While 30 Squadron were stationed at Darton Field in Gisborne,  as a reward for the good morale and training of the squadron at the time, it was agreed that individual markings would be allowed on the aircraft.  Designs were drawn up for approval by one of the photographic section, W/O R.J. ('PLUTO') Warren.

A good relationship had grown up between the people of Gisborne and the squadron, and when the townspeople became aware of these plans, several of the local signwriters offered to paint individual artwork on the aircraft free of charge. This was carried out, but unfortunately,  it was never officially recorded as to which aircraft received what nose art.  Most were popular characters from the Disney films, but several others such as 'Popeye' and 'Plonky' made an appearance.  The colours are also unknown, but most can be guessed at.

Those known are:

NZ2504: "POPEYE" - Cartoon of Popeye the sailor man on starboard cowl.

NZ2506: "CLARABELLE the COW" on starboard cowl.

NZ2509: "GRUMPY" - Cartoon of Grumpy carrying a bomb under his arm on the port cowl.

NZ2510: "JOKER" - Artwork from a playing card depicting The Joker.

NZ2516: "HAPPY" - Cartoon dwarf riding a bomb. Fragment surviving in the GAPS collection at Gisborne.

NZ2517:  - A sophisticated lady in an evening gown smoking a cigarette. (No known photos).

NZ2518: "PLONKY" - A cartoon of a flying beer barrel spraying beer from a tap.

The usual pilot of NZ2518, Fred Ladd,  was a teetotaler and thought this would be the ultimate insult to the Japanese.  Fred was to go on to become one of the 'Characters' of post war New Zealand aviation (He once lost his pilots license for a short time for flying a Grumman Widgeon with a full load of passengers under the Auckland Harbour bridge!).
 NZ2525: "Maori Chief" Based on the reverse of the New Zealand 1 shilling coin on starboard cowl.  This motif is used as the present day No.3 Squadron emblem.

Others (Serials unknown) were:

"PLUTO" - Head only on starboard cowl.

"DONALD DUCK" - Head only on starboard cowl.

"SCOTSMAN"- Looking through spyglass with cows udder bagpipes attached. On starboard cowl. Possibly NZ2521.

"FLYING KIWI with WINGS" with caption "Who said the B--- couldn't fly" on starboard cowl.

"DUMBO" the flying elephant with bomb and the caption "We never miss" on starboard cowl.




"Donald Duck" - a/c unknown.  Cap is Blue with Black band and trim.  Skin is White.  Beak is Yellow and Orange.  Jacket is Blue with Yellow trim.



NZ2516 'HAPPY' at Darton Field. (Via Shane Seymour of GAPS)


A surviving fragment of NZ2516's nose art held by GAPS (via Shane Seymour)


And the reason for the fragment!  21 December 1943. The aircraft suffered an engine failure on final approach to land and landed in a swamp. Half an hour after the accident a fire broke out and the aircraft was destroyed.  NZ2516 after burning out, (via Shane Seymour)


A poor reproduction, but the only known one of 'Pluto. ( via Shane Seymour)



"DUMBO"  A/c unknown.  Skin and bomb are Grey with Black and White accents.  Inside of ears are Pink.  Cap is Yellow with Pink pom-pom.   Inside of mouth is Red.  Eyes are pale Blue with mid Blue iris.  Ruff is Red with Yellow centre band.  Toenails are White.  "WE NEVER MISS" appears to be Yellow within a ?Pink outlined speech bubble.




NZ2518 "PLONKY". Light Brown Beer barrel with Dark Brown and White accents.  Wings and turret details are Grey.  Plonky and XXX are Black.  Face is Pink.  Mouth is Red.  Spraying beer is Yellow.




"SCOTSMAN" - Serial unknown but possibly NZ2521,  the a/c of F/O H. S. Cameron!




"FLYING KIWI with WINGS" Aircraft serial unknown.  Kiwi is probably Brown with Grey wings.



A close up of "GRUMPY".  Cap,  pants and shoes are light Brown.  Face and hands are Pink.  Jacket is Purple/Red.   Beard is White.  Bomb is probably Grey.




A good shot of NZ2509 "GRUMPY".  Whenuapai,  January 1944.




NZ2506 "CLARABELLE the COW"  Face is White with Red nostrils and lips.  Ears and back of head are Black. Ruff is White with Yellow bell.




NZ2504 "POPEYE" at Ohakea.  Pink skin.  White uniform and cap.  Yellow pipe





NZ2510 at Espiritu Santo in late January 1944. No serial codes on fuselage forward of roundel,   so probably soon after arrival.     (US National Archives via US Navy)



A close-up of the 'Joker' nose art on NZ2510

 NOTE: All colours stated are those used on the pre-war Walt Disney Movie characters, not the present day comics.  Most of the other colours are based on "oral" tradition, and are subject to comfirmation. 

I welcome any evidence to correct or add to these, and to tie in with the aircraft serial where not known.       



Yellow bomb symbols were used to denote bombing missions carried out, and these appeared on either the port or starboard side of the upper cowl.

Garden spraying missions received a white watering can symbol, usually painted behind the bombs.



Close up showing Yellow bomb mission markings



A further close up showing the bomb and watering can markings.