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"Dumb slogans on your Russian tanks" Topic

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Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 9:48 a.m. PST

When I was a school-age gamer pre internet I had a force of 1/76 Soviet stuff on which I wanted to paint Russian slogans. Back then there was no easy way to do this unless you could find and copy suitable ones from library books.

However, Russian was a language option at my school, and so for want of better I painted random bits of Russian text copied out of my peers' textbooks onto my tanks as plausible looking slogans.

As a result I had tanks called things like в магазинах ("at the shops"), Джереми посещает стоматолога ("Jeremy visits the dentist"), возвратные глаголы ("reflexive verbs") and, on a KV-2 because lots of turret side space, владимиру не понравился его отель ("Vladimir did not like his hotel").

These were the section headings, picked because I figured they were more likely to be upper case.

Does anyone still do dumb stuff like this or are all our tank slogans now scrupulously accurate?

leidang Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 9:58 a.m. PST

I have always used historical ones but that may now change…. …off to google translate!

randy51 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 10:16 a.m. PST

Actually I prefer your humorous slogans,…..anyway, unless you're Russian who'd know the difference? I'm sure there's no commissars coming to knock on your door to take you away to the re-education camp.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 10:32 a.m. PST

I had a KV 1 with the Slogan " Mommy, Mommy Make it stop" in Russian

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 10:46 a.m. PST

As a lineal descendant of the Cossacks I insist on strict accuracy!

Plus I bought the decals so that's what I use

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 11:05 a.m. PST

Great idea. Easier for us painting onto US Helmet covers in Nam.

The snag is that "I am Rushin' to Die, and I was yester die" simply does not translate, unless you speak Russian with an Ozzie accent. So I like your daft markings!

Pan Marek24 Oct 2019 12:02 p.m. PST

Сталин мой домашний мальчик! (Stalin is my homeboy)

14Bore24 Oct 2019 12:23 p.m. PST

Being a Russian Napoleonic aficionado I find this too funny.

14Bore24 Oct 2019 12:25 p.m. PST

Suggest Your Mothers Army Boots
Армейские ботинки твоей мамы

Mark 124 Oct 2019 1:33 p.m. PST

Missed opportunities …

I game at 6mm scale, so my slogans don't get painted with quite so much text… but I am now pondering the lost opportunities for slight edits to the Russian text you chose.

Surely you saw pics with "3а Родину!" (Za Rodinu: "For the Motherland!") sketched on the sides of turrets? Probably the most iconic slogan. Or "Смерть фашисту" (Smert' Fashistu: "Death to the Fascist"), probably the second most common -- this came as a decal for a 1/72 scale Il-2 kit I built in about 1974.

So why not: 3а Джереми! (Za Djeremi: "For Jeremy!")
Or: Смерть Cтоматолога (Smert' Stomatologa: "Death to the Dentist")
And I would think that: Oтель Bладимиру (Otel' Vladimiru: "Hotel Vladimir") would be a fine name for a KV-2.

Just my 2 Kopeks worth…

(aka: Mk 1)

Fitzovich24 Oct 2019 1:40 p.m. PST

I did some flags for 6mm colonial era dervish using google translate. Most were pretty rude, but as no one could likely read them I liked the "in" joke of it all.

BattlerBritain24 Oct 2019 3:39 p.m. PST

A slogan often scrawled in the dirt on the back of a van round these parts is "Also available in white".

That'd be good for a Soviet tank :)

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2019 4:45 p.m. PST

An old TMP Alum whom I have not seen for some time got his Arabic texts for Saracen shields and banners from greeting cards, so the read "Happy Eid!" and "Congratulations on your son's circumcision!" and such-like.

Zephyr124 Oct 2019 9:40 p.m. PST

I think there'd be a niche market for decals of those slogans… ;-)

Footslogger25 Oct 2019 1:27 a.m. PST

What's the Russian for "I only came to visit Salisbury Cathedral?"

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 1:35 a.m. PST

@ Mark

3а Родину was one of the few I actually did have – the problem with using photos as sources was that they were often grainy and / or the writing was angled away and hard to read. So accurate transcription was often tricky.

One of the other guys used to make urban scenery with political slogans chalked on the walls in German. He didn't know any German either, so on the same principle, the "slogans" were things like Udo fährt nach Köln!! ("Udo goes to Cologne") and ich möchte eine Ochsenschwanzsuppe bitte!! ("I would like an oxtail soup, please"). The walls would be artistically semi demolished so the actual slogan read ich möc----e-ne Oc------ hwanzs--pe ---te-!

Somehow it was hard to imagine fanatics fighting to the death over oxtail soup. Then again the other side was complaining about its hotel on the sides of KV-2s so who knows.

@ Footslogger
Я только пришел, чтобы посетить собор Солсбери apparently. You'd need both sides of a KV-2.

@ Jeff
<snigger> almost worth doing Arab Israeli for those…

Cuprum225 Oct 2019 2:46 a.m. PST

Is it really a big problem to find decal images for military equipment on a scale of 1:35 or 1:72? The network is full of scans from books with drawings of military equipment. Or is there a problem to ask members of the community who speak Russian?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 3:36 a.m. PST

@ Cuprum

Yeah, you can do that now, but you couldn't then. Hence slogans about visits to the dentist. The thread is about whether anyone still does this for the lolz.

I'm loving the idea of Arab League tanks with مبروك على ختانك and أتمنى لك العيد الجميل on the side….

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 5:46 a.m. PST

Guys ! Thanks ! I REALLY needed some laughs today!

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 6:14 a.m. PST

I'm liking "death to the dentist" actually…also
вставить глупый слоган здесь – "insert stupid slogan here"…

khanscom25 Oct 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

A fellow gamer used a Chinese restaurant menu for the characters to paint on his ancient army's shields-- the "Broccoli with Beef" regiment was always a tough fighting outfit.

donlowry25 Oct 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

An obvious possible slogan, however it might look in Russian, would be "wash me".

Mark 125 Oct 2019 11:54 a.m. PST

An obvious possible slogan, however it might look in Russian, would be "wash me".

I believe you want: Помой Mеня!
But you might also use: Смойте Mеня!

Perhaps Cuprum can guide us.

This is really quite amusing to me. I too find the idea of my valiant Red Army rolling over the Fascists with "Death to the Dentist" scrawled on the turret to be close to hysterical.

Some other ideas come to mind. In these cases translating back to English, to get the jokes, is an exercise left to the reader (or to a subsequent posting, I'm sure):

Яйца Рузвельта
Крутой Зеленый Машина
Другой мой танк Шерман
Убер Ест (or just Убер)
Слезай с Mоей Cпины!
войны папочка

I'm sure some of these won't be obvious from first translation. They are mixed combinations of transliterations, slang, pop culture and WW2 references. But they are the best I can get to without fluency in current Russian pop culture and slang.

(aka: Mk 1)

Buck21525 Oct 2019 12:04 p.m. PST

Holy cow! Everybody's ideas for unconventional slogans on Soviet tanks make my slogans so…conventional. My last T-34/76 model I named "Relentless" from the movie "T-34" (for those who have not seen the movie, think "The Fast and Furious" melding with "Fury"). Next Soviet tank model I get I will be more creative with the slogans!

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2019 9:00 p.m. PST

My favorite- Show me on the doll where Stalin touched you…

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2019 11:52 a.m. PST

On a related note, Homeland (TV series) had lots of such slogan types/ideas in Arabic on the slum walls. Remember the Nike advert wherein the man from Africa said in his native tongue " these are a bit tight".

Mark 126 Oct 2019 1:32 p.m. PST

Well, since no one else took my bait, here are my own translations of the slogans I posted:

- Roosevelt's Eggs *
- Mean Green Machine **
- My Other Tank is a Sherman
- Uber Eats (or just Uber)
- Get Off my Back! ***
- War Daddy

For those who are interested:
* I am told that in Russian, "eggs" is used as slang for the same purpose as "balls" in American English. When the US began shipping dehydrated scrambled eggs (in powdered form) as a food product to the Russians, they named it "Roosevelt's Eggs" as a bit of bitter sarcasm for the US not having the "eggs" to open up the second front.

** Hard to come up with a clear difference between words like mean, cruel, nasty, etc. when translating, since none of them rhyme with the Russian words for green or machine. The word I chose, крутой ("crutoy") is also used as a slang reference for cool or hip, I'm given to understand.

*** Perhaps best for a tank mounting desantniks…

(aka: Mk 1)

catavar27 Oct 2019 2:40 p.m. PST

My Russian tanks are 6mm so at best they have a single horizontal white line along the turret or a few swiggly lines mimicking writing. Though looking at some of the above slogans now I'm not so sure.

Barin128 Oct 2019 3:31 a.m. PST


I've read a ton of English books when I was younger and also read plenty of translations. It is an art in itself to replace country ideoms with those, that will keep the author's meaning and at the same time will not look alien to the audience. Interesting, you have this problem even with these slogans ;)

Яйца Рузвельта – possible. Like "Second front" for canned meat.
Крутой Зеленый Машина – this an ideom Russians would not be using. (and it will be Крутая Зеленая Машина).
Другой мой танк Шерман – a US ideom which is known now (not in WWII, but we're on thin ice here anyway…I've seen something like that on cars on Moscow streets)
Убер Ест (or just Убер) – we have Uber know, still the joking part of this slogan is lost to most of Russians)
Слезай с Mоей Cпины! – Russians will say "Cлезь с меня" much more often.
войны папочка – ideom not having its place in Russian yet, even with exposure to all US films. I hear "Who's your daddy?" from teens from time to time, but it looks and sounds foreign. Better Russian will be военный папочка, but it still smells American.

I guess nowadays most popular car slogans are:

Еду как хочу – Driving as I want
Купил права – Bought my driving license
танки грязи не боятся – tanks don't fear the mud

Mark 128 Oct 2019 7:04 p.m. PST


Many thanks for your additions (corrections) to the collection.

Better Russian will be военный папочка, but it still smells American.

Ah, but remember our stated goal is to produce dumb (or funny) slogans. Slogans that may look authentic, but that would never actually have appeared on a tank.

I still vote for Смерть Cтоматолога ("Death to the Dentist"), but Другой мой Tанк Шерман ("My Other Tank is a Sherman") would amuse me even more if it wasn't too long for most turrets. Купил права ("Bought my license") is pretty strong choice too.

The beauty of Яйца Рузвельта is that it has more layers of hidden meaning. First, you have the "inside" joke when gamers who have no Russian language skills just assume it's a patriot slogan that might be on the side of a tank. Then you have "inside the inside joke" of gamers who can translate it, but don't know that it's actually a Russian joke about Americans.

It is an art in itself to replace country ideoms with those, that will keep the author's meaning and at the same time will not look alien to the audience.

Many years ago I read an interview with a person who worked as a translator at the U.N. Whenever there is a big speech at the U.N., delegates can chose to listen to a real-time translation into about 7 or 8 recognized "diplomatic" languages. The translators are expected to be no more than about 5 seconds behind the speaker. The translators don't read from a script, because the speakers often do not stay with their prepared remarks and the translator is responsible not for what the speaker was supposed to say, but for what the speaker actually says.

In the interview the translator was lamenting how hard it could be to translate idioms, and the particular challenges of some speakers who used a lot of colloquial terms. There was a particular example from the then-President of the U.S., who had given a recent speech in which he said: "Sometimes you just have to step back up to the plate and take another swing at it."

This is a statement that makes perfect sense to almost any American. No ambiguity about it.

I wonder if anyone else could possibly know what the $#&@! he was talking about. I wonder even if people from other English-speaking nations, who will have every one of those words in their vocabulary, could puzzle out the meaning if they weren't deeply familiar with US cultural references.

But there can be little misunderstanding of "Death to the Dentist" … except whether it was meant to indict one given dentist in particular, or the entire Dentist-class.

In either case it's sure to rouse my little lead Desantniks' patriotic fervor.

(aka: Mk 1)

Barin128 Oct 2019 11:26 p.m. PST

Nice discussion

Good thing about Смерть дантисту that it rhymes with Смерть фашисту ;)

And WoT designers have this nice spherical tank (I think it never hit prototype stage, but still… Steel balls of Stalin!


I caught myself waiting at the crossroad this morning staring at the car with "Ребенок в машине"= Сhild in a car. Way too simple. Now, if you take its real English equivalent "Baby in car" it has a ton of other meanings ;)

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 6:31 a.m. PST

@ Barin1: reminds me of the joke.

q: what's the difference between a Volvo and an Audi?
a: Volvos have the tool kit in the trunk, Audi have the tools in the driving seat.

You can change Audi to your preferred idiot driver, but they have a strong claim.
YouTube link

Which makes me think остерегайтесь, водитель ауди might be an option?

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