Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hot Under The Collar

The 'Final Word' feature in Issue 38 of 'Toy Soldier Collector' caught my eye this month. I have reproduced the article here and hopefully a) the author, David Dunmore, won't mind and b) you will be able to read it should you be sufficiently interested

It concerns a review that was printed in the previous issue, issue 37, about a product by the Collector's Showcase depicting the inside of Hitler's wartime office, complete with Hitler and his cronies and a rather prominent Swastika as a backdrop

According to the author, during a conversation with a group of fellow collectors at the London show in December, a discussion developed about the relative merits of including such an article in the magazine, especially as the 'crooked cross of infamy' featured so prominently in the accompanying photographs. Whether Third Reich figures should be made in the first place was also discussed, apparently

For my part, I am in agreement with David, that such figures a) should be made and b) should certainly be featured in a magazine written by collectors, for collectors, one that reflects the breadth and diversity of the hobby, both in terms of the figures available and the collecting themes that enthusiasts are interested in and inspired by

David is honest about his own position and I applaud that. He has no interest in collecting Third Reich figures or themed models and dislikes the subject matter. However, as he most eloquently points out, this hobby of ours is about history, and the Third Reich is a very important part of that. As such, it absolutely has a place in our hobby as a collecting theme

Early on in the article David admits to wondering, in an idle moment, just how extensive the market is for such figures? He also admits to thinking that collectors and manufacturers alike might be a little reluctant to answer that question honestly. Now, I must confess, I'm not entirely certain precisely what David is thinking about when he uses the term 'Third Reich figures'. Is he referring solely to figures and models depicting Hitler, his cronies, and the paramilitary organisations within Nazi Germany, or is he also talking about all those figures and models depicting the fighting men and vehicles of the various armed forces? Either way, I have no such qualms when it comes to admitting my love of collecting Third Reich figures, and I'm clearly not the only one with such a passion

If, as David 'suspects', collectors and manufacturers may be reluctant to answer such a question, then they oughtn't to be. I would venture to suggest that the market for 'such figures' [whatever that may be, precisely] is very extensive indeed. As David himself writes, 'the commercial reality that these figures sell' cannot be denied. I have been collecting toy soldiers now for approximately five years, (yes, I am a veritable babe in pun intended) and got into the hobby having seen a display of K+C Berlin '38 figures in a glass case in a local Ian Allen bookshop. In that relatively short time, a number of ranges have come and gone, but Berlin '38 remains a constant feature of K+C's formidable output, and the series is still being added to. It is one of their best sellers, and they are not alone. I may have to stand corrected here, but every major toy soldier manufacturer I can think of produces something that could be described as a Third Reich figure

Manufacturers of plastic kits make more German kits than anything else. The same can be said for manufacturers of 1/72nd scale ready made vehicles for collectors and wargamers, and 1/6th scale action figures. There is most definitely a market out there, and it's huge

My point? Well, there are those, in my opinion a minority, who think that such figures should not be made, or if they are made, that they have no place being featured in a major magazine aimed at collectors. They are entitled to their point of view and, although I don't agree with it, I would be willing to die for their right to express it freely and openly, and I would like to think they would be prepared to defend my right to collect the toy soldiers I love without being thought of as in any way glamourising or condoning the historical regime they represent

1 comment:

Chris said...

Its all very silly where do you draw the line , do we not feature Russians troops for what they did , Japenese troops ? what about the Romans , god forbid the English on our crusades etc. Yes a lot of bad stuff has happened and still happens today. Whole world has gone stupidly pc maybe we should all just sit at home with our eyes closed and just hum to ourselves so we dont hear anything bad either :( grrrr rant over :)