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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default Historically-Themed Armies

Lately, I've been doing a lot of reading since I'm unemployed and have too much free time. And I've done a lot of reading about the American Civil War. I've also been playing a lot of 40k, and I've had an itch to build an Imperial Guard army. I've kicked the idea around of building a Confederate-themed Guard army. So here's my question for you all-- at what point does historical theming cross the line of bad taste?

I bring this up because periodically, we see armies that are covered in swastikas or the like, and it's generally agreed that those are unacceptable. However, in the United States, and particularly in the northern United States, the Confederacy and its symbols are an indication of overt racism and anarchy, and can be considered offensive. Obviously, I don't want to be a hypocrite about this sort of thing, as I have come down hard in the past on nazi-themed armies-- while I suppose that it comes down to the group you play with at the end of the day, I'm curious to know what you all think.

So I'm curious what you all think about where the line is in good taste. At what point do you all think it stops being an interesting hobby project (i.e., converting techno-Confederates with lasguns, beards, and grey flop hats) and crosses into the realm of being tasteless with plastic spacemen?

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 08:41 AM
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It is an interesting line for sure. I think it comes down to the symbols you use. If you are going to use a swastika or the SS runes/deathshead skull then yea thats in rather poor taste. Black trench coats, german esque helmets etc oh you mean Death Korps of Kreig? Not really a problem. Common sense really.

As you say it comes down to the group in which you play. In your specific case, if you leave out the confederate flag I think you'd be fine. Just don't make your penal units african... that would be pushing things a bit too far. Then again I live in NZ so I'm maybe not the best person to comment on that specific subject.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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I was thinking more along general terms, you know? The whole idea of there being a point where the hobby reaches poor taste just seemed like an interesting topic for discussion, since the hobby has roots in historical wargaming. It just sort of came to mind because I was kicking around the idea of making some Confederate Guardsmen. It's something I've always given a lot of thought to-- the urge to make a historically-themed army, and where that line exists, if it does at all (and in my opinion, there's definitely a line of good taste.)

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:10 AM
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Is there really still such a problem with American civil war almost 150 years after it finished? I can understand that for the Nazi's as there are still people alive who were affected by this. Personally I would go Jacobite and say you should go for it, although just leave out the confederate flags and you will be good to go.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:11 AM
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It is a very interesting question. I agree that the theme you are discussing is one that could cause affront, but at least is is not the age old nazi one that we see from time to time. The thing is that if you take out the confederate flag will it still appeal? If so then you will probably get away with is as that would be the item that would usually cause offence.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:24 AM
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Ii'd say that it depends on your local gaming group. if you don't know the people around you, well.. i'd stay deep in the "safe area". So, maybe just a banner that resembles the Confederate banner and beards and theyr strange hats. otherwise, if you do know your opponents and friends you could go as far as you want, with nazi space marines or porn pin up noons "sisters of battle"... we used to play a zombie invasion scenario on easter with jesus leading the horde of undeads...it is offensive? yes it is. bad taste? yes it is! but if you and your pals are not offended and have fun with this sort of crap, then, you can do wathever you want.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:30 AM
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I'm not american so couldn't really comment on the social implications of confederate flags, but I wonder why it has had that impact?

Again I'm no expert on the American Civil war but in many cases the splitting of the union in 1861 was perfectly justified, mainly due to divergent economic systems and social and political norms. The impact of slavery was really only made an issue later in the war, and used to deamonise the southern population.

There are many nazi Totenkopf deaths head skull on many GW minis, but because its associated with a more primal image of death its not an issue, whereas a swastika is overt and clearly linked.

Praetorian minis are clearly British Boer war troops

I guess what I'm trying to say is there's nothing wrong with being historically inspired but there are issues in going out to offend people (I realise this does't really answer the question and is a bit of a ramble)
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 09:36 AM
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I wouldn't worry unless it was going to offend someone who you care about. I've never really seen the problem with using any sort of iconography, you have battle re-enactments all the time with people wearing various uniforms or icons to represent the army they are portraying, no one stands and pickets the side wearing the grey uniforms (to my knowledge).
When it comes to public forums, like Heresy, you are stepping into the wider world so I understand why certain things are not tolerated, although I do not find those things offensive personally, I can see why others would. Within the group I would play with I wouldn't have a problem putting anything on a miniature, they wouldn't be offended by a swastika or confederate flag but I do understand that others might find those things offensive.

If it would offend someone who's opinion you value then don't do it, it's in bad taste. If no one you know or give a damn about would take offence then go for it but be prepared for the wider world to possibly judge you or criticize what you've done.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 11:34 AM
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as people have said it comes down to the group you are playing with, id consider the justification for why the person would be offended then realize that people will always be offended at everything just because they can even if its just a case of iconography. personally i see nothing wrong with it that's probably because my only knowledge of the civil war was "the blue guys won", should people from half of Europe be offended at the entire Horus Heresy range because they are based on Romans? hell they did things just as bad if not worse than the Germans in ww2, in fact should people not even paint their minis white because you know Caucasians haven't really had a good record in the past, i think you may be overthinking it, just make what you like and if people have an issue with it its clearly their problem not yours

oh and the swastika was a hindi symbol 1000's of years before the nazi party corrupted it
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-28-12, 12:45 PM
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History is history. If you use any army from history as a theme you will find someone who might take offence to it.

If you paint swastika's or confederate flags on your minis what does it matter? If you walk around spruiking racial hatred then THAT is what you should get upset about.

What is important is the motivations for placing those symbols on your mini's.

Last edited by Magpie_Oz; 12-28-12 at 12:48 PM.
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