Since the advent of mass communications, governments have used books, posters and other media for propaganda. Broadsides were common during the 19th Century exhorting citizens to join the army, but the heyday of propaganda began around the First World War when colorful prints combined vivid colors, patriotic (or xenophobic) images and appeals to patriotism or just plain fear, all with the aim of motivating the populace to take part in the war.
In some cases, the goal was enlistment, either by a direct appeal to patriotism, an indirect effort to elicit fear of the enemy, or even the use of sex appeal to make serving your country (and possibly getting killed) something that pretty women would swoon over. And with wars demanding both treasure AND blood, posters quickly became a means of organizing war bond drives, donations of goods, and even an appeal to do with less among the civilian population.
Numerous companies have released poster sets for World War Two and the Interwar period, but little or nothing for the Great War has been on the market prior to now. FC Modeltips has released a series of five sets of World War One propaganda posters.
The five sets cover:
German Propaganda Posters 1914-1918 (#35327)
Russian Propaganda Posters 1914-1918 (#35328)
French Propaganda Posters 1914-1918 (#35331)
US Propaganda Posters 1914-1918 (#35339)
English Propaganda Posters 1914-1918 (#35065)
While the print quality is generally good, some of the posters have too much contrast, so the images tend to be dark & indistinct. The "clotting" of colors is a problem with repeated copying, and I have no way of knowing where these images originated. All of them are now in the public domain to my knowledge, so they are frequently reproduced.
The good news is that these sets cover a range of "classics" like Uncle Sam or Lord Kitchener exhorting the young men of their land to join up and fight, as well as unit-specific appeals like one for the Coldstream Guards. There are appeals to save food, or a poster for Bovril (a sort of meat extract used in cooking) showing a bull trying to enlist. The US posters focus on selling war bonds as much as enlisting, though there's the classic image of a comely young lady saying "I want you for the Navy" (the WAVEs weren't established until WW2).
France used a national lottery to raise money for the war, but otherwise the posters included in that set are about engendering patriotism in the viewer (and hopefully, a trip to the enlistment station). The theme is mostly about the poilu or common soldier, and less about Marianne, the traditional symbol of the Republic, and by extension, the nation.
German posters from the period are mostly exhorting enlistments, but also include at least one warning about the evils of Bolshevism after the Russian Revolution in 1917, and a post-war graphic about joining the Reichswehr (Germany's post-war stump of an army).
The one area where I was disappointed was in the Russian set. These are some of the lesser quality of reproduction with a higher contrast and super-saturated colors, as if the scans are from copies of copies. The material also seems somewhat ordinary with little evidence of the struggle between the monarchy and the growing Communist insurgency.
The posters are printed in color on approximately 4" x 6" white paper stock in vivid color, and contain on average 30-40 period posters. Because they're actually printed on paper, mounting with white glue, weathering or even tearing them should result in a better approximation of the scale item.
With the sudden surge in WW1 subject matter in modeling, it's good to have period posters for dioramas and vignettes. These certainly cover the topic, though the lack any explanatory information. Therefore modelers should be careful not to use a poster that looks good but perhaps has the wrong message.
Thanks to FC Modeltips for providing these review samples. Be sure to mention you saw them reviewed on Armorama when ordering your own.
Highs: The selection of posters runs a wide gamut of famous and lesser-known posters.Lows: Printing is a little "soft" on some items, though this probably won't be a problem if weathered or used in a diorama.Verdict: It's exciting to have these posters for use on Great War dioramas.
Our Thanks to FC Model Trend! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.