Advertising has probably existed from the moment one caveman figured out he could get other cavemen to give him an extra helping of mastodon by drawing images of animals on cave walls, or something like that. Images have been central to advertisements, specifically the graphical kind that lures in the consumer with bright colors, an enticing image, a few bon mots
and a brand name to remember it all by.
Some argue that the heyday of advertising art was the 1890s, the era just before World War I: new color lithograph printing processes made mass signage possible to a variety of companies, and they used every available space, in cities, in villages and across the countryside to flog their messages.
Many diorama companies and kits include signage, though often the quality of reproduction is fair at best. FC Modeltips/FC Modeltrends
has released a series of five commercial signs designed to bring some of the period flavor to dioramas and vignettes.
what you get
The five sets include:
35308: German commercial signs (WW2 era)
35309: French commercial signs (WW2 era)
35326: French commercial signs (WW2 part 2)
35329: Coca Cola & Fanta advertisements in Germany (WWII era)
35330: Coca Cola signs & enamel placards in Germany (WWII era)
Each sheet has approximately 50 images printed on a thin to-scale white paper. There are no instructions or documentation.1
The German commercials signs include a number of Coca Cola images; Coke has always been one of the most-advertised world brands. But there is a wide variety of other products represented here, though some (like an ad for the Parsenn tram to Davos in Switzerland) seem of limited value.
The French seem to have more flair in most things, and this is no less-true in their ads. The signs represented in the two sets cover a range of vibrant images in small, medium and large formats (the large posters are about the size of an average 1/35th scale male figure). But there are some curious inclusions, including a few obviously pre-war ads: for example, the famous ad by the French artist Cassandre for the liner SS Normandie
, which burned in NYC in 1942 after having been interred at the start of the war. There are also some German-language ads that seem out-of-place even in the occupied zone.
The two sets of Coke signs and placards are valuable as decoration, but have widely divergent levels of quality. Some of the reproduction in the first set is light and will likely look a bit washed-out in a diorama. This won't be a problem if you plan on heavily-weathering the poster. Some of the "enamel" signs will require an application or two of gloss finish to achieve the right look.
Though heavily-weighted towards Germany and France, these two countries will likely be the focus of a majority of war dioramists. The range of subject matter is great, the production qualities are good, and the price is affordable enough that modelers can buy these with confidence.
Thanks to FC Modeltips for providing these review samples. Be sure to mention you saw them reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.