View Full Version : Curtiss Wright CW-21-B in the Dutch East Indies

04-17-2017, 03:10 PM
The Curtiss-Wright CW-21B flown by the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in defense of the Dutch East Indies was overwhelmed and destroyed by the sheer numbers of Japanese aircraft it went up against. The CW-21B was built for export and while it could out climb the Zero it lacked the firepower of the Zero.

Chas McHugh
04-18-2017, 04:12 AM
I am aware that this was constructed digitally the 'long way' with a wire frame computer model, and to that end the aircraft is superb.

The composition though lacks (for me) the 'Woo factor', and it is difficult for me to pin down why. I think that the smoke from the soon to be downed bird is dynamically challenged insofar as lacking speed, and perhaps if the Zero was a little smaller and therefore subordinate to a slightly larger main aircraft, the composition may come together.

I would like very mch to see me of your images as a WIP to try and grasp the extremes of digital artwork.

04-18-2017, 08:36 AM
I was reluctant to post my thoughts on this, as I do not want to offend Sir Gray, but my first impression was that this was very much a digital recreation and thus, there is a certain 'sterility' to these kinds of work, because of their perfection.

It is an excellent illustration, certainly worthy of a history book, depicting the action, but I've come to the conclusion, that there is a difference between illustration and art. There is something about the style of an artist that transfers itself to their work and is recognizable as such.

With my work (railroad locomotives), digital models are readily available, but I'll hand draw the complex works that I do and erase and redo it scores of times, until it looks 'ok' and even then, it is not as perfect as the photo (often not) or have the same perspective, but it does come out decently.

04-18-2017, 11:46 AM
A rare bird Gray . Reading the posts above - I wonder if the composition would work better with the foreground CW21 slightly larger ?

04-18-2017, 12:41 PM
Chas, thank you for your constructive comments. Changes are easy in the world of digital. I had thought about posting a WIP for this one. Since almost 100% of the members here work in traditional and have little interest in digital, I just didn't think it was worthwhile. I will try your suggestions though and see how the result is.

RegisR, You won't offend me, Regis. I've worked in digital for many years and have a pretty thick skin. You have to understand that these are not 3D models, they are all hand drawn. I will create a 3D wire frame that gives me a crude outline of the subject. Unlike using a photo I have to draw everything in myself, and yes I erase and redraw many parts, so they are also not perfect. In the world of aviation art if your perspective is not correct you will soon be called on it. Digital does not produce a traditional like painting. They are a completely different set of tools and were never mean't to look like a painting.
Could I use techniques to make it look like a traditional painting, yes of course, but if I wanted to do that I'd just paint it with brushes. I guess I continue to post digital to help educate people about digital. Not all digital is cut and paste or copying photo's. We try to follow the same art rules to create scenes of interest, but it is a completely different set of tools with completely different results.
Are they illustrations or art, it's irrelevant. I've seen fine art I'd call illustrative and I've seen digital work I'd call fine art. It's all in the eyes of the beholder. I hope that explains a little of my thoughts on digital and how I create something. I appreciate you leaving a comment Regis, I'm here to learn from traditional artists and to spread a little digital knowledge.

Neil, thanks my friend. I will make those changes and see what happens.
Here's the 3D wire frame I made for this one.

04-18-2017, 01:41 PM
This is a beautiful image with lots of wow - perhaps the commentor who was missing woo was reacting to the point of view being from another plane, flying flat alongside. If the POV was banking or diving it would be different. I just went to look at some other aviation art and I see that frequently artists address that static problem by tipping the horizon off horizontal. Don't know if that would be suitable here. Love the wireframe too! Going back into lurk mode now :-)

04-18-2017, 03:19 PM
Thanks for leaving a comment, Christine. I'll also try your suggestion.

04-18-2017, 11:49 PM
Appreciate the feedback on my thoughts and thanks for sharing your views on the digital aspect as well.

04-19-2017, 01:54 PM
Nice to see a sharing of information in a level-headed manner here. Can you two have a chat with our politicians? Would be nice to see a real discussion happen for a change.

04-21-2017, 10:50 AM
I work in 'traditional' materials - mainly because its what I like to do. I also spend far too much time at a keyboard as it is.
However, I do buy and love to read and look at digital art, particularly from the sci-fi and fantasy genres. I find the works most imaginative in every sense. When I read (or peruse Deviantart) I do think about how to bring some of the effects and new ideas into my own work. That is a real challenge for me, it transcends the technical details of the depicted machines and forces me to think about the tale, story, or impression the image creates.
Having said all that - I am not terribly good at it but get great advice, direction and support in this particular forum. So please keep it up - all of you!

04-23-2017, 12:29 PM
Ditto on that D'Arcy and Ian.

04-24-2017, 09:00 PM
Nice work Gray. I like the piece and it is an interesting and unusual subject. I didn't know about the CW-21.

04-30-2017, 12:21 PM
Thanks, Mark.
Made a few changes to the work.