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Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.".

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

Of course not. Even the best miniatures are 72 times too small.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

Nitpicker
Of course not. Even the best miniatures are 72 times too small.
But if the sculptor is adding bits that should not be there ? or sculpts a perfect weapon...but the wrong weapon ? . I have never counted buttons or worried about collars and cuffs, as long as it has the feel and there are no big errors,then good enough. But if there are big errors then it will put me off buying, probably others and then no one is getting what they want out of it.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

Alan Buckingham
Nitpicker
Of course not. Even the best miniatures are 72 times too small.
But if the sculptor is adding bits that should not be there ? or sculpts a perfect weapon...but the wrong weapon ? . I have never counted buttons or worried about collars and cuffs, as long as it has the feel and there are no big errors,then good enough. But if there are big errors then it will put me off buying, probably others and then no one is getting what they want out of it.
Think its fair to say my house is not big enough for a 1/1 scale Waterloo diorama!!!
So 1/72 it is!!!

Agree with Alan, a set must have the right "feel". It should portray the depicted unit/regiment in a way that makes you instantly look at them and say, "oh yeah thats them".

Some very tiny mistakes can be forgiven, as Alan said, like missing a button. Things like this can be remedied with a paintbrush. Also in certain cases, a small detail that shouldnt be there can be removed with a sharp knife.

Big mistakes however that could of been avoided are more difficult to ignore & forgive. It shouts lazyness by the company/designer/sculptor to not of researched their topic properly and of a desire to rush a set to sale, without caring.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

We have a sense of humour here. I approve. :joy: :smile:

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

😁👍

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.

Re: Is 100% Historical Accuracy Possible?

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.