When reality intrudes

Scale modelers are dedicated to modeling history as accurately as possible, for the most part. War, however, is something which has brought down entire nations and changed history, as well as affecting generations of people who survived. Those who did not survive also leave a hole in their families that is difficult to bear at best. 

So how much of this reality of war should modelers reflect in their work? I thought about this as I was looking at a modeling forum and spotted a post from someone looking for dead soldier figures. They are out there and you can also convert your own figures. 

The post immediately brought comments about not overdoing death in a diorama, which I agree with. I am not one to tell people what to model in their dioramas, but I think some subtlety is called for. 

We have plenty of photos and films about what goes on during a war and how weapons affect the human body. It’s not necessary to model every detail like it’s a body horror movie.

But I also believe in the educational factor of dioramas. Take for example, the opening of Saving Private Ryan. I can’t image being one of the scared soldiers who struggled up the beach. That scene shows how serious the job was that day and some were not bound to make it. It also shows the bravery of those who did make it and paved the way for those to come.

Some people can’t take that kind of graphic representation, which is understandable. If you talk to a veteran who’s seen action, he or she might tell you about similar things they’ve witnessed in their career. They might not. It’s not pleasant reliving experiences such as those.

I have a neighbor up the street from me who somehow survived the second wave of D-Day. I thanked him for his service, but I did not press him for details. I can only imagine what he saw and experienced and I am content to leave it at that.

All wars have situations that leave unpleasant memories in people’s minds for years. I prefer to think if I am modeling a serious scene, I am educating the viewer and honoring those who fight for us, as well as showing the high cost of war.

Book Review – Gulf WarDesert Shield and Desert Storm, 1990–1991


Gulf War

Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 1990–1991

Pen And Sword Press

By Anthony A. Evans

This slim paperback is not chock full of color photos like some books are, but the photos in the book do show an interesting view of the uniforms and gear used by the U. S. Army during the Gulf War. There are many photos in the book but they are mostly in black and white.

This is just one book in a series that presents the uniforms and equipment of the United States Army from the 1800s to today.  The book begins with a short summary of the Gulf War, and then its into the photos, which are accompanied by informative captions. I’m not sure if these photos have been published elsewhere, but they do show a lot of military weapons in use and being setup by soldiers.

The book has lots of photos of tanks, helicopters, mortars, missile systems, artillery and amphibious vehicles and even one motorcycle up close and personal. Views of how weapons are set up and the ammunition they use is useful for modelers wanting to get the details just right. Explanations of what’s going on in the photos is succinct but useful. 

 Likewise, the book describes the uniforms used at the time and explains them well. For example, not all troops wore the “chocolate chip” camo uniforms. A photo showing some U.S. soldiers wearing standard  woodland BDUs in northern Iraq explains that the climate is more temperate there than in the south of the country,  thus the use of different uniforms.
Besides those two types of photos, there are many just showing the soldiers doing the usual stuff, such as training, relaxing, maintaining weapons, eating, interacting with civilians and so forth. These are important because they give a face to all the machines and equipment shown. They show the men and women who maintained all the equipment and 

Definitely useful for the modeler interested in the Gulf War, this book can suggest ideas for dioramas, how to pose figures and an overall views of the action on the ground and all the work needed to make the operation possible.