Support role as overwhelming numbers of enemy troops came swarming over the rugged Korean terrain.

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Last Ace of World War Two

The 24″ x 36″ two-view print below is a rendering of the P-47N of 20th Air Force hero 1st Lt. Oscar Perdomo of El Paso, Texas, the final World War Two pilot to make “ace,” shooting down five Japanese aircraft in one day, right before the end of the war.  The name “Lil’ Meatie” and the cartoon refer to Perdomo’s son. This late-model Thunderbolt had both its wingspan and the track of its landing gear expanded, allowing for additional fuel tankage within the wings, a first for the P-47.


P51D Eleen & Jerry

The 24″ x 36″ print below shows the Bluenose “Eleen & Jerry,” flown by Lt. Alden Rigby, who was wingman to both 352nd aces George Preddy and John Meyer, and who has himself, finally, years later, been recognized as an ace, as the record of his air-to-air victories was reviewed. This beautiful P-51D was named for his wife and daughter. I want to thank Alden Rigby for his help with the details on the 352nd’s Bluenose renderings.


Peppermint Tail Mustang Ace Captain John Voll

The two-view 24″ x 36″ below is of the Peppermint Tail Mustang “American Beauty” flown by MTO ace Captain John Voll.


Vought F4U-1D Corsair

Below is an 11.75″ x 36″ print of the Vought F4U-1D Corsair in a Pacific Seascape motif.


P-47D Snortin Bull

Here is a standard, 11.75″ x 36″ print of the P-47D “Snortin’ Bull,” a Republic Thunderbolt used in Ground Attack missions in the ETO. This particular print has a color background, but all the renderings are available with simple white backgrounds.


Commonwealth Aircraft of the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm

Commonwealth Aircraft of the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm:

To start with, here is an American-made Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk in RAF colors, as flown against Axis Powers over the Sahara in the North African Desert Campaign.

Next up, the Spitfire Mk XII shown below was equipped with the massive Rolls Royce Griffon engine, replacing the Merlin found in the early Spitfires. This new generation of Spitfires mounted a four-bladed prop and twin 20 mm cannon, to augment its Browning .303 machineguns. The Mk XII had removable wingtips, allowing this Spit to fly with clipped wings for a better roll rate, for low altitude agility.

Below, in freshly-applied invasion stripes, is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk-XIV-c, also equipped with the Griffon engine, plus a five-bladed Dowty Rotol prop. The RAF was not amused with hit-and-run FW-190 raids, nor with the thousands of V-1 Buzz Bomb launches, which, at one point, were reaching 100 per day, resulting in well over 22,000 mostly civillian casualties, and responded with this, the most muscular of the wartime Spitfires, with a top speed of 446 mph.

And, speaking of the more muscular British aircraft, here is an early model of the massive Hawker Tempest, with its 24-cylinder Napier engine and four 20 mm cannon.  This plane was the scourge of everything from V-1 rockets to German jets, which it would mangle near their Luftwaffe airfields, to German armor, which fell prey to its underwing stores of 60-pound rockets.

Shown below is the first Mustang to be flown to a combat victory. Flying Officer Hollis “Holly” Hills, an American volunteer from Los Angeles, fighting with the RCAF, shot down a German FW-190 in this Allison-powered P-51A while providing air cover for the Canadian commando raid on Dieppe.

In another first, a Canadian pilot, Fred Clarke, in an identical fighter, for whom Hills was flying wingman, may have become the first pilot ever to survive the ditching of a Mustang, when he was shot down over the Channel. The reason this was so unusual is that the large radiator scoop under the belly of these planes tended to cause such terribly sudden deceleration when a plane hit the water that it would really slam the pilot forward, much like hitting a brick wall in a traffic accident. Clarke’s head slammed into the edge of the windscreen framing, fracturing his cheekbone, and dealing him a concussion, and the battered Mustang began to sink into the cold waters of the Channel, all while the vicious battle precipitated by the Raid on Dieppe raged on. The predominantly Canadian Commando group, along with some British Commandos, and a relative handful of American Army Rangers and one RAF radar expert were trying to evacuate, in the wake of a very rough reception, which included German armor.

As the plane sank, an alert, and incredibly brave Canadian Commando, in full battle dress, dove out of his landing craft, swam down and rescued the knocked-out pilot from certain death. Soon after, Clarke returned to his base, and tried to fly another mission, but a pounding headache and blurry vision forced him to relent, and a belated doctor’s examination revealed the pilot’s skull fracture, and he was grounded until he healed-up. Think about this: trying to fly another mission, right after ditching, with a fractured skull, and your oxygen mask and goggles pressing against all of the facial bruising……no wonder they’re called the Greatest Generation.

A fitting historical bookend to the Hollis Hills Mustang is this RCAF Mustang Mk IV (P-51D) flown in the last Allied combat mission over the European Theater, covering the the Allied retaking of Channel Islands, which had been siezed and occupied by German troops earlier in the war.

Below is an 11.75″ x 36″ print of the De Havilland Mosquito Bomber, one of the best, most versatile aircraft of the war.  Unusual in that it was built mostly of wood, its speed and agility allowed it to be used with great success in some of the wildest, riskiest missions ever conceived.  Its twin Rolls-Royce Merlin engines allowed it to get in and get out.

This is a 24″ x 36″ two-view print of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Corsair used to fly top cover during the raids against the German Battleship Tirpitz, as this dreaded vessel lay at anchor in a Norwegian fjord in April of 1944. Knowing that the D-Day Invasion was scheduled for later that June, the Allies did not want to have to worry about the Tirpitz suddenly appearing within range of Allied invasion vessels. The RN FAA made the first operational use of the Corsair from carrier decks, though they’d had to clip the tips of their Corsairs’ wings in order for them to be able to fit (when folded upward for storage) under the low overhead spaces on the British Carriers’ hangar decks, but, aside from creating a more squared-off look to the plane, these clipped wingtips also increased the roll rate, and also allowed pilots to quickly “drop” the plane onto the carrier deck, for a swift and sure, if jarring, landing.

This print is one of six renderings prepared for a very thorough archivist from Down Under. Shown here is a late war P-51K of No. 3 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force, while it was stationed at a captured air base in the north of Italy. Of note is the bare aluminum finish, the humped canopy of the P-51K, the Aero Products prop, and the way the Ozzies tended to lock the inner main gear doors in the closed position, to help keep debris out of the gear bays while the plane was parked. I want to thank “James O.” and No. 3 Squadron, RAAF for diligent help and attention to detailed research while aiding in preparing to do these six renderings. Good on you!


Luftwaffe Aircraft Illustrations

Some Fighters of the Luftwaffe:

Here are some of a handful of German fighter prints which I began doing because of requests for Luftwaffe planes to display alongside Allied fighters, and they do offer some context, in showing what the Allies were up against in the air over Europe and North Africa. There are no Japanese planes in the collection because I wouldn’t know how to properly proofread the markings.

First, here is a side view of an early Messerschmitt Bf-109E. This is the plane flown by 56-victory German ace Oberleutnant Helmut Wick, who was shot down over France after fighting RAF defenders through much of the Battle of Britain.  Note the squared-off appearance of this Bf-109E, and the beefed-up armored glass added to the windscreen area.

The Focke-Wulf Fw-190 shown below mounted a BMW radial engine, and was used over the Western Front. This plane is shown mounting a centerline fuel tank, to extend its range. A study of the ergonomic layout of this plane, its modular construction, allowing quick replacement of entire sub-assemblies on damaged aircraft, makes you realize that the Luftwaffe was not swept from European skies one moment too soon.

This Me-109 is shown in one of the 24″ x 36″ two-vew prints, depicting a G model or “Gustav,” intended for use against American bomber formations, and thus, equipped with two additional 20mm cannon, one under each wing, which, while creating additional firepower, also created more drag, and made the plane more vulnerable to Allied fighters.

The plane in the 24″ x 36″ two-view below is the FW-190 D-9, with an inline Junkers Jumo Inverted V-12 engine, and an elongated airframe, to balance-out the longer nose.  This plane was considered to be the best German piston engine fighter anywhere under 20,000 feet, and perhaps the best fighter in-theater, period. Note the blown canopy mounted on this “Dora,” Blue 15, which defended the indefensible in the skies over Munich.

See Commonwealth Aircraft of the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm>>>


World War Two Aircraft Illustrations

Here is a list of additional World War Two aircraft illustrations:

World War Two Aircraft:

  • Lockheed P-38 Lightning
  • Bell P-39Q Aircobra
  • Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk (RAF Version)
  • Curtis P-40E Warhawk
  • Curtis P-40L Warhawk
  • Curtis P-40N Warhawk
  • Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
  • Republic P-47N Thunderbolt
  • North American P-51A Mustang
  • North American P-51B / P-51C Mustang
  • North American P-51D / P-51K Mustang
  • Grumman F4F Wildcat
  • Grumman F6F Hellcat
  • Grumman TBF Avenger
  • Vought F4U-1C Corsair
  • Vought F4U-1D Corsair
  • Goodyear F2G-1 Super Corsair
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk XII (Griffon Engine)
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV-c (Griffon Engine)
  • Hawker Tempest
  • De Havilland Mosquito Bomber
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109E
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109F
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109G
  • Messerschmitt Bf-109K
  • Focke-Wulf Fw-190 A-4
  • Focke-Wulf Fw-190 A-8
  • Focke-Wulf Fw-190 D-9

Post War Piston Engine Aircraft:

  • Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat
  • Goodyear F2G-1D “Super Corsair”
  • Vought F4U-5 Corsair
  • Hawker Sea Fury
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk 22 (Griffon Engine)
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk 24 (Griffon Engine)

The Collection Features Planes from the Following Services:

  • USN
  • USMC
  • RAF
  • RN FAA
  • RCAF
  • RAAF
  • SAAF
  • Luftwaffe

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