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Pin-Up Aircraft Nose Art | Creation Robot
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Pin-Up Aircraft Nose Art

September 12th, 2006 · 8 Comments

First off it is worth noting the history of military aircraft artwork – nose art. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nose_art. This is a follow up to this post.

The subject matter in nose art varies but largely stayed within a few mainstay topics, namely the cartoon characters and female pin-up. The females occurred in various stages of dress, or undress, and were very popular. The style evolved and became more wild and provocative. As a result, the Army Air Force tried to restore a sense of decorum with AAF Regulation 35-22 in August 1944. The regulation didn’t prohibit nose art, but did try to, unsuccessfully, institute a “sense of decency.”

According to some accounts, the farther the planes and crew were from headquarters or from the public eye, the racier the art. For instance, nudity was more prevalent with aircraft based in the South Pacific than of those in England.

Other popular topics included animals, nicknames, hometowns, and various patriotic imagery. The Soviet Air Force decorated their planes with imagery of history, mythical beasts and patriotic motifs.

pinup_petty_1956_december.jpg

Most of the pin up images were copies of various Alberto Vargas illustrations, an artist whose work was often featured in Esquire magazine during WWII. The pin ups from Esquire were among the most frequent models for aircraft artists, as they were colorful, attractive, and ‘original’.

Rather than attempt to host a huge volume of aircraft nose art myself, here’s a list of some great sources for images and history:

http://northstargallery.com/Aircraft/sensualilty.htm – This website has a great write-up on nose art.

http://www.bombergirl.com/flightline/flightline.htm – Some recreations from crashed planes but not really much content on here.

http://www.nose-art.net/ – Not very well layed out but a wealth of pictures on the site but the quality of the images is low.

http://www.retrocrush.com/archive2006/noseart/ – Some good quality photos on here, not too many but well worth a visit.

http://www.acepilots.com/planes/nose_art.html – Good quality images sent in by pilots, all American images.

http://www.usaaf-noseart.co.uk/contents2.htm – More American nose art.

http://www.vistech.net/users/rsturge/nose_art.html – Only a few images but nice quality.

http://www.historicwings.com/features98/noseart/pin-up1.html – Perhaps the worst designed site I’ve seen in ages. Bad navigation and pop-ups galore. Some nice images though.

http://www.fsu.edu/~ww2/nose-art/pinups1.html – Not many images but at least the site is easy to use!

http://www.military-patches.com/wwii/noseart.html – Buy nose art pins.

http://parentseyes.arizona.edu/militarynoseart/photo.htm – Only a few images here.

http://rides.webshots.com/album/6909985SDiMSWTxTh?start=0 – Quite a few images and an easy to use website.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/gulf/tornadogrs.html – Modern RAF nose art.

http://www.noseart.ch/main.htm – Some nose art but just as importantly lots of Alberto Vargas imagery, superb. See http://www.noseart.ch/gallery.html

pinup_petty_1956_february.jpg

Personally I prefer the artwork of George Petty to Vargas but it’s a close call, for example:

pinup_petty_1947_october.jpg

Kudos go out to all those hosting aircraft nose art. If you think of of the links are now dead, or have new links for me, leave a message in the comments, thanks.

Category: Artwork · CreationRobot · NSFW

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fran // Nov 3, 2008 at 8:28 AM

    Hey!
    I was doing some research of a university paper on pin up art, and this was super useful!
    thanks!
    x

  • 2 Ovabuth // Sep 2, 2008 at 2:02 PM

    wow !!
    its very point of view.
    Nice post.
    realy good post

    thx :-)

  • 3 Aircraft Pinups and Blown 4360cu. in. Radials « MyRideisMe.com Weblog // Mar 2, 2008 at 8:48 PM

    […] about nose art. I found some info I’ll pass on. The following info is from a blog called “Creation Robot“. There are several links to more info. The subject matter in nose art varies but largely […]

  • 4 My Ride Is Me // Mar 2, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    […] about nose art. I found some info I’ll pass on. The following info is from a blog called “Creation Robot“. There are several links to more info. The subject matter in nose art varies but largely […]

  • 5 nick // Mar 2, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    beautiful pieces..im looking for nose art from RAF Coastal command ww2.it for a tattoo. can anybody help????????Thank you

  • 6 NIGMA: military nose art // May 27, 2007 at 9:21 AM

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  • 7 miliamperios.com :: Ver tema - Alguna web con pin up de los cazas de la WW II? // May 6, 2007 at 1:18 PM

    […] encontraras mas seran de los americanos, de este link podras ver bastante informacion. http://www.creationrobot.com/2006/09/pin-up-aircraft-nose-art/ _________________"Cuando la gente no puede hacer algo te dicen que no puedes hacerlo." […]

  • 8 shani // Oct 1, 2006 at 7:51 AM

    hi!

    i came accross your website, and i really liked it. i have also built a nose art website about my grandfather, who used to do nose art during world war 2. here’s the link http://www.bobsartcorner.net
    there are lots of photographs there of aircraft and of him paining it. perhaps you would like to add it to your links page.
    :)
    shani

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