History or Anonymity?

I’m not sure if this is the right Topic choice, but it seems to fit. Has anyone noticed that there are two kinds of AFV modelers? There is the historical build cohort who try to replicate a real tank with a real famous commander from a real war. This cohort is very serious about their builds and aren’t given to straying too far off the reservation as to how accurate the build is. There are kits with Carius, Whitman etc right on the box.
The second cohorT, of which I consider myself a member, is simply trying to create a generally historically accurate vehicle, but uses artistic license to “make it their own .” I find this liberating and I don’t feel manacled to the dictates of exactly Carius’s Tiger should look. So, I make generic vehicles which could absolutely be found in any tank company, but aren’t wedded to some historical cognate. To me that seems confining. NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. I like the freedom to make a build which is just one of the tanks or destroyers which could be found in any tank organization. This way, I’ve got a broader array of choices.
Anyone ever notice this, or is it so irrelevant it’s not worthy of a post? The historical cohort is pretty serious about their work and don’t take criticism well, in some cases. Of course, some in the other group don’t either. Some of my scratch build ideas are stupid and we’re never to be done again as som ideas are dumb and shouldn’t be done on any build. What do you think? Do you find yourself in one camp or the other, or both? I do think this is a real, unstated , phenomenon. But does it deserve recognition? Should we even talk about it and why one type is perhaps better than the other?


I find myself in the second camp, mostly. I don’t usually build any specific vehicles attached to any certain person/commander. I do try to build them as accurate as possible though, just usually with generic markings. I take my work pretty seriously too and add lots of details where I can. I don’t build paper panzers or SciFi stuff either. It generally had to be an actually fielded vehicle.


I would be in the second camp, mostly because I don’t quite have the skills yet to accurately paint and match a known camo scheme with fidelity. So, I tend to build units from Dragon’s famous ‘Unknown Unit’.

In fact, at the moment I am building a Spitfire using the decals of a specific plane but I didn’t build the exact plane the decals go to. No one I know that would visit and see my planes will realize what I have done and I don’t do contests so I get what I want which is a Spitfire in the colors I wanted.


Me too for much the same reason

Right on a heavyarty. We’re you an arty man I’m the service? Artillery: The King of Battle! Thanks.

Yes, 23 1/2 years active-duty Artillery Officer. I served mostly on MLRS and as a forward observer.


In reality, there may be more groups than the two. I suppose hybrids are out there. But I’ve run into the more serious-minded historicity guys who have dealt me some rhetorical body blows in repsonse to some of my other comments or posts, like the post I did on Michael Whitman, SS Hitler bootlicker. I took a pounding from some of his hagiographers. Im more of a Kurt Knispel guy.

Thanks for your service, I spent 8.5 in the Marine Corps, but left as a Captain due to severe training injuries which made me a 90% service connected vet. Nothing like your deal though. Respects.



I prefer building a “generic tank” (camp two). An undocumented tank from the same unit as a known commander, as long as the tac number was a real one. Keep the camo style consistent with any other documented vehicles in the unit, and the rest is up to you.
:smiley: :canada:

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Interesting thoughts.

When it comes to armor I’m mostly in the second camp. I build what’s offered in the kit and don’t care if it’s not exactly right.

Aircraft are usually a different animal though, since they’re heavily tied to a particular ace or group. I’ve only done one aircraft that was a made-up scheme of my own.

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you’ve got me thought because i. don’t have the skills to do air craft. too hard

Kind of depends for me, and I do both.

I will attempt to replicate a specific vehicle sometimes, but only if I feel that I have enough information about it to get it just right. In those cases, the significance of that vehicle in some particular context also needs to be important enough to justify the extra research effort, and that context also usually becomes part of the overall project. I’ll often choose to display the model in a scene that might have taken place just before or after the “famous” photos of it, just to give myself some “wriggle room” to deviate from those known photos.

However, most of my builds I would consider “exemplars” of the type, and for markings I’ll usually go for the opposite of the above, choosing to model a vehicle that is “anonymous” with regard to known (at least to me) photos, etc. So, in these builds, I’ll make a serious effort to get the generic unit markings correct as well as the technical details, but I’ll be deliberate in selecting specific vehicle numbers for a vehicle that has not been photographed. I usually try to establish the historical context for these builds with the vignette or diorama details, so context always has some importance for me in selecting subjects and dialing in the particular unit, location, time, etc. The tank, for example, might be "anonymous, but I do try to build an example that is correct for the historical context that it’s displayed in.

With specific historically “well known” subjects, there’s always the potential problem with the Researcher’s Corollary to Murphy’s Laws which states that as soon as you have completed the project, the last bit of unknown information will be discovered.

Of course, there’s also the potential problem that as soon as you build an “anonymous” subject, someone will publish a photo or two that proves it was the exception to all the rules you were so careful to research and attempt to follow.


Definitely Second Cohort. First off, I only select models because they interest me, not because of what said vehicle may have accomplished. Once I find something that interests me, I do research to find out what the real thing looks like, colors it wore, etc. I don’t ever go so deep as to get the registration names, markings etc. exact. I am not trying to “recreate” anything, just model what I feel is “cool”, interesting, or just different and fun. I will also, almost always, add something of me to the project. Be it a special marking, some small detail I want to show, something to set it apart from everyone else. I am a fan of history, but i use it to help propel my projects forward, not trap them to a specific time, event, setting…


I’m somewhere in between. I am not one to build a tank from a famous commander, but I do like to replicate tanks seen in photos. Or more commonly I like to represent AFVs and soft skins from units at a particular time or event. I recently finished a Marder III H that was well photographed after being knocked out and captured in Italy. I chose to model it as it would have looked while still operational in German hands. While I don’t capture the exact look of photos, I try my best to represent the essence of what is seen in the photos that I use as reference. If I can’t find a reference photo of what I want, then I’ll do an educated guess on what to go with on a project.


I think you are conflating two separate schools in your second group: I’m in both of those schools. If I’m going for a historical built it is usually a generic “Unknown Unit, Who Knows Where, Whenever”. But I regard Paper Panzers, Luft '46, Kriegsmarine '46, etc., as a part of my S.F./Fantasy themes. I have one (amongst many?) strange quirk; I like to build Luft '46 models as “Alternative Farnborough '47” i.e. marked as captured examples being evaluated by the RAF (this is being embraced by some manufacturers of these type of model who included fictional RAF/USAF/VVS markings in their kits).



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I would honestly like to be in the first group, however I do not have the skill set to compete in this. I don’t have the capable memory (stupid brain injury) nor trained eye to retain or identify minute differences. As well access to museums, or technical libraries and documents is nil. My cupboards are pretty much bare of research materiel.

Probably like most, I will try and put as much period accuracy in what I want to depict. I really enjoy researching via the interwebs for referencing. In the end, I want to have the freedom to make or add something I want and not be too regimented to fact. Most military equipment is only identical when it comes off the assembly line. Who doesn’t like usable Guci kit?


Middle of the road, favoring #2.

Seen too many friends wrapped in historically exact, rivet accurate, specific factory, picture referenced, day of manufacture, “serious research” perfect miniature philosophy seldom complete a model to take #1 seriously as an option for myself.

Like 45 kit starts, 30 built, 15 painted, none finished in 20 years level stuff.

I’m much happier :smiling_face: in the 80% Today is better than 100% Tomorrow camp so #2 historically accurate but generic is normally my choice. I like the Achtung Panzer modeling books level of accuracy. Building the ACE’s plane or tank or whatever is seldom where model building takes me.

Seldom motivated for “1946” paper panzers unless they were fairly close to production. Likewise, not interested in doing cartoon style hypothetical builds with blue :blue_heart: panzers, fire engine red Stug’s, :unicorn: unicorn cavalry, environmentally friendly stormtroopers and pegasus flying air cover. No issues if someone else wants to do that.


so well spoken; then on top of your painstaking efforts some smart aleck who claims to to an authority pipes up and disssects your historical piece: with comments like “Lt Schnitzel would never put that on his Konigstiger… blah blah”. i got fed up with up that


IMO a unicorn cavalry diorama would be pretty cool with a snowflake artillery regiment as support. Just sayin’…. :exploding_head:


My favourite military unit,
fought on all fronts but can’t be pinned down on any historical map.

I have been considering leaving the vehicles unmarked but the markings/decals add a little colour so I put them on just for that reason.