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The Empty Chair, The Bombsight by DarthFar The Empty Chair, The Bombsight by DarthFar
Oh, he laid the eggs in a deadly row
Razed the target from front to rear.
Thunder and fire appeared below
Where jerry scuttled in mortal fear
Bound for hell where they all shall go
And with men like these their time is near.
The Bombardier, the Bombardier.


-from The Bombardier byCaptain William M. Lepley

This story goes on, it has no end
You lose a ship and you lose a friend.
Maybe some day you won't come back
And they'll chalk you up to 'fighters and flak'.


- from There's a Mission Today by S/Sgt. Edward A. Greenlaw of Tacoma, Washington - North 1 Compound


An attempt to tell a tale with little more than a bombardier's station for a prop. This has been a labour of love... or maybe insanity. I usually can't tell which.

For those of you who know me: You already know of me and B-17 Flying Fortresses and flying, so I won't repeat the story. But if you'd like to know more about what I did and why I did it, here's a walkthrough of the process, complete with pictures and interminable ramble: [link]

Technical Notes
(for anyone who hasn't read the ramble)

1. If you were to google "B-17 Flying Fortress", you'll see that their interiors are painted green. However, by the time the mid-to-late B-17G models were rolling off the production lines, they'd stopped painting the interiors to save time and money (not to mention the paint would have added weight to the planes), since the lifespan of these bombers sometimes ran to weeks, or even days. [And you can see from photos dating back to WWII that the skins were shiny aluminium.] Because of the nature of the picture, I chose authenticity over popular image.

2. Of course I used references.* The question should not be so much, "Did you refer to photos?" as it should be, "How many reference pictures were in your folder?" To which the answer would be: a damn lot.

* Mind you, with the goddamn time I spent on this, I could probably draw and paint a second bombardier's station from memory...

3. I have tried, to the best of my abilities, to maintain authenticity and period-correctness. However, I am only human and am thus not infallible; if there's anyone watching me who is a serious B-17 enthusiast/modeller and knows their way around these birds, then I apologise in advance for any technical deficiencies, or anachronisms I may have inadvertently committed. There's only so much one can do.
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:iconcolubrinedeuce:
ColubrineDeuce Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Professional Photographer
Great work, and great info.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
Thanks very much! :D
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:icondragonstrider:
DragonStrider Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Dresden in flames probably must have been a great view for the guy in that seat.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Actually, a picture of a bombardier overlooking a target city *is* a fabulous idea! :D
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:icondragonstrider:
DragonStrider Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy to be of service :D
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:iconskulleevee:
skulleevee Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
the looks like the nose of the nine o nine B-17
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:iconthewulfman:
THEWULFMAN Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is, so beautiful. Best piece of art I've seen all day and I just spent the last 4 hours surfing deviatART.
Reply
:iconbreadfreak:
breadfreak Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
It's gorgeous - I think my only complaint is the resolution! With such beautiful detail, I'd like to see it larger :)
The wood, metal, cloth, clouds - everything - looks just great.
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:iconsvenjaliv:
SvenjaLiv Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
Gah, how do you do this whole thing with the details and the awesomeness and so on? It looks amazing. I love the wood texture. And it's got atmosphere as well. Very very cool!
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2011
Thanks! I love doing details, and when it happens to be a subject I love, I tend to go a little overboard with things. :laughing:
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:iconsvenjaliv:
SvenjaLiv Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
No kidding! But it looks cool, I'm definitely not complaining!
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:iconcobra6:
Cobra6 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
I love it, you did a very fine job! Did this plane seriously have wooden floors? :|

Cobra 6
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2011
Thanks very much! and yes, apparently, according to the references I found, it did.
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:iconshrunkenjedi:
ShrunkenJedi Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
Wow... I'm sorry I haven't gotten to this until now (blame not hanging around dA so much...)! The lighting is just incredible, I love all those pinks and purples from the gorgeous sky bleeding all over the metallic inside and the shiny finish of the wood. And I think you may have even outdone yourself in the detail, WOAH. A perfect contrast of war and peacefulness, hard edges and soft pastels.
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:icongrievous15:
grievous15 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
AMAZING. I am stunned this hasnt got like a million views already!! brilliant to the last detail. really
good work
Reply
:iconrekalnus:
Rekalnus Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic study and details. In modelmaking, the nitpickers are called "rivet counters"...ignore them. Surprising how much wood was inside these planes, but that might have been for the same reason as the missing primer and the earlier soundproofing and thermal blankets that should have been wrapping the walls also.

Thanks for posting the link to your extended article.

Had a chance to ride in one some years ago, claustrophobia incredible and that was not even thinking about visiting the Sperry Ball. Some ex-fliers were also having trouble with headspace and doorways too- comments of "who shrunk my airplane". Old houses are like this too, tiny staircases and doorways.
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:iconroen911:
rOEN911 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing work
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:iconfirera:
Firera Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
Far... I keep staring at the table on the lower left hand corner....



sho reflective... *___*....so woodlike... so... *staressss*
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:iconktobermanns:
KtObermanns Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I love the amount of care and meticulous detail you always put into your work. The passion for your subject comes through, and the mood is strengthened by the technical quality. Haunting, poignant, and particularly powerful for anyone whose life has involved the military.
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:iconrhieks:
Rhieks Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
your surfaces painting makes me drool
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:iconzandorancelix:
ZandoranCelix Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I love this piece. It is so detailed. Great Job.
Ever thought of doing a steampunk painting?
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
That's very much! And I love steampunk, but I'm not sure how I'd even start going about one! It's something I should definitely consider for the near future though.
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:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
an amazing piece of work Far.. really good stuff
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Thanks very much, David. :)
Reply
:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
WElcome Far!
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
There's not much I can say about this that FracturedReality hasn't. It is wrenching and wonderful.
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Thank you very much. :) I'm glad you feel that way about it.
Reply
:iconfracturedreality:
FracturedReality Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lord, I love you, Far. This is absolutely beautiful. Insanely intensive details aside, I am in love with the atmosphere and emotion in it. The ripped-open panel, the spent shell casings, and the sense of absolute silence... you da boss.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Thanks very much, Sara! :aww: While I was playing with thumbnail sketches I did toy with the idea of actually putting someone in there, but then I decided that putting just his essence in would make it much lonelier and emptier. Glad you noticed the damage and the casings!
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:icondocmallard:
DocMallard Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
My step-father used to fly those!

-Doc
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
That's awesome! Which one did he crew? :D
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