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Is it offensive if someone wants to build an IG army based around the units in a German themed desert? I mean some people have ideas and morales about what happened during that era. But there was a lot of technological advances in the era also. And during the WW II era there were a lot of nice tanks that if you actually just looked at them and not "looked into" their ideas of mass destruction, they looked nice. I want to build a Desert army based around a certain person in the German era, with just "count as", ex. bassilisk = elephant, leman russ = tiger tanks. Paint schemes would be the most significant eye catching aspect of the army, and I know that some people would say that it is too close to an era that people are offended by. I look at it as, this is a game, I wasn't around during the era, neither were 99 % of gamers today that play this game and they only know what they were told by people who lived during the time. Friendly games would not be a problem, but what about GW tournies? I have seen some armies based around confederates, and they were seen at GW tournies. Why would some people play against those armies but not one based on a different era? The flag used was an actual representation of the confederate flag, so why would there be problems with another symbol? The bad thing about symbols, people only see them as good or bad and not as just a symbol. So if you were going to build an army and your opinion was "opened" (no offense intended) to the idea would you go with a themed army and use actual names and symbols in a game?
I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.
I think the problem comes when you build a military machine with a swastika on it. If that's your plan, whatever you motivations, you're bound to raise a few negative eyebrows. That's simply inevitable, given how relatively recent the conflict was. No, no one will begrudge you making an army that looks like the Spanish Inquisition, because that was a few centuries back. The victims, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren are all dead. Meanwhile, my grandfather was an infantryman for the allies in France. Bit different.
If you're looking to deflect it, I say, don't stick to just the Germans. I saw some Space Marines a while back (I forget where now) which had swastikas on their shoulder pads. I would have said the same thing to that painter until I saw the rest of his chapter, which featured shoulder pads bearing the Rising Sun and (I think) American flag and British symbols. I think it was a different country for each squad.
In that context, the intent was clear: a World War II-themed army, NOT a Nazi army. Now, if you want to do THAT I think that would be most kewl, not to mention providing multiple challenges depending on which squad/scheme you're working on, and I doubt many people would get the wrong impression.
Short answer: Yes, there will be someone who gets offended. There always will be.
Long answer: It is your hobby, but it is also shared by other people. It's ultimately up to you how far you want to take your army. Some people say "It's just a game", while others say "It's a fantasy game. Want WWII models, then play Axis & Allies."
You may get into trouble at tournaments. You might not. Depends all upon how the officials view the situation, and how gratuitous the theme is.
Check this thread out for more opinions on a matter very closely related to what you've asked -
http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...d.php?t=110327 (Is Rommel offencive ?)
I'll just say this. The point of the hobby is to have fun with it, and that includes making sure your opponents are having fun as well. If you have misgivings about whether people might find your army offensive, then that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. So why even do it then? I'm sure there are plenty of other great themes you can fall back on that aren't quite so volatile.
I apologize if this isn't the answer you're looking for, but it's the best we can do. Unfortunately, history has shown that threads like these quickly degenerate, and shouldn't be left open. I'm forced to close it.