Bolt Action ’48 – Part 3 – A question for you all.

G’day guys,

I have a bit of a sensitive question to ask and, please know, that I don’t mean any disrespect or harm at all. I’m just here to learn and find out what is ok and what is not ok.

As you know I’ve been painting up some very cool World War Two sculpts from Warlord Games. They really are incredible. TIM, I think you’d like them a lot if you haven’t had a look at them already.

Anyway, one thing I have noticed (or should that be haven’t noticed?) is that there are no Nazis. Well, to be more precise, no Swastikas.

Wellllllllllllll unless you count this chap.


Sir Oswald Mosley, BUF (British Union of Fascits). I don’t think his arm band is a swastika though, I think it might be a lightning bolt.

The SS is represented in the range of minis but I can’t see any Swastika Flags or arm bands anywhere.

Now, I’m guessing, this might be out of respect but that there raises a question for me that I’d like to ask all of you.

Should I incorporate the Swastika into my German army? Be it arm bands, flags or painted signs on vehicles etc?


I needed to lighten the mood haha. I do that a lot when things get heavy in real life actually.

I happened to get talking to one of my clients, Jade, today about this very thing today. She is an avid listener of the IRO Podcast and The Fly On The Wall Podcast so knows alllllllll about my crazy little hobby hehe.

Her opinion was that if I’m recreating history as accurately as possible then I should paint on the unnerving red, white and black symbol and that it would, almost, be disrespectful not to. As in pretending it didn’t happen.

I see her point.

However, I think I’d literally cringe every time I painted the ghastly bent cross.

So, for once, I am undecided and need your help, views and guidance.

The last thing I’d ever want to do is upset someone with my beloved little miniatures and I actually can’t imagine being proud to show them off here or on Instagram if they were adorned with the Swastika.

From what I’ve seen and read online people are quite divided on this. PLUS not many vehicles had Swastikas anyway, nor did the SS wear the armbands out in the field.

So, maybe, it’s a non-issue but one I’d still like your opinions on.



52 thoughts on “Bolt Action ’48 – Part 3 – A question for you all.”

  1. My personal opinion is much like Jade’s, I’d go for historical accuracy. As you said, they probably weren’t that common in the field anyway. Most often used by ground troops /ships as identifiers for planes, so as not to get accidentally bombed? But in the end they’re your models and if you’d be uncomfortable showing them to others, let alone painting them, then I’d suggest leaving them off. Might upset some history buffs, though 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Including the swastika on some of your miniatures is fine as far as I’m concerned, as it’s in the name of historical accuracy. If it makes you uncomfortable painting the symbol, that’s totally fine too- you don’t have to include it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I remember as a kid, long before I knew what it was or meant, I’d draw it to be bad. Years later when I learnt what it was all about I felt ashamed. I don’t think I’d feel ashamed to paint it this time round, just a bit cringy hehe.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I can understand why it would make you feel cringy. It’s a symbol you could use sparingly, as I don’t think it was that widely worn (I know some planes had it on their tail, I saw one in a museum of flight earlier this year). You could always try it on one model and see how you feel?

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Two things. Firstly, history is history so if it is necessary for historical accuracy then simply do it, no apology necessary in my book. Secondly, a lot of the guys at my club do WW2 planes and the such like and I think they have to get swastikas from elsewhere because they are banned from being sold in kits in the UK. Happy to stand corrected on this but I know there is an issue of some sort with them. On the subject of Bolt Action I have done a few figures and they are excellent. 😊

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The swastika was mostly on Luftwaffe tail fins and occasional armbands, but as far as I know the latter was pretty rare in the field, good excuse to not paint them in that case.

    I play the BUF for Very British Civil War, despite the fact that my actual politics run very, very left. You can separate your wargaming choices from your real life ones. I have a WIP Confederate army for ACW as well that I’m deeply uncomfortable with and I am considering shelving for now, but I never approved of their cause. I’m neither a fascist or a States Rights guy in real life.

    But here’s the thing; historical war games need someone to play the “bad guy”,even alternative history does too. If painting a Swastika bothers you, then don’t do it, simple as. But if you feel the need for historical accuracy, use it as little or as much as you need to.

    Just as long as your not a real life goose-stepping Nazi, you should be fine!

    Liked by 6 people

  5. In reading all the other commentators, I agree. For historical accuracy, say WWII U-boat or Luftwaffe, the symbol is needed. If you’re just doing wargaming minis, then having a badge or armband seems less likely to make it on the battlefield. If you need a dude holding a BAF (Big Ass Flag), then just use the primary colors, folks will understand. About the only time I use a swastika marking is for a scale model diorama, only if the real life unit/plane/tank/ship/unit had that symbology, otherwise, I try to make sure the color scheme is correct or the unit/place/time period/location.
    I do remember painting my Imperial Guard (Yes that is the only term I will use for that GW Army!) Army, and I was using all Steel Legion miniatures. They where painted in a modified DAK color scheme, but all of them had that “lightening bolt” patch on the shoulders. That was painted red/white/black, as a hat tip back to the Wehrmacht/DAK real-life dudes who inspired my army of :heavy tanks and grunts with flashlights”.
    To tehulzpare, I almost always find myself playing the “Bad Guys”, when there are obvious good/bad themes in a war game. That usually stems from the cover art, as they usually have some kick-ass looking vehicle or unit look to them.
    Just my two cents IRO, hopefully it has helped and not blurred the lines!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks man. Haha I like BAF 😂 At this stage I won’t be having any planes, ships or subs so that avoids that and I quite like the idea of just having the colours to represent the Nazi bastards. Any photos of the steel legion? They sound cool. I only use “Imperial Guard” too. Old school bro hehe.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. That’s a really good question, I’ll mostly echo the others: if you want to do it for historical accuracy, go ahead, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it (I wouldn’t either), it’s just not worth it. In my humble opinion, the world is a better place with less nazi insignia, whether for historical accuracy or more sinister uses. You could use the Balkenkreuz or the Iron Cross, both are very much recognizable without the need for swastikas.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I didn’t even think of the Iron Cross. Good point. You can see why I had to ask the question. I think it’s easy to say who cares just go ahead and do it but if my family had been affected by it then I’d be upset. No matter how long ago it was.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yeah, I think it’s good that issues like this are brought up and discussed. Even our little hobby isn’t separate from the rest of the world. Back in the days you’d still see people cosplaying SS officers in conventions, but if someone did so today…man, they’d be kicked out and rightfully so.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. My view is they are your army so express how you wish. That being said I felt uncomfortable after doing some SS and so changed to Heer instead. I still used the Warlord SS models but painted them in heer Splinter camo. I simply decided that I felt more comfortable having a German army that was based on the Heer rather than SS.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Dude, you have seen all of my tanks and not one has a Swastika. They only used it on the tops of tanks on the Eastern front (and North Africa)to prevent Luftwaffe air attacks on German vehicles. By the latter part of the war, the Luftwaffe was not an effective force against ground troops as they were decimated and what few planes were left were trying to stop Allied bombers. Yes, it was on planes, but not infantry or tanks for the most part. These two posts may help you understand some of the nuances between the Wehrmacht and the SS:

    Example of my tanks:

    Liked by 3 people

      1. No worries and I do need to add a slight correction/addition. I did have super tiny DAK (Das Afrika Korps) decals on some of the German North Africa vehicles

        They are super tiny and usually covered by weathering and dust.

        Still, if you’re being historically accurate, you’re just making a representation of the period, not an endorsement by you of the evil. I would feel equal revulsion to the evil done by Stalin or any other sociopathic dictator/horrible regime. I’d still try to make the pieces look authentic.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I agree that history is history and pretending it never happened just prevents us from learning from it… BUT the “woke” are very loud and determined to leverage anything they deem offensive. I’d leave it off, save yourself a lot of hassle. Great work as always bud 🙂👍

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good point Skinny but I’ve never cared what people think of me, it’s more about not wanting to upset people that may have had family who lived through it. I think I’ve decided what to do and will do a post. 👍🏼

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Firstly I think this is a really good question, and digs into something right at the heart of historical/real world wargaming. I see both sides of this. On the one hand I’m in full agreement with those who’re saying “history is history”. We might not want to celebrate it but we should acknowledge it. If we ignore it we’re doomed to repeat it, etc etc. At the moment there seems to be a conflation between saying “historically we did things which were pretty bad and we’re not proud of that” and “we should destroy all evidence that it ever happened”. (Dunno if you had it but here we had BLM protestors knocking over statues of people linked to the slave trade for instance. I thought personally that it was a powerful symbolic gesture, which clearly and vividly sent the message that these people didn’t deserve to be celebrated any more. However it quickly turned into idiots saying “we should knock over every statue of anyone who wasn’t 100% ‘woke’ at all times”. Lots of right wing thugs then turned out to “guard the statues”, and the government clad some of the statues in metal boxes to protect them. Then we had the sight of a statue of someone who wasn’t racist being covered in armour and surrounded by thugs who were themselves surround by the police in case a BLM protest (which wasn’t planned and didn’t happen) turned up. During a pandemic… *insert rolled eyes here* Honestly I’ve not seen so many Nazi’s standing round a sealed metal box since the end of Raiders of the Lost Arc…). Anyway, I’ve digressed onto statues, where was I?

    The fact of the matter is that real life wars are fought by real people, and end up being full of things that are both good and bad. People do things because they need to survive, or they believe that doing so serves the greater good, or they do good things because they are good people – even if they happen to be fighting for an unjust or evil cause. At the end of the day all we can really say is that the Nazi cause in the main was evil, and the Allied cause was overall a bit less shit but still not great.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with this either. A mate of mine is getting into Bolt Action (building up an American army) and he’s working on me to give it a go. The obvious choice would be to go for something like the Nazi’s so we can face off against each other but I don’t think I’d be terribly comfortable painting a Nazi army honestly (even though I’m quite happy painting Chaos Space Marines who do more evil deeds before breakfast than Hitler managed in a lifetime). The difference with that last example of course is that CSM are fictional, no-one who has suffered through a Chaos raid is liable to come round my house – whereas my partner’s Jewish mates might, and how would they feel if they saw me painting little swastikas? That’s an awkward conversation waiting to happen!

    I get the same thing when I see Union Jacks painted on things for instance. On the one hand it’s just the British flag, tourists stick it in their hats and take a selfie outside Buckingham palace and it’s all just harmless fun. On the other hand – growing up in Scotland – I associate it very much with skinhead thugs, draped in flags, screaming at anyone they think might be Catholic to “F-off back to Ireland”, throwing Nazi salutes and generally being racist bell-ends. Or it’s draped outside houses who’s residents would say “We own you, you’re just an English colony, know your place”. So when I see it on a miniature it provokes a disgust response – it’s hardwired into my brain as a symbol of danger (like the yellow and black stripes on a wasp for instance) and the swastika is the same. People will look at the miniature and automatically feel a certain way and that feeling is liable to capture the attention of the viewer more than the quality of the painted miniature itself.

    In the end I wouldn’t judge you for a second if I saw you posting pictures of Nazis with swastikas painted on them, it’s the historical period you’re painting and I’d look bloody stupid if I complained about it (those who ignore history, or try to cover it up, are doomed to repeat it and all that). On the other hand I wouldn’t want to do it myself, so I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you gave the whole thing a bodyswerve and just didn’t paint them. This hobby is meant to be fun after all, if you don’t want to paint something just don’t paint it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Some very good points in there my friend and I had really hoped you’d comment. I think I have decided what to do and will post about it as I’ve been quite taken aback by the response to this question. I’m just glad I didn’t paint the Union Jack on my Praetorian Guard haha. I did the Saint George Cross and the Wales flag. Maybe a I need a Scottish one in there too hehe. Going back to Nazis, I can see why people would sit on the fence with this one but I’m not a fence sitter by nature so my decision is made and is final. Stay tuned 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aye, you sit on the fence you get splinters in your arse, it’s as simple as that 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what you decided to go for in the end. And you should definitely do a saltire, come on it’s got to be the easiest flag in the world to paint, it’s basically just a big white X on a blue background. If you can manage a Welsh dragon you can manage that!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. There has been a lot of sense written above and I would agree with basically all of it, I have to say one of my DAK panzers had a a Nazi flag draped across the back and I never had anyone mention it either way, did this mean I agreed or identified with the Nazi’s of course not! anymore than I agree with the atrocities that have been carried out but nearly all the nations of the world (Britain being near the top of that list), but I do feel history is history. likewise if there was a dog killed during the “Battle of Britain” that had a name that is now considered offensive, does this mean I should be exhumed from history? I don’t think so personally, change the future but don’t erase the past, but that is only my opinion so counts for nothing.

    As for the Union Jack flag this is an interesting issue, I watched a documentary that looked into the differing attitudes between Americans and Britons and they decided it might have something to do with the UK’s colonial past and our new found shame in it but it was felt that if an American puts the Stars and Strips flag out side his house he was thought of by his neighbours as a patriot, whereas if a person in the UK raises a Union Jack he is thought of as a Right wing racist! Have have to admit that since the whole “Brexit” vote I have become rather uncomfortable with the Union Jack’s persona myself and would never wear anything bearing one myself.

    But anyway getting back to your original question, your figures your rules, I doubt anyone hear (or with a modicum of common sense) would just you which ever way you decide to go.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Put it on a Nazi mini, in context, not gratuitously and in the name of historical accuracy then cool. Equally don’t – I doubt a red armband was a popular choice in a combat arena. If you are in any doubt then err on the side of caution. There are other (slightly) less offensive images that make the point.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I’m late to the party here and have read all of the above. I’ve had late-WW2 German forces in 20mm scale for years and don’t have a single swastika in view! This is mainly because, from what I’ve seen, it wasn’t evident in combat units except as flags draped across the engine decks of tanks earlier in the war for air identification (i.e. when the Germans probably faced more of an air threat from their own side). So I would say that by not having swastikas on display you would be being generally historically correct! As people have said, it’s your choice!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks to the prompts for comments I did some more Rey and you’re right mate. I knew that the infantry didn’t wear them but wasn’t sure about tanks and things. It’s been an interesting subject to mull over but I have made a decision as I’m not one to sit on the fence. I’ll put up a post tomorrow to explain what path I’m taking. Cheers mate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I read an article quite a few years ago about the de-Nazification of German bravery awards. Since the swastika is generally banned in Germany, the situation arose that German soldiers who’d served during WW2 and subsequently enlisted in the post-War Bundeswehr were entitled to wear the bravery medals they’d earned, but these had to be re-struck/designed with the swastika removed. 🙂 Anyway, glad you’ve made you mind up! Hail Hydra!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Hydra were created my Marvel to sidestep this very “Nazi” problem along with a chance to add all the “experiments and myth/mystic elements” without treading on any toes.

        “Hydra for when Nazi’s aren’t evil enough!”therefore the rule for most evil must go….

        Nazi Zombies
        Hydra Zombies
        Hydra Clown Zombies
        Anything IRO dreams up
        Anything IRO dreams up with CLOWNS!!!!!!

        Cheers Roger.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. I have a lot of respect for the fact that you’re putting so much thought and consideration into this where as a lot of people would just do it without a second thought. 🙂
    I’d say follow your gut. If it makes you uncomfortable maybe it isn’t worth doing. There is obviously a huge difference between making something historically accurate and glamorizing something horrible that belongs in the past for a reason. Knowing you, I can safely say you aren’t doing this to glamorize something so horrific as Nazis, but to present something horrible as it was from the past.
    In high school when we were learning about WWII in my history class I did a painting for a project and I was similarly nervous about painting that sort of imagery. I ended up doing it in a way that depicted Hitler to be just as much a monster on the outside as he was on the inside with yellow soulless eyes, sharp teeth, and sickly green skin. It made it a lot easier to depict him that way and everyone could see that I wasn’t coming from a place of admiration whatsoever with the painting.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I may have a saved file of it floating around somewhere. 🙂 My teacher liked it so much she had asked if she could keep it as an example to show other students so I no longer have the actual painting.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. F… k mate, what an amazing can of worms you have opened well done, I am only halfway through reading all the replies but I just better say now before this old guy forgets ,great comments from all so far ,we have an amazing group of intelligent free thinking folk that makes me feel better for the future, but I’ll just say Skinnies comment and your reply just about says it all ,Good work matey, good sensible chatter is what we want, not hysterical bullshit that is becoming the norm unfortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. One interesting thing is that no one “woke” seems to have a problem with is the use of Soviet or Maoist iconography despite the appalling atrocities committed by Stalin and Mao Zedong. Would we be having this discussion if you were painting a hammer and sickle motif on a Soviet army? I very much doubt it. And let’s not forget, Stalin began the war as Hitler’s ally, and arguably was instrumental in the development of the Panzers and their doctrine…

    Liked by 3 people

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