Quick Follow-Up To “Perfect Christmas Gift”

I am very lucky to have married a woman much smarter than me.  Michaela and I were talking about that ridiculous collectible showing a Union soldier having his leg sawed off and she suggested that only within the context of the Civil War would this type of thing be acceptable.  Perhaps she is wrong, but can you imagine such a scene involving a soldier from WWII or Vietnam?  What does this tell us about the way we identify with the Civil War?

Other suggestions for Civil War miniatures:

My suggestions included "Execution of Confederate Soldier for Desertion" and "Union Soldier Relieving Himself While on March"

Others suggestions: "[H]eadless Union/Confederate soldier with a canonball suspended behind the body/corpose, as well as the head going another way"  [Perhaps we could use the image of the young Confederate soldier who had his head severed at Malvern Hill.  We could call it "Innocence Lost".]

"Sultana" boat for bathtub fun!(one use only)

Any other suggestions?

19 responses... add one

The Black Confederate Talking Action Figure.* Pull his string and he says things like “It is heritage, not hate!” and “I am happy to defend Massa from the Yankee invaders!”

*Warning: May not actually exist.

How about a twin-pack with:
‘Abraham Lincoln with exploding head.’ (brain-mix sold separately)
and ‘John Wilkes Booth with breakable leg.’

I would also love to see the:
‘Light-Up Atlanta’ Play Set
‘Poop Trench Accessory’
and ‘Assassination Plotter Gallows’

(I would actually buy the Atlanta Play Set. Afterall fire is cool.)

Jennie Wade taking a hit for the Union cause. Sold separately: Jennie Wade easy-bake oven.

All kidding aside, the high end toy soldier hobby has taken a sharp turn toward realism (if still glorified), starting with a trend toward matte rather than glossy finished figures in the late 1990s(think museum diorama rather than that rosy cheeked marching bands of old). Some manufacturers emphasize historic accuracy (the right state jacket on the right infantry figure) while others emphasize a more gritty “realism.” Conte Collectibles has gone over hard into that realm. Look no further than their “Bloody Omaha” WWII beach sets, or better yet their “Sons of the South” confederates-getting-pulverized-by shrapnel sets to see what this looks like.

http://www.conteco.com/WhatsNew.htm

I passed on those, too.

How about a transforming John Bell Hood action figure. Dashing 1861 model that transforms into late 1863 model with lame arm and amputated leg.

Andy

You people are sick! I think I’m a little in love.

Seriously, I do have a weird fascination with the idiotic historical kitsch found in your average gift shop, usually in the kid’s section, much like the Frederick Douglass combination finger puppet/magnet that I found at Harper’s Ferry. This conversation, however, points to something a bit deeper. The toy in the original post (and is it actually a toy to play with, not just a statue to display type of deal?) suggests an almost pornographic fascination with violence. I use the word “pornographic” because the experience, context, and implications of that violence are removed from the act, and all that remains is the act itself, which seems myopic and divorced from anything resembling reality — despite the efforts for realistic toys that Greenman Tim cites.

Gary Gallagher has written about how the modern paintings one finds for sale in the glossies usually involve Confederates, implying that the bulk of the ACW buyer market tilts southward. Given that, I note that the poor fellow getting his leg amputated is a Yank.

A set of Civil War generals with mix n match beards! Can you match the lush facial hair with the right commander! The Yassar Arafat scrub on Sherman’s face,the kindly Santa like white Lee beard, no-nonsense Grant brown, and the crazy waist length John Bell Hooder!

Matthew, you think you jest, yet the Lincoln Museum gift shop sells removable Lincoln beards — for those who do not think that the Halloween mask is enough.

Ken, there was a confederate version of this amputation set, too, priced at $55. Not toys to play with, Clio B, except maybe for adults with money to burn.

Oddly, the high end collectible military miniature companies don’t go in for the same level of blood and gore “realism”, or if you prefer “pornography”, with horses that they do with other battlefield casualties. No market for it.

But, hell, we ought to have the “bloated artillery horses dead in their traces” set to go with all the other fine suggestions here! Maybe even scratch n’ sniff for that full carrion effect.

Join the Conversation