I used a historical photograph for the reference of this project. The photo illustrates the dangers involved with the Pacific War carrier operations for both the aircrews and ship's crews. The photo also dramatically presents an example of individual courage as the catapult officer steps onto the flaming external fuel tank in an attempt to reach the pilot to help him escape to safety.
The true story: A Hellcat F6F-3, Number 30 of Fighting Squadron Two (VF-2), USS Enterprise, crashes into the carrier's port side 20mm gun gallery, 10 November 1943. Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., USNR, the Catapult Officer, is climbing up the plane's side to assist the pilot from the burning aircraft. The pilot, Ensign Byron M. Johnson, escaped without significant injury. Enterprise was then en route to support the Gilberts Operation. Note the plane's ruptured belly fuel tank. This fuel tank had to be “cookin”.
Many hours of developing the fire and colors consumed over (25) layers until I was satisfied and sleepless nights. I know I get consumed. The dynamics and the danger of the fire had to be the focal point. Also the gun gallery with two sailors and equipment was a challenge to integrate this area was important to tell a dramatic story. These guys had to be scared as they stand frozen in time. I know this area is normally painted a “battleship grey” with wooden floor decks, but I used a green tone to enhance the area and mood. As color is important for the mood here. The project is 80% painted and enhanced using Paint.Net and GIMP.
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Thank You for looking and remember the “Greatest Generation”.