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  • John Matthews

Pre-Strike Thunderchiefs

Updated: Apr 8

Hi folks! I thought you might like to see a bit more of the progress on this artwork featuring the F-105 Thunderchief. I spent part of last weekend working on the tail numbers, and varying the camouflage patterns on the planes so they wouldn’t look like they were just clones of each other. The camo pattern was derived from the USAF technical order (TO) for the ‘105, but none were exactly alike, and paint jobs

were somewhat different from one plane to another.


I thought that was important in the way I depicted their appearance, so I reached out to a friend who gave me photos of a couple of the planes as a reference. Even though I want to be as faithful to the original “look” of the planes as possible, the photos don’t allow one to see the entire plane, so I had to take a bit of artistic license with the paint schemes.

Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs of the 357th TFS (The Dragons)
Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs of the 357th TFS (The Dragons)

I will add this isn’t a depiction of any particular mission. It’s an artistic rendering showing planes from the same squadron (in this case the 357th TFS Dragons) as they might have appeared flying a strike. Again, a matter of creative license since I don’t have records of their bombing missions, or which planes actually flew the strikes together. In my artwork, the lead formation is being lead by S/N 61-0167, “The Jolly Roger,” which was a ‘105D assigned to Major R. E. Rogers.

At this point I’m ready to “sign it.” Aside from a bit of post-production work (like showing some light exhaust smoke from the J-75 engines), I believe it’s finished. I just have to render it at a higher resolution for printing, which will take three to four days.


I‘m still working on my B-52 project. Flattening out the mapping for the engine pods has been time consuming. I had to clean up the mesh on the 3D model quite a bit to make it easier to flatten out, but I caused myself a lot more work in the process. It’ll look great when finished, however, and will keep panel lines and paint from looking “squiggly.”

I'm also beginning work on a general aviation scene, which I’ll fill you in on after I figure out the general composition of the artwork.


Until next time...



Safe skies,

~John




#f105thunderchief, #usaf, #aviationart, #vietnamwar, #fighteraircraft, #bombers

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