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The spectators you meet at events...


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This one has been covered by now I'm sure, but what about the ones that just immediately dismiss something as repro or fake after only seeing it from 5-10 feet away for less than a minute or two?
Yep, but mostly from collectors. Most of the public thinks it's all original.
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This one has been covered by now I'm sure, but what about the ones that just immediately dismiss something as repro or fake after only seeing it from 5-10 feet away for less than a minute or two?

 

 

I had a fellow argue with me that my ORIGINAL 1870 trapdoor was a repro! What a winner he was.

 

Scott

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Raygoon Gasbar

How about the guy who is deeply offended that your ruining $1000's of dollars worth of priceless orginal artifacts, like ww2 mess kits, and canteen cups.

 

I actually had a guy who was that "guy" and explained to him that we used (for the most part) high quality reproductions now, and he refused to believe any thing we had was repro cause it all looked "too good", like he expected repro M41 field jackets to be made out of brown nylon or something.

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  • 1 month later...

Don't forget the guy that got a rare knife/button/doo-dad that he brought to the event because it's World War Two vintage and he knows you'd drool over it, and he spends a good fifteen minutes telling you the story about how it was passed from a wounded soldier to his grandmother/mother the nurse who tended to the soldier's wounds, and when she died she passed it to him, and now he keeps it hidden in a box and only brings it out once a year, and today is that day.

 

You know, that guy.

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Most of the above sound familiar. Not from reenactments, but from recruiting displays. We would have a BDU 33 25lb practice bomb on display CLEARLY labeled- then be asked 100 times "how much does that 25 lb. bomb weigh?"

 

Of course you also got, "You can't take me (HA HA)"

 

And every Friday just before the office closed, was the call from the FOTW (freak of the week). We would toss a coin to see who had to answer- never failed, every Friday!

 

Oh, the memories!

 

Frank

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  • 4 years later...

Oh, the memories, indeed. I did WW2 living history for almost 20 years and have heard all the aforementioned topics, or variations thereof, that you can imagine. However, one incident does stand out in particular, regarding kids and the "Can I hold that?" routine:

 

In the mid 90s, our group was doing a timeline display at the Ellington Field airshow in Houston. A friend and I decided to do the Vietnam part of the display, rather than WW2, for a change. Of course, the VN display seemed to draw kids like flies [they didn't know what an 1861 Springfield musket or a M1 Garand was, but they all recognized an M16, AK47, etc., from the movies]. Well, one of the things we had was a fired M72 LAW rocket launcher tube. The Pearl Harbor part of the airshow was in progress when these three kids walked up, all brothers, ranging from about 4 to 10 years in age. The oldest pointed to the LAW and asked, "Wow, a rocket launcher! How does it work?" After going through the motions, he asked if he could try it. I said "sure" and showed him how to open it up, "arm" it, and "fire" it, then told him to aim at one of the planes flying around. He did everything correctly, fired, and "missed" the plane. Of course, the next kid in line wanted to try, and he missed as well. And of course, the baby of the bunch wasn't going to be left out.

 

So I showed him what to do, and helped him to open the LAW up, then put it on his shoulder and put my hand on the trigger. I told him to look through the sights and sight in on one of the planes, and when he was ready to say "FIRE!" Well, when he said FIRE, I pushed down on the trigger, it clicked...and the Zero started smoking. I said, "Hey, how about that? You shot down a Japanese plane!" At which point the kid is jumping up and down with joy, hollering "I shot down a Japanese! I shot down a Japanese!" Of course, then the other two wanted to try it again...I'd like to think that kid still talks about that to this day. Better yet, I'd like to think he acquired a lifelong interest in military history [or just plain history] as a result.

 

I will say that I'm glad I was done with the hobby by the time the video game/airsoft craze took over. It was bad enough towards the end, when everything was about Saving Private Ryan/Band of Brothers/E Company 506 101/D Day was the only battle of the war and 101ABN was the only unit.

 

Once again, thanks for the memories, and for all the laughs as well.

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Not a re-enactment/show thing, but I have a new category:

The "I'm over 50 years old so I know everything based on my age" guy: This person is under some sort of deluded notion that just because they're older than others, that alone means they know everything about... everything and nobody younger than them could possibly know anything other than how to breathe and blink.

This happened to me in line for the movie, "Hacksaw Ridge." This 50-something guy was standing in front of me and a 20-something guy behind me that I didn't know. Anyway, this guy turns around and starts lecturing WW2 history to us because, well, I guess that he's older? "You young folk don't know nothing about nothing," he actually said, going on about nobody younger than him has a clue about WW2 or knows what combat is like. I interrupted and said, "Well, I've written and helped out on TV shows, a few on-camera, as well as books, movies and magazine articles about WW2 and am in all modesty considered one of the primary subject matter experts on a few very specific subjects on WW2. You really shouldn't assume that just because someone's younger than you, that they're an idiot. Besides, you're really not that much older than I am. Being older, in itself, doesn't make you any wiser, you know."

Immediately after, the young guy leaned past me and said, "Yeah, and I'm a three-time combat vet. Don't assume even younger folks don't understand stuff like this in a post-9/11 world".

The older guy actually left the line for the movie after that. I shook the young man's hand and thanked him making my point better than I ever could have alone.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I flew on EC-130s. At airshows, people would pass by and say things like, "Yeah, they used these in World War two."

 

Or look at the antenna pods at the end of the wings and say, "They can land these on the water."

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  • 1 year later...

I think I should add my bit from the small handful of events that I have participated in, and some that I have been a spectator.

 

1. The toucher- I was at a small WWII event at Fort Stevens, OR in 2016. There was a family walking around with at least three kids that were under 12 and two teenagers. One of the teenage girls, wearing her thick red lipstick, walked around and literally touched everything in the German displays. We found her (and her brothers and sisters) in one of the U.S. tent's too. She leaned over one of the soldiers footlockers, and continued to reach out and grab a box of original Barbasol shaving cream. The girl lifted it up so she could see it in the sunlight. She then continued to toss it back into the footlocker and pick up an original M1 Garand rifle and point it around at the other spectators in the tent. One of the reenactors told her to put it down, and she had these odd puppy-dog eyes as she put it down. Nobody in her family even cared, and I am pretty sure I saw her pick up a German MP40 and do the same thing. Another time I was at the Armed Forces Day event at Camp Withycombe, Oregon. A man walked up that was probably in his twenties or thirties. I had a Arisaka Type 38 on display for the little Pacific section in our wall tent. He walked around for a bit and picked up a few items (we didn't really care because we allow the public to touch some of the items on display). He then noticed the Arisaka 38 and practically ran towards its direction. He planted her hands on it and picked it up. The man continued to flail it around with one hand like the hollywood squad leader with a Thompson SMG. I immediately told the man to put it down. "But..." that man started, yet i stopped him and told him to leave. He stomped off and went to the nearby Vietnam display and only focused on the guns. One more time, in 2016 at Camp Withycombe, a kid that was probably ten at the most walked by our display and saw the minty 1941 kidney gas mask sitting on the table. He looked up at me as I was looking at the original sewing kit i had just bought. He grabbed the gas mask and started to pull it up over his head. I looked up at him and he said "Oh, I... I... shoot." He threw the gas mask back on the table and ran off. We saw him the following year, but he recognized me and skipped the display.

 

2. The video game kid- This happened at the same event. Some kid was walking around and was looking at the guns and educated the reenactors about how in "Combat-Field 3" he could shoot an M60 machine gun and AK47 at the same time. The reenactor allowed him to try to pick up the M60 with one hand. Oh, if that guy wasn't at the ready, the M60 would be in pieces. He just barely caught it before it hit the ground. The kid just left without saying anything. He did the same at our display with my Type 38 Arisaka. He said "Ya know, this sucker can carry ten rounds, this sheet says five. You are wrong." I asked him where he got that information. His answer, some video game that I have never heard of. I told him that his game is full of crap and that he should maybe pick up a book on WWII guns and come back to me when you find out. Again, he stomped off and went to the nearby WWI display.

 

These are just two that I can recall. I am sure I have forgot some.

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2. The video game kid- This happened at the same event. Some kid was walking around and was looking at the guns and educated the reenactors about how in "Combat-Field 3" he could shoot an M60 machine gun and AK47 at the same time. The reenactor allowed him to try to pick up the M60 with one hand. Oh, if that guy wasn't at the ready, the M60 would be in pieces. He just barely caught it before it hit the ground. The kid just left without saying anything. He did the same at our display with my Type 38 Arisaka. He said "Ya know, this sucker can carry ten rounds, this sheet says five. You are wrong." I asked him where he got that information. His answer, some video game that I have never heard of. I told him that his game is full of crap and that he should maybe pick up a book on WWII guns and come back to me when you find out. Again, he stomped off and went to the nearby WWI display.

I posted this as part of the first post in this thread, even used the same name you did!

The video game kid. They're between 8 and 16 (when if they have real game, they would have discovered girls), and will proceed to tell you all the false info they learned off their videogames and that you can't possibly be right about a Tommy gun magazine only having either 20 or 30 round magazines because Call to Bulge 5 has an unlimited bullet supply in one.

Same thing happened to me a few times as you about the ammo capacity. A kid came up and declared every tommy gun carried 50 rounds because the video game has that. I picked up my demilled M1928A1 with early 20-round stick mag, handed him a cup full of dummy ammo and said, "If you can get 50 rounds into that magazine, I'll GIVE you the Tommy gun". Of course he failed.

Another kid at the same event talked about all the weapons a GI carried at the same time because the game says so. We hoisted a rifle, carbine, bazooka, trench gun, pistol belt with 1911, and handed him my M1919 and only then did he admit it would impossible to carry all that.

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I posted this as part of the first post in this thread, even used the same name you did!

Same thing happened to me a few times as you about the ammo capacity. A kid came up and declared every tommy gun carried 50 rounds because the video game has that. I picked up my demilled M1928A1 with early 20-round stick mag, handed him a cup full of dummy ammo and said, "If you can get 50 rounds into that magazine, I'll GIVE you the Tommy gun". Of course he failed.

Another kid at the same event talked about all the weapons a GI carried at the same time because the game says so. We hoisted a rifle, carbine, bazooka, trench gun, pistol belt with 1911, and handed him my M1919 and only then did he admit it would impossible to carry all that.

 

Yeah, I'd like to see him try. It seems that a lot of the games make it look like every Thompson had a 50 round drum mag, yet they were rarely used as they were expensive and jammed easily. Also, all of the games give the player the ability to carry at least 5 MKII grenades. I have seen someone play the new WWII-based Call of Duty game and his player carries an M3 Grease Gun, captured STG44 Assault Rifle, and an M1911, and this doesn't even count the grenades and extra ammunition he has. At Fort Stevens 2017, a kid said that my cartridge belt doesn't have enough rounds in it. He said he carried twenty-two 8 round clips in his game. Now, GI's would have a ten round belt, and ammunition bandoleers weren't all that common. I really just wish that these kids that know "everything about WWII" would pick up a history book. Give them a quiz and ask them who came up with the design for the Browning M1919. Ask them where a famous WWII leader was born. Or ask them simply when WWII started, or when it ended!

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Don't forget the guy that got a rare knife/button/doo-dad that he brought to the event because it's World War Two vintage and he knows you'd drool over it, and he spends a good fifteen minutes telling you the story about how it was passed from a wounded soldier to his grandmother/mother the nurse who tended to the soldier's wounds, and when she died she passed it to him, and now he keeps it hidden in a box and only brings it out once a year, and today is that day.

Yep, and if he actually pries the box lid open, you can't help but notice the plastic components and the "Made in China" markings.

Seriously, I once had to explain to someone that even though I'm hardly an expert on Axis stuff, i was pretty sure that the Germans never marked their dress daggers with "Made in Germany" in English. they also didn't make the handles from cheap plastic.

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Don't forget the guy that got a rare knife/button/doo-dad that he brought to the event because it's World War Two vintage and he knows you'd drool over it, and he spends a good fifteen minutes telling you the story about how it was passed from a wounded soldier to his grandmother/mother the nurse who tended to the soldier's wounds, and when she died she passed it to him, and now he keeps it hidden in a box and only brings it out once a year, and today is that day.

 

You know, that guy

 

 

Oh, this guy...

I was at Fort Vancouver doing a display with the Vancouver Barracks Military Association when they had their M1917 Ambulance on display. A guy came over with an M2 Paratroopers pocket knife. We were all baffled why he brought it to a WWI display. He let me handle it and I had immediately noticed that the wood part was faked with plastic. I said "Oh, that's neat..." I just stood there and nodded. He walked off and also showed it to the Civil War guys too. They had no idea what it was. :lol:

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Most of the above sound familiar. Not from reenactments, but from recruiting displays. We would have a BDU 33 25lb practice bomb on display CLEARLY labeled- then be asked 100 times "how much does that 25 lb. bomb weigh?

 

One time I had a guy come over when I was displaying my MKII Grenade and adapter. I had a sheet sitting right next to it with the dimensions, weight, and history behind the design of the MKII. He took a good two-minute look at the sheet and then asked me "How much does this grenade weigh?" Yet, as I said, I had the weight listed on the sheet. I told him 595g which was what I had listed. He just said "Neat." and then walked off.

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One time I had a guy come over when I was displaying my MKII Grenade and adapter. I had a sheet sitting right next to it with the dimensions, weight, and history behind the design of the MKII. He took a good two-minute look at the sheet and then asked me "How much does this grenade weigh?" Yet, as I said, I had the weight listed on the sheet. I told him 595g which was what I had listed. He just said "Neat." and then walked off.

 

In all fairness, how many people know much 565g is in relation to pounds?

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True, I just could of told him around 1 1/4 pounds. But, he could of specified by asking how much 565g was in pounds.

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