It quickly became a sense of great pride and identity for our fighting soldiers to paint the nose of their aircraft during WWII, and it evolved from crews pasting pages from magazines like Esquire and Look onto the plane.
The paintings reflected the spirit of the times, and it was a way for our soldiers to express individuality while serving in a military filled with uniformity. It gave their plane a personality all of it's own. They would fly it, they would maintain it, and they would fight and die for it. It was something to remind them of home, something to bring them luck and hopefully a safe return from the bloody skies above.
The 1940's pin-up (especially the works of Alberto Vargas) were popular, although comic book characters, images from movies and female stars, and Disney cartoons all made their way onto the leading edge of the aircraft. Racy, humorous, girls, hometowns, moms, a word for the enemy, it was all there.
Political correctness be damned.
Enjoy the gallery of World War II airplane nose art HERE.