CAPT. TOM BLACKBURN’S BIG HOG F4U CORSAIR Artist’s Proof
The AP denotes Artist’s Proof, from the private collection of the artist. These are the first 50 – 100 prints off the press once the artist has approved the color. As a result, these are highly collectible editions and cost a bit more than the limited edition signed and numbered editions.
Image 19 1/2″ X 27″ with margins.
Limited to 950 prints with 50 Artist’s Proofs.
Each print autographed by pilot Capt. Tom Blackburn and artist Jerry Crandall
When Capt. Tom Blackburn first saw his new F4U-1A Corsair, he stated it looked like a “Big Hog”, hence the name for his mount.
The Painting: VF-17 was known as the “Jolly Rogers”, the “Skull and Crossbones”, and “Blackburn’s Irregulars”. Between the end of October 1943, and early March 1944, they downed 154 Japanese aircraft producing 13 aces in under 5 months. Skipper Tom Blackburn recorded 11 confirmed, 5 probables, 3 damaged and was awarded the Navy Cross, 2 D.F.C.’s and 3 Air medals.
The scene depicted in the print is just before Blackburn pulled the trigger on the JAAF Tony from the 68th Fighter Regiment based at Rabaul. Tom waited until he was very close to fire making sure the Tony did not escape. Doug Gutenkunst flew as wingman to Blackburn in number 2 Corsair until his tragic death in a mid-air collision a few months later.
The F4U-1A was often taped around the fuel cell in the fuselage and also on the wing panels due to leakage and was continually re-taped as needed. The Corsairs of VF-17 had their tail hooks re-installed for this carrier operation as they had been land-based and had them removed earlier. Blackburn’s flight had their prop hubs painted red for ID reasons. Capt. Tom Blackburn’s USN (Ret,) account of this famous US Navy Fighter Squadron, “JOLLY ROGERS’, is highly recommended.