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"Historically accurate figures?" Topic


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1,228 hits since 11 Oct 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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andysyk11 Oct 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

Would a wargames company that manufactured WW2 figures that actually carried and matched WE/TOE/KSTN and the personal equipment carried succeed?
There is ample easily accessible reference material out there as to how what and where was carried by troops in WW2 of any nation available.
So why do Wargames companies still churn out ill equipped, mismatched uniformed figures with 64,000 MP44,s with not enough ammo pouches for them or US Infantry figures with no M1 Carbine pouches, all nations Infantry with wrong personal equipment set ups, missing vital equipment.
Or do wargamers not care?

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 10:05 a.m. PST

well since many of the popular WW2 games are really fantasy games historical accuracy seems moot

Just my 2 cents

Garand11 Oct 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

I care. I rejected a line of WWII germans because none of them had bread bags! I personally think many wargamers just don't care… "as long as it looks like a GI from the other side of the table!"

Damon.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 10:38 a.m. PST

I rejected a line of WWII germans because none of them had bread bags
Pure Luxury! Why, I *added* breadbags and canteens to probably the same line!

Fred Cartwright11 Oct 2018 10:42 a.m. PST

My aren't Wargamers a spoilt bunch now! I remember when you had to sculpt personal equipment out of blobs of plasticine hardened with banana oil. :-)

saltflats192911 Oct 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

…all while walking uphill in the snow to mail your S.A.S.E. to get a hand typed catalog in 8 weeks.

LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

It is odd if the mistakes are deliberate, having a definite design brief makes life easier. Then again I had one potential customer reject my Paras because there was'nt enough Thompsons in the mix, when I pointed out that in reality there wer'nt that many I was told he didnt care and liked Thompsons………….so you cant win sometimes lol
L

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

And then there are the historically accurate Warhammer goblins, weighed down with far too many bags, pouches and whatnot.
They might as well be … Hessians!

andysyk11 Oct 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

I should of actually added "28"mm to the title. However!
Ive had this long argument that if the constant disregard for uniform accuracy in any other period would be ripped apart by the wargaming community why is it acceptable in later conflicts? Likewise as above mentioned many rulesets in this period are likewise so poor that comparable Napoleonic sets would be torn to shreds.

figuresales11 Oct 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Who really cares about infantry in WW2 games anyway?…….'Tanks' is where it's at. Big tanks, lots of big tanks, bumper to bumper parking lots of big tanks.

That's popular WW2 gaming these days.

TacticalPainter0111 Oct 2018 2:14 p.m. PST

Alarm bells start ringing for me with rules or figures the moment I see the words "Hollywood" or "cinematic", these are just euphemisms for "history took a back seat here". Fantasy historical, the sorts of games where you don't mind the odd zombie turning up LOL.

Achtung Minen11 Oct 2018 6:33 p.m. PST

Don't care about bread bags or button counts. The game and the study of the historical scenario is the important thing.

Besides, TO&Es, KStNs and so on were not good measures of anything but mobilization standards. Once in the field, infantry formations adapted to all the exigencies of war, including lost or damaged equipment, looted weapons and gear, discarded items that a particular soldier felt were useless and so on. The real problem is that you can never really model war in the first place.

TacticalPainter0111 Oct 2018 7:21 p.m. PST

The real problem is that you can never really model war in the first place.

You can never replicate war, but you can certainly model aspects of it. This is something all militaries do and is an intrinsic part of training. Most wargame rules attempt to model war, normally focussing on one or two key aspects, with command and control probably the most common.

Take a simple example. If you know historically that a particular field radio was prone to interruption beyond a one mile range and that the likelihood of failure under normal atmospheric conditions was 50%, then you could model this by having the user roll 1D6 and successfully achieving contact on a roll of 4 or greater. If you know the radio worked better on a clear day and gave you a 65% chance of contact then you provide a +1 modifier to the roll.

It's not a particularly sophisticated model, but it is a model that holds true to the known information about performance. Modelling is just that, it's not an attempt to recreate a reality, only to reflect some of the conditions that would impact events in the reality you are trying to model.

You don't need to see your little lead men bleeding or screaming in terror to feel you are modelling some aspects of war. Although having said that I'm certain the medical arm of most armies tries to model some of that to ensure they are properly equipped and trained for dealing with the real thing.

Griefbringer12 Oct 2018 3:00 a.m. PST

I had one potential customer reject my Paras because there was'nt enough Thompsons in the mix, when I pointed out that in reality there wer'nt that many I was told he didnt care and liked Thompsons

Considering the number of Thompson SMGs in many ranges out there, he is probably not alone.

And I have to admit that Thompsons tend to look pretty good on figures.

Andy ONeill12 Oct 2018 4:17 a.m. PST

It could well be those other ranges that set expectations.
The customer sees figures have thompsons on other ranges.

One might expect wargamers to research and want historic accuracy.
There again.
One might expect human proportions and weapons reasonably close to scale.

Some people seem to like cartoony though.
Shrug.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 4:34 a.m. PST

I'd be in favor of figures with a realistic 'campaign' look. Carrying all sorts of junk they shouldn't normally have. If you look at photos of real troops in the field, they don't look much like they do in the regulations.

I remember that years ago there was a company selling 6mm tanks that were just piled with boxes and bags of extra gear. They looked really cool.

Martin Rapier12 Oct 2018 5:16 a.m. PST

I am less worried by what clothes they are wearing and how their webbing is set up, unless they are figures for a parade.

I'm certainly not interested in buying notional 'platoon packs' with X number of rifles Y number of SMGs etc. I'll sort my basing and organisation myself thank you very much.

It is however a major bore to buy a large figure pack and find half the guys have got Thompsons or M1 carbines, a quarter have BARs and a handful have Garands. I can carve a reasonable Garand out of a BAR, but not a Garand out of a Thompson or an M1. Yes, I mean you PSC.

LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 5:24 a.m. PST

'Some people seem to like cartoony though' think you've hit the nail on the head there.
Cartoony figures, cartoony rules and history becomes just another cartoon. Never understood it myself, the closer you get to 'simulation' the easier and more fun things get, the idea that its 'only a game' and therefore needs to be 'simple' baffles me, there is a distinction between simple and simplistic which seems to be lost these days. Accurate figures are easier to make from a designers point of view.
Lowest common denominator with minumum effort required equals sales perhaps?
Getting to grumpy to be allowed out in public…………….lol
L

Fred Cartwright12 Oct 2018 5:45 a.m. PST

One might expect human proportions and weapons reasonably close to scale.

There is no such thing as a scale human being! The variety in anatomical proportions is so huge as to make producing scale drawings of a human pointless. Oh and before anyone brings it up yes there are humans with big hands and big heads. You can find every combination I have ever seen on a figure in real life. Even Peter Gilder's famously long limbed Hinchliffe sculpts.

Anton Ryzbak12 Oct 2018 6:48 a.m. PST

It is very rare to find a photo of troops in action that are carrying their equipment exaclty as prescribe in a manual. I asked my Dad about that when we were looking at his Korean War photos; his answer was that "Inspector Generals are very hard to find anywhere near the shooting". Troops carry what is useful to them in a way that is comfortable for them

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 7:32 a.m. PST

Patton had a thing about troops wearing ties at all times…

Mark 112 Oct 2018 10:42 a.m. PST

I was sternly criticized in one of our threads for pointing out what I thought was a historical inaccuracy about the uniform in a new figure announcement. In fact I was held up as sort of the archtype of the gamer no one would want to game with -- the definition of all that is wrong with the hobby.

So I approach this topic with a bit of trepidation.

But …

I like my figures to be reasonably historically accurate.

Doesn't mean I won't game with figures that aren't. I have, and I will. But I prefer, for my money, that the figures I get are historically accurate.

I like vendors who pay some attention to that issue. In my scale (6mm) I don't get too wide of a variety of vendors to choose from, but I still pay attention, nation to nation, model to model, to the question of which vendor does a better job giving me what I want in historical accuracy. (Fair to say, though, that this issue wrestles for priority with the more general issues of proportions, and modelling/casting style and quality.)

At my scale I can't typically buy individual figures. Purchases are usually by packs. Some vendors may offer very small packs (one sprue of figures), others may only offer larger packs. A great source of frustration for me is the composition of the larger packs. Life is much easier with the smaller packs and individual sprues.

I don't object to "war look", and rather prefer it to "parade ground look". The problem with "war look" is that it requires more models for a given purpose -- because it defeats the purpose of modelling the ad hoc variations of actual combat troopers if all combat troopers have the same ad hoc variations. From that perspective it is actually easier for me to add or remove some aspects to give a bit of ad hoc variance.

But it hardly matters for the individual soldier's kit at my scale. Perhaps for the stowage on vehicles, but not for canteens and bread bags.

Your mileage may vary.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

I spent decades trying to be "historically accurate" as much as possible. This amounted to tilting at windmills, because new research keeps turning up inconvenient details I didn't know at the time. Given a choice of "fixing" such inaccuracies or painting more new stuff, I finally decided on the latter.

For example, I painted the Highland Light Infantry for Napoleonics. My understanding was that their hat was a blue highland bonnet worn over a regular shake with a green plume. Half way through painting them, I discovered that it was just the bonnet was blocked th look like a shake, so instead of a plume at the front, it's should be a little ball (a "toorie") in the middle of the top. I didn't go back and fix it, because those guys were already a pain to paint.

At this point, I try to go for historical accuracy, but am willing to make an exception for what looks cool. They're just toy soldiers, after all.

Fred Cartwright12 Oct 2018 12:35 p.m. PST

But it hardly matters for the individual soldier's kit at my scale. Perhaps for the stowage on vehicles, but not for canteens and bread bags.

I was going to say as you game at in 6mm how the hell would you tell if the bread bag was wrong or not? I always though that was one of the advantages of 6mm that you could get away with proxying figures to create minor nations forces not covered by their own range.

GreenLeader12 Oct 2018 2:52 p.m. PST

At the risk of heresy, I don't really care about how the figures look, as long as they are reasonable enough. I only game in smaller scales, so I can get away with a lot. I do not bother searching for a Colt Machine Gun team – a Maxim team will do nicely.

Some people get terribly upset about the type of water bottle a figure has, but don't bat an eye at 'those eight figures represent a battalion'… which strikes me as requiring a much greatly suspension of belief.

To me, the figures are simply 'markers' and I am much more picky about the rules being relatively accurate / involved / realistic – I see no point in having absolute accuracy in (beautifully painted) figures, when one is just playing a glorified game of chance.

Each to their own, however.

LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 11:31 p.m. PST

Fred Cartwright,
Errrrrrr…… all my 6mm figures have the correct bread bags, magazine pouches etc and as much care and attention to detail goes into them as any other scale, I do really dislike the 'so small it doesnt matter', its not only very disrespectful of the people who make the figures but incredibly lacking in imagination as to what you can do with the scale. More often than not said by 28mm gamers who are so brain washed about scales…………..
It is possible to care about the quality of all the components, rules, figures, terrain etc 'dont care' on any part of the equation is just wierd.
L

Fred Cartwright13 Oct 2018 1:49 a.m. PST

Your eyes must be better then mine Leon. Someone posted some pics of their 6mm figures on FB the other day. I could barely tell they were figures let alone pick out any detail. Pic was taken at normal Wargames viewing range, not at tip of nose distance.

LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Oct 2018 2:52 a.m. PST

Well certainly at 'normal' wargames viewing ranges its the mass effect that appeals,( hence Naploenics/SYW/ACW and not to miss out Ancients make the best visual impact) in WW2 the fact that the infantry is difficult to spot is exactly the effect you want. You have to look hard to spot infantry moving around is dispersed formations. Its when your painting them ( and the painting is at least 50% of the hobby afterall) that you appreciate the detail, picking up a base and having a closer look at it makes you appreciate the work and effort involved.
I dont mind people saying 'oh not for me' but I do dislike the 'grain of rice' too small to matter' comments and the one that drives me really mad is 'cant paint anything that small' which roughly translates as, never tried/ dont have the technique, had my eyes tested recently lol
L

Fred Cartwright13 Oct 2018 4:46 a.m. PST

To be fair Leon a lot of the early figures lacked any detail. Even in larger scales. Peter Laing 15mm were very basic, but it didn't seem to matter. Does that make them bad figures? There is that eternal argument if if you can't see it at normal viewing distance while playing does it matter if it is there or not. That is regardless of scale. Do you paint bread bags on 6mm figures, buttons on 28 mm, or nose hair on your 54mm?

deephorse13 Oct 2018 6:10 a.m. PST

There is that eternal argument if if you can't see it at normal viewing distance while playing does it matter if it is there or not?

For me that does matter. I mostly play 20mm WWII, and at ‘normal viewing distance' you can't tell that I've painted the camouflage pattern on the rolled zeltbahns on the backs of my German infantry. But I know it's there, and if you pick them up you can see it. It would bother me to have left it in a plain colour.

LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Oct 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

I paint my 6mm Germans in pea dot or plane tree if its required, I paint tartan on Highlanders and certainly painted buttons on my 25's. And yes I painted nose hairs on some Tim Richards Varangian Guard 54mm I did last year. Why wouldnt you?
And you may not be able to pick out a particular bit of a paint job but the whole effect if its all done just looks right.
Theres always going to be paint jobs on a wargaming unit where one just does an 'ok' job ( Ive got some greek pisoli that I tend to hide in a wood if at all possible lol) but that level shouldnt be what one aspires to surely?
As for Laing figures I never rated them because you needed to be a very good painter ( I hate painting) to get a good end result. Hopefully the designer is trying to make things easy to paint when he designs a figure these days.
L

Legion 413 Oct 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

well since many of the popular WW2 games are really fantasy games historical accuracy seems moot

Well since all I do is sci-fi now … accuracy is generally "negotiable" … evil grin But I do have my limits … wink

And then there are the historically accurate Warhammer goblins, weighed down with far too many bags, pouches and whatnot.

But modeling companies like GW still make many over the top ridiculous looking figures and models. But as we see … over the top ridiculous looking models is in the eyes of the beholder … evil grin

Fred Cartwright13 Oct 2018 8:31 a.m. PST

I have got less fussy over the years. I used to be very fastidious, but wasn't getting through many figures. Decided having a lot of ok painted figures was better than having a lot of unpainted figures. It bothered me to start with, but you get used to it quite quickly. I guess I am still in at least the top third of the spectrum from unpainted lead to every figure a miniature masterpiece. There are some very badly painted figures out there.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2018 8:31 a.m. PST

It could well be those other ranges that set expectations.
The customer sees figures have thompsons on other ranges.

One might expect wargamers to research and want historic accuracy. There again. One might expect human proportions and weapons reasonably close to scale.

Some people seem to like cartoony though.

Andy:

True.
The question was about whether a historically accurate line of figures would succeed--sell enough to make it profitable.

Not every wargamer cares and even when they do, it might be wanting figures that are historically inaccurate or cartoonish.

I draw the analogy of Radio Controled airplanes. Some buy them off the shelf and they fly…they don't look like real planes, but many weekend flyers don't care. Then there is a spectrum of scale modelers up to those who create historically accurate planes right down to the rivets, actual rotary engines and scale air speed.

Guess which group is larger. Companies don't sell as many detailed scale model kits compared to readi-made RC planes or simple kits.

Are detailed model kits requiring a huge number of electronic paraphernalia, materials and time "successful?" Yes, or no one would make them. Do they sell as many as simpler kits and readi-made models?

Nope and never will. That has to be part of any business plan.

That is the way most hobbies work. Different levels of want, need and expectations when it comes to detail. Do the hobby publishers have an influence over what is available and what is expected?

Absolutely. If no one sold G.I.s with Thompson Machine Guns, the demand would be far lower. Do the desires of the gamer have an influence on hobby companies. Absolutely… it is a symbiotic relationship. There are far more weekend warriors/flyers than there are dedicated gamers and modelers. And it shall ever be so.

Unfortunately, distinctions between levels of scale authenticity are not well-defined in our hobby as other hobbies like the RC plane hobby--it is all one big mash up. Hence questions like the one for this thread or whether gaming with unpainted figures are part of the hobby or if X number of gamers care about history etc. etc.

Lion in the Stars13 Oct 2018 8:39 a.m. PST

I actually like being able to buy platoon or company packs that have the correct TO&E, with maybe a few extra figures for troops with AT mines or whatever. That's Battlefront's model.

I've been known to buy extra artillery staff teams to use as battalion command stands.

I bought enough FJ extras that I can just swap a few stands out to have anything from Crete to Berlin.

But I'm also in the middle of making a Weird War German army with E50s, Katzchen 38(t) APCs, and infantry with assault rifles and IR gear.

Mark 113 Oct 2018 6:32 p.m. PST

I do really dislike the 'so small it doesnt matter'

I would not go quite so far as to say I dislike it, but I will certainly say it isn't for me. For me, with my old eyes peering through trifocal lenses, 6mm is certainly NOT so small it doesn't matter.

I could barely tell they were figures let alone pick out any detail … at normal Wargames viewing range

Its when your painting them ( and the painting is at least 50% of the hobby afterall) that you appreciate the detail …

I don't limit myself to wargames viewing ranges, but not primarily because of the joy of painting.

… picking up a base and having a closer look at it makes you appreciate the work and effort involved.

Bingo!

I discovered this several years back. I enjoy my wargaming more when the terrain looks good, when the tanks look good, and when the figures look good.

To some people that doesn't matter too much. OK. But to me, it matters a lot! I get a shot of "oh yeah!" every time I pick up one of my better painted gaming pieces.

I've had gamers pick them up, sometimes before the game (when I'm offering them an force to use for the game, or they're just looking at my force), and remark at their appearance. That too gives me a shot of "oh yeah!". But the main issue is not gathering praise from others, but just pushing them around on the game table myself. See, I don't see them only at game table distances. I get down and put my cheek on the table to check lines of sight, and I pick them up and (quick, take another peak at that beauty) move them around, and put flame or smoke over the barrel or a casualty marker on the stand and take a pic so I can do an AAR later … and every time I touch one of them, or even just get down close to one of them, I get a jolt of pleasure.

These are little treasures to me. I've been collecting them since I was 14 years old. I have thousands of them. And if I am proud of their appearance, and if they stimulate my imagination (the cinema effect, except I've never seen a war movie that was as good as a good wargame), then my little treasures mean just that much more to me.

Yeah, 45 years ago I was buying some stuff that looked kinda cruddy, and I was just bulk spray painting because I didn't know how to do anything better. But now I do, and I enjoy them even more than I did when I was 14 years old.

I'm with Leon on this!

Your mileage (and enjoyment) may vary.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

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