A Messerschmidt at 8500 feet!!
To make a series of plane spotting charts designed to look like authentic military-issued accoutrement dating from the 1940s and featuring artwork from original WWII manuals. Each chart will be researched for historical accuracy, featuring only the planes that a spotter or reconnaissance officer would see ( and would rather not see! ) flying in the skies overhead.
There will be three charts for each different theater of operation :
Plus, a limited-edition chart designed strictly for Kickstarter supporters!
This spotting chart project began three years ago, when I fell in love with a poster I had seen in a great comedy called "Father Goose" ( 1964 ). The film features Cary Grant as an island bum who gets roped into becoming a plane spotter for the British Navy, working on a secluded island as their only early warning "system". Plane spotting charts are hanging on every wall in his little island hut next to his radio units.
I loved the film and the charts so much that I wanted to buy some for myself.....but was not able to find any! Why? Because official plane spotting charts were never issued by the US military.....spotters instead had a manual that they used as a guide. Those posters were just a film prop. Shucks.
And so, I decided to make them for myself - after all, necessity is the mother of invention. Three plane spotting charts were designed, one for each of the main theaters of operation during WWII. Alas! the historic photo business that my sister and I operate kept me so busy that I was not able to complete the series.
But 2017 is the year this mission will be accomplished.....but only with your help!
Each chart takes me two days to make from preliminary research to final test prints. We have a stash of war paraphernalia that I use in the making of each print. The background is a scan of old faded WWII era paper; and the fonts and planes are from official spotting manuals. If The Spotting Chart Project is successfully funded the money raised will allow my sister and I to put our photo business on hold for three weeks to get this series completed. There's nothing like starting the new year with a resolution accomplished!
The three spotting charts that I had made previously have been up in my Etsy shop The Art of Byrd and have become my biggest selling prints. I wanted them to look authentic, and I guess they do because museums and even WWII reenactors have purchased these prints. These sales prove to us that there are WWII plane spotting enthusiasts as avid as we are!
Just who were plane spotters, anyway? Well, these were men and women volunteers, as well as servicemen, who kept their eyes to the skies constantly in watch of enemy aircraft flying overhead. They had a radio unit nearby and would alert the Army, Air Force, Navy, or RAF if an enemy plane was approaching. Spotters were vital personnel during the war and were stationed across London, the countrysides and coasts of England, throughout Europe, Burma, Australia, and even across America. The spotters in Hawaii and the Pacific islands often did double duty, scanning the seas for enemy vessels as well.
These are not prints from a generic photo lab, or mass-produced posters on cheap paper. We have a fleet of wide-format printers in our studio ( running a photo business has its boons! ) and I will oversee each print to make sure they are spot-on perfect for shipment. We only use the finest materials in our prints, and these will be printed on 230gsm premium matte paper with archival Chromalife inks. That means that these prints will still be around and looking great 100 years from now.... Now that's legend.
Each chart is hand-cut to size. The 8"x10" prints will have no border, whereas the 16"x20" size will have a 1/4" border around the edges to make it easier for matting and framing.
This is our first Kickstarter project but we have had years of experience in printing and handling customer orders because together we operate a historic photo reproduction business ( Silverbanks Pictures ) and a poster/map business ( Sylvester's Charts & Prints ). Customer service and excellent prints are our specialty!
We're a small squadron of two, but when we work together we are a crackerjack team and get every mission accomplished!
March 15th, 2017.
The prints should be done by the second week of February, but we have a one month cushion just in case there are any delays in the printing/shipping process. We will be posting updates along the way and, of course, if at any time you have questions about the charts, feel free to contact us. We're never too busy to answer questions!
Thank you for supporting our project! To show a little gratitude we'll be sending you a Spotting Chart Project themed wallpaper that you can splash onto your desktop.
Your Choice of Plane Spotting Chart in 8" x 10" size. Select from Nine Different Charts.
Your Choice of Plane Spotting Chart in 16" x 20" size. Select from Nine Different Charts.
Our Kickstarter Exclusive - Limited Edition of 100! Bullseye for Binoculars Friend or Foe Plane Spotting Chart featuring miniature planes from the USA, U.K, Germany, Japan, and Italy. 16" x 20" size.
Set of 3 Plane Spotting Charts from Your Choice of Theater of War :
Any backer who made - or will make - a $20 pledge can "add-on" additional rewards without paying extra shipping charges. Some of these add-ons will not be available as regular rewards, and others will only be available ONE DAY ( we're sneaky and we won't tell you what day that is ) so check back often to see what pops up!
For now, those of you who snagged the Kickstarter Limited Edition chart can grab an extra spotting chart. And coo, it is at a discounted price!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADD-ONs :
- Step 1 : To apply the add-on cost, simply press the Manage Your Pledge button at the top of the Spotting Chart Project page. If you have not yet pledged the button will read "Back this Project".
- Step 2 : Increase your pledge in the pledge amount box by the total of the add-ons you want to add ( e.g. you want two 16"x20"charts too? Add $30 to your $20 pledge ).
- Step 3 : When the campaign has ended you will receive a survey, where you can state which reward(s) you want added-on, as well as specify the color option of your charts.
- NOTE : If there are other rewards that you would like to add-on, simply add the cost to your initial pledge. There is no need to change your reward tier. Confused? Send us a message!
The Mystery Add-On - This will be a specially designed print/art/poster only available for one week on Kickstarter ( this offer ends February 3rd )..... Why is it called the Mystery Add-On?? Because you won't be seeing a preview image of this poster! It will be a complete mystery purchase. This item hasn't been designed yet.....but it is sure to be something ripping! Once the Spotting Chart Project campaign is over, I'll start work on that mystery print and will post an image of it on the main project page. At that time, if you don't like it, you can exchange it for something else, or just ask for your money back. No risk involved....just a fun mystery purchase to enjoy!
If you spotted this, the very first Daily Target Add-On, today, then congratulations because it will only last until 12AM Midnight ( EST ) January 31st. This is a special add-on that you can request one day only....and today is the day!
8" x 10" HISTORIC PHOTO REPRODUCTION - $5
A routine part of my and my sister's historic photo business ( Silverbanks Pictures ) involves collecting and cataloging scans of vintage negatives. Since I've been on a WWII history "high" these past weeks, I collected some really swell images of airplanes and pilots from the 1940s and then restored them so that they look as crisp as the day they were first taken. And yes, all of these photos date from the 1940s...even those gorgeous color shots. So what's the add-on? Well, for $5 you can request an 8" x 10" print of one of the images below ( add $15 for 16"x20" size ). If you want more than one, that's okay, too. These are printed on beautiful premium luster ( that's a pearly matte finish ) photographic paper and will be shipped along with your spotting charts. If you want one, make up your mind today because you won't be able to add these on tomorrow....the "target" will be destroyed!
It's time for another Daily Target Add-On! You've spotted it, so here is your chance to zero in on this daily special, an Italian Aircraft spotting chart, at a special discounted price....only $12. This 16" x 20" poster can be added to your pledge, but target it quickly because the offer ends at 6pm EST February 6th.....and it will not be one of the options available after the Kickstarter campaign ends!
It's time for the final Daily Target Add-on!! Since this is the last day of The Spotting Chart Project we're throwing in a looper! I had wanted to create a set of nautical spotting charts ( naval vessels, that is ) as a stretch goal but decided against it, so today I'm making up for that loss with this beautiful 20" x 24" poster print of PEARL HARBOR and the United States ships that were in harbor that fateful day of December 7th, 1941.
Here's a closer view so you can see all the lovely little details.....
This Add-On will be available until the project ends ( wow, just 24 hours from now! ) for an added pledge of $15. It's a gorgeous print, with crisp lines and vibrant deep blue color. We hope you like it!!
We're just AMAZED at the support our Spotting Chart Project has received. Thank you to everyone who pledged to make this project a reality!
If this project reaches $1200....
we'd like to spice up your selection by adding an additional set of THREE spotting charts....this time featuring the war planes that flew over the skies of Britain between 1938-1945.
If the project reaches $2000....
...we'll add a dirty faded blue color option... just for those who want something different than the old paper look.
Want more color??
Sure! Everybody loves colors! If the project reaches $2500 we'll add another color option.....WWII olive green. It will match the color of your Jeep.
If the project reaches $3000.....
.....then KAZZAM!! We'll add the Burma Theater as yet another choice. This was crucial battleground in Asia and the roughest terrain that any soldier had to contend with. There were surprise attacks from the jungle as well as aerial attacks. Spotters hid throughout the mountains keeping their eyes open for these Japanese surprise dives and bombardments.
Risks and challenges
Our project completion date - March 15th - already takes into account any minor delays such as paper supply shortage, running out of ink, computer repairs, etc. We'll keep you posted if any of these happen but we are well-stocked at the moment. There are two other problems that will certainly cause us to push this date forward :
- All of our printers breaking down at the same time
- Any one of us ending up in the hospital ( egads! ).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)