Four years ago, I wrote about this hobby’s fascination (to put it mildly) with German WWII subjects. And it elicited a lot of discussion (again, to put it mildly). And this was all before Trump. Before Brexit. Before Charlottesville and “good people on both sides”. Before this troubling surge in white supremacy that seems to be turning increasingly violent.
With the world in a different place than it was four years ago, I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit the topic and take stock.
If you don’t want to read through the previous post, or all 150+ comments that followed, here’s a TL;DR:
- In terms of kit availability, German subjects are definitely over-represented relative to other WWII combatants, most notably in armor.
- The reason is likely capitalism. That is, a high demand for German WWII kits. They sell.
- There’s a distinction to be made between those who build the occasional German subject as part of a larger interest in World War II overall, and those who build only (or overwhelmingly) German subjects.
- The latter doesn’t necessarily imply one is part of the master race booster club, but, you know, be prepared for some raised eyebrows.
- The tendency to slap crosses and swastikas on Star Wars and Gundam stuff is weird (and you never see it done with other combatants).
- A lot of comments get very defensive or downright hostile.
Even now, four years on, I’ll get comments about that post calling me oversensitive and then explaining that the reason the commenter is into German shit is simple. And it usually boils down to something like “they look cooler”. Or the camo schemes are more interesting. Which, to me, is about as shallow a reason as you can find. It’s like my six-year-old picking out Hot Wheels cars. But in the main we’re talking about grown-ass men.
The Cop and the KKK Memorabilia
Today I came across a story about a family who was house shopping and looked at one particular house – a cop’s house – where they found Confederate memorabilia and a KKK application framed and hanging on a wall in a bedroom. The family is Afro-Hispanic and it understandably freaked them out (bonus – the cop was cleared of fatally shooting a black man in 2009). The rest of the story isn’t all that germane to this post, but one passage really stood out to me:
“His wife, Reyna Mathis, who is Hispanic, recalled the situation as “uncomfortable.” She said her family collects items from the Detroit Red Wings and the University of Michigan because they are proud of those affiliations, which is why she questions how he could keep racist items up in his home if he didn’t associate with them.”
And that got me thinking. How we choose to decorate our homes is absolutely a reflection of who we are. Reyna’s point about being proud of those affiliations is, well, on point. I have a small collection of sports memorabilia, and it’s from teams and athletes that I like (not the Red Wings). Nolan Ryan. Andy Moog. Brett Hull. Patrick Roy. There’s a vintage Ben-Hur poster in our living room because it’s one of my favorite movies.
If we were selling our house and some potential buyers came by to look at it, they’d find in my models an interest in World War II and late Cold War aviation, with a side helping of weird French armored cars. But what deductions would potential buyers make at a cabinet stuffed with Bf 109s and Fw 190s? Or a shelf full of SS troopers and Star Wars imperial subjects in German markings? I don’t think they’d be out of bounds at all concluding “this guy has a hard-on for nazis”.
Something I would put to everyone who’s gotten all defensive or snowflakey or who’s railed “I don’t care what anyone thinks” about building mostly German WWII shit. How would you explain a display cabinet full of swastika-adorned things to a potential homebuyer? Or a potential love interest? Or the parents of your kids’ friends? Or…you get the idea.
“Oh, I just think the paint schemes were cooler” sounds a bit hollow in this situation.
You’re Probably Not a Nazi
Building mostly or exclusively German WWII shit doesn’t mean you are a neo-nazi or a white supremacist. I’m sure some small percentage are. And I’m guessing that if a neo-nazi or white supremacist builds models, they probably gravitate toward the Third Reich. But I’d bet that for most it’s something way more subconscious. Something that hasn’t been thought deeply about at all, which is why I get all the comments about how cool their camo was. Or maybe there’s some kind of “playing with the taboo” thing at play (which is how a lot of radicalization can get started, but nevermind that).
All I would ask, if you find the wave of butthurt rolling over you, is to stop and think. Really, truly, deeply think, about why you build the subjects you build.
Times They Are a Changing?
One thing I’ve noticed, now that I think about it, is that the Third Reich wave seems to have crested. The past four years have seen several prominent releases – Tamiya’s Bf 109, a whole bunch of tanks from Meng and Takom and RFM and so on – but they don’t seem to be showing up quite as thick in the online community or on the contest tables that I’ve seen. The WWII releases making the biggest splashes, at least in aircraft, seem to be on the allied side. There’s been a wave of British subjects like the Lancaster, Typhoon, Tempest, and most recently Airfix’s Spitfire XIV. And of late it seems like P-51s have been all the rage, from the slew of Airfix releases to the big Revell 1/32 D-5 to Eduard’s just-released new tool.
And World War II in general seems to be slipping off just a bit as a renewed focus on more modern subjects takes hold. I see a lot more Tamiya F-14s and Zoukei F-4s getting built than I do Tamiya 109s. People are losing their shit over Academy’s AH-1Z. There seems to be a lot more excitement over M551 Sheridans than yet another Panther.
I don’t know if this is all cyclical or some kind of generational thing as more Gen Xers and older Millennials find their way into (or back into) the hobby. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing for the subjects that adorned their Desert Storm trading cards and late 80s/early 90s air show memories. Hell, maybe it’s just that German subjects are just so saturated in the market right now. Or maybe the broader sociopolitical moment is giving more people pause, even if on a subconscious level.
Who can say for sure? I know I can’t. But it’ll be something interesting to keep an eye on for the next four years.
54 Comments Add yours
I was working for a hobby shop in Chicago when the IPMS nationals rolled into town in 2001 and ran our little two table booth in the vendor’s room. Prior to this I had really no opinion regarding Nazi themed models. Then I encountered our neighbor vendor. The guy must have had 20 tables. While there were some Panzer models and resin (as I recall, no Luftwaffe models or acessories) he did have a large selection of Nazi books (including many versions on Mien Kamph), Nazi uniforms, Nazi badges, Nazi arm bands, and a full selection of recorded Hitler speaches on CD. It creeped me the f+ck out. I went up the the competition area for the first time, looking at the number of Nazi inspired models on the tables, felt really uncomfortable. Lets be clear; the Nazi military of WWII was just that, the military arm of the Nazi party. The mission was not the defense of Germany, but to force Nazi ideals world wide. It is one thing for modelers to be ignorant and just think the stuff is cool, it is quite another to be fully aware of the history and just not care. You are right on that things are different these days with some claiming that Nazism is not that bad or (god help us) the Holocaust was a hoax. I gotta say, if you need to hide you model case in the basement because they all have Nazi flags and/or swastikas on them, you may want to either educate youself on Hitler and the 3rd Reight, or re assess your tastes (and morals). By the way, am I the only one who finds the idea of “Luftwaffe ’46,” fantasizing WWII went LONGER a little bit abhorrent?
I’ll admit, I have a certain love of alternate history, if only as a way of thinking about what actually happened from a slightly different perspective. From that perspective, I think “what if” subjects can be interesting. The drag is that it’s ALWAYS Luft ’46 or endless paper panzers. I think it’d be a lot more interesting to have some what-if P-80s, F2G Corsairs and the like in the mix.
Now that nazi UFO thing? That is abhorrent.
What-ifs can be cool. Right now I’m working on a 1/35 scene in the “Red Dawn” ‘verse of a US volunteer mech infantry unit supported by regular Army tanks on the western front in northwest New Mexico. An M60A3 Patton parked beside a “reborn” M3 halftrack. Halftrack will have a VRC-12 radio on the dash and a TOW launcher in the bed. Infantry in Vietnam-era gear with M-1 Garands, a “hometown militia” outfit with surplus and/or privately owned weapons and equipment.
Luft ‘46 stuff is okay in moderation, but there are those who take it way too far. There’s a pretty good book called “My Tank Is Fight!” (not sure who came up with the title) that examines a bunch of (mostly German) secret weapon ideas from the war, analyzes why they actually sucked, and includes a what-if scenario for each one, all of which boil down to “reality ensues.”
I never really thought about it until I read your last article on it. It has made me reconsider the status of some kits in the stash and future projects. I have swapped the Panther chassis to a T-34 for my walker tank project now.
Brett, all you have done is swapped one dictatorship for another. Just go with the flow and whatever works for you.
Doogs, you havent mentioned the Soviet Russians and how much more brutal they were than the NAZI Germans and for many years after the end of WW2. Both those ideologies were different sides of the same coin.
Well, I’ve never seen the sort of exclusive fanboy thing with Soviet subjects (or Japanese or Italian). They always seem to be part of a larger, varied collection.
It’s articles like this thay make your site stand out, thanks! I’m now critically assessing the german/allied/other ratio in my stash 🙂 ( I do like the variety of colour schemes in the bf109, and they are somewhat overrepresented). Opinions may vary but it’s healthy to think about this stuff.
As always well written and thought out, and the example of the lady visiting the house was great. Personally I dont get the German ww2 obsession of many especially when it comes to armour but I also feel the Japanese ww2 builders seem to be over looked, just look at the massacre of nanking. But I guess it’s all personal choice, just dont get upset when people give you funny looks.
When I was a teen I had the Luftwaffe, Wehrmacht fetish.
My father got me a copy of The Scourge of the Swastica.
Personally, I just cant separate the two, models and actuality. I still have a lot of Luftwaffe 109 and 190 books, but as you point out, the times they are a changing.
The hard right is on the rise, mad ideas are everywhere. I got into a spat on a FB group about climate change in which the other guy said in essence, the planet is fine, climate change doesn’t exist, God will look after us .
I grew up in the Cold War era , but things are much more worrying now.
Crosses on kits will not a fascist make, but for me it’s not something I want to endorse in any sense.
Like you said how we decorate our homes says everything about who we are and what we stand for.
Ps my wife’s grandfather co- wrote Ben Hur, to pay a tax bill!
Fuck Nazis. I really hate the fuckers now. Yes I knew about the Holocaust. I’ve met survivors. I didn’t care for Nazis and I’m happy that the Allies won the war. But I was lied to and told there were “good” Germans. So that tempered my anger about the Holocaust. Well at least there were some “good” Germans.
The burning hatred I have now? I didn’t have this attitude until I started to research the war on the Eastern Front, because I was interested in the fact that the Soviets allowed women to command men and lead them into combat. One woman named her T-34 “Fighting Girl Friend”. Nazis got their asses kicked by a woman!
I was lead to believe it was only the SS that murdered maimed and raped, but the truth is much simpler than that. We been lied to since the Cold War and there are publishing companies you are familiar with (J.J.Fedorowicz) filled with Nazi apologists, lovers, and actual Nazis that have helped shape attitudes about the role the German Soldiers played in the war. Just a soldier they said, just fighting communism they claimed. Bullshit.
The Nazi’s waged a war of extermination against the Soviets. Their goal was to clear the land up to the Urals of the inferior Slavic “race” and move “pure” Germans into the area and make a Greater Germany. (They didn’t do this on the Western Front so Americans aren’t familiar with it.They rounded up Jews, Gypsies, and other undesirables and shipped them off to death camps.)
The town of Rzhev had a population of 56,000 in 1941. Then the Nazis came. In March 1943 when the Soviets liberated the town only 156 people remained: old women, orphaned children, and dogs. Nine thousand Soviet citizens were put into a make shift concentration camp in the center of town where they were tortured and starved to death, or executed on the spot. Some of the population was forced into slavery building the defensive lines the Nazis needed to fight the Russians. The rest were shipped off to work as slaves in Germany. Rzhev and it’s surrounding areas had 195,000 people living there. Mass graves were discovered containing the bodies of over 70,000 people.
The Wehrmacht was part of these operations. There were no “good” German soldiers.See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_the_Eastern_Front
Fifteen million Eastern Europeans and Soviet citizens were kidnapped and shipped off to work as slaves. At wars end only eight million survived. And of course there are the millions who were murdered in the death camps and by Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front.
Do I build German subjects. Yes, because researching how these machines were made and has revealed to me how pathetic the Nazis were. Poor engines, poor transmissions, always breaking down. Fucking losers. They used Vanadium in the armor plate on the King Tiger. It made the steel brittle, so all the Soviets had to do was fire a big ass round into this inferior armor and it would deform and make the turret gun useless. Ha ha, fuck you Nazi. I just got the RFM M4A3E8 and the Meng M4A3 (76). kool Shermans!
Bf-109? Really? Two 12.7mm guns and one cannon. It was showing it’s age just as the war began. It was a piece of crap that needed a lot of band aides to keep it in the war. The Japanese had better armed Zeros and it’s understood that that machine was lacking.
This week I’m building Eduard’s new Mustang. I’ve met a few American Aces before they passed away. They are my heroes. They killed Nazis. They are the original Antifa.
You paint an accurate picture about the Germans during WW2. It was brutal what they did and tried to achieve. What you don’t mention is the brutality of the Russians towards their own combatants, even before the war started. Other nations were equally as brutal in their quest to achieve their goals.
It happened, it’s history and we need to remember it.
I have a very eclectic stash of mainly aircraft kits. Spitfires total the most followed by Bf 109’s and then Mig 21’s. There might be so called Neo Nazis building only German subjects but I think for the most of us model makers, we build what we like with no hidden agendas. Maybe it’s that I’m British that I love the Spitfire. It’s certainly not because of the varied camo schemes!
Our world is changing for the worse. We seem to be being taught or conditioned to be offended by everything, especially here in the UK. Building kits of German, Russian, Japanese or whatever other nations doesn’t make most of us ‘bad’ people. Are we really supposed to stop modelling kits because they might offend people. If we did that we wouldn’t be able to build anything because every nation has military history they are not proud of.
The difference between the Soviets and the Germans was that for all their brutality, the Soviets didn’t seek out the wholescale extermination of all the people they conquered. As a Pole, I certainly have no love for the Soviets–my Jewish grandfather who was born in Kaunas before WWII grew up in brutal conditions in Siberia because he and his immediate family were deported by the Soviets in 1939 for being “enemies of the people”. Yet he survived Siberia, whereas his entire extended family barring one cousin back in Kaunas died during the Holocaust. Poland was subject to a brutal Soviet-instituted regime, yet the Poles *survived* that regime, whereas had the Germans won and instituted their plans, the only Poles who would be alive today would be 10% of the population kept in literal slavery to German overlords.
The Soviets were brutal, there is no denying that. But comparing them to the Germans as if they were *worse* is categorically false. There are in fact, varying degrees of evil. And while the Soviets may have been evil, nothing compares to the utter annihilation which Germany and the Nazi party sought to impose upon the conquered peoples of Eastern Europe (except perhaps the Japanese designs upon China, and even those weren’t so explicit in their ultimate aims of utter extermination as the German Generalplan Ost). This sort of whataboutism ultimately only serves to attempt to trivialize the horrendous nature of Nazi Germany, veiled behind the flimsy, unsubstantiated argument that for some reason the Soviets were worse than the Germans.
One need only compare Soviet occupation of Germany during and following WWII with German occupation of Eastern Europe and the USSR during WWII to realize how flawed and disingenuous this comparison truly is. The Soviets may have dominated East Germany politically and militarily, they may have committed horrendous war crimes, but they did not set about on committing wholescale genocide and Holocaust on the German people–the same cannot be said for German occupation of Eastern Europe and the USSR.
Well put! So many Nazi-apologist “whatabout” arguments are fundamentally based on deliberately ignoring the brutality of the Nazis in their occupation of Eastern Europe. Even when they try to turn around and justify German atrocities in Eastern Europe by arguing for the brutality of the Soviets, they are all suspiciously silent about the horrendous atrocities committed on the decidedly non-Communist and non-Soviet Poles and Jews. I wonder what the justification for wiping out over 20% of Poland’s population was if not sheer, unmitigated racist evil.
Boy Doog, you really do like to stir it up! I do agree with you, however. I’ll admit, I have some German kits in the stash, but that’s largely because I kind of like to build “duelist” pairs (even before the Osprey series) and they’re kind of necessary for that. My focus, to the extent I have one, is far more on Israeli subjects and I am frankly very proud of that (speaking of stirring things up.) These days the fact that Nazism and antisemitism in general never actually died is being increasingly brought home to us, and examining your position is more and more imperative. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
I’m sorry, the statement about the P-51 pilots being the original Antifa just really got to me. Of course, there are so many similarities between the heroes of WWII and the thugs that beat up Andy Ngo a few weeks ago in Portland. Interesting how Antifa act exactly like the Brown Shirts in Nazi Germany, yet calls themselves “anti facist”. I did my best to stay out of this fray, and I believe Doogs article was very thoughtfully done and had a lot of good points, but I just couldn’t let that statement about antifa go without making a reply.
Interesting. My build subjects changes with every build. My current Eduard 110 was preceded by a Mirage III. My next, so far as it sometimes changes daily, will be a F106.
What I find most interesting in you blog is how it relates to the research i put into my subjects. I am a member of many FB groups that are based on subjects that could be construed by other people as, well questionable. I watch as many documentaries on WW2 German aircraft that I can find. But on the other hand, I also belong to a group that is exclusively based on the F102 and F106.
I dont really think anyone cares what I choose to research on line, but I do sometimes pause, and think about it while I’m waiting for my next, Wings of the Luftwaffe to load.
Interesting article….probably draw a lot of loons out from both sides. Personally, I guess I’m rather shallow and when I build a model, Allied or Axis, I do like to do it in the “coolest” manner possible.
Another attention seeking post. Modelers build what they want to. It is not an endorsement or a political statement. It is simply a model. Get over it.
Wow, so you know not only my motives, but the motives (or lack thereof) of all modelers.
I’d probably use a power like that for something more than leaving bad comments on random blog posts, but to each their own.
One way to look at it is as in art and music.
You can enjoy Wagner without endorsing his politics.
You can enjoy of a painter without accepting his way of life.
Same in models. You can be fascinating from a tank or an airplane without endorsing the stand of the people used it.
No doubt that the National socialist were a murderous regime.
But so were the Communists and the Japanese imperialists.
I don’t like the mixing of politics and virtue signaling with our hobby.
How many “hard core” Nazi are? Their numbers are so small, there are many more ANTIFA which, in my opinion, are as dangerous.
The bottom line is that if a person like to build German weapons of war, fine.
I for one, not going to speculate about this modeler motives or “hidden agenda”.
As a non American, I appreciate your first amendment and building whatever you like, is part of it.
The idea of building models( haven’t actually completed a kit) reignited my passion for reading WWII history from the perspective of the Germans and Japanese. As a little kid, all I could think about were Germany, Messerschmitts, and German Soldiers( cool helmets). My hobby led to a career flying jumbo jets all over the world. My first destination in Europe was Germany in 1989, and I was in Frankfurt when the wall came down. Whatever preconceived notions I had about Germany, were quickly dispelled during my first visit. Having spent twenty five years flying in and out of Germany, it has become my favorite European country. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in 66 years of wandering the earth, live in Germany. Building models is supposed to be fun and hopefully an educational experience. Anything else, is nothing but subterfuge.
John R. Wells II
Economists have a concept of the ‘opportunity cost.’ Everything which gets made, gets made at the expense of something else which does not get made. It is a law of life. When you take an opportunity to do something you close down the opportunity to do something else, by definition.
So, when a kit company decides to bring to the market a new kit of a 109 or a Jagdpanther or a Tiger, then it cannot bring to the market a kit of something else, something non-German. The kit company has put its capital, its resources and its capacity into creating yet another German subject, and by doing so the chance to bring out a non-German subject is lost.
This limits the range of non-German subjects. And it pisses me off, because I haven’t made a German-subject kit for 20 years, nor do I want to make a German-subject kit. I browse the range of kits in my local store looking for something fresh and different but there’s so rarely anything new there.
The situation is almost as bad with ship kits. I think of all the hundreds of wonderful battleships that saw service in the 20th century, most of which have never had a kit devoted to them. Then when I look at the ship kit shelf in the shop, it’s nothing but goddam Bismarcks, Bismarck after Bismarck after Bismarck. Or, if I’m really lucky, Tirpitz.
Going off the rails here a bit but your point gets to one of my modeling peeves: I get sick of “new” toolings of P-51’s, -109’s and Spitfires., etc. What cool subject didn’t get made, that may not even exist, in 1/48 for example, because the company just went the easy way on making a new version of a kit that every other company revised as well? These niche offerings seem to only appeal to the most hardcore modelers anyway? Was a really great -109/P-51 kit actually hard to find before? No.
Maybe you should look online – the idea of the local shop is a lot nicer than the reality in our world. Check Scale Hobbyist where the selection is excellent and everyday prices very low. In the WWII fighter selection German planes outnumber any other single nation (only slightly above US), however non-German types (of major combatants) number 693 to 294 German. Battleships – in all scales US BBs lead, RN is second, German 3d and IJN 4th. (In 1/350 scale, IJN is #1). If you look at the German offers there are several Bismarcks but the Tirpitz is not common. There are duplicates of the Graf Spee and Scharnhorst. One thing you can say about Bismarck, Graf Spee and Scharnhorst is that they were all involved in serious surface actions: the Graf Spee and Bismarck affairs were major moments in the war (the German surface fleet seemed to be in business to raise British morale in dark times) – good reason to model them. There are lots of Iowa class BBs – these ships were all glorified anti-aircraft platforms. (I still don’t understand why there is no 1/350 USS Washington – it was the only BB to sink another BB mano v mano in the Pacific War.) The Royal Navy is well represented – multiple models of Warspite – no surprise. And if you like WWI BBs, their numbers increase. We do need more 1/350 Dreadnaughts (Warspite would be nice), but that may say more about scale preference than ship type.
Why do companies chose their subjects? That would be very interesting to know – I think we can only guess. What hits you on the head is the huge number of duplicates of major types of any weapon. I’m sure one part of the equation are estimates of how many people enter the hobby in a given year and the company figures that modelers are going to want popular subjects in both small and large scale. When most of the people here buy a kit, I’d guess we check reviews (Scalemate is essential for me) and have some idea of how much kits cost. I’m not sure that’s true in the general market. How many kits are gifts? How many beginning modelers decide to buy a fighter and have heard of the Spitfire or Mustang? Also it would be interesting to know how marketing varies depending upon country. Most models are made in Asia and modeling is a very popular hobby there. I think it’s safe to say that Japanese subjects are nicely covered by Tamiya and Hasegawa. China spent 8 years in WWII, but largely fought without modern weapons – so models there have to look for foreign subjects. When the “new Airfix” arrived, it didn’t take them long to come out with new renditions of all of the major aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain: and RAF subjects are very well represented by Airfix across the board. Check out Zvezda and ICM (both, I hear are now making excellent kits) companies from what was the USSR. Soviet subjects are very well covered, but so are German. (Zvezda has very few kits not Soviet or German – ICM has several.) .And for experienced modelers, the term “new tool” or “new company” is going to get attention. In the past few years Tamiya has introduced a whole series of new tool kits and each is wroth buying. Most have been improved models of already existing kits (many made by Tamiya in the 70s) but a few have been good models of heretofore rare weapons: the SU-76, the Valentine, the Archer and (arguably) the M-10. And just in case people haven’t heard, Tamiya’s Christmas offering will be a new tool 1/48 P-38F – three cheers there.
Lastly, think hard – what WWII weapon of any type would you like to see available that isn’t already? Not very many really. It’s time for a new A-20. It’s definitely time for a new B-26. I may be wrong, but I think Eduard is working on a new B-24 and that would be good. Before a few weeks ago I would have said a new tool P-38 was needed – it’s an important plane and a hard one to model, but Tamiya to the rescue. And, sure, a 1/350 Washington. But what else? Despite any perceived German bias, it strikes me that we live in a kind of golden age for modeling. .
Replying to Ericbegerud:
> what WWII weapon of any type would you like to see available that isn’t already
I’m English, so a 1:32 Bristol Blenheim springs immediately to mind. Not WW2 but I would dearly like to see 1:35 kits of British equipment in Afghanistan like Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and so on. I’ll probably be waiting a long time.
Nevertheless I take your point about the golden age we are currently living in. The choice back in the 1970s was horrid. No online shopping back then so it literally was restricted to only those knackered, crumpled old kits available in the shop. Today’s choice, and today’s quality, is better in every way.
I would be very interested to learn how and why companies select their subjects for new toolings. There must be some tension between ‘what we want to make’ and ‘what will actually sell.’ They are businesses, so they have to make stuff that sells to the wider market or they go bust. But it must be tedious for these companies to churn out yet another panzer or Spitfire, their own teams surely must yearn to model other vehicles, something rarer and more interesting; yet if they go too far down this road then they don’t sell as much product and they might lose their jobs. Presumably they are like movie studios or book publishers, in that they rely on a few surefire sellers to bankroll the more speculative products. So they might rely on a steady income from Bismarcks and Tigers and Panthers and other Nazi vehicles in order to subsidise things like Merkavas and Whippets that might not otherwise get tooled at all. But it would be nice to know.
At the end of the day kits sell, or not sell, because of customers. If kit manufacturers produce mainly Nazi stuff, it’s because customers mainly buy Nazi stuff. Doug is right – it would be good for these customers to look into their souls once in a while and ponder why it’s Nazi stuff that they mainly buy.
We build replicas of weapons of war, designed to kill and maim. That is the purpose of these machines wether they are used in defence or offence. Are we really going to question each other’s motives as to why we build these things? If any of us was not fascinated by war and with that, the terrible price that it brings, we would build models of non- military subjects or take up knitting or some other hobby.
I do see your point, Andy, and agree with it. But I think what Doog brings up is another level of fascination specifically into the Nazi side of the equation that can really start to get weird. The thing I notice is when people really get into, and in a way, fetishize, the specific pilots. Hartman, Galland, Marseille, Rudel – all great pilots no doubt, but there can be a whiff of hero worship in some of the research/discussion about specific subjects that doesn’t sit well with me. Rudel, for one I know, was an unrepentant and enthusiastic Nazi, and I do think that’s an issue. But I do agree with your larger point – the way we sometimes discuss an ace’s kills the way we would talk about stats on the back of a baseball card, no matter which side he was on, is a little weird if you think about it.
Personally I’m Freaked out by your Patrick Roy fascination….You make some very good points and your original post made me take a different look at my model stash, yeah…..aircraft ? leans Axis but a good representation of Allied ( wish list definitely leans US though ) Armor ? leans heavily German but my Allied kits are Tank destroyers and Jeeps (GPW to be specific). What drove my choices in kits ? ultimately, design or historical significance.
Even as a teenager in the 90s I never understood the vast selection of Wehrmacht/SS crap in the 1/35 world. You have kraut field kitchens, kraut mechanical accessories, kraut field HQs, etc. but when I thought “Hey, I’d like to do something like a platoon of Shermans and M8 Greyhounds turning some wrenches in Normandy” (this was far beyond my skill level at the time…or now, but what the hell, I had ambitions! ). Well, the vehicles were available. Rear-area accessories, or figures in noncombat poses? Not so much. It was all there if I wanted to do something like that with SS panzergrenadiers, but I didn’t want to do that. Why not? Never was a fan of nazis, that’s why. Plenty of Germans weren’t nazis, of course, but the shot-callers definitely WERE, ergo: bad guys. No thanks. I must have built half a dozen (crappy) 1/48 B-17s, with a P-51 to hang from the ceiling in escort formation off their wing. I built a grand total of one Bf-109, an E-model to go in a Battle of Britain dogfight with a Spitfire Mk II.
I’m a lifelong history nerd, and know quite a bit about the nazis, but I don’t think there’s anything good about the regime or the ideology. Everything about it has always disgusted me. I never got the appeal that some people find in doing nothing but nazi shit for their models. Like you said, Doog, a 109 here or a Tiger there is one thing, having a 1/35-scale SS division all over your house is something else. I don’t think I will ever care to build anything 3rd-Reich-oriented unless it was specifically done to include OPFOR in a setup depicting US or other Western Allied forces, with the possible exception of Franz Stigler’s or Adolf Galland’s planes.
I’m not sure if it’s a political thing as some would say, at least not a left-vs-right/rep-vs-dem thing anyway. I’m pretty conservative myself, and married to an immigrant. Both political camps have assholes in them, and Godwin’s Law gets proved every day. I’ve heard “Because they look cool” from people all over the voting spectrum. I’ve also heard “The Germans had the best stuff!” I know enough about history (and guns) to know that that’s bullshit, but a lot of people still believe the hype.
Maybe that’s what it boils down to: hype. The Me-262 was the greatest plane of the war! Actually, it went fast and would tear itself apart if you messed with the throttle. The Tiger was the best tank ever! It was an overly-complicated, underpowered pile of shit that would blow its transmission before you ran out of a single tank of gas, it just had thick armor and a bigass gun. The G-43 was better than the M-1 Garand! The Garand is a robust, straight-shooting warhorse that always works; the G-43 is a jam-o-matic nightmare that broke from a gentle caress and wouldn’t hold a zero for love or money, plus it was ripped off from a Russian design. Some people just think German = best for some reason.
Doog – you’re a splendid modeler and I’ve learned a lot about the hobby from you thanks to your “black basing” videos. As I recall when you were on Finescale forums you were invariably genial and helpful. But I think you’ve pushed the German model issue way too far. When Nike canceled an American flag tennis shoe a few weeks back at the behest of Colin Kaepernick, several observers lamented that social justice warfare had intruded into sports and shoes – arenas where sane people might think were more appropriately filled with thoughts of touchdowns and stylish feet. You know – venues safe from today’s overheated politics. But now, you’ve let fly with full bore identity politics and virtue signaling the in the world of plastic models – illustrated with a big pic of SS wannabees taking a blood oath to the Fuhrer. I don’t get it. But here we are. So I’d like to make some comments on the issues you raise at least I understand them.
First, a few months back, in a belated response to your first German model post, I speculated that one reason (among many) for buying German WWII models was that they were attractive to the eye – or to simplify “they look cooler …Or their camo schemes are more interesting.” Guess that puts me in with the shallow six year olds. I don’t mind the six year old part at all. When I took my six year old son to score new Hot Wheels he too was drawn to things that, for the moment anyway, “looked cool.” Actually, I’d say that was a good reason to chose a little Jag over a VW. It’s also one good reason for oldsters to chose not only what kit to buy, but also what type of genre to build in. Most of the gents on this thread I’d guess model warplanes and many also warships. In the real world, both artifacts move through fluids – that means both are designed with “streamlining” very much in mind. And, because both warplanes and warships put great capital on speed, you will get sleek designs. I dare say most eyes would privilege a 12 meter racing yacht over a fishing trawler, a fast battleship over a tanker or a fighter over an air transport. (Because avoiding drag is so important over about 200 mph, I suppose almost any plane is handsome. But a 707 neater than an F-16?)) I’m sure that modelers have interests in technology and history that guide their choices (I get paid to write about 20th century military history and certainly fall into that category) but let’s face it – fighters “look cool.”
There was a saying in WWII aviation design – “if it looks good, it flies good. By any analysis German fighters “flew good.” Check out Eduard’s excellent site for an illustration. Eduard has made several FW190s and BF109s there’s quite a variety of paint schemes on display for each type. Because the LW applied much of their camouflage on the field, they’re all unique – and all very interesting to my eye. The aircraft themselves had exceptionally clean lines and were two of the most numerous and important planes of the war. (More BF-109s were produced than any single fighter in history.) Eduard has a Spit IX – it has one interesting camo scheme with or without invasion stripes. The same is true with their new P51: four nice variations on NMF. (BTW – there is a very good diagram of what parts of the plane were painted with aluminum lacquer and which NMF – open the instructions in Adobe.) These calculations may be irrelevant to many – but my favorite part of modeling is painting/weathering. As I use only water acrylics (and oils) I do a lot of paint mixing – which is a gas. Kind of like finger painting. Adds to the fun factor – something else six year olds would get. When I look at my new Tamiya BF-109G-6, I’ve already spent some time figuring how to paint that one. So I plead guilty to having some six year old impulses, but I don’t find them at all shallow.
Tanks are probably where you might see the largest bias toward German types. A look at Scale Hobbyist – where selection is excellent – shows that in 1/35 scale you can chose from 44 different versions of the Tiger I. Almost all of these kits are produced by Chinese companies and they must see a market – including a very big on in Asia. You can partially explain the number of kits offered by noting the famously inefficient German weapon development where multiple variations on basic types was almost never ending. (A lot of improvisation too – AFVs like the various Marders were clever stop-gaps to get anything with tracks to carry a big anti-tank gun.) In contrast, both the US and the USSR put huge emphasis on avoiding unneeded variation which could threaten production numbers hence the small number of types produced during the war. (The Brits made more types than either the US or Soviets.) But there’s no doubt that German armor has a very large market. I think one reason is that German armor is almost iconic in popular images of WWII. What was the difference between WWI and WWII? One common answer would be blitzkrieg – and the German Panzers are at its heart. In particular, the Tiger appears to be a kind of icon – the Bovington Tiger must be the most famous WWII artifact in existence. (I’d argue that if you looked at book covers or introductions to WWII documentaries, the Stuka would be the icon of the air war.) Another reason in my view is that German tanks “they look cooler …Or their camo schemes are more interesting.”
I should point out that I’m not alone in the “visual appeal” argument. In Volume II of Tank Art (World War II Allies) Mike Rinaldi assures his readers that much can be done building allied armor even though they lack the large variety of camo schemes found on German AFVs. And if you go through the pages there is one very impressive build after another from the US, USSR, Britain and France – Rinaldi is one of the best armor modelers on the planet. But, barring a Char B, any way you look at it, every model is green/olive drab. The contrast with the German volume is quite startling. Rinaldi is preparing another volume in the series – and it will be a full update of the German volume illustrating the great changes he has made in weathering technique. There’s also an interesting YouTube Channel from an AMPS Group in Toronto – lately they’ve been specializing in showing how you too can make one Sherman look different from another. I’m not sure whether you can grade tanks aesthetically – 30 tons of metal on tracks detracts from grace. That said, I’d definitely say that the major German models (PZ III & IV; Tiger I&II, Panther, Stugs) all have a kind of design flair that isn’t obvious on a Sherman, Grant, Stuart, Valentine, Cromwell or Churchill. The T-34 certainly looks the part and so does the Stalin – as long as you like green. So I think it’s silly not to admit that one reason for the popularity of German tanks is their complex camo schemes that – like their aircraft – are all unique.
Second, what would I think if I went into someone’s basement and saw a horde of German WWII planes, tanks and ships? I’d probably first check their quality. Second, I’d wonder why the gent didn’t score a Spitfire, or a Zero or a T-34? And, I suppose, even in the absence of Nazi regalia that I’d wonder if the guy in question really understood the 3d Reich. But this is all hypothetical. I submit that the number of modelers that would fit into this category would be, in the real world, remarkably small. I think in your post above, you create a kind of straw man to make a point that doesn’t mean much unless there were sizable numbers of “Reich only” modelers. I don’t think there are. I suppose there are exceptions. When I lived in Alexandria VA in 1976 there was a big store that sold WWII memorabilia – and the German stuff commanded the highest prices. My second book was the main selection of the Military History Book Club in the late 80s – I distinctly remember that among the several books also available was one on “SS Regalia” and one on “SS Daggers.” There are books on SS Uniforms. (That would please Himmler – he spent big money on having top designers work on SS uniforms.) But how many modelers have books on SS Regalia in their collection? The German side of WWII is certainly well covered, but, speaking as someone who writes in the field, not studying the Reich at war does leave a mighty big hole in the story. And here again, how many modelers are serious students of the war? I’m always amazed by the technical data at the command of the “rivet counters” on the modeling boards. But I’m not sure that would be the place to get a fresh view on Operation Bagration. The successful Osprey series targeted at modelers has a very wide range of subjects. If there are a large number of modelers fantasizing about the sad outcome of the Drang Nach Osten I’ve never run into one. (No doubt you could run into gents eager to explain the “real” 3d Reich, but I wouldn’t look at modeling sites to find them.)
Third, I think you’ve gone off the rail when you psychoanalyze modelers that build WWII German kits. As I understand it, you don’t think there are many open Nazis or white supremacists building a blizzard of Tigers and Panthers – all sporting the swastika. However, you do suggest that there’s still something wrong – it’s just not obvious: “But I’d bet that for most it’s something way more subconscious.” The point seems to be supported because there’s no other explanation. German weapons were not neat: they did not have complex camo; there were not inherently innovative and important weapons in history’s largest war. This is despite the multitude of modeling books and a multitude of new weathering products that are heavily aimed at German subjects. So, if some poor fellow is interested in picking up a new Rye Field Panther, he should think deeply on why he wants it. The subject has nothing inherently interesting (you know – cool camo – neat looks – important weapon) so the modeler must look into his own heart and face the real possibility that he is – subconsciously at least – a fan of the Third Reich or perhaps only a fan of fans of the Third Reich. This type of argument is sadly common but borders on the absurd and it’s crippling discourse in American society. Several of American political sins are believed by social justice warriors to be buttressed by structural patterns of thought that cannot be described by pointing to actions or speech. This idea is central to identity politics. If there is any difference in outcome between one group and another one group is dominating and exploiting the other. It doesn’t matter if in reality that American society has grown far more racially and sexually tolerant and diverse in the last seventy years. If social or economic outcomes are not identical (something that is basically impossible) than one group is being throttled by another. And if you can’t point to evidence of intent (or even clearly identify the dominance of the oppressor), then the only answer is that the exploiters are wicked even if they don’t know it. Is there any way out of this tribalist nonsense? Probably not. But one thing someone who is “privileged” can do is virtue signal. Bear your heart and publicly confess that “I’m a neo-Nazi but please forgive me because I didn’t know it. I just can’t bear to see peoples of color threatening my Euro-American privilege.” (Plug in the “privilege of your choice – white, male, white male, white female, white heterosexual, black heterosexual – the list is nearly endless.) I’ve spent my life teaching and writing about the political and military history of the 20th century. Let me swear on a stack of Tamiya models, that real, honest to goodness, living Nazis or Nazi sympathizers knew exactly what they were and exactly what they wanted. It has been distressing to see the words “racist” “fascist” or even “Nazi” become a simply terms to tag on to people that are your political opponents. It does no one any good and is destroying the meaning of the words. (In today’s America calling someone a “fascist” is the same as yelling “you suck.”) It also shows an appalling ignorance of European fascism as an historical phenomena. It also undermines the most important reason to study the catastrophic dynamic of the Second World War – it stands as the most important cautionary tale to come from modern history. But it only functions thus if people can see social and political movements that are taking place that have genuine parallels with the tortured world of the 1930s. And at this moment, fortunately, there are none. .
Doogs- you opened a can of worms. And I’m glad you did. You have a website that is VERY unique to modelers: you tell it as you see it. Under this administration, there’s too much support for white supremacy, while at the other hand, disregard for people from “ shit-hole countries”.
As far as the nazi thing goes, I agree it’s too prevalent in the modeling community. About 10-15% of what I build is German( including Luftwaffe jets 1960,s to today).
This all got me thinking: wouldn’t it be cool to do a 1/32 P-51 in Tuskegee airman colors?
Keep up the good work, glad to see you’re doing updates again!
Hey, Doog – i’ve been following your work and builds for years, and i’d like to say that this really strikes home.
Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII – one was a Marine, badly wounded at Okinawa, and the second was an Army ground-pounder who walked from Normandy to Berlin the hard way.
Add to this the number of friends I have whose relatives *also* fought in the war on the Allied side, and I find it all but impossible to even consider building German or Japanese topics. I simply can’t bring myself to celebrate the “other team”
There are a select few that I do want to build – but they are, as yours, exceptions such as the white-painted Betty that carried the Japanese delegation during the Japanese surrender process.
Other than those, I find myself focused on finding and telling specific stories built around specific aircraft or specific missions from the allied side.
Thanks for giving a voice to something that i’d Noticed and also wondered about as I look around various forums and show tables
I think this is where feelings are getting involved with models and it may be time some people need to sit out and get a breath of fresh air… Doogs included if you are going to start putting a political spin on modeling… You know that people like an aircraft not because of a symbol put on it but rather the design of the aircraft itself. Should all those who build Soviet subjects be called communist or supporters of Stalin? Remember that Hindenburg did not like Hitler but the Swastika was forced upon the airship.
A guy makes 20 P-51 models, no big deal.
A guy makes 15 Spitfires, all good.
A guy makes 10 Bf 109s and he is a Nazi?
A little exaggerated but the point is each of those guys built their favorite aircraft. Now if the guy built only SS division items I could see there is something there, but there are people who like building different variations of their favorite aircraft does not mean they are for the regime or leadership it was under. So if you build 10 P-51 Mustangs in different schemes that means you agree and support everything Roosevelt did? You agree with interning the people of Japanese descent into camps? No, don’t think so.
If a guy loves the Spitfire and builds a bunch of them so what? Maybe another guy likes Hurricanes instead? Maybe another person likes the Zero/Zeke, or a different person likes the Raiden.. In the aircraft modeling world people will tend to build a lot of a particular aircraft because it is their favorite one and has absolutely nothing to do with which country is served in.
Keep the politics out of modeling, this is nothing to do with some underlying message by the majority of modelers. It’s as if you are feeling guilt by the minority of vocal social justice warriors who are turning everything into something when there was nothing there. Sure there are the extremist in anything but to paint with a broad brush at everyone only contributes to the problem. Someone posted about the Tuskegee Airmen P-51, don’t build it if you feel obligated too since then you would be building it for the wrong reason. You should build one because it’s what you want to do, either you like the scheme or pay homage to their service. But to build it because you feel you have to, that is not right seeing as it would be a pity build. Just don’t do it at all then…
I swear it’s like people don’t even read the post…
I read the post very carefully – I wouldn’t have bothered to respond if I hadn’t.
” And it usually boils down to something like “they look cooler”. Or the camo schemes are more interesting. Which, to me, is about as shallow a reason as you can find. It’s like my six-year-old picking out Hot Wheels cars. But in the main we’re talking about grown-ass men….Building mostly or exclusively German WWII shit doesn’t mean you are a neo-nazi or a white supremacist. I’m sure some small percentage are. And I’m guessing that if a neo-nazi or white supremacist builds models, they probably gravitate toward the Third Reich. But I’d bet that for most it’s something way more subconscious. Something that hasn’t been thought deeply about at all, which is why I get all the comments about how cool their camo was. Or maybe there’s some kind of “playing with the taboo” thing at play (which is how a lot of radicalization can get started, but nevermind that).
All I would ask, if you find the wave of butthurt rolling over you, is to stop and think. Really, truly, deeply think, about why you build the subjects you build.”
Hmmm…. that’s virtue signaling – because obviously you “deeply think” about what you build and others don’t – you know, the gents in denial that only think they want a kit because because they like it. Second, raising the issue of people holding views they deny consciously in their “subconscious” is exactly the kind of reasoning (if that’s the word for an idea that wouldn’t pass any test of informal logic) that’s used to support the charge that the country is constructed under a structure of “white privilege” and accompanying racism. Someone says they’re not racist: they don’t act like racist – it doesn’t matter because “subconsciously” – they’re racist. That’s political discourse in the US in 2019 – if you don’t recognize it, think deeply.
Well, lets look at a previous build shall we, your Me 262, with the broken landing gear. To my knowledge you built that because you saw a cool photo and thought.. hey, I can do that. Did anything enter your mind like, the 262 was built with slave labor or it was a part of a fasict regime? Nope.. It looked cool, and you didn’t have any racist or nazi thoughts while building it.
More people don’t believe that people landed on the moon than are nazi’s.. and to subscribe that everybody that builds Nazi aircraft, tanks etc. are latent or “Sub conscious” Nazi is idiotic at best. I build what I think looks cool at the time I buy or build it.. And if I walk into a room with 15 109’s and 10 262’s I’d think.. this guy/girl needs to branch out..build a gundam.. ( which to build on the theme.. Zeon is basically space nazi’s.. so anybody who builds a zaku is a neo nazi? … Crap.. load of donkey crap.. Zaku’s look cool) It would never enter my mind that this guy/girl would be a neo nazi unless I’d see a flag, or ss uniform in a glass case..
So I guess in the end, your a decent model builder, but please don’t inject politics ( you basically said in the article your anti cheeto) in all.. we don’t care what you believe politically.. can you build, yep.. then show me please. 🙂
So according to your logic, my love for pinup girl nose art makes me a rapist. This whole thing is pathetic. Can’t somebody just like to do something without having to justify it to all you oversensitive types who are always looking for some trouble that doesn’t exist. Imagine my surprise when I read all your references to Trump. Geez. And you call yourself a Texan to boot.
If that’s your take on my logic, you need to bone up on your reading comprehension. A lot.
When I wrote my original post, it was based solely on observations seen online. In those amazing days when neo-nazi white supremacist fuckheads were at best a completely marginalized fringe thing. Since then they’ve surged, if not into the mainstream, at least into something that can’t be ignored and mocked. And people are getting killed for it.
Does that mean that someone who builds fuckloads of Tigers and Fw 190s is going to throw on khakis, grab a tiki torch and go chant about Jews? No. Would it surprise me in the least if there’s a correlation? Also no.
It’s amazing to me how defensive (or…oversensitive?) people get when challenged to stop and think, even for a moment, about why they build what they build.
Oh, and I only mentioned Trump once.
I’m not sure what Texas has to do with this thread, but I spend most of my life in Berkeley, and can testify that social justice warfare takes place all around my little house and infects almost every corner of human life. It is sad, but richly ironic that the new “New Left” gains its inspiration from the ideas of Carl Schmitt, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault and John C Calhoun – all figures that argued that basically all human interaction is propelled by power and dominance. It’s their world where people buy model Stugs because they – deep inside – wish that Hitler had taken Moscow. Berkeley is also deeply and profoundly dysfunctional. You’d have to see it to believe it. (If you drop by, don’t trip on any one of the hundreds of tents permanently pitched alongside major city streets that house the most public of the city’s psychos, drug addicts and alcoholics. Oh, and don’t criticize – that only proves that you’re a proto-fascist fan of America’s plutocracy.)
As luck would have it an owner of a model shop in Phoenix and owner of a very successful YouTube Channel “Andy’s Hobby Headquarters” (140,000 subscribers) commented on the popularity of German armor in a model show held in Germany last month. There’s a 50 minute Q&A done between Andy and his German fans. (I watch Andy’s videos because they’re really good video reviews of major new kits – he’s a Tamiya fanboy as I am, and is now building the new P-38. He edits well and builds fast so you can see a model built instead of “in-box” reveiw in about 30 minutes. He’s not “Spanish School” and is proud of it – he thinks the hobby should be “fun” and hell with perfection. He’s better than he appears methinks – for instance, he doesn’t like rust on tanks which is indeed grossly over employed. 80% of his builds are armor.) Anyway, at 31:28 in the video he’s asked about the popularity of German tanks. His response that they were definitely the favorite among his customers and across the US. Why? Above all because of their neat camo and greater opportunity to display weathering. He notes that Shermans are “neat” but a little boring (really, folk, how many US tanks were employed in the ETO that weren’t M-4s?) and hard to weather because olive drab obscures a lot of weathering done. (I’ve done more Soviet than US or German armor but can understand what he’s saying. I put a lot of effort into weathering a T-34/76 and a Su-76 in the last few months – and they look the same. I like them, but I wasn’t itching to get at one of my two Tasca Shermans in the stash when done.) Andy also said German armor had more variety, and an “interesting” look. Your mileage may vary, but I get what he means. (Really, Tiger II vs Cromwell?) Andy particularly likes Stugs. I’ve never built one – but have three, and they do look neat. Check it out yourself: on YouTube “Questions and answers at MBK recorded at Summerfest 8/17” or check his channel at “Andy’s Hobby Headquarters.”
So what we’re dealing with is a very charming middle age owner of a successful hobby shop (who plays classical music during his builds – a real plus compared to the blaring metal that’s common) giving his opinion as modeler and small businessman. His opinions coincide exactly with those held by Doog’s hypothetical six year old. Soooo….we’re either dealing with someone inside the business that is giving a simple answer to what I find a simple question, or we’re dealing with a conscious or unconscious white supremacist / neo Nazi who sells his wares to customers infected with the same political virus.Perhaps he’s a part of the surging white supremacy that’s killing people. Check it out – make your own decision.
I like the last post because it’s rational, and rational in the face of the prevalent-media type crap.
Look, I’m an all nationalities kind of builder. But lately I’ve built Russian. Because it’s interesting to me, and because I rarely see it on the table. I like to read Doogs because it’s flat out honest and critical. I don’t care what country the subject is from. I personally stay away from the German stuff just because it’s so damn prevalent… why build something if every other guy is building it? I want to see something different. But I still like looking at it. So why build Russian when I think their sociopolitical stance is just as destructive as that of fascists? Because it’s underdone and it’s history. And even stupid history is interesting and worth learning. But let’s tear it all down because it offends me ‘cause I’m an emotional child jeez?
I really think a lot of guys build German stuff just because it looks cool. There’s no hidden agenda or perverse “dominate the world” agenda type of crap going on. No more than my recent Russian builds are pro Commumist or pro Trump (you’re killing me really).
You gotta laugh If you think guys are building to assuage their political interests. Yet yes I agree the German stuff is a bit over represented… BUT probably because most of it just looks cooler. Design, paint scheme, whatever. You got monotone Lee’s begging to be blowed up. I’m 45 and I’ve never ever ever witnessed fascism or rascism in our country and I’ve been all over our beautiful country and in the Marine Corps.
If you see German stuff it’s probably because it’s more interesting. Sue me or call me a fascist. But I don’t build them. So what’s left? Am I a communist because there’s a red star on my build? Give me s break.
Doogs I really wanted to understand. I re-read your 27Aug post about a “re-surgence” in white supremacist fuckheads. But I only hear about them on TV. When I look at statistics their prevalence is laughable, akin to CNN statistics at this point. You are smarter than this. They are to be shunned for sure, but statistically they really don’t exist. Common man
Doogs – I seriously appreciate both your immense technical expertise and your occasional foray into adult topics, such as hey, no shit, we live in complex times. The defensiveness and holy outrage demonstrated in many of the responses to your comment suggests that your purpose is totally successful – a little bit of mature reflection and self assessment goes a long way. One hopes, anyway! We’re all live in the same world – we can no sooner separate this frivolous hobby from real life than walk on the sun. Thanks for the thoughts, and keep up the good work!
Hi, Doogs. Nice post regarding Nazi models. I’m a few years back into the hobby after a couple of decades away (WOW ain’t things changed!) and have recently had to come to a decision about Nazi-themed things. Without boring you (because it bores me and so perforce it must bore anyone else), I have decided that yeah…I’m sure there were those German soldiers who were there because it beat being immediately shot. But that said, yeah…the Wehrmacht (and Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine) was the military arm of a heinous regime. So on the very rare occurrence that I build something Nazi, I’ll build it as destroyed and as part of something else.
Thanks Doog, it’s a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself what your motivation is. When I look at the shelves holding all the kits I’m going to build some day I have to say it’s an odd collection. One thing that really excites me is great engineering in a kit and with the German subjects there has been a lot of that. However the new allied subjects coming out from Tamiya, eduard and Airfix are what’s on my wish list today. Make a great kit and they will come. Who doesn’t want to do the new Tamiya P-38 or the eduard P-51?
It’s amazing how many people are made uncomfortable by an exploration of the subjects being modeled. Not much space in this community to discuss anything more complex than techniques I guess. It’s worrisome that this conversation is passe in the modeling community.
Never in my life have I ever considered picking up a scale model belonging to an Axis power. I come from a military family reaching back to the Civil War. I was raised under a retired Air Force grandfather and a Army aviation father. I grew up with aviation in my blood.
Then when Great Models.com was all the craze back in the late ’90’s one of my dad’s you get brothers (himself a Army aviator) starts buying all these Luftwaffe aircraft kits and books. He had a large stash of Allied aircraft as well but the German subjects easily outnumbered them. Both my dad and myself asked him why. His response was the typical bullshit answer I hear all the time. “They’re just so much more interesting and the have a wider variety of paint schemes.” And I’ll never forget my old man giving him a raised eyebrow and kinda distance himself from that. It just didn’t sit right with either one of us.
Do the victors write the history books? Of course they do. That’s probably why they’re the victors. But to have so much of those history books (and scale models) focused on the losers, which they were, is disturbing in itself to me. Forget the fact that we’re discussing the Third Reich. These guys lost the war. They got they’re asses handed to them finally. Yet there is a really eerily amount of focus put on them. You don’t see that amount with the North Vietnamese, or Saddam’s Iraqi regime. They had some interesting”paint schemes” too.
I had a lot to say on your original subject back years ago so I won’t go much more into this than I already have but I want to thank you for the enlightened article. Maybe it will help others connect the dots. Or like all the other bullshit going in with our country maybe they’ll continue to be ignorant jackasses and it won’t help them.
In any case I was browsing a guy’s webstore last week and saw an old Aeromaster decal sheet about early war -109’s. As I stated in the first sentence of this I have NEVER considered buying Axis stuff but this one kinda looked cool to me. It was the sheet with the shark mouth Messerschmitt. I may purchase it or I may not. Either way it would definitely be a first for me, but don’t count on seeing more than one Luftwaffe subject in my home.
I’ve been pondering this post for a couple of months now. No, I haven’t read through the other posts, I learned a long time ago posts on the internet tend to be some of lowest form of debate and logic. Every time I looked at the display case and the stash, i kept coming back to post. I kept asking myself why would I choose to display a swastika in my home.
I finally decided to purge the German WWII through either sales or the trash can. After it was done, I cant say i miss them. There are more planes in the stash to keep me busy for years to come. For these same reasons, I am much more selective in the nose art on my models (no nudes or suggestive themes).
This being said, this was a purely personal decision. I cant say i would judge someone who has WWII German subjects differently, although purely German i might question.
Thanks for posting this. It opened you up to some abuse, but I thought it was a timely and well thought out posting that made me stop and think.
Personally I mostly do german stuff (but I still got some soviet union prototype,and japanese aircraft+one spitfire model in stock and I only build project/prototype) because I simply want to build them and find the project/prototype more original than the classic tiger I (I think they should do orignal variant like the Rammtiger or the Flammtiger) . I’m not someone who fetischize the german army ,I know they were bad (the Wehrmacht and the SS,sorry to Wehraboo but I’ll see the wehrmacht as the nazi army too since they were a lot politicise and a lot more nazi than Wehraboo think +just because youw eren’t a party member doesn’t mean you weren’t nazi since you can have still believed in the idelogy/carrying the politics of the party or being complicit of the nazi regime by being a part of the war effort and please don’t start throwing at me the argument used by those who believe in the clean wehrmacht myth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_clean_Wehrmacht as for Wehraboo,you should go to shitwehraboosay,it’s a good sub https://www.reddit.com/r/ShitWehraboosSay/ )
Great post, I agree with you. When I wrote on a Facebook-thread that I don’t put swastikas on my (few) German models I was accused of being an idiot and a commie. In my view politics trumps (not that Trump) accuracy. Political correctness? No, I just don’t want a symbol of hatred in my home.