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PhantomBigStu

Question that's bugged me in terms of respect

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Interesting and tricky question that probably everyone will have a slightly different feeling on. I remember there was a question on here a few years ago about modelling Reinhard Heydrich's Bf109 where A number of us felt compelled to question why of the thousands of Bf109s would someone want to build that one. In my view it was the wrong side of the taste line, the example you give I don't think problematic unless as a few people have pointed out it was presented in a tasteless context.

Pat

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Anyone who models military aircraft knows there proudly displaying replicas of aircraft that job is to kill people, whether it be intentionally as part of bombing civilian targets, or as consequence through attacking military targets, not to mention aircrew as part of air combat, where do you draw the line, in terms of whats going to far into the realms of disrespectful. This question was raised as I recently completely Spitfire R6800, which on the 17th October 1940 was shot down killing its pilot by Werner Molders and I was contemplating doing Molders Bf109 to go with it, until I actually thought about it for a minute

The line is continuously being redrawn in everyone's mind. Last week we were doing a job in a site close to an airbase and a test MB.339 whizzed by.

"That must be the coolest job in the world," I said.

My colleague was like, "What? Gunning down people? No one ought to kill, no one ought to be killed, for NO reason!"

Fast forward three hours and we're discussing the business of some poor fellow who has divorced from his wife and now must bear the company of her current companion.

"What?" says the same guy from our military jet discussion. "If my wife dared to do that to me, I'd kill them both!"

The point: you don't have to be coherent with yourself at all times. Others won't be, so why give oneself a handicap.

Furthermore, how many acts of chivalry and atrocity, that we don't know of, happened on both sides but no one survived to tell the tale?

Should we stick to airliners?

Edited by Bonehammer

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I think context is everything, unless you go out of your way to present something in a crass and undignified way there is no harm in presenting a model of a particular subject.

These events happened, recreating miniture models of two aircraft that were once engaged in combat is not in bad taste, it highlights the bravery of those involved and the reality of war.

Rich

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People have their own reasons for making certain models. Why somebody would want something as macabre as a model concentration camp might be difficult to explain, but why somebody would want models of two well known adversaries like a Spitfire and a Me109 is easy to understand.

I think this is more of a dilemma for re-enactors than model makers.

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People have their own reasons for making certain models. Why somebody would want something as macabre as a model concentration camp might be difficult to explain, but why somebody would want models of two well known adversaries like a Spitfire and a Me109 is easy to understand.I think this is more of a dilemma for re-enactors than model makers.

Context is everything.

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I recently asked my wife to pick my next build for me. She looked over the stash, and picked Revell's Hindenburg. I asked her why she picked it, and she replied 'it's not a killing machine like most other things you build.' I shrugged, decided not to debate the matter and got to work.

She was not pleased when she saw it had four swastikas on the tail on completion ;)

I'm sure there's a moral in here somewhere...

Edited by sroubos

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It's an ongoing and very old chestnut at our club, whenever club themes are discussed, to suggest "Machines that Kill".

There is a fascination with the combination of simplicity of function and complexity of design that characterise so many weapons of war. Ultimately i find I don't dwell on the human factor of vehicles and weapons, preferring their aesthetics and design as attractive model subjects.

I would find it a bit lurid if intense human situations were portrayed in model form - it's almost better if moral questions are kept well away, and just let the anodyne nature of machinery do the talking.

Edited by Brokenedge

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Wow really have provoked a proper debate, my angle of guilt was politicaly neutral, as in would it be disrespectful to show alongside the spit the plane (and pilot) that ultimately cost PO Reilley his life, but have to say reading the response has been really thought provoking and a proper discussion

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For myself there is a further twist in things and I would not be surprised if others feel the same. I prefer fighters in general rather than bombers and I think that somewhere in my psyche there is a desire to believe in the chivalry and gallantry of man to man single combat be that on foot, horseback or in the air. I am not so keen on bombers as, while I understand clearly the purpose of bombing, the cold hard strategic need to do massive damage in order to win wars with as little damage to your own forces as possible it doesn't fit with the romantic notion of chivalric combat. My grandmothers brother who was a Lancaster pilot never came to terms fully with the job that he was required to do. People wanted to hear him tell of his glorious days pounding Germany into dust but he didn't want to think about all those he blew to bits who had little or no defense against what he rained down on them He fully understood the purpose of doing it but that didn't mean he had to like it. Bombing of course is a sound military strategy which I believe will ultimately be the main tool of warfare in future with those countries/forces which have the loot never putting a man near the enemy but simply using unmanned machines to pound those they disagree with into submission and the public at home are happy (well some of them) because none of their boys risked their lives or died.

Wherever I got it from I have an ingrained admiration for anyone who will take on an equal or better equipped foe man to man in a fair fight but have never felt as comfortable with the sneak up behind them and blow them apart type of warfare no matter how much it makes sense if you want to win the war.

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I found the answer partially anyway in the book "A Higher Call" and I would recommend a read of that work to you.

An excellent book indeed! The leader's comment of "we claim victories, not kills" certainly appeared to change his attitude then, and also affected his attitude further through the war.

We can also note that there were quite a few in the Luftwaffe (& other services) who refused to salute in the Nazi way with a stiff arm, but who stuck with the Military salute.

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Wow really have provoked a proper debate, my angle of guilt was politicaly neutral, as in would it be disrespectful to show alongside the spit the plane (and pilot) that ultimately cost PO Reilley his life, but have to say reading the response has been really thought provoking and a proper discussion

It was a thought provoking point and every contributor to this has offered valuable insight.

For myself there is a further twist in things and I would not be surprised if others feel the same. I prefer fighters in general rather than bombers and I think that somewhere in my psyche there is a desire to believe in the chivalry and gallantry of man to man single combat be that on foot, horseback or in the air. I am not so keen on bombers as, while I understand clearly the purpose of bombing, the cold hard strategic need to do massive damage in order to win wars with as little damage to your own forces as possible it doesn't fit with the romantic notion of chivalric combat. My grandmothers brother who was a Lancaster pilot never came to terms fully with the job that he was required to do. People wanted to hear him tell of his glorious days pounding Germany into dust but he didn't want to think about all those he blew to bits who had little or no defense against what he rained down on them He fully understood the purpose of doing it but that didn't mean he had to like it. Bombing of course is a sound military strategy which I believe will ultimately be the main tool of warfare in future with those countries/forces which have the loot never putting a man near the enemy but simply using unmanned machines to pound those they disagree with into submission and the public at home are happy (well some of them) because none of their boys risked their lives or died.

Wherever I got it from I have an ingrained admiration for anyone who will take on an equal or better equipped foe man to man in a fair fight but have never felt as comfortable with the sneak up behind them and blow them apart type of warfare no matter how much it makes sense if you want to win the war.

The faceless future of war is a remote and impersonal theatre where casualties will have no names, no faces to haunt us and no tales to remind us of the dispassionate oblivion delivered with no chance to look your foe in the eye. I, like you, believe it more equitable to at least have the chance to stand face to face with your adversary in any field of battle.

An excellent book indeed! The leader's comment of "we claim victories, not kills" certainly appeared to change his attitude then, and also affected his attitude further through the war.

We can also note that there were quite a few in the Luftwaffe (& other services) who refused to salute in the Nazi way with a stiff arm, but who stuck with the Military salute.

And many German commanders fought with honour and accorded their enemy dignity in defeat.

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Would you(or do you) drive a German or Japanese car. They all built aircraft or parts in WW2 to kill the allies?

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Would you(or do you) drive a German or Japanese car. They all built aircraft or parts in WW2 to kill the allies?

In answer to your rather pathetic post, I would say yes the vast majority of people do/would drive cars manufactured by German/ Japanese companies.

Also why do you feel the need to post in bold letters, isn't that akin to shouting.

Tim.

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Looks like this one is going to get locked if we aren't careful...

I'm sure we all have a very good understanding of how history played out. Since I have been making model aircraft I have become more and more interested in history and learnt a great deal more about what happened, through modelling both allied and axis planes.

When it comes down to it, most of the young men fighting on the axis side wanted the war to end (just as did the allies) and most of them were forced to fight. Indeed, some were horrendously fanatical, but even depicting this, in my mind, will lead to me thinking and learning a lot about why things happened the way the did. My knowledge grows, which I would hope allows me to further my understanding of what happened.

Having left school only 3 years ago, I can tell you that I was taught NOTHING about what really happened in the Second World War. Yes, I was taught about rationing and evacuation, but they missed everything about what happened. Most kids these days know very little about what really happened and why things happened. Most kids probably wouldn't realise that they city/town/village they lived in was; bombed/residents lost lives fighting in another country/played host to US soldiers who died on the beaches in Normandy....

Ben

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Very interesting debate

The way I look at it is - pilots, soldiers, tank commanders etc didn't start the war. They were doing what they were ordered to do. They had no anger towards individual people.

If you look at what some veterans say it will nearly always be 'we had a job to do' which they did and they never glorify it, wether it was British, German or American etc.

As too kits, I never had the want to build a Luftwaffe aircraft, not saying that I never would (never had the want to build a Spitfire either). But if I did I would research the pilot and plane, before I made any choice and I would give it my best to make it a good representation. Its all down to personal choice.

All I can say is

Respect the engineering

Respect the sacrifice given

Respect whatever makes you feel comfortable

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If we only built models from nations that hadn't committed atrocities at some point in their history we wouldn't have many subjects to choose from!

Andy

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If we only built models from nations that hadn't committed atrocities at some point in their history we wouldn't have many subjects to choose from!

Andy

Ha, very good point! After all, it was Britain who bombed Iraqi markets in the 20's and 30's and the British who used concentration camps during the Boer war...

Ben

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The way I've always approached it is from a historical point of view. As Ben has said there's not much being taught about the war in schools these days, I was talking to a teenage boy not long ago and when I mentioned about the Battle of Britain and Spitfires he said,'What's a Spitfire? '. I see it that we're helping keep history alive in some small way by providing a visual reminder of the machines involved.

There was a fantastic vignette on here recently of a shot German soldier with a comrade in the ruins of Berlin which I thought was very 'human' as it showed the despair of war, something I'm sure we would all agree on.

If we start thinking about morals and who did what to who we'd never make a thing.

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I think it's a personal decision on whether you feel comfortable building the model and what it potentially represents. I'm assuming most of the model building community are fine with constructing Luftwaffe, Imperial Japanese aircraft etc otherwise there wouldn't be a plethora of kits representing those nations on the market. The only conscious decision I've seen from presumably a "respect" viewpoint are some Luftwaffe kits don't include swastika decals.

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I'm not so much interested in modelling an aircraft as a 'killing' machine but rather in exploring the scientific view. WW2 started with bi-planes and ended with jets. Speeds went from 250+ to over 500 and we saw the development (and demise) of aircraft designed to perform a particular role. Armament went from those used in the First World War to guns capable of destroying a tank while the Mark I eyeball was replaced with various forms of radar in some circumsatnces. Paint finishes also evolved due to different requirements and areas

If we start developing 'moral' questions in terms of modelling then when do we stop ? A famous wartime ace once stated that it was not the man he was trying to kill but rather the machine

Ken

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The fact that this question has been raised shows the importance of presenting, in context, the story behind any subject.

Due to various sensitivities, many of them unwarranted and misplaced, much of the history of conflict and its human aspect has been lost to not only the current generation, but much of the last.

Only by provoking thought in the viewer, will we contribute to the memory of events greater than us or the sum of their participants. Modelling both sides and being informed enough to offer an insight into the human experience of those participants is an effective way of highlighting their sacrifice and contribution to our collective future.

The essential thing is to be as unbiased as you can be and present both sides. If you feel uncomfortable modelling one side or the other, that is something you must reconcile yourself, but be careful that, in doing so, you don't diminish the contribution of the side you do model. To do so is to offer a disservice to the viewer, yourself, the participants and history.

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There never appears to be any moral dimension or disapproval in the display of warbirds at air shows and those could be viewed as full size "models" since in most cases they are painstakingly recreated or restored rather than original.

Nick

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I have no such problems or second thoughts about building models of anything. I do find it a little funny when people say they don't build German planes/tanks etc from WW2 because of the Nazis, yet forget the allied countries indiscretions of the era. A friend of mine once said he doesn't build anything German from that period as he is Jewish, but had no answer when I reminded him that his countrymen had no such moral conflicts as they climbed into the cockpits of Avia S-199's and but for a factory fire, they'd have been flying Bf-109G-10s.

Perhaps Caprica 6 from Battlestar Galactica said it best; guilt is just something small people feel when they run out of reasons to justify their actions.

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Been a really interesting and mature discussion this, guys. Very much a credit to the forum and the thoughtfulness of our modelling community. Whilst it really is a matter for one's own conscience and intellect, there does appear to be a reassuring acceptance that war isn't a nice business and best avoided but that stories of courage and humanity coupled with technical appreciation of the subject are the prime mover for most modellers.

Well done, guys!

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If we only built models from nations that hadn't committed atrocities at some point in their history we wouldn't have many subjects to choose from!

Andy

Yes, but remember that much as the victor always writes the history books, what is seen to be an atrocity now may not have been perceived as such at the time.

Peter

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