Legend has it that Russian pilots knew the Me109 with the Black Tulip painted on the nose was that of a great Luftwaffe air Ace, and a warning would be radioed to other pilots the moment the distinctive aircraft was sighted. The best chance of survival was to depart the scene quickly and without contest.
Realising that his conspicuous insignia was the reason for a slight lull in his air victories, the great Ace had the flamboyant paintwork removed; immediately his phenomenal scoring rate resumed. True or false, one thing is beyond all doubt: the young fighter Ace, known to Russian pilots as The Black Tulip, would go on to become the highest-scoring fighter Ace in history, creating a record that will almost certainly stand forever in the annals of aerial warfare. Today that man is a legend among fighter pilots. His name is Erich Hartmann.
STING OF THE BLACK TULIP commemorates Erich Hartmann's seven air victories in a day on 7th August, 1943. Depicted flying his Messerschmitt Me109 G-6, the maestro nails the first of these victories, as he and other pilots of JG-52 come hurtling into the attack. Making use of billowing cumulus clouds, the wily Staffelkapitan leads his squadron in a classic ambush sequence high over the Eastern Front. A consummate aerial combat painting by the great master of aviation art, Robert Taylor's dramatic scenario captures all the essence of aerial combat, as twelve Me 109s, guns blazing, come rushing headlong into battle. Already the first of the enemy has fallen to the guns of the squadron commander, and before the fight is over six more will have fallen victim to the Ace of fighter Aces.