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Hi all, and first, congratulations to Francois Gousse for work with this new and useful forum.
I am not fanatic of WWI, but I love it, and it inspired me. Since I was children, my favorite WWI was the Wippet, I don't know why. But others tanks was also very nice as a subject for a diorama. Is true that is very difficult to get info about these tanks or good scenes for dioramas (is not like WWII), but this kind of forum could convert to some of us for make a first WWI tank.
Few time ago, I was visiting Verdun Area and it was shock for me. Since these moment, I wish to make something about WWI, but...I must think a lot of.
Anyway, I would like ask all of you a question.
It could help me a lot of, and maybe can help a lot of to other modellers that not feel interest for WWI change their opinions.
What reason, do you think, why the WWI is less interesting for modellers? or in other words:
Why are there less modellers dedicated to WWI???
Some possible replies:
-The magazines not offer too much cover to this matter.
-Few info and difficult to get.
-Not presence of "top" modellers making WWI tanks
-Few informations about colors!!!!
-of course, less variety in tanks, operations and batles.
What more?? another ideas or different opinions???
There aren't many kits in plastic or widely available in resin to get. The only decent braille scale plastic WW1 kits are by RPM and Emhar, and the only shop i've been to that stocks RPM is Hannants in London, situation of getting Emhar is a little better. I haven't built a WW1 kit in resin or metal before, mainly because they are expensive and most importantly hard to get. Id give anything to get a braille (or any) scale Crossley Tender but the only one made is by Reviresco and you can only get them from USA.
There is something about World War II that a lot of people find engrossed by.
There is some aspect of World War II, that for some reason, fascinates your average world citizen, more than World War I. I have absolutely no idea why.
Perhaps its because there were far more strategic, fluid battles in WWII? Perhaps its because the "indredible evil" of Germany in WWI is debatable, but its almost completely undebatable that Germany was evil in WWII? Perhaps its that there were still large ammounts of WWII aircraft to be seen in everyday life when the modeling business started to really take off, so all these kids who got into modeling, would start modeling all the cool aircraft right after WWII? Wheras, there was no 'easy modeling' after WWI.
I dunno. Im sure theres lots of explanations. Its odd, especially considering more people died in WWI.
WWII was recorded in all the various mediums of film to a far higher degree than WW1. There could be an element of familiarity with the subject mater, coupled with the fact that for a lot of us the memories of WWII are still within living memory, even if it is with parents/grandparents. The survivors of WW1 can almost be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Also, maybe it is because WWII was by far a 'black and white', good vs. evil battle whereas (as discussed in a previous post) the origins of WW1 are more obscure.
all the above reasons are I agree with,unfortunetly.On the other hand,it gives scratchbuilders like myself the oppertunity to try something different other than WWII.
I look foward to building my first Whippet or mkIV.
Because there is a lack of reference material,unlike for WWII,it shouldn't stop one from giving it a try.
By the way, does anyone know where I could find photos and 1/35 scale plans of the interiors of the above mentioned vehicles?
I think there are a few reasons why WWI is not as widely portrayed as WWII.
One reason is that the war was very stagnant throughout most of the duration. Other than a few dramatic offensives toward the begining and the end, not much happened that inspired interest. Most battles were very similar in nature... heavy artillery, poison gas and a charge over the top. The few battles that were different, were usually such horrible things that most people didn't want to remember them (Verdun, Gallipoli....)
Photography was much more difficult in WWI, which means there is less source material to go from. In WWII almost any soldier in Germany, England or the US had the ability to bring a camera into battle. There were dedicated personnel to document battles, and cameras were a common occurance...even in color! Propoganda and news films were everywhere, which gave the home front some sense of what was going on. The people were kept updated constantly, and even civilians were able to see images of tanks, planes and ships.
WWII also duplicated much of WWI's events on a larger and more dramatic scale. WWI had some tanks inching along and looking angry, WWII had true war machines charging across the desert at amazing speeds. WWI had the flying circus of biplanes, WWII had 1,000 bomber raids against Germany with rocket and jet fighters screaming up to meet them. WWI had submarines, WWII had more and bigger submarines as both enemy and ally. WWI had Jutland and a couple smaller battles while WWII had the hunts for the Bismark and Graf Spee, the Channel Dash, Leyte Gulf, Midway, Coral Sea, Savo Island, Taranto Harbour and so many others.
WWI erupted almost instantly, WWII had decades of tension and conflict leading up to it. But the biggest is that WWI brought everybody misery and suffering for years, there was no real meaning to victory in most battles. It was a hopeless war that everybody just wanted to end. WWII had battles with defined winners, and clear results when battles were won. This gave people hope and gave the occasional positive light to the war.
I think that all the factors you've mentioned are correct:
- The plastic kits have been few and far between, both in 1/72 (the scale I do) and 1/35. And resin kits are hard to get for the average modeller. WW2 kits, on the other hand, are very plentiful!
- Info on the hardware, both regarding the pure technical side, and camouflage and markings, have been very hard to get. On the other hand, info on the same matters regarding WW2 have been very easy to get!
Then WW2 is a conflict that lingers in peoples minds in another way than WW1. Especially in the US. (I've once heard a young american saying: "All say World War Two. Does this mean that here also was a World War One?") WW1 was much more of a European conflict, and a deeply tragic one for that. There is little of the aura of heroism that still stick to WW2. (No cool Waffen SS-ers there either.) It was not, regardless of how you cut it, "A Good War".
But WW1 Military Modelling is slowly growing.
And I don't think it's a lost cause. I think you can draw a parallell to WW1 Aviation Modelling, which is now very strong, with super kits coming out, and large enough to support both a magazine (Windsock) and a steadily growing body of excellent literature.
And I think that the thing that draws people to WW1 Aviation also can draw people to WW1 Military subjects, like strange, exotic and even funny shapes, like colourful markings and camouflage. And WW1 Military modelling will sooner or later reach a "tipping point", when it becomes as big as, say, WW1 Aero Modelling. And this development will be a result of
- The market seeing more and more plastic kits. There are already signs of this: RPMs differents WW1 kits, Mirage and HäT soon to do the FT17, The EMHAR Whippet, following pretty soon on their A7V (both very good BTW). And if you go to the resin market, you can already find almost everything! At least if you do 1/72
- Info on harware, camo and markings being easier to get. There are positive signs here as well. The last year has seen several good book on WW1 Tanks and Arty coming out. And just recently Osprey has released or is about to release several on WW1-era hardware - and their thumbs usually seem to be pretty well up in the air... (And I would like, in all modesty, like to recommend my own site, http://www.landships.freeservers.com started just because of the lack of good info for the WW1 Military Modeller)
- And now, if a crack modeller like MIG will do some WW1 work, well, then I'm sure the sky is the limit! Because this is off course important as well, with ace modellers showing what can REALLY be done!
As I am less interested in buiulding single vehicles, I will repley from the point of view of the dio builder.
The only well known battle/front is the western front. It was quite stagnant and the surroundings looked quite the same. The other areas are equally interesting (think of the fighting in Afrika and south-east asia!), but largely unknown to a bigger audience.
So, I feel the only well known area of battle, the western front, doesn't offer a variety of diorama stories and settings as WWII does, not to mention the hardware.
In a way this lack of hardware is quite apparent in the way the WWI is percieved. While WWII brings big tank columns and masses of bombing aircrafts to my mind, WWI immediately makes me think of lonely and desperate soldiers in a cold wet trench. To me, WWI gives more a feel of a different scale: the human scale.
This is why I am not very interested in WWI for armour dioramas, but I think it is one of the most interesting wars for figures and figure dioramas. The terror and absurdity of war can be told in a magnificent way by picturing WWI, but I think it is often better to focus on the figures to model this idea, so the vehicle becomes redundant and even detracts from the essence of WWI: the millions of little soldiers, all with their personal stories, stuck in this hell.
Since some months, I am getting more and more passionate about this subject, and am planning several WWI figures and figure-vignettes.