Soldiers have been collecting risque images of women since probably the Stone Age. Was the 25,000 year-old statue of the Venus of Willendorf
a souvenir kept by a lonely caveman warrior far away from home? Soldiers in the American Civil War and later World War I collected "French postcards," nude and semi-nude tintypes and cartes-de-visite, they didn't tell the folks back home about. Soldiers in World War Two often hung up publicity shots of buxom starlets or magazine pinups to keep their morale (and other things) up.
Hello, Betty Grable
The stylized erotic drawings of mens' magazine illustrator Alberto Vargas
were clipped, hung up and frequently reproduced on the noses of bombers and fighters in all theaters.
By the Vietnam era, the American soldier had Playboy
and other magazines with models shedding their clothes instead of stylized Vargas illustrations. Archer Fine Transfers has already released a set of WW 2-era pinups
, and one of propaganda posters with some famous pinup photos
. Now they've added this set for the Vietnam era.
what you get
Inside the usual Archer glassine is a 7.5" x 4.5" piece of paper with high-quality images of 32 magazine covers and 29 centerfolds (24 verticals and 5 horizontals).
Note: because Archer has had problems being ripped off by others reproducing its decals from computer images, I have used their heavily-masked renderings. My hope is this will suggest the imagery without exposing the manufacturer to piracy.
Recreating the world in 1/35th scale often means finding details that were or are part of the fabric of everyday life, but which are difficult to come by. Pinups are a constant in war, and those who've served will attest to the fact that guys tear these photos out of magazines and decorate their room, tank, ship or almost any interior with them. Whether to remind them of why they're fighting, or just to relieve the stress of their day, pinups are ubiquitous.
While the images do contain nudity (and can only be purchased if you're over 18), they are actually rather tame by today's standards, where little or nothing is left to the imagination. The poses are coy and suggestive, not aggressive, with a lot less exposed than now (including airbrushing to hide the "naughty bits"). The hairstyles alone will bring back the look of the 1960s and early 70s in a glance.
Did my date to the school dance in 1965 really wear her hair up in that style? Like other boys then, I wished she'd been dressed the same as a Playmate. Yeah, it's a sexist thing to say, but we're talking the "Mad Men" time period when men were men, and the "girls" liked them that way (or so social myths had us think).
Not to get too intellectual about it, these are the pinups that GIs (and teenage boys) drooled over back then.
The photos are printed on glossy paper, just like the originals, which allows for the same manhandling, bending and crinkling that happened to paper in real life then. The quality of the reproductions is high, with the same "warm" skin tones pinups of this era had.
I wish I had a Vietnam diorama or vehicle to place one or two of these in, they're THAT good. If you're working in this era, then you'll want this set. It's probably the one time you can put up photos of naked women and not get your wife or girlfriend mad at you.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering from them.