Tiger's Revenge the pilot's story behind air combat art

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Hi all! Here is my latest artwork: "Tiger's Revenge"


Earlier this year I was commissioned to make an artwork for veteran P-51 Mustang pilot Lt. William S. "Tiger" Lyons, who flew with the 357th FS/355th FG during World War 2. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Lyons over the telephone and pick his brain on his experiences over Germany during 1944/45. He told me about several air battles in which he took part, and I decided to portray the one in which he scored his second victory, on 9 February 1945. Rather than telling you what happened, I have added a cropped sound recording from this interview, in which Mr Lyons vividly describes his air battle with a German Messerschmitt 109! On this day he was flying wingman for Lt. Edward J. Moroney. Click the image below to download or listen to the sound recording.

The "Tiger's Revenge" artwork was presented to Mr Lyons during the 355th Fighter Group reunion by Peter Randall of the Little Friends website, last October in Philadelphia. Here is a photo of Mr Lyons signing the prints. Below a photo of Mr Lyons holding one of the prints:


Mr Lyons signed twenty large canvas prints for me, which are available here:
Tiger's Revenge Limited Edition
The prints are museum-quality giclee canvas prints at approximately A2 size.
If interested, don't wait too long - there are only seven pilot-signed prints left!
For those interested in a more affordable print, normal prints are available here as well:
Tiger's Revenge

For those interested in seeing how "Tiger's Revenge" was made, I have created a video which shows the buildup of the layers, which resulted in the final artwork. A high and low quality Quicktime has been uploaded. Hopefully it will be of interest:

Last but definitely not least, "Tiger's Revenge" is currently exhibited in the Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg, The Netherlands, amongst more aviation art by Wiek Luijken, John Wallin and myself. For the three of us this is our first exhibition, and needless to say we're very proud of this milestone in our aviation art careers! Many thanks to Wiek and the museum for making this possible.


I can't quite explain what it is , but that picture has a strange, tense atmosphere to it that I find fascinating.
Btw, interesting mirror alteration on the Stang's canopy. (Shouldn't that Me-109 have a spiral on the spinner?)
Cheers :)

Re. the Mustang's mirrors, the Mustang was originally delivered with the glass-covered mirror in the middle. Then Spitfire mirrors were added to the windshield frame and later the centre mirror was removed. So briefly it flew with this arrangement. Bill wasn't sure if when exactly it looked like this, but it could have been on this particularly occasion.

Re. the spiral on the spinner. Unfortunately I was unable to identify Bill's exact victim. The losses didn't match up. It could even have been a Dora (although I doubt it would outturn a Mustang at altitude, or be unable to outrun it in a dive). As a lot of JG 300 machines were shot down in the area that day, this would be the most likely victim. JG 300 used a variety of spinner paintschemes. In the end I went for a generic look, following Bill's description. He told me the machine didn't have any bright markings (so no RVT band) and no mottling on the sides. It looked almost black. So I went for RLM 81/82 extending to the lower fuselage. Some JG 300 machines indeed looked like this.

Glad you like the image! :)

PS. The 109 in your sig doesn't appear to have a spiral either ;)
Haha indeed it doesn't. I was just under the impression that almost all Luftwaffe machines had it painted on by 1945.
An interesting fact: Supposedly the propeller spiral created a hypnotic effect that confused enemy gunners. I don't know if this was it's chief purpose or if it was mostly a means of identification.
The idea behind the spiral is that you in fact do see it turning. You won't really see the spiral, but more the "flickering" of the colours on the spinner. It's not to confuse gunners or anything, but it's a way to protect ground crews. When they see a flickering spinner they know the propeller is turning. Remember, you can't see a propeller blade of a spinning propeller that well. It almost appears transparent and it's all too easy to walk into hit (it has happened many times). The allies used yellow propeller tips for this. They stand out better than the normally dark painted propeller blade surfaces and also help indicating the diameter of the prop disc, so you can stay well clear of it.

Spirals are still in use today, for practically the same reason, such as on this Boieng 747: http://www.slidecollector.com/sites/slidesonly/images/0000000024_1.jpg
It's simply to draw attention to the fact the engine is running. With ear protectors on and lots of noisy airfield sounds around you (imagine driving a diesel powered towing truck), it's not too hard to miss a running jet engine and you can easily get sucked into it if you accidentally came to close (which also has happened too many times)!

Some German fighters had other kinds of propeller colourschemes, such as half or one third ("slice") of the spinner painted white, the rest black.

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