B-17 Aircraft Nose Art Copied on AluminumBy

B-17 Aircraft Nose Art Copied on Aluminum

U.S. airmen frequently decorated the nose of their WW II aircraft with custom artwork. This art style, referred to as "nose art," commonly featured scantily clad women, caricatures and other edgy themes.

Copies of original nose art have been reproduced. The copies are on aluminum panels resembling original nose sections of B-17's, one of WW II's most famous bombers. The new art is handpainted on aircraft aluminum. Panels are 41 by 18 inches which is about one-half scale of an original B-17 nose section.

Three different new versions were available: "Queenie," shown here, plus "Miami Clipper" and "Carolina Moon" which also resemble 1940s pinup-style images. All three are direct copies of nose art that appeared on genuine WW II aircraft.

The new nose art sections retailed for $395 each. One new section was offered at an "Americana and folk art" show for $1,895.

Depending on the size of the bomber, human figures in most original nose art were nearly life-size or larger than life-size. Images in the reproductions are very small, more doll-size than life-size.

Original WW II nose art is very scarce because most military aircraft were scrapped at war's end. Only a relatively small handful of authentic examples survived. Finding an example outside a museum or a well-known private collection, such as a factory exhibit, would be highly unlikely.