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Poll: How important is historical accuracy to you?

Discussion in 'General Figure Talk' started by Babelfish, May 26, 2016.


How important is "historical accuracy" to you?

Poll closed Jun 23, 2016.
It is the single most important thing for me 14 vote(s) 16.7%
It's important, but the overall appeal & quality of a piece is equally important 55 vote(s) 65.5%
Not unimportant, but less important than the "wow" factor of a piece 9 vote(s) 10.7%
Accuracy is a bonus. I just enjoy painting 6 vote(s) 7.1%
Couldn't give a monkey's. I mainly (or only) paint fantasy or sci-fi 0 vote(s) 0.0%
  1. Forté A Fixture

    Think I know the two you mention. Looks like a little research wouldn't hurt then.
    Dan Morton and akaryu like this.
  2. akaryu Moderator

    I think "historical accuracy" should not be taken as a dogma, but approached with good common sense. For what is "historical accuracy"? One of my teachers in Russian history defined it as "history is not what has happened, but what is written or told that has happened" which in some cases makes quite a difference, considering history is mostly written by the victors, later to be rewritten by the vanquished! But enough for me, back to the brushes!
    Huw63, Dan Morton, Uruk-Hai and 5 others like this.
  3. stoffy01 PlanetFigure Supporter

    I guess it's the same as the world of visual arts, it's open to your own interpretations and how you want to project that piece. I'm sure the fantasy guy's or gals would have trouble sticking with historical accuracy as well?

    Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk
  4. theBaron A Fixture

    I thought at first this was a zombie thread, ie, resurrected, but it is a topic that comes up for discussion from time to time.

    You know me, I paint toy soldiers, but I do like to have as much detail as possible, and I gretz about Revolutionary War Hessian officers with mustaches and figures holding the wrong kind of beer mug for the time period. So it depends.

    Babelfish likes this.
  5. theBaron A Fixture

    Certainly that can be said of the written history of events, and their interpretation. Uniform details are bit of a different subject, though. Some things aren't documented very well, others are. Depending on the price you pay for a piece, and the subject, you could very well expect a certain level of accuracy for your money. But as you say, it's not necessarily dogma, and each of us will have a different tolerance for various levels of accuracy. As the poll shows, naturally ;)

    NeilW, Oda, akaryu and 1 other person like this.
  6. theBaron A Fixture

    Oh, and another detail that I look for is that my hussars should be smaller, generally, than my dragoons and cuirassiers, at least for my 18th century collection.

    NeilW, Oda and akaryu like this.
  7. Mark S Guest

    Hi Steve,
    By having my say on the issue I certainly didn't intend to give you or anyone else such a skewed impression of my opinion on the matter.
    The fact that 40 or 50 or 60 people don't agree with me doesn't bother me and I hope it doesn't mean I shouldn't post my own view.
    It's certainly not compulsory to comment but with mention of death penalty seriousness and the world still carrying on, I get the impression I'm not welcome to make comment either.
    I feel quite comfortable looking at the topic from my own angle.
    All I'm suggesting is that a simple vote ranging from 1 to 5 may be more accurate.....I don't believe you were intending to lead anyone, but the use of certain language can be leading without being aware of it, that's all.
    I'm more than aware it's just a bit of fun, and good on you for posting it, it's very interesting to see the results.
    I'd also like to see a poll on the importance of anatomical accuracy in a figure...that would also be interesting.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  8. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    That is certainly true in certrain contries with a doctrine to protect, Akaryu. However, Regimes come and go and usually the truth prevails.

    Janne Nilsson
    Huw63 and akaryu like this.
  9. akaryu Moderator

    Rightly so, and of course there are uniform regulations and regulations for the wearing of medals and orders for the periods that I'm interested in, but the quote of the professor of Russian history was not aimed at any particular regime, but at history in general. For instance, we all know Napoleon crossed the Alps, quite miserably, on a mule's back. David painted him very heroic on a rearing white horse, cape flying in the wind and figure manufacturers preferred that scene to a much drearier reality. Who wants Nap on a donkey's back honestly? I think we like our figures to look dashing or heroic most of the time, even if they are historical accurate they still might be far from the historical truth, which is a different thing altogether.
  10. Oda A Fixture

    Never been a huge romantic-french painter's fan To me the idea of the emperor crossing the alps on a mule holds immensely more potential for building a vignette or diorama.As with narrative history the true charm lies in the fact that simple men/women achieve magnificence without actually going for it and without imagining themselves posing for cameras or painters.They do it in their everyday clothes and uniforms,often dirty or in tatters because necessity or an idea drives them.Trying to imagine what motivated them and how it felt to be in their shoes and then going on to integrate that feeling in your work,depicting these dirty,used,unattractive uniforms is what makes a scene truly epic.History is nothing less than writting down the drama of humanity through time and space.And we get to reproduce that in scale and 3D....how cool is that,isn't it mates?

  11. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    I second Oda in this.
    But for some the heroic style is more appealing.

    Janne Nilsson
    akaryu likes this.
  12. Tommys War A Fixture

    One of the problems with 'historical accuracy' is that it can be quite subjective in itself. I have a file of over 100 emails where individuals have contacted me to correct me on historical accuracy, but where they are actually incorrect.

    Let me give you an example of the most recent;

    "Dear sirs. I am writing with regard to your figure TW54011 [it is the London Scottish figure, charging]. The figure is sculpted with the Long Lee Enfield but the British army of the time had converted to the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE). Please don't get me wrong, the figure is very nice but completely wrong. You have a good range but errors like this stop me buying any of your figures, I think your motto should be 'try harder'"

    The email goes on (and on) but that's the main complaint (among many others).

    So, I checked my reference;

    The Liverpool Scottish 1900-1919 by A. M. McGilchrist (first published in 1930 in which the author states that all facts were verified by Officer or Man)

    Page 24;

    "The Scottish suffered from another inconvenience, they went to the front armed with the old Long Lee Enfield rifle. The Regular army were, of course, were armed with the new S.M.L.E but there were not sufficient supplies to arm any except the Regulars with it. This was a perfect nuisance as the bolt of the long rifle was not made to withstand the heavier cordite of the new Mark VII ammunition. Therefore special stock of Mark VI had to be taken in to the line.

    Early in 1915 these rifles were replaced by the new weapon but for some time men from hospital, or men who had been detached for special duties rejoined the Battalion with the old rifle"

    The book confirms that it was not until July 1916 that the Bn was formally issued with the S.M.L.E.

    Now, that is an official account taken from the Battalions war diaries and testimony of the men who served. So I would say that my reference is actually correct, therefore the figure is correct. And this is where the problems begin, we're talking a war from which there is no-one who is alive, where there were unimaginable problems with supplying an army that expanded at a speed never seen before and will never be seen again, yet modellers seem to think there was one uniform colour, one set of equipment and one way of wearing kit. The truth is that 'uniform' is not a word that can be applied to a war zone.

    Historical accuracy is, of course, important. But if you're going to call someone out, boy you have to be certain of your facts.
  13. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Very good post. And I also react on the phrase "Completly wrong"? Fer feck sake, as some others would have put it. Even if the writer was correct it should be a minor flaw.
    Sometimes I wonder there are trolls that works outside the internet as well.

    I remember many of these subjects coming up in Military Modeller 10-25 years ago. And mostly the complainers turned out to be wrong.
    Most memorable is the critisims Rosengrant got for making his Ardennes Fallshirmjäger sporting a Sturmgewehr?

    Janne Nilsson
    Huw63, billyturnip, Babelfish and 2 others like this.
  14. Babelfish A Fixture

    Spot on Darren - great post. You raise the crucial point that soldiers have adapted kit, uniform, weapons etc. since time immemorial and that the further back in history we go, the more gaps there are in our knowledge and records. Which means that the more scope there is for "best-guessing" and artistic license, and for accepting some possible compromises.

    My own take is that yes it is important (insofar as we can verify the facts), but at the same time we should accept that sometimes the "facts" may either be wrong or open to some degree of interpretation/doubt, and so we shouldn't get too po-faced about "historical accuracy" when this is the case.

    Which indidentally Mark S is why your suggesting that a poll on "anatomical accuracy" as a follow-up to this one seems a little odd (and I suspect is not entirely serious ;)) , because basic human anatomy is an incontestible invariable, there are no such grey areas. A figure is either anatomically sound or it isn't. With "historical accuracy" though, we have more room to compromise, more room for license and interpretation. The upshot of that is that some guys will be happy to interpret things more freely, while others will be less comfortable with that approach. I suspect you know that of course, but do feel free to create a poll on anatomical accuracy if you want to.

    - Steve
    Huw63, Oda, napoleonpeart and 2 others like this.
  15. akaryu Moderator

    Good point Steve, anatomy is either "fail" or "pass", while "historical accuracy", regulations or not, is a more 'elastic' notion. As for 'heroic stance',a quick look at my posted work will convince anyone that is precisely what I am not looking for! The work of Steve Warrilow for instance appeals to me especially for his portrayal of simple soldiers as they tend to look in reality. A soldier spends quite a lot of his career in a rather 'static' pose indeed. I'd be a fan of the Tommy's War range if they were in 75mm!
    marco55, Uruk-Hai and Babelfish like this.
  16. mick3272 A Fixture

    I think in all this, the point we must remember is. IF a piece of kit/ weapon existed then on the day a NEW piece of kit came into being. The kit fairy didn't appear over night and issue all the new stuff and take the old.
    Throughout the history of the Armed Forces there is a pecking order and if you are not at the top it will take an age for anything new to reach you. The further we go back with troops in far flung outposts forget newkit until they got a home posting.

    But it should be said that if we saw a figure of say 24th Regt of Foot 1879 holding back the Zulu with a SMLE, NO excuse it is wrong.

    marco55, Oda, akaryu and 2 others like this.
  17. Babelfish A Fixture

    ... unless of course you're doing a what-if !!!! :D

    guns south.jpg Comfederate2.jpg

    - Steve
    marco55 and mick3272 like this.
  18. mick3272 A Fixture

  19. Mark S Guest

    Hi Steve, yet again I don't understand why my suggestions, opinions and views are construed to be a little odd or not entirely serious......:cautious:
    Surely I have the same right to post opinion or suggestion as anyone else.......if that's not the case and I've overstayed my welcome please let me know.

    I believe a poll on anatomical accuracy is a natural follow up to the historical accuracy poll as the two issues are the most important two when it comes to historical figure modelling.
    And if you need me to point them out then that in itself confirms what I'm saying .
    I do find the comments that correct basic human anatomy is an incontestable invariable absolutely true and I agree 100% with that statement.
    And I couldn't agree more......but somewhere along the line people seem to choose to ignore such flaws, for what reason I can't tell you.

    BUT the fact that we've seen so many examples of obviously inaccurate and indeed atrocious examples of anatomical disasters which have been applauded as brilliant pieces and must haves, shows that many modellers either choose to ignore such things or don't recognise them in the first place.
    valiant and akaryu like this.
  20. Babelfish A Fixture

    You're over-thinking it Mark. Please point to where I (or anyone else for that matter) have said that you don't have the right to express your opinions. And like I said, if you think that an "anatomical accuracy" would be poll would be of value, please do go ahead and start one.

    - Steve
    Oda and mick3272 like this.

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