Yet every country uses the media to manipulate its citizens, whether trying to inspire them to acts of patriotism, or to cover up mistakes made by the ruling elite. Usually history's winners have their propaganda viewed in a more favorable light. Is Uncle Sam telling civilian men "I Want YOU" fundamentally different than Hitler beaming at a young man exhorting him to serve the Fatherland? We like to think the goals are different, but the methods are surprisingly similar.
Archer Fine Transfers has been releasing a series of propaganda posters (while calling their US sets "victory posters"). Now it has supplemented these small gems with a set of Italian ones.
what you get
Inside the usual Archer glassine is a sheet of 22 posters printed in rich inks on real paper.
Sadly, the Italian Front often gets ignored. Not only was it an important campaign that cost over a half-millions casualties, but its important battles are overshadowed by a variety of sudden, bizarre developments, whether Italy abruptly switching sides, the breathless liberation of Rome, or the Germans snatching Mussolini from captivity in a daring raid by paratroopers. It's a shame, because the Axis and Allies fought a stubborn campaign through mountains, towns and villages from 1943 until the end of the war. The battles were often horrific (think Monte Cassino), and some of Germany's most-famous (and infamous) units were sent in to "plug" the holes. Think of one of the most highly-decorated units in the Army, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose Japanese-American members were not allowed to fight in the Pacific, yet who earned 22 Medals of Honor.
While there are limited diorama options for Italy, there now is a fine set of propaganda posters to add a huge dose of realism to any Italian scene. And Archer haven't pulled any punches: one poster shows an ape-like African-American soldier lasciviously clutching the Venus de Milo. Another has an Italian SS soldier exhorting viewers to join the "Italian Legion" that made up the 29th Waffen SS Grenadier Division, and still another shows a skeletal Statue of Liberty standing above a flaming city with a caption "Here is the Liberation." Patriotism is usually a combination of national pride and tribal fear of "the other."
But remember that the Kingdom Italy fell with Il Duce (Mussolini), and became a republic. So there's a poster exhorting Italian males to rise up in the spirit of 1849 and Goffredo Mameli, the 22 year-old nationalist who wrote the lyrics to the Italian national anthem.
The posters almost have the quality of collectible stamps. Their real paper backing means they can be glued, crumpled, burned (or defaced with graffiti). In other words, they're one of those outstanding bits of ephemera that "make" a diorama. I'm now eager for the long-promised Italian diorama base from MiniArt.
The quality of the printing, the use of real paper, and the uniqueness of the subject all make this set worth buying. I can't imagine a diorama set in an Italian town or city that wouldn't have one or two of these, perhaps even defaced by the Communists or partisans. It's a welcome addition, since the Italian Front usually gets short shrift.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.
Highs: That they exist at all. Something that's been missing from the hobby. Extremely well-printed, sharp and just amazingly sharp.Lows: None, really.Verdict: If you're doing a diorama set in Italy, these are just the thing.
Our Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers! 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.