Frank Munger was a technical artist whose 3-view drawings, sketches and cutaways were published in Flight and Flight International magazines for over 40 years. When he retired in 1985, he was acknowledged as one of the best illustrators of aviation cutaways in the world.  

He was born in 1920, in Walters Ash, a small farming community in the Chilterns, close to High Wycombe.  He attended Naphill village school, and from an early age developed a passion for horses, drawing, and later after beginning to see the occasional motor vehicle, the internal combustion engine. By the age of 11 he was working on his neighbour’s and brother’s motorbikes, his instincts making it seem obvious how to assemble and dis-assemble the components of the engine and gearbox.  At the same time, he was also able to drive the farm lorry off-road (around fields).

He entered the motor trade at the age of 14, and after gaining experience he was sufficiently qualified and competent to become responsible for the repair and maintenance of a large fleet of commercial vehicles, which were used in the food industry.

Although being in a "reserved" occupation, in early 1940 Frank slipped away to volunteer for the Royal Air Force. He had an affinity with the RAF, as two uncles had been in the Royal Flying Corps, and his brother and brother-in-law were already in the RAF.  It had been a personal ambition to become an aero engine fitter, so being posted to the engine fitter’s course at Squires Gate, Blackpool, was a dream come true.  

After qualifying, he served with 99 and 232 Sqns of the RAF and 488, 605 and 15 Sqns of the RNZAF. Much of his service was in the Far East and whilst he was at the fall of Singapore, he escaped on one of the last ships that sailed from the Colony. He subsequently served in the Solomon Islands until 1944, when he was posted back to the UK, where he was invalided out with TB.

In 1945 he saw an advertisement in Flight for a junior artist and was selected to work under Max Millar, a very renowned illustrator. It was under Max that he learnt the skills that matched his technical knowledge and artistic skills, a combination that made him an outstanding cutaway artist.

On average he devoted about 200 hours to a drawing. He was a steadfast team worker, and in those 40 years service he never missed a deadline, and colleagues could never recall any occasion when he lost his cool, or flapped. Through his passion for aircraft and aero-engines he developed a recognisable style. He was renowned for being able to portray the subject matter from just the right position, and to be able to determine the relative importance of parts.  His style of drawing, his lightness of touch, and the uncanny ability to put the emphasis on the important elements of the drawing, give his work a substance, and a feeling of reality, and yet they were easily understood by professionals and laymen. They bore all the marks of a true gifted craftsman.

Although he was widely applauded for his work, Frank was never a man to boast. He was always happy to stay in the background, working steadily, quietly, and methodically. Bill Gunston, whose work was routinely illustrated by Frank ‘s contributions for almost 20 years, and is now Britain’s most known aviation writer, once said;

“Frank had the ability to show the subject matter in a way that gives you the information in the clearest and most concise way, in a style which was attractive and looked deceptively easy”

Frank also painted for most of his life, and first exhibited with the Kronfeld Aviation Art Society in 1966 where he won an award for the best water-colour.  He joined the Guild of Aviation Artists on its formation in 1971 and was elected a full member in 1974.  During his time with the Guild he has won several awards including, best Watercolour, Best Oil, Best Sporting Aviation, Aviation Painting of the Year 1991 and the Flight Trophy. A number of his paintings have been purchased by the RAF museum.  He was also a founder member of the Guild of Motoring Artists, and has exhibited with the RSMA, and Wildlife Art Society, and amongst commissions has been one for a painting presented on retirement to one of the Queen's equerries, an ex Fleet Air Arm officer. He was able to draw good caricatures, and provided many ex-Flight staff with cherishable cartoons of their exploits as they left, or retired.

Frank retired in April 1985 and in his own time he continued to do cutaway drawings for the pleasure he got from the experience. The cutaway posters which are for sale on this web site are the culmination of years of experience and a love of the subject. Some were produced during his working life, but most were produced after his retirement.

He was once asked what the key is to cutaway art, and his simple summing up was "An artist who really wants to know himself, what goes on under the skin".

Frank passed away in 2010 and is missed by his own family and many people who worked with him, plus many people who connected with him only through his magnificent drawings. His work will always be there to remind people of him and his outstanding artistry.

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