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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.