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[[quoteright:350:[[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/A10NoseArt_2108.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:"Thanks for painting me cross-eyed, you [[RLeeErmey jackwagons]]..." ]]-]

So you have your CoolPlane and your CoolShip, but somehow, they're still not ''cool'' enough, truly not worthy of such a BadAss AcePilot as yourself. You know what would help? Let's paint a freaking ''[[EverythingsEvenWorseWithSharks shark face]]'' on the nose. ''That'' will get the [[OhCrap desired reaction]] from your enemies. Plus, it'll look great at airshows! The [[PlaneSpotting Plane Spotters]] love this kind of thing!

Typically, you will see five varieties of this:

'''Type A:''' Distinctive artwork on the nose or tail. If on the nose, expect something akin to the classic "Shark nose" made famous during WorldWarII. If on the tail, expect distinctive (or even flashy) designs intended to easily identify the plane's unit.

'''Type B:''' The "[[PublicExposure Pin-Up]] Girl". Made famous in WorldWarII, these designs often featured scantily clad women in suggestive poses. Many of these were very temporary in nature, and it was not at all rare for the pinup art to reflect the name of the aircraft (such as the famous "Film/MemphisBelle"). This went out of style after the war, due to a variety of reasons.

'''Type C:''' [[TravelCool Full-body flashy paintjobs]]: Often invoked when RuleOfCool is the primary motivator behind the paint scheme. This is common for demonstration aircraft used at air shows or VIP transports not intended to be used near the front lines. Sometimes, even camouflage can fit into this category, as some patterns designed to be very effective at a distance can look downright garish up close.

'''Type D:''' Patriotic slogans or pictures, or taunts to the enemy. This kind of nose art was especially popular in USSR (and is still in Russia), where pilots named their planes after their parents, siblings, fallen comrades or historical national heroes (Dimitri Donskoy, Aleksandr Nevsky, Aleksandr Suvorov etc). Some artforms could depict a Soviet eagle subduing a Fascist beast, or slogans like "Mstitel" (Avenger), "Na Zapad" (To West!), Za Rodiny ("For Fatherland") or "Smiert fashistam" (Death to Fascists). They were also popular in the USAAF and RAF.

'''Type E:''' Humorous cartoons. This type was especially popular in the USAAF and Finnish air forces, and would often depict a popular cartoon character, such as Donald Duck or Batman. This type of nose art is common even today. It usually depicts either the war itself or the enemy in ironic or satirical way, and is usually connected to the individual name of the plane. The extreme example of this was a B-24M Liberator "[[http://www.b24bestweb.com/itaintsofunny3.htm It Ain't So Funny]]", whose [[UpToEleven entire nose]] was covered with cartoon characters.

In RealLife, this trope has generally become much more subdued due to a combination of PR and practicality. Flashy artwork tended to clash with specially-designed camouflage patterns designed to help conceal the plane in combat, making such artwork AwesomeButImpractical. Even the traditionally applied roundel insignia, such as the [[BritsWithBattleships RAF's]] bullseye had to be replaced with subdued monochrome variants. A typical workaround with those limitations is to put the artwork in a normally-concealed place, like the inside of the wheel wells, or to simply draw it in less contrasting colors.

On the other hand, nose art can be an immense morale boost. The nose art personifies and antropomorphizes the aircraft, creating a bond between the inanimate airplane and its pilot (and ground crew). Even in air forces where strict discipline was stressed, ''some'' form of nose art was always tolerated.

Since Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible, this applies to other vehicles or equipment as well, as long as it fits the spirit of the trope. If the ''ammunition'' has nose art on it, then it is a MarkedBullet.

Can overlap with AceCustom, which is when the vehicle's ''design'', rather than it's decoration, is unique, often to give a particularly important hero (or villain) particular advantages. Nose art may display the ship or plane's [[ICallHerVera name]].

[[IThoughtItMeant This is]] ''[[IThoughtItMeant not]]'' for examples of face painting, tattoos, or artwork inspired by the human nose.

TruthInTelevision.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'': Many of Char Aznable's AceCustom mobile suits featured his trademark red paintjob. PlayedStraight to the point of parody, where several mangas even featured "Char Aznable" custom ''[[JokeCharacter RB-79 Ball]]'' designs, painted red with horns attached.
** We actually get to see the classic shark face on a few Federation units. ''MSIgloo'' features a Ball with one and there's a popular artbook scan (or possibly fanart, this troper's not quite sure) featuring a GM Custom from ''0083'' in a hangar getting one painted onto its helmet.
** The original ''MSV'' series of model kits and accompanying story inserts gives us an example of the classic pin-up girl version, with the "Gouf Lady", an MS-07 with a topless woman on its shoulder wearing a {{Stripperific}} version of the Mobile Suit's own armor, serving as a precursor to the ''MS Girls'' artbooks by the guy who made ''GalaxyFrauleinYuna''.
* ''[[SuperDimensionFortressMacross Macross]]'' (and ''{{Robotech}}'') had the "Skull Squadron" inspired by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VF-84 VF-84]] the "Jolly Rogers" colors [[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_021014-N-1955P-004_F-14_Tomcat_assigned_to_VF-103_conducts_mission_over_the_Mediterranean_Sea.jpg here]] via the other wiki.
** ''MacrossFrontier'' has a healthy dose of all three, including the skull as a ShoutOut to the original [[SuperDimensionFortressMacross Macross]] on Ozma's VF-25S (and his car). The König Monster has A-10 style Type A nose art originally, then later Type B pinups of the protagonist females of the series. Type C occurs in the Variable Fighter air show special with full body paint jobs again featuring the two female protagonists.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Discussed in ''Film/ApocalypseNow,''
-->'''Kurtz:''' We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!
** In an earlier scene, ColonelKilgore flies into battle in a Huey with "Death from Above" painted on its nose.
*** The Hueys of the 1st Air Cavalry have the units crossed saber insignia on their noses (which the real unit was known to do in real life, some even wore Stetsons like Kilgore.
* ''MemphisBelle'': The Belle and all the other bombers have nose art, with the bombers' callsigns being derived from the nose art (One of the other planes is called "[[BiggerIsBetter C-Cup]]").
* ''Film/RedTails'', a 2012 film based on the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen, takes its name from the highly recognizable paint job their planes featured. (See also ''The Tuskegee Airmen'' and the RealLife section below)
** Several pilots in the movie also had small logos painted under the cockpits to tie in with their [[NomDeGuerre callsigns]], and [[NicknamingTheEnemy Pretty Boy]] had his yellow-nosed fighters.
* ''The Tuskegee Airmen'', an {{HBO}} film from TheNineties about the first black fighter pilots in the US military during WorldWarII, featured the pilots painting the tails of their fighters bright red, to ensure that the white bomber crews would know who was protecting them. (See RealLife below)
** The Luftwaffe's yellow-nosed BF 109s also appear in the film.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' shows that the ship's name is painted in a stylized seal on the bow of the ship, in [[BilingualBonus both English and Chinese.]]
** The crew later invokes this trope by disguising their ship [[spoiler: as a Reaver vessel, complete with lots of red paint and human corpses lashed to the hull.]]
* ''Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo'' has the ''Ruptured Duck'', the main character, Captain Ted W. Lawson's aircraft. Based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruptured_Duck_%28aircraft%29#Origins_of_the_name real aircraft]] from the [[WorldWarII Doolittle raid.]]
* In the ''TransformersFilmSeries'', many of the paintjobs used by the Autobots in vehicle mode could arguably count, but the best example is Starscream's Cybertronian War Tattoos, a set of Cybertronian writing covering his entire body, [[spoiler: starting immediately after the [[BrokenMasquerade Decepticons drop the Masquerade]] in ''Revenge Of The Fallen''.]]
* ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'': In the OpeningMontage we see a bomber with nose art of Sally Jupiter.
* ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' had the Colonial Marine's Dropship. On the nose was an eagle in combat boots and the phrase [[BadassBoast "We Endanger Species"]]. The marines had slogans painted on their armor and weapons as well.
* In ''Film/{{Flyboys}}'', the Lafayette Escadrille members each paint a personal symbol on the side of their biplanes. Blaine Rawlings uses the logo of his old ranch in Texas.
* ''Film/{{Avatar}}'': Trudy has a blue and white cheatline painted on her Samson helo in the film's climax, [[spoiler: matching the warpaint worn [[FriendOrFoe by her Na'vi allies]].]]
* ''Film/PacificRim'': All the Jaegers have kill markings and various other writing on them. Gipsy Danger sports a pinup on the right chest plate (by WordOfGod in emulation of World War II bombers).

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Used as camouflage in ''Literature/PathOfTheFury'' by DavidWeber. The protagonist have a full-on military assault shuttle while posing as a free trader, which they can hardly justify given their cover. [[RefugeInAudacity They give it the gariest paintjob imaginable.]]
--> "Giolitti winced as he took in the garish crimson and black hull. Some unknown artist had painted staring white eyes on either side of the stiletto prow, jagged-toothed mouths gaped hungrily about the muzzles of energy and projectile cannons, and lovingly detailed streamers of lurid flame twined about the engine pods."
* L.A.C. Crews in ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' frequently adorn their ships with nose art in a direct reference to the nose art used on aircraft.
* In ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'', on Kelewan, seaships have eyes painted forward on the hulls to scare away sea monsters that actually exist.
* Normally averted in the ''XWingSeries'' (the closest they come is kill markers), but when Rogue Squadron resigns for the duration of ''The Bacta War'', they repaint their X-Wings with individualized paint jobs to further distance themselves from the New Republic military. The straightest example is Gavin Darklighter, who paints his up like a krayt dragon: tan with a reptile scale pattern, and a toothy mouth similar to the page picture. Ooryl's fighter looks rather plain [[BizarreAlienBiology unless you can see in the ultraviolet spectrum]].
** Corran Horn's X-Wing has always been painted hunter green with black and white trim, because he took it with him when he defected from the Corellian Security Force and never officially signed it over to the New Republic.
** When Wraith Squadron goes undercover as SpacePirates in ''Iron Fist'', they custom-paint their stolen TIE Interceptors.
** In a minor example, the [[EliteMooks 181st Fighter Group]], the Rogues' [[EvilCounterpart Imperial counterparts]], have red stripes down the wings of their [=TIEs=] (and [[CustomUniform the sleeves of their flight suits]]), making them the only Imperial fighters which aren't all-over grey.
** During the NewJediOrder series, Jaina Solo gives a similar order to her personal squadron under not-dissimilar circumstances (ironically, while serving under Wedge Antilles). She paints hers with images of [[HeroKiller voxyn war beasts]], [[ItsPersonal which killed her brother]] and [[BadassBoast which she personally helped make extinct]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/BabylonFive'': The [[SpaceFighter Starfuries]] operated by the Earth Alliance feature a plethora of custom paint jobs on their upper wings, even on ships flown by {{Red Shirt}}s and {{Mauve Shirt}}s. Usually it will just be a distinctive pattern, but some of the fighters include custom artwork, occasionally taking up the entire top wing.
** Two Starfury squadrons are depicted as having whole-body paint jobs: The escorts for Earth Force One, with a blue-and-white paint job inspired by the RealLife UsefulNotes/AirForceOne, and the Black Omega Squadron.
** In the fourth season of the show, Captain Sheridan has Babylon 5's emblem painted on the hull of his flagship when he personally leads [[LaResistance the fight against]] [[PresidentEvil President Clark]].
-->'''Lt. Corwin''': (about White Star 2's paint job) I mean... won't they know it's him?
-->'''Ivanova''': [[BadassBoast I believe that's the idea]], Lieutenant.
* Several ships and watercraft operated by the [[AnimalWrongsGroup Sea Shepherd Conservation Society]] on the AnimalPlanet series ''Series/WhaleWars'' feature this; their rigid inflatable boats and the ''Bob Barker'' sport shark mouths on the bow, while the ''Gojira'' had a picture of the titular monster before being rechristened the ''Brigitte Bardot''[[note]]Due to copyright reasons.[[/note]], whereupon the nose art changed to that of a woman bearing a trident and the organization's flag.
* In the TV series ''Riptide'' the boys use a custom painted helicopter called [[http://www.rotaryaction.com/pages/riptide.html "Screaming Mimi."]]
* ''SpaceAboveAndBeyond'': [[RedBaron Chiggy Von Richtofen's]] SuperPrototype: A human skull painted on the nose with ''Abandon All Hope'' written on the side.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Pinball ]]

* In ''VideoGame/RuinerPinball'', the top of the "Ruiner" table features two bomb-dropping pinup girls, "Drop Target" and "Da Bomb".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Table Top Games ]]

* ''BattleTech'' has LegacyCharacter "[[http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Bounty_Hunter The Bounty Hunter]]". His Mech is painted a bright green with various currency symbols all over it.
** Custom paint jobs are generally popular in some [=MechWarrior=] circles in the universe, such as among mercenaries and -- of course -- in the game arenas on Solaris VII. Larger forces tend more towards standardization, although unit-specific paint schemes (for parade purposes if nothing else) aren't uncommon.
* [[SpaceElves Eldar]] [[SpacePirates Corsairs]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are fond of ostentatious color schemes, and the Void Dragon Phoenix, a special variant of the Phoenix ground-attack craft, is depicted with a full-body paintjob reminescent of a dragon's scaled hide. Their craftworld cousins are also known to embellish their vehicles - a motif from Biel-Tan is a long coil of thorned vines, while the Wild Rider clans from Saim-Hann are even more individualized.
** Imperial aircraft can actually buy a distinctive paintjob or decals as an upgrade that let one unit that sees the plane reroll one leadership test.
** Orks, being orks, commonly have garish personalized paint jobs; indeed, it's the idea of uniformity that's odd to them. Yes, the red ones go faster.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* A staple in the ''AceCombat'' series, from about ''AceCombat3'' onwards. Shooting down certain enemy {{Ace Pilot}}s allows you to slap their paint jobs onto your planes of the same model. Other special paint jobs were unlocked by completing certain plot missions. ''AceCombat6'' also introduced downloadable custom paint jobs.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid: Peace Walker'', the titular mech is decorated with a butterfly insignia on its head. Naked Snake uses the word 'nose art' to describe it.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X2: The Threat]]'' allows you to import an image file from your computer that would be applied as nose art to all your ships and stations. It could be a pin-up, a coat of arms, whatever. (GameSpot's reviewer used a character from ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.) In ''X3: Reunion'', Pirate ships have flame paint jobs on their nose, with graffiti scrawled over the rest of the ship.
* The A-10 Warthog ground attack planes in ''[[VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} Battlefield 2]]'' have a warthog face on the nose of the aircraft.
** The [[VietnamWar Vietnam]] version of the ''ProjectReality'' mod features UH-1 Huey gunships with a massive shark mouth on the nose of the chopper.
* ''VideoGame/SabreAceConflictOverKorea'' used the "shark mouth" on the F-51 Mustang.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' features a rather half-assed variant on the payload carts. It seems that the Heavy vandalizes them; they all have something he says scratched into the paintjob or spraypainted on them. For example, the one that's used most often says "CRY SOME MORE" on it. One of them also happens to be designed like a mechanical shark's head.
* ''VideoGame/MechWarrior Living Legends'''s scout aircraft, the [[http://wiki.mechlivinglegends.net/images/thumb/6/6d/Sparrowhawk.jpg/800px-Sparrowhawk.jpg Sparrowhawk]], has a shark mouth and triangular eyes painted onto each side of the catamaran-like fuselage. The rest of the craft is painted with red stripes.
* The officially released ''VideoGame/MechWarrior 4'' titles featured a fair amount of paint work, which only grew in number and complexity as time passed and GameMods were introduced. It is probably no surprise that a large number of ''Atlas'' paintjobs emphasize that it has a SkullForAHead, usually in some manner of bone-white, gap-toothed grotesqueness. A number of 'Mechs with 'fuselage' bodies (that is, longer front to back than tall) have optional paint jobs featuring the iconic shark-mouth nose art.
* The ''VideoGame/RedBaron'' games feature aces from both sides of the war who have their own custom paintjobs, including the Red Baron himself. You can get one, too, provided you do well enough in the campaign.
* Certain planes in ''VideoGame/IL2Sturmovik'' can be customized with these. Most of the available nose arts are reminiscent of real WWII nose arts, but it's possible to mod in your own as well.
* As prominently displayed in the closing movie, the ''Highwind'' of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has a PinUp girl on the nose.
* In ''VideoGame/StarcraftII'', the Goliath has several variant skins, randomly applied when the unit is created, that have [[http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120725025120/starcraft/images/c/c2/Goliath_SC2_Game1.jpg different body art]], including flames, teeth, angel wings, and the Confederate flag.
** The Marine unit has a large variety of helmet decorations, like wolf/tiger/panda faces or a RageHelm. Some are available as in-game avatars.
** Tychus Findlay has a pinup on one of his pauldrons in a retro style (she's the celebrity who goes in and out of rehab in the bottom text of the UNN broadcasts).
* ''SLAISteelLancerArenaInternational'' is positively drowning in nose art choices. There are hundreds of paint and image decorations available for purchase and use on any SV. Among them are a number of national flags, various cheeky comments, and the ever-popular shark smile.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In the future of ''WebComic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'', the practice is revived for spaceships, likely because of RuleOfCool (given how wars themselves are fought on that). CommanderBadass's old command ship has a [[http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/comic/im-sure-in-the-progressive-spacefuture-several-of-the-space-ships-have-hunky-dudes-airbrushed-on-the-side pinup of his now ex-wife]] painted on. When asked by his successor a few years later if they should change it, he refused, saying that just cause they divorced doesn't mean she's not hot. Besides, she'd probably be flattered. WordOfGod confirms that [[http://coelasquid.tumblr.com/post/82010735774/would-the-commanders-ex-wife-be-flattered-by-that yes, she would be flattered]]...especially since it outlasted his command.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''StarWarsCloneWars'': the ARC troopers paint a Rancor on their ship.
* Tony Trihull, the Lemon battleship from ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} Cars 2]]'', has a shark face painted onto his hull.
* ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'': Junko's missiles have these in the first episode, it's notable because he makes them fire when they jam by [[RuleOfFunny ''screaming at them'']] and their faces actually change into a typical OhCrap expression before firing.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarshipTroopersInvasion'': Aside from having their [[NomDeGuerre nicknames]] stenciled on their chestplates, several of the Troopers have custom artwork to help them stand out. [[CombatMedic Shock Jock]] has a white cross on his armor, while [[ColdSniper Trig]] has a crosshairs on her helmet.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* The practice dates [[OlderThanTheyThink all the way back]] to the first major use of airplanes in battle: WorldWarI. Pilots painted designs on their airplanes both to personalize them and to make them easier to identify on the battlefield (as much to avoid shooting friendly planes as to avoid being shot at by friendly ground forces.)
** Probably the most famous example from that war, of course, would be Manfred von Richthofen, AKA The RedBaron, with his Fokker Triplane's red full-body paintjob.
*** Red was the unit colour of Manfred von Richthofen's old Uhlan cavalry regiment. His brother, Lothar, was a Hussar before joining the Luftwaffe, and he painted ''his'' plane yellow, the Hussar unit colour.
* During WorldWarII, The [[EagleSquadron American Volunteer Group]], also known as The Flying Tigers, were famous for the [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Hells_Angels%2C_Flying_Tigers_1942.jpg shark-nose paint jobs]] on their Curtis P-40 Warhawks. Of course, while they are famous for using the shark-nose paint scheme, they were not the first squadron to do so, having drawn inspiration from photos of British planes in Africa.
** The nose of P-40 with its distinctive radiator housing just cried for a shark mouth. That scheme was popular everywhere amongst the P-40 units.
** The Flying Tigers' winged tiger insignia was designed by Walt Disney Studios: At one point Disney had five artists assigned full time to the creation of insignia for any allied ship or unit that requested one. Ironically, they didn't do much nose art for individual airplanes. Not racy enough, apparently.
** Similarly, the 332d Fighter Group was famous in Europe for painting the tails of their planes red, earning them the nickname "Red Tailed Angels" by the Bomber pilots they escorted. Nowadays they are famous, of course, for being the first black fighter pilots in US military history, the Tuskegee Airmen, who are said ([[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/01/AR2007040100140.html though disproved in 2007]]) to have never let a bomber [[EscortMission under their protection]] be shot down by an enemy plane.
** Likewise, a 9th AF P-47 unit, the 358th Fighter Group, became known as "The Orange Tails" for this reason.
** Not to forget 8th Air Force 352nd Fighter Group, the "Blue-Nosed Birds of Bodney".
** 15th Air Force 325th Fighter Group, the "Checkertail Clan", whose P-47 and P-51 aircraft entire empennage was painted with yellow and black checkerboard pattern.
** The Germans were big fans of this too. Messerschmitt BF 109s typically featured yellow noses, the paint scheme originally being adopted to avoid being shot at by their own troops while attacking ground targets. Supposedly, the Germans lost more fighters to friendly fire from ground troops during the invasion of Poland than they did from the Polish military.
*** Erich Hartmann, history's highest-scoring fighter ace, had a stylized flower, a black tulip, on the nose of his Bf109. Soviet pilots quickly learn to recognize the design. Hartmann would swap airplanes with his wingmen so that he could engage unsuspecting enemies in an unmarked aircraft while the wingman could safely gain experience in an airplane the enemy avoided. However, he eventually got rid of the tulip altogether because Soviet pilots refused to engage any aircraft in formation with the black tulip.
* The distinctive [[https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Invasion_stripes Invasion Stripes]] insignia was painted on fighters, reconnaissance planes, transports, and twin-engined bombers belonging to the Allied nations during and after the Battle of Normandy, in order to prevent friendly-fire incidents amongst the thousands of aircraft operating over Western Europe. The practice ended a few months later because the paint jobs ''also'' made it much easier for German pilots to spot the planes on the ground.
** Likewise the [[http://i.imgur.com/nBYiO.jpg distinctive paint job]] of the FW-190Ds of Jagdverband 44, which were tasked with providing protection for Me-262 jet fighters during take-off and landing. As such they operated only in the close vicinity of their airfield and avoiding friendly fire from AA guns was more important than being difficult to see.
** There's a whole history of military aircraft being painted with special markings to prevent confusion with the enemy. When it first entered service, the Hawker Typhoon sported "invasion stripes" on its underside (long before D-Day) to prevent it being mistaken for a German aircraft. In the PTO, Allied aircraft quickly lost any red in their national markings to prevent confusion with Japanese aeroplanes; the RAAF took this to an extreme as the years passed, first painting the leading edges of the wings of their aircraft white (also used by US P-47 Thunderbolts in Europe to distinguish them from Fw-190s) and then painting the entire tail white.
*** The Japanese painted the leading edges of the wings of their fighters yellow as a recognition aid.
* In 1944, the U.S. Army Air Force began using old battle worn bombers as Assembly Ships, (Sometimes called "Judas Goats") to assist squadrons in assembling into formations for bombing missions over Germany. These were painted in bright garish colors, to make them easier to spot by the crews of the bomber groups. These elderly B 24s, and B 17s were only used to form up on, and did not continue to the targets. Some examples can be seen [[http://fineartamerica.com/featured/b-24-lead-assembly-ship-gene-ritchhart.html]] and [[http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll106/Dirkpitt289/Assembly%20Ships/BirmBlitz1.jpg]]
* During TheVietnamWar, it wasn't unusual to see [[http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4126/5092256785_f8ae531916_z.jpg shark faces]] painted on Huey Cobra helicopter gunships.
* Up till quite recently, most prototypes of new fighter aircraft were painted in bright colours not too dissimilar from those that might be found on the title mecha of a HumongousMecha series. Example [[http://www.sci.fi/~fta/f16073.jpg here]]. Of course, a prototype would have none of the practical concerns of a production aircraft destined for the battlefield, and indeed, being highly visible would be considered a plus given that the whole purpose of a prototype is to demonstrate whether or not it works.
* Aircraft belonging to the United States [[HomeGuard Air National Guard]] typically feature a tail flash with their state's flag, and aircraft in active duty wings will often have [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience color-coded tail flashes]] to distinguish jets from separate squadrons within the wing.
* A US Navy tradition is for one or two aircraft per squadron to be brightly painted with the squadron's colors and emblazoned with its emblems, while the rest are the usual haze-gray low-visiblity paint scheme. These aircraft typically "belong" to the squadron's commanding officer or executive officer, who being more senior fly less often and are not as likely to see direct combat. This allows the squadron to show off its traditions and pride while remaining maximally combat effective. The planes are still fully functional and deadly, however.
* It is fairly common for military aircraft to receive flashier paintjobs for airshows, in order to make them more entertaining for the crowds.
** Here is a list of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aerobatic_teams Civilian and Military]] aerobatic teams via TheOtherWiki
* Milestone anniversaries are popular occasions to break out the paint for military aircraft. Squadrons from across the world will paint one (or all) of their aircraft to honor the anniversary of the founding of their nation, their branch of service, or even their specific unit. Anniversaries celebrating when certain aircraft were first introduced are also common, as are anniversaries of certain battles. Some examples:
** During the United States' bicentennial, a number of squadrons celebrated with a custom paint scheme for one (or all) of their aircraft. The Florida Air National Guard's 159th Fighter Squadron [[http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/fsmbw3945/F106/159FISBicentennial.jpg used this paint scheme]]. Other aircraft were painted in schemes resembling those used by the Thunderbirds, such as [[http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w260/tomcatterf14/159616.jpg this F-14]] and [[http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f139/jabrad/F-15B71-291.jpg this F-15]].
** In honor of the centennial of Naval Aviation, the United States Navy has adorned various jets with WorldWarII-era [[http://parrotheadjeff.com/blog/archives/16027/retro-cool-plane-pr0n/ paint jobs]].
** During the 50th anniversary of [[WorldWarTwo D-Day]] (the invasion of Normandy), a number of NATO squadrons painted invasion stripes on their aircraft. [[http://www.f-16.net/gallery_item284506.html Here's an F-16]] from Belgium, [[http://www.mindspring.com/~salted1/images/34/34_thomastye_2.jpg and a few U.S. Navy]] A-6 Intruders painted up.
* NATO squadrons have an annual tradition known as the "[[http://www.natotigers.org/ Tiger Meet]]," which involves [[http://www.natotigers.org/tigerunits/index.php any squadrons that thematically involve tigers]] or other kinds of big cats (either in their name, or their unit patch/coat of arms). In addition to being a joint military exercise, Tiger Meets also involve a NoseArt painting contest, in which the squadrons compete to make the coolest tiger (or big-cat) themed paint job they can. These schemes [[http://www.haf.gr/media/a7_tiger_meet_1.jpg run the gamut of types]], from [[http://h7.abload.de/img/d101001as1180_tcm46-17zu1p.jpg nose art or tail fin flashes]] to [[http://www.milspotters.nl/forum/userpix/2053_J015__kopiekopie_1.jpg full-body paint jobs]].
** Since they are only Honorary Members of the NATO Tiger Association, American and Canadian tiger-themed squadrons have their own [[http://www.tmota.com/ Tiger Meet of the Americas]] for the purpose of hosting the event on their side of the pond. Like with the European-based Tiger Meet, paint job competitions are a central event.
* Averted during WorldWarII for some American planes which were never painted at all. The plane was sent out of the factory in bare aluminum alloy without paint (except for the national insignia[[[note]] some planes also kept a black band along the top of the engine cowling to stop the pilot being dazzled by reflections[[/note]]). The reasons were that it was cheaper and quicker to skip the paint job; and the plane, being somewhat lighter without paint, was also slightly faster (and used slightly less fuel). This was continued for several decades with certain planes.
* Ancient Greek triemes painted eyes at the bow, near the ram.
* The carved dragon figureheads on [[HornyVikings Viking]] longships probably qualify.
* Sword hilts and sheaths were a favorite place to put decoration, not least because someone who could afford a sword could afford to make it look cool. Early Medieval swords often had the name of the owner or the name of the smith engraved in them.
* In general this is a human practice from the dawn of time. Because, you know, humans need to celebrate [[HumansAreWarriors their favorite sport]].
* Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), a regional discount airline in the United States, decided to show its sense of humor by having [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Pacific_Southwest_Airlines_L-1011_N10114_1.jpg a big smile painted on the nose of all of its planes]], accompanied by the advertising slogan "Catch Our Smile." When PSA was bought out by US-Air, former PSA mechanics would paint smiles on the new US-Air planes as a joke.
* Nose art backfired for a much-disliked pilot in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, who insisted his hangar crew rename his plane after his girlfriend. He was not nice about and it and did not ask - he ordered. The irritated crew painted the name "Phyllis" on the nose of his plane as ordered. The pilot pronounced himself satisfied. After a discreet interval, the letters "SY-" were painted in front of the name. The pilot did not notice. Everyone else on the carrier did.
** Fleet Air Arm nose art could be very witty, such as the two Firefly fighters, "Evelyn Tentions" and "Lucy Quipment". [[spoiler: Evil Intentions and Loose Equipment)]]
* German U-boats would have decal painted on their conning tower. Among the most well-known was the [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Uboat_Flo09_logo.svg "Laughing Sawfish"]] of U-96.
* [[http://otakumode.com/news/51a149bf8ccdf39e1300d1e4/The-Four-Sisters-of-the-Fourth-Anti-Tank-Helicopter-Squad-are-Celebrated-One-Last-Time! The Four Sisters of the Fourth Anti-Tank Helicopter Squad]]. A JSDF attack helicopter unit decorated their aircraft with colorful images of {{Moe}} female characters, and drew quite a bit of public attention over it, before being told by the Minsitry of Defense to cut it out and remove the artwork.

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