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Hello! As the thread title suggests, I am curious about your guy's opinion on whether a 100% historical accuracy score on a set is possible? This is regardless of era. Naturally I have my thoughts on the topic, but for the sake of objectivity I will state those once this thread nears its inevitable completion.
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I suppose it depends on the era, what unit it is being represented and how much information there is out there.
For me the 20th century should be pretty easy to get right as there was more records kept and obviously photographic evidence too. There has also been veterans whos experiences and knowledge has been tapped into by historians.
The 19th Century for example also had records kept and in terms of the mid to late Victorian era, again there are some photos. ACW is a prime example. There are also paintings but these need be examined carefully as Victorian artists tended to go for the dramatic. There is also museums where many uniforms, weapons etc have been displayed.
Where i think 100% accuracy becomes harder is the ancient/medieval period. There is far less records, certainly no photos and only certain relics left. Medieval is a bit better as often we see weapons and suits of armour on display in places like castles. Then there is the Bayeux tapestry for 1066.
Ancient Rome, Greece etc is probably the toughest. There are some artifacts recovered,but we have to rely on archeologists,scholars etc interpretations to a big extent.
Then there is a problem that affects all time periods.......Hollywood!!!!
If there is one resource that is definately unreliable, its TV and the movies.
I think the biggest issue with almost every era is to do with how quickly uniforms and general tidy-ness of troops deteriorates in the field. To paraphrase the famous military maxim about strategy, "Uniformity only lasts as long as first contact with the enemy."...and sometimes not even as long as that!
I know that almost all the soldiers in my collection are too 'smart' to represent reality; and when I paint, say, a battalion of French Napoleonic infantry in greatcoats they look so dull against their neighbouring units dressed in their regulation blue coats, white trousers etc. I have both styles in my French 1813-15 army, but I try to keep them apart ie: brigades are either greatcoated or smart, but not mixed.
I know that some modellers/gamers really go all out to present their units as 'shabby'. Look out for these at any wargames convention; it is especially prevalent amongst the 28mm Napoleonics crowd!
To give Strelets credit here, they are making a particular point of varying the head-dress of figures in their Napoleonic sets, and are producing some in greatcoats too.
I think on balance I am happy with 'smart', even if it may not be as un-tidy as the real thing.
Yes, as said above particularly for 19th century to present day, no excuses . Also mentioned above is artistic license and that in our hobby is the sculptor, but if you want it right research it and make it so.
Good thing for ancient & medieval times is that there never & nowhere existed modern uniformity (although it seems that some people can't accept this fact, but this are people who think historical military worked like modern constitutional states professional army).
So there's some level of interpretation, but this isn't "wrong" as long as it doesn't break with the current state of knowledge about technical possibility & cultural style.
The 19th cent. is somehow difficult cause there is a good amount of info, but it was full of curiosity - old stuff beside new things.
But since 20th century and it's abundance of infos it should be easy & inevitable to make proper figures for a clearly defined purpose.
I'm no historian and I'm basing my opinion on my own 22 years service in the British Army. Whether deployed on operations or on exercise the variation in uniform and kit was widespread, with some preferring issue kit and other privately purchased non regulation items. There were different boots, jackets, smocks, waterproofs, gloves, belts, pouches, bergans etc. I doubt there were three people dressed identically in a platoon. So to try and accurately reflect this would be nigh on impossible. And then there's the question, already raised by others here, do you want to have uniformity or individuality?
Personally I like uniformity, like another contributor above I dress my Napoleonic French in Regiments of greatcoats or Regiments of tunics, but not a combination. Each to their own I suppose.
Probably yes, provided a) there is sufficient documentation and b) the set's title is 100% precise.
So it's not "German WW2 infantry" but rather "Infantry of the Wehrmacht's 123rd infantry division, Poland, 22rd June 1941, 04:00 a. m.".
Of course not. Even the best miniatures are 72 times too small.
We have a sense of humour here. I approve. :joy: :smile:
Sorry for the 1/72 joke, but I could not resist.
In my opinion, any reconstruction of the past is a mix of research and a percentage of personal imagination.
All historical sources like reports, drawings or paintings also include some imagination of the writers or artists.
Even re-enactment is a kind of roleplay, where modern guys try to live like people in the past. But we can only try, because we are no children of ages, which are long gone. We see, think and dream as modern people. And no one of us was really 'there', to see how troops looked like or acted at a certain time or location.
No one of us crossed the Rubicon with Caesar, no one fired a volley at Waterloo and no one defended Little Round Top or Rorkes’s Drift. Probably no one here was driving a LRDG-Chevrolet through the desert.
Every sculptor will find himself in the same situation. He has to do research, to select examples and to use his imagination and sculpting skills to create a master. Sometimes the uniform seems pretty spot on, compared to a painting. photo or Osprey-Illustration. Sometimes a pose looks odd, because the artist did not understand how a tool or weapon works or how soldiers used it, moved and posed in real life. Anatomy is another point. Soldiers marching many miles a day, carrying a heavy kit feature strong calves and muscles and may look more like peasants. Maybe not smart enough to be depicted that way in a painting for the king or an illustration in a book, manual or newspaper.
So all of us have our own yardstick. The more the sculpting meets our research, purpose and imagination, the more “authentic” it will appear in our eyes.
Is '100% historical accuracy' possible? Objectively: rather not. Subjectively: yes.
The joke was good and understood!! 😁👍.
I suppose what people really mean by "100% Historical accuracy" is that a designer/sculptor should have refered to & followed all the available evidence out there and worked from that. Thats the best anyone can manage or expect.
But when manufacturers try passing any old set on us, we know if they didnt do their "homework".
Thing is about this hobby, we the customer often have to do our homework too. Whether that be so that we can paint them properly, portray a battle or maybe even just have a interest and enjoy learning history. That is how and why at times we can point the finger at a set and say, no thats not right.
No 100% accuracy is impossible and more so undesirable. My main interest lies in Napoleonic and colonial wars(I'm struggling to stay away from the WSS, those figurines are so beautiful). Often soldiers and certainly officers had to get (part of) their own outfit themselves. They might have been supplied with shako, a coat and/or jacquet but trousers and probably footwear was something they, I imagine, supplied themselves, especially as the war dragged on and the emperor's koffers went empty. What they did get for example in the French army, was a musket, a bayonet and a belt to suspend the scabbard and cartridgecase. Fusiliers only got one belt holding both and the elites were supplied with cartridgecase belt and infantry sabre/bayonet belt. This is well documented, even in contemporary images. On that point manufacturers do not need to make mistakes. As I said in an earlier thread, 2/3 of Napoleon's regular army consisted of fusiliers. If you see how often they have been correctly presented compared to the elites from light infantry to imperial guard, they have been seriously short changed. In that field, accuracy can be vastly improved.
I base this writing on my experience as a former soldier and on pictorial documents (photographs, movies . . . .). Reproducing the uniforms of all armies on a 100% reliable basis is not possible. And whatever the period or the conflict. Some units, such as the cavalry, keep standards uniforms close to regulation for longer. But other units such as the infantry show a real disparity in the uniforms, but also sometimes the weapons used. There are many reasons for this. The stewardship doesn't follow. The country's wartime economy is running out. Uniform wear is important as wartime and fighting violence. The fact of addressing the lack of equipment, in the face of climatic conditions. But also take and return weapons that the fighter believes to be better than what he possesses. The psychological need of the individual to distance himself from the human mass in which he has been for a long time (It's me, look at me). To try to stick as much as possible to reality, I document myself on personal photos or movies. I avoid official documents or propaganda materials. Just as an example: By convention the Roman soldier is very often represented in lorica segmentata. This be a legionnaire of Caesar, a legionnaire of Augustus or Aetius. We all know here that this is not the case. But popular representation . . . . . . . If I had to represent French soldiers from the Russian retreat or the Spanish countryside, and they are 100% reliable, I would represent armed tramps with a few hats, shakos cap cubs . . . . I will not do it because in addition to accuracy I like when my diorama is beautiful and pleasant to the vision and original. And then I try to have common sense, a good feeling.Finally, I am quite forgiving because I can be wrong in my judgment not knowing everything and not knowing the veracity of the documents................. That said I agree with everything you wrote in this blog. It is more beautiful a uniformity of clothing and armaments. But that's all. Unless I reproduce a photo, 100% accuracy does not exist. I think I am at 60% time old, 85% accuracy.
Thanks for the replies everyone!
The sentiments expressed here make logical sense to me. I think in addition to the already presented thoughts, another thing that is problematic in our scale is the relationships between the sculptor, company, and consumer can work against attempts at accuracy as well. I will generalize here so my statement is not applicable to everyone, but I would say that most sculptors who do it for a full time living tend to make their money off the quality of their art and not because they are avid historians at heart. In my opinion this can create an issue where the goal of the set is to be more artistically appealing or achieve a new pose type, etc., etc., rather than being historically accurate or even practical for diorama/wargaming usage (I would say Caesar Miniatures' ancient sets are probably the most clear example of this I can think of right now). I see this all the time especially with poses that hold shields (which are vital for most pre-1200 AD eras), but it holds true to some extent across the whole scale. The company of course will also want to develop the set that gives them the most likely opportunity for profit, which introduces a certain conservativism to the whole process. I think this process is not unique to the 1/72 scale, as similar issues affect movies and PC games as well.