Gunshield Artwork carried by the RCN Corvettes
By B0b Pearson
Most people are familar with the artwork carried on the nose of aircraft during the Second World War. In fact many of the designs are now quite famous and the subject of numerous books and decal sheets. Ships, on the other hand, are usually thought of as far more 'serious' and the idea of cartoons on such staid and conservative vessels is not one that immediately comes to mind. To that end, large vessels would have crests depicting some aspect of their name or heritage, while the corvettes were thought to be too small to warrant official designs. However the mainly volunteers of the quickly growing RCN had none of these qualms. Indeed the crews of the corvettes looked for some way to distinguish their ship from others, and the solution was in adding artwork to the sides of the 4" gunshield*. These varied from cartoons based on popular items of the day, to plays on the ship's or commanding officer's name.
It would appear that the most popular designs featured either Donald Duck, or if nothing original could be thought of, an Indian head. Examples of both are fairly abundant in the book Gunshield Graffiti upon which I based most of these illustrations.
All of these markings are available as ALPS decals in any scale desired. For those building the Matchbox/Revell kit, the following are suitable for use with little or no conversion to the kit: Eyebright, Fennel, Snowberry, Trillium. All of the others require at least the correction of the engine room casing, galley and resiting of the 2pdr bandstand.
All colours are speculative and I welcome any information on correcting them.
*It should also be noted that not all ships carried their emblem on the gunshield, some had it on the front of the asdic hut.