Monday 2 September 2013

Sprue Cutters Union - " I won't model anything with a swastika on it.."

Over on Jim Bates' blog " A scale Canadian " Jim has addressed the latest Sprue Cutter's Union question posed by Jon B of the Combat Workshop, "what will never go across your bench". I felt that Jim's answer, " Luftwaffe aircraft " deserved a response from a Luftwaffe enthusiast and modeller..

Jim, as a modeller of Bf 109s and Fw 190s I sort of agree with you on this. For example I am uneasy too about the level of  'hero-worship' shown by modellers and manufacturers in our hobby towards Luftwaffe aces such as Hartmann and Galland which I agree is rather misplaced and unwarranted (352 victories my eye!..the 'official' German claims confirmation system had broken down long before Hartmann filed his 280th claim....) Similarly the amount of fuss and brouhaha made over some newly kitted Luftwaffe aircraft types - the Me 262 and of course the latest Bf 109 springs to mind - is often I feel inappropriate. The fuss heralding the new Zoukei Moura Heinkel He 219 is typical of this sort of unhealthy fan-worship - the He 219 was a relatively inauspicious type, constructed in low numbers with only a handful of combat feats to its name, yet it is unfailingly and unceasingly built up as some sort of charismatic, even 'sexy' aircraft. I don't for the life of me know why. Ditto for the Tiger tank - he says, cautiously eyeing his header photo. A great big slab-sided monster that invariably had to be scuppered by its crews as they couldn't move it when it broke down - which was often. Nearly all the 120 Tigers deployed in Normandy for example were lost within eight weeks of the D-Day landings. Of course in many instances some of the fuss that we modellers make over these subjects is reserved for the sheer quality of the kit itself - as modellers we can simply admire and appreciate a super new tool for the technology involved in producing it and the finesse and incredible detail of the parts.  On a wider level we may even recognise the quality of the technology the Germans developed in 1944-45; after all even if the V-2 rocket (for example) was a terrible waste of resources and lives and achieved next to nothing (did man really go to the moon?) many of us still drive BMWs today and Volkswagen is one of the world's leading vehicle manufacturers. Of course war drives technological change and advancement. One point never to be forgotten though - German industrial prowess during the war years owes everything to the massive deployment of foreign and slave labour in appalling conditions -between 1942 and 1944 over 650,000 Frenchmen alone went to work in German factories. Despite this however many German pilots and crews were completely apolitical- some brave souls even removed the Hakenkreuz from their aircraft- and certainly all Germans were not Nazis and many had deep misgivings about the regime. Possibly none of the leading Luftwaffe aces such as Hartmann and Galland were Nazis either - after all men such as these were instrumental in re-launching the Bundesluftwaffe in the 1950s as a bulwark against Soviet Communism. Nor can you deny the place of some German aircraft types in history as you briefly concede; 33,000 examples of the Bf 109 constructed makes it an important type whoever deployed it. As a modeller what I try not to do is portray Spitfires and P-51s with swastikas on them (captured examples); that does appear to me to be purely gratuitous. To respond to your point about 'non-modellers' looking askance at us Luftwaffe modellers I can simply point to the huge efforts deployed here in the UK recently to raise the last surviving Dornier Do 17 bomber from the waters of the English Channel, where we put it over 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain! The editorial in the current edition of the German aircraft magazine "Flugzeug Classic" even thanks the British for doing this and argues that gestures like this towards former enemies serve to advance the cause of peace. My feeling is that while there is of course generally speaking huge antipathy towards the swastika and all it stands for, the machines themselves even though developed under that evil regime can still largely be appreciated..and modelled..


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  3. There was a little incident on one of the modelling groups on Facebook recently where someone had a go at a modeller for using a swastika on a diorama. This made the modeller who posted the photo of his work uncomfortable causing him to delete the photos and post an apology to the person that complained.

    There was a tremendous response in support for the modeller who posted the photo and the complainer was well and truly given an ear-bashing.

    As I said on that thread, the swastika was also used by the Finnish Air Force and originally by the Roman Empire 2000 years before. It was not solely used by the Germans. That symbol has been part of European history for 2000 years, are we going to censor Roman history from our lives because of a Swastika?

    It is part of our history, good or bad. You embrace the good and learn from the mistakes of the bad!

    1. Thank you for writing.
      Incidents happen when you do not know enough about the issue.

      I think that of the swastika is even older than the Roman period.
      Indian origin I have read.
      Finnish swastika was the position of the knee.
      Swedish Count von Rosen's family had the good luck productive character.
      Count of independent Finland in 1917 donated the aircraft, a Morane-Saulnier Parasol.
      He painted in blue swastika signs of the machine, which became the FAF identifier.
      Later were added to a round white spot on the bottom.

  4. Here in finland were also so many (small and large) groups of one disputes initiated during the 2010 - 2012 period.
    Public common ploki (about 100 authors inside ), "the same pile"
    Women says control who can and can not write, and what the subject.
    Men's subjects were not accepted.
    Damn, Smirgeline, Mimosa, and many other...
    Now the pile is almost gone..

    Life was like a small village in Gaul.
    And I (an outsider) this "same pile"
    Behaved then as now.
    Obelix big steamroller.
    And now, for this reason, I am (your thorn the side) here models side.

  5. The Finnish swastika symbol removed on a voluntary basis.
    The wants Europeans style round kokardi symbol.
    Allied or Soviet peace terms and conditions terms and conditions it is not mentioned.

  6. Thank you for your thoughts. I wish I had thought of the term "hero worship" with regard to the awe that some modelers hold the Luftwaffe. I also agree that some of the German pilots were just guys doing a job. (I got the chance more than once to chat with Oscar Boesch and he seemed like a very nice man.) But my shelf will be devoid of these aircraft. It is just a personal choice and while I wish at times the more modelers would consider the issues I raised, it is nice to know at least one modeler (and probably many many more) of -190s and 109s has.

  7. If you meant to me, the simple reason is this: Department Kurt Kuhlmey

    Russian Attack Agreement Stalin / Roosevelt associated with the Normandy landings.

    On 9 June 1944 the Soviet Union launched a major offensive on the Karelian Isthmus. The Soviet Army forced the Finns to abandon their defensive lines and on 20 June took Viipuri, the second largest city of Finland
    (Viipuri lost with Churchill tanks, and russian infantry).

    As a reinforcement SG 3 was posted to Finland in June 1944, forming Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey (Detachment Kuhlmey) with Oberst Kuhlmey commanding a composite unit comprising elements of I./SG 3, I./SG 5, II./JG 54 and NAGr.1.
    Detachment Kuhlmey's actions in Finland during 16 June and 21 July 1944 was hugely influential in the final outcome of the offensive and of the Continuation War. Together Finnish Air Force units and Detachment Kuhlmey made 1,020 bombing sorties against the Soviet troops and armour. The Soviets lost some 300 tanks, 120-280 aircraft and over 20,000 troops. As a result the Soviet advance stalled, and ensuing peace talks led to a cease-fire between the Soviet Union and Finland on 4 September.