Time in 1:72 scale: plastic historicity of Soviet models.
--Article from a Soviet technical journal
It is a grand attempt to overcome the wholly irrational character of the object's mere presence at hand through its integration into a new, expressly devised historical system: the collection.
--Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project
When the Soviet government ordered the construction of the national exhibition center in Moscow in 1935, it was initially conceived as a showcase of Soviet agriculture and was named, accordingly, the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Two decades later, with the dawn of the space era and the rapid industrialization and urbanization of Soviet society, this focus on agriculture no longer seemed relevant, and in 1959, the exhibition center was renamed the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh). As part of this reorientation of the Soviet national exhibition, a pavilion that had previously been devoted to bog peat was renamed Young Technical Designers (Iunye tekhniki) and started featuring the craftsmanship produced by schoolchildren's extracurricular hobby groups (kruzhki) and centers of young technical designers (stantsii and kluby iunykh tekhnikov), such as hand-built vehicles and agricultural equipment, scale models of ships and planes, and designs of existing and future spacecraft.
The allocation of a special pavilion at the Soviet national exhibition to "young technical designers" highlighted the importance that Soviet education officials gave to extracurricular activities of school-age children. The Department of Extracurricular Education was established within the People's Commissariat of Education of Soviet Russia as early as November 1917. In 1952, the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed a resolution that harmonized the networks of extracurricular clubs and centers. Over the course of the decades that followed, palaces and houses of Young Pioneers, centers of young technical designers, school hobby groups, and other forms of extracurricular activities sprang up all over the Soviet Union. (1) In 1988, there were 464,384 extracurricular clubs and centers in the Soviet Union, or roughly four times the number in 1950. The official statistics claimed that 7.5 million schoolchildren attended them, with technology-related clubs and groups being the most popular (2,132,659 children). (2) According to the 1989 Soviet census, the number of schoolchildren (aged 7-17) in the USSR exceeded 45 million, which means that approximately one in every six Soviet school-age children attended extracurricular activities at any given time. (3) Given high turnover rates, the proportion of Soviet students who at some point in their education enrolled in hobby groups was considerably higher, in particular in urban centers. (4)
The development of extracurricular technical activities served a pragmatic function: the incorporation of labor into the productive forces of the Soviet economy. The idea of spreading technological literacy among schoolchildren was, in fact, borrowed from late imperial pedagogy: in particular, from the works of Evgenii Medynskii, a prominent theorist of extracurricular education who continued to work under the new authorities. (5) During the 1920s and especially the 1930s, technological literacy became increasingly associated with one's civil obligation to serve the national cause in peace and in war. (6) The Young Technical Designers Pavilion reflected the post-Stalinist development of this political fantasy of schoolchildren's contribution to the national economy, which was also prominently featured in educational theory and--hardly surprisingly--Soviet teen science fiction. (7) At the official level, Leonid Brezhnev emphasized in a speech to the 16th Congress of the Komsomol that its leaders should "develop the scientific and technological creativity of working youth" as a prerequisite for the evolution of socialism into communism. (8) This logic, which treated extracurricular activities of schoolchildren as viable assets of national development, placed them in the context of the Cold War competition between ideological blocs. For Soviet officials and education theorists, youth mastery of technology was a way to secure the USSR's position at the cutting edge of technological progress, a goal that inherently implied the possession of the present and future as well as the superiority of the USSR in the competition with the Western bloc. (9)
The dreams of Soviet enthusiasts of extracurricular technological activities never came true: as later publications bitterly noted, nearly all their technical innovations were wasted through inefficient bureauc atic management. (10) Yet due to their inclusion in the Soviet politics of technology and hence the political process, schoolchildren's hobby groups and centers were also engaged in symbolic production, which had a more profound effect on Soviet society. The official stance toward extracurricular activities promoting science and engineering to children was not only pragmatic but also pedagogical and disciplinary. By engaging technologies in both theory and practice, Soviet children were expected to use their leisure time as an investment in their own future, as well as in the socialist progress of their state. (11) For example, a panegyric article published in a Soviet technical magazine and dedicated to an enthusiast of extracurricular technical education said that his "deserved reputation" came from his persistent effort to turn "mischievous boys into socially useful people." (12) A theorist of school education argued in an article in the flagship journal Sovetskaiapedagogika that engaging technology-related extracurricular activities helped schoolchildren become responsible persons with "serious interests" in working and engineering occupations; it eventually led to the "formation of moral consciousness" and "proper" adulthood. (13) Linking national and personal development, extracurricular hobby groups were part of Soviet techno-politics, a concept that Gabrielle Hecht developed to conceptualize "hybrid forms of power embedded in technological artifacts, systems, and practices." (14) In Soviet education theory, extracurricular activities were meant to bolster technological and industrial progress in the USSR and to ensure that children were raised as disciplined and patriotic Soviet citizens. The link between Soviet techno-politics and extracurricular activities made young Soviet hobbyists subjects of the ideological process. More important for this article is that it also transformed the objects of these activities into ideological objects endowed with political and historical meanings.
The most common activity in technology centers and clubs--which, remember, encompassed millions of Soviet schoolchildren--was the construction of models of historical and contemporary ships, planes, and vehicles. This focus on modeling existing vehicles in the extracurricular activities of the late socialist era marked an important difference from similar activities of the Stalinist era. Young Pioneers in the 1920s-50s mainly built small but real flying, sailing, or driving machines. A resemblance to actual vehicles was entirely optional. (15) Late socialist hobbyists built those, too, but their focus was increasingly on miniature replicas that were designed exclusively for display. This transition was facilitated by the postwar development of plastics technologies, as their use allowed Soviet manufacturers to organize the industrial production of scale model kits. The shift in focus to static replica models immersed late Soviet enthusiasts of modeling into a particular historicity that stressed divisions and hierarchies based on nation rather than class. It suggested that the Bolshevik revolution was not so much a rupture as a continuity and established a genealogical succession from the medieval East Slavic states to Muscovite Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet state. Finally, the making of historical models was premised on explanations of history that favored great men at the expense of the toiling masses, thus prioritizing an elitist perspective over an egalitarian one.
The argument that historical knowledge in the Soviet Union employed national, if not nationalist, discourses alongside internationalist and class-based ones is not new: David Brandenberger and Kevin M. F. Platt traced the turn to nationalist interpretations of Soviet history to the late 1930s, when the Soviet leadership searched for new models of popular mobilization in a complicated international context and with a European war looming on the horizon. (16) Richard Stites, among many others, showed how this tendency intensified during World War II. (17) What I want to add to this discussion is an exploration of some of the quotidian mechanisms through which this national perspective of Soviet history departed from the framework of official cultural production, obtained a broader audience, and became encapsulated in material objects and their collections. The incorporation of this national perspective of history in the activities of children's technology groups and centers made it particularly convincing, since it was marketed to its audience not directly but rather as a by-product of seemingly pragmatic activities aimed at obtaining new skills in handicrafts and engineering. Although historical materialism remained the basis of school and university education until the collapse of the USSR, state-funded hobby activities were the sphere where Soviet schoolchildren encountered material assemblages and mastered historical narratives that prioritized nations over classes and great personalities over the masses.
The affectivity of models and model collections--their ability to showcase Soviet industrial and technological capabilities and to stand as a synecdoche for historical progress--was important in the production and circulation of the national historical imagination in the Soviet Union at the grassroots level. Reemerging again and again in various locations in the USSR, this historical knowledge was all the more persuasive, since it was produced in a decentralized way: Soviet schoolchildren acquired it from enthusiasts of modeling and engineering, older peers, and technical literature and produced it themselves, literally with their own hands. Modern cultures interpret machines and technologies as symbols of historical progress and national prowess. (18) Scale models--planes and ships small enough to fit on bookshelves and on tables--allowed for the miniaturization and domestication of this symbolism in Soviet culture and elsewhere. As I argue below, historicities were performed by scale model collections themselves, which organized history into a spectacle for the educated and quintessentially male gaze of Soviet model enthusiasts, further complicating the situation.
The primary sources used in this article are Soviet technical magazines and literature, which published blueprints and provided advice on hobby model building, boxes of and instructions for scale model kits, interviews and correspondence with Soviet-era modeling enthusiasts, and archival materials. Among Soviet technical magazines, there was a popular subgenre of do-it yourself magazines (their close American equivalent was Popular Mechanics) targeting an amateur, almost entirely male audience, including children and teenagers. This audience--boys and teenagers attending technology groups, and adult men, mainly with a college or university degree in sciences or engineering--provided the absolute majority of recruits to modeling. Modelist-konstruktor (Modeler-Designer), which I use in this article more often than other magazines due to its focus on modeling, had an impressive circulation that grew from 140,000 copies in 1966, its launch year, to 1,800,000 copies in 1989, the peak year. As for other technical journals, in 1989 the figures for monthly circulation were 1,777,000 copies for Iunyi tekhnik (Young Technical Designer) and 1,555,000 copies for Tekhnika-molodezhi (Technology for Youth). They combined top-down and bottom-up approaches to content creation, as their readers contributed many of the materials appearing in them. Modelist-konstruktor also regularly reported on activities of modeling hobby groups and exhibitions of scale models and interviewed prominent hobbyists, thus providing its audience--and inadvertently scholars of Soviet culture--with detailed, nearly ethnographic descriptions of the practices and meanings of scale modeling as a hobby in the USSR. In so doing, it gives us an insight into forms of the historical imagination that escaped academic writing or school textbooks but became encapsulated in the activities of millions of Soviet modeling enthusiasts, both young and adult, and in the objects they produced.
Censoring Objects of Modeling
There are two principal ways of making a scale model: from an industrially produced kit or from scratch, using blueprints, historical description, and photographs. (19) The first option requires less work, but the variety of models is limited by what the market offers. The second demands much more labor, time, and skill; the making of such a model by children is usually possible only under the supervision of an experienced hobbyist. However, the variety of vehicles that can be imitated is virtually unlimited. As a result, plastic models made from kits formed the bulk of private collections in the Soviet Union, both among children and adult hobbyists, while custom-built models were made and then exhibited in school hobby groups, centers of young technical designers, and Palaces of Young Pioneers.
"Not only people are part of history; machines and vehicles are, too," Modelist-konstruktor wrote in 1969 in one of numerous articles that called on Soviet teenagers to immerse themselves in the hobby of model making. (20) This logic, in which the making of models was understood as part of historical knowledge, made the assortment of scale model kits in stores or blueprints in journals subject to tacit censorship. The USSR-designed model kits featured exclusively Russian and Soviet ships, aircrafts, and vehicles, such as the battleship Potemkin and the cruiser Avrora, various makes of such aircraft as MiG or Tupolev, and Soviet battle tanks. It was possible to buy kits of East German, Czechoslovakian, and Polish manufacture, but their assortment was dominated by models of Soviet vehicles, and the absolute majority of the blueprints for scale models in Modelist-konstruktor were of Russian or Soviet vehicles. Finally, the activities in state-sponsored clubs and hobby groups for children were focused almost entirely on custom-built models of Soviet ships and aircraft. (21)
This apparent exclusion of non-Soviet technological objects from the activities of Soviet modelers was somewhat shattered when, beginning in 1977, Soviet factories began producing kits designed in England. This story provides a particularly good illustration of the importance with which Soviet ideologists endowed scale models as objects of historical knowledge. In the mid-1970s, the British model kit manufacturer Frog (famous for, among other things, making 1:72 one of the standard scales for aircraft modeling) was going out of business, and the USSR Ministry of Light Industry entered into negotiations with its parent company, Dunbee-Combex-Marx, to purchase injection molds: that is, tools used for the industrial production of plastic model kits. From the beginning, Soviet negotiators refused to buy models of aircraft or vessels that had belonged to the Central Powers (World War I) or the Axis Powers (World War II). (22) This decision reduced their choice to 120 models, which beginning in the late 1970s were produced in various locations in the USSR, from Moscow to Tashkent. Most were models of British and US aircraft and ships of the interwar and World War II periods. (23)
The Soviet side insisted on a barter deal repaying the cost of purchased equipment with manufactured model kits. Dunbee-Combex-Marx established Novo, a UK-based company that packaged and distributed kits supplied from the USSR. The international marketing of Soviet-built model kits was similar to products made by Western manufacturers: pseudorealistic representations of battle scenes involving the model's prototype on the cover, its full name and basic technical specifications, a brief development and operational history, and detailed assembly instructions. The marketing of the same model kits domestically for Soviet consumers followed a very different, much more simplistic and utilitarian pattern, as the illustration below demonstrates.
With rare exceptions, ex-Frog model kits of Western planes and ships were sold in the USSR without information about the specifications or history of their prototypes. The Gipsy Moth biplane of the 1920s (left) was sold in the Soviet market as a "trainer biplane," while the World War II-era Barracuda bomber (right) was marketed simply as an "aircraft model kit." Under the same generic name of an "aircraft model kit" the Soviet retail trade offered dozens of other models of British and US planes; the famous World War II-era British Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane fighters were sold as a "frontline fighter plane" and a "fighter plane," respectively. HMS Hero was sold as a "destroyer," HMS Torquay as an "antisubmarine ship," and HMS Royal Sovereign as a "battleship." In addition, the UK-designed kits available in Soviet stores provided neither historical notes about their prototypes nor decals (pictures imitating national identification marks) nor painting schemes.
In this way, many models of foreign ships and aircrafts were stripped of their identity and historical background and marketed as objects of purely functional value, as emphasized by the obligatory phrase on the boxes "Designed for the technical creativity of children 10+ years old" and sketchy box cover images without national colors. An assembled model represented a piece of unpainted plastic with no identification signs and no name: an object of technical design, not of history. What could sometimes provide immunity from this silence about a model's historical prototype was its operational history in the Soviet armed forces. Model kits of US Curtis P-40 and Bell P-39 fighter planes, which were supplied to the USSR during World War II under the Lend-Lease Agreement, included both names and a brief description of their service with the Soviet air force. The assembly instructions for the P-39 started with a short historical reference to the Soviet ace Aleksandr Pokryshkin, who flew this aircraft, his rank and awards, and his official score of 59 enemy planes. It also provided decals and advice on a painting scheme for it. (24)
Even when made anonymous, the ability of models to encapsulate historical and ideological meanings led to several cases in which production was suspended or stopped altogether. The Daily Telegraph mentioned in one of its April 1985 issues that Komsomol 'skaia pravda had launched a campaign against the production and sale of Soviet models of British Harrier jets and Vulcan bombers used in NATO forces, even though they were produced without identification marks and in unnamed boxes. The campaign resulted in their suspended production. (25) One of my informants shared similar stories that circulated among Soviet enthusiasts of scale modeling. For example, production of the model of the F-4 Phantom in Minsk was suspended after an article in a local newspaper decried the use of this plane by the US Army in Vietnam and asked how its model could be produced in the USSR. In another case, the head of a toy factory in Sukhumi, a World War II veteran, allegedly attempted to destroy the mold for a model of the DH Sea Venom, which he mistook for the World War II German Focke-Wulf 189. (26) Although these stories are hard to verify, their widespread circulation among Soviet hobbyists is symptomatic: they revealed the materialist logic that associated models with historicities that could be appropriate or inappropriate in the Soviet cultural context. Scale models made manifest the historical imagination inherent in Soviet techno-politics. This imagination demanded that the national perspective of technological progress--which, for some, meant downplaying its other, "foreign," histories--be highlighted to inculcate a sense of national pride in Soviet youth. An examination of the fetishism given to detail in Soviet scale modeling as a hobby provides another vantage point on the historical meanings that models offered for appropriation and internalization by their enthusiasts.
The Fetishism of Detail
Due to the same cultural logic that resulted in the tendency to strip models of Western machines and vehicles of their historicity, the advice given in literature or by hobby groups on how to assemble models of Russian or Soviet ships, planes, or ground vehicles was just the opposite: to immerse oneself in the history of the model's prototype, to gather as much historical information about it as possible, and to build it in complete accordance with the original design and coloring scheme. Fetishization of detail dominated the activities of young Soviet hobbyists. The standard guide for model ship hobby groups, Sergei Luchininov's Iunyi korablestroitel'(Young Shipbuilder), demanded that its participants should learn how to "make in the precise scale important equipment such as bitts, mooring chocks, anchors, capstans, portholes, steering wheels, lights, [as well as] to sew sails if the model represents a sailing ship." (27) Among model aircraft hobbyists it was not infrequent that students thoroughly and in detail reproduced the interior of the pilot's cabin, which in many cases remained invisible once the construction of the model was completed. (28) The painting scheme and decals were also supposed to represent a particular moment in the prototype's history--not a generic plane but, ideally, a plane with the tail number of a prominent pilot, in the colors and camouflage of his regiment. Advocates of modeling as a mass hobby argued that such a model made history palpable and bridged the gap between famous historical figures and school-age kids. This logic was explicated by a prominent Soviet enthusiast of modeling in his report on the 1975 All-Russian Competition of School-Age Modelers: "Most of the models that were entered in the competition copied Soviet planes. It is excellent that school-age modelers are encouraged to build [such models]. When building a replica model, a schoolboy nearly touches its designers and the aces who shot down enemy planes." (29)
Details transformed models from objects of technological design into objects of history and in the process immersed Soviet hobbyists into the national historical discourse. After all, any model is first and foremost a sign, with its prototype serving as the signified. In semiotic theory it would belong to icons, a category of signs introduced by Charles Peirce in which the relationship between a signifier and signified is based on visual likeness. When stripped of details, like most models built between the 1920s and the 1950s as small flying or sailing machines or like the anonymous copies of Western planes and ships sold in the USSR, their signified was abstract planes and abstract ships, the products of technological progress par excellence. In contrast, details located a model in a concrete point in history, thus endowing it with a particular historicity. In Luchininov's book for "young shipbuilders," the appeal to make models in precise detail and replicate their originals as closely as possible was placed next to a requirement that "young shipbuilders" should also master firm knowledge of history when building models of Russian or Soviet ships. (30) All Soviet guides and books on model ship building started with extensive sections on the history of Russian and Soviet seafaring. (31) This link between detail and history was repeated in other types of hobby modeling. (32) The authoritative 1989 aircraft modeling guide Samolet na stole (A Plane on the Table) offered similar advice linking historical knowledge with the fetishism of detail so encouraged among young modelers:
When you are choosing a plane for modeling, it is desirable to have, in addition to detailed blueprints, as much information as possible: the name of the chief designer and of the producing facility, technical specifications, characteristic features, the period in production, what changes were implemented during its exploitation, and so forth. The most complete information can be found in specialized [modeling and aviation] journals, such as Modelist-konstruktor or Kryl'ia rodiny [Wings of the Motherland].... They often publish feature articles about certain types of planes with detailed blueprints. If the plane is military, they also describe its operational history, famous pilots who flew it and their achievements. Yet as a rule, to complete this picture, other sources should also be consulted, including magazines, photographs from newspapers, books, and memoirs. All materials related to the chosen plane should be stored in one folder. (33)
Fetishism of detail--thoroughly nourished in hobby groups--called for no less than creating at home an archive of historical knowledge. (34) In the quotation above, this advice is neatly visualized through the didactic suggestion to use separate folders for the storage of materials related to each model. Short historical notes of the prototype's service in the Russian or Soviet armed forces, which were supplied with assembly instructions in kits, worked as entry points to this archive, but they only provoked a desire for knowledge about everything related to the history of the model's real prototype. To satisfy this desire, modelers were advised to turn to "specialized journals ... magazines, photographs from newspapers, books, memoirs, and so forth" and to copy relevant materials to "one folder," thus reproducing in their apartments a particular section of the grand historical archive. The structural elements of this archive were neither classes nor productive relations, as would have been implied by historical materialism, but technological objects, their designers and prominent users and operators.
Modelers were expected to explore this archive in different ways. Supervisors of modeling groups in the Palaces of Young Pioneers and centers of young technical designers organized trips to airports, sea ports, or military bases, where their students encountered real technological objects and their operators. Meetings with World War II veterans and historical lectures by supervisors were also obligatory activities in state-run modeling clubs. Several such events were typically held in the course of an academic year. (35) Modelers were also advised to read specialized and popular technical magazines and literature. The author of the book quoted above referred his readers, in particular, to Modelist-konstruktor, which provided accurate blueprints for models but always supplemented them with patriotic or at least didactic episodes from their operational histories. For example, in 1982, Modelist-onstruktor started publishing a series of blueprints of models of historical fighter planes, which continued into 1983 and 1984 and covered the period from World War I to the Vietnam War. The articles gave a comparative overview of major national designs produced in a certain period showing how technological innovations introduced by one manufacturer provoked a wave of changes among all air powers. However, the detailed blueprints were provided only for aircraft designed or at least used by the Russian or Soviet air forces, and the articles always provided episodes from their operational histories featuring prominent aces and the plane's contribution to the national war effort. The first article in this series discussed early fighters of World War I. Since the Russian Empire had failed to develop a national fighter aircraft by its outbreak, the author focused on the French Morane-Saulnier G, which had been supplied to the Russian army before the war. The article opened with a story of the aerial ramming--the first in history--of an enemy plane by the Russian aviator Petr Nesterov flying a Morane-Saulnier G, which made it possible to include this plane in the pantheon of Soviet aviation history.
The modelers who aspired to build this plane were given only one painting scheme and identification signs--those of the plane that belonged to Nesterov on his last flight (see figure). To supplement the young hobbyists' archive of historical knowledge, the article quoted praise from Russian imperial newspapers: "So the fight in the air has commenced. And the person who blazed this trail was the Russian hero, the owner of the wreath of glory for the [first in history] loop, Petr Nikolaevich Nesterov." The article took for granted that its hero Petr Nesterov was an imperial officer and a nobleman, a representative of the class to which the Bolshevik revolution was most hostile, and that his attitude to the "First World Imperialist War" was that of dignity and patriotism determined by his class origins. In the article, he is quoted as allegedly vowing, "I give you the word of honor of a Russian officer that this Austrian will cease flying," something that could hardly be farther from the Bolsheviks' "revolutionary defeatism" and "struggle for the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war" as represented in Soviet history textbooks. (36) As the first article in a series that traced the evolution of fighter aviation to the third-generation jet fighters, it also established a historical continuity between the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union by tracing the genealogy of contemporary Soviet aviation to its imperial Russian predecessor, thus implicitly undermining the idea of the Bolshevik revolution as a radical rupture with the prerevolutionary era.
This tendency was even more visible in ship modeling: numerous publications on models of ships from Kievan, Muscovite, and imperial Russia emphasized the inventiveness of Russian shipbuilders, their use of cutting-edge technologies and innovations, the valor of Russian sailors in all Russia's wars at sea, and the priority of Russian seafarers in the exploration of the world's oceans. The same emphasis can be observed in the activities of state-run hobby groups: it was compulsory for supervisors to lecture their students on the history of the Russian navy from "ancient times." (37) This emphasis on historical continuity extending beyond the October Revolution lured Soviet hobbyists into imagining Soviet history in de facto primordialist terms in which Soviet equalled Russian, and national history was explained as a linear and progressive development from the Middle Ages on. In at least two cases the authors of books on model ship building mentioned to their multiethnic Soviet audience that the Slavs of Kievan Rus' were "our ancestors." (38) The box of the model kit of the Russian frigate Orel (produced throughout the 1980s) explained:
The history of shipbuilding dates back to ancient times. The naval craft of the Slavs had many original features that distinguished them from the shipbuilders of the Mediterranean. Slavs built ladyas, which were equally fit for river and sea journeys. They were steady on the waves and had good maneuverability. Ladyas served for many centuries as the largest commercial and naval ships. In the 17th century, Russia started building warships. In 1668, in the village of Dedinovo at the influx of the Moscow River into the Oka, a double-decked, three-masted sailing vessel was built. It was 25 meters long (similar to a ladya) and 6.5 meters wide. The ship was named the Orel. It was armed with six-pound and three-pound guns. It was the first Russian warship.
The reference to Slavic ladyas, which occupied half of this short historical note, was quite out of place in pragmatic terms on a box for the model of a very different vessel; instead, its message was a symbolic creation of a continuous linkage from "ancient times" through the 17th century to the 1980s, when the model became available for Soviet hobbyists. The silences of the text are also symptomatic, because this note, while emphasizing technical details of the Orel, failed to mention that Dutch shipbuilders played an important role in its design and construction. (39) Insignificant and short as this historical note on a box of a model kit was, it encapsulated and reproduced a historical narrative that operated in terms of nations and accompanying concepts such as national pride, reflected in the praise of ladyas' seafaring qualities. The ubiquity of such texts in the activities of modeling enthusiasts created an army of millions of Soviet citizens who learned, in a casual and uncentralized manner, to envision and interpret Soviet history as a continuation of the Russian nation-building project.
In the Soviet context, the roots of this phenomenon to "praise all things Russian" dated back to the mid-1950s, when Soviet leaders adopted a Russocentric stance in their interpretations of scientific progress--a change that itself had its genealogy in late imperial times. (40) It was, however, in the post-Stalinist period that this tendency became independently (re)produced at the grassroots level because of the general decentralization of Soviet society. Articles in technical journals, specialized literature on modeling, and supervisors of modeling hobby groups alike encouraged young and adult modelers to acquire or borrow from libraries books about histories of prominent ships, aircraft, and ground vehicles published in runs of hundreds of thousands of copies by such presses as Voenizdat, which specialized in military histories, and Sudostroenie, which specialized in naval histories.
State modeling clubs also purchased such literature to lend to their students. (41) The urge to construct models in the tiniest and most authentic detail lured modelers into the consumption of historical narratives that glorified the Russian and Soviet war effort and technological progress. The discourse on modeling created, as part of its archive of historical knowledge, a library on the history of technology, which placed technological objects and their famous designers and operators at the heart of the historical process.
In military histories and histories of ships or aircraft, which were strongly associated with modeling, the fetishism of detail reached its apogee. Authors provided maximum information on the prototypes' development history, technical specifications, and modifications; compared them with similar designs of their time; and meticulously described their operational histories, including minute-by-minute battle accounts. (42) Fetishization of a model's detail required the fetishization of historical detail; both lured enthusiasts of modeling into imagining history as a progressive development driven by the genius of engineers and the valor of military commanders, sailors, or pilots--that is, users and operators of technological objects. (43) Models captured their prototypes not in the midst of production but at some moment of "consumption" (hence the advice to paint model fighter aircrafts in colors and identification marks of famous aces). Their representations in the Soviet popular archive of historical knowledge froze them at some, presumably most glorious, episode in their cycle of existence, rather than in their circulation through social space. Scale models thus confirmed and reinforced the historical alienation of labor in the production of technological objects by emphasizing their consumption. (44) The explanatory logic they brought in the Soviet historical imagination was conspicuously nationalist and non-Marxist, which is particularly evident if one looks more closely at the historicities that scale models produced when accumulated in collections.
Historicities of Scale Model Collections
Among the characters in Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project, both the flaneur and the collector are engaged in a never-ending search for rare, curious, and decaying objects. They, however, have different, if not divergent, interests. The flaneur is seeking things that were denied a place in history; his curiosity is provoked by historicities forgotten and discarded. In contrast, the collector is interested in objects that belong to one particular historical system, which is the collection itself. This is how the collector participates in cultural production, for the collections are the sites in which historicities are materialized and thus preserved and transmitted through generations. Together with narratives, collections are the cultural forms through which history (both past and future) is imagined and controlled. (45)
Collections of scale models were, perhaps, less common in the Soviet Union than collections of stamps, postcards or coins, but they still enjoyed enormous popularity. Palaces of Young Pioneers and clubs of young technical designers boasted large collections which were built by several cohorts of schoolchildren. While the majority of home collections represented a dozen or two amateurishly assembled plastic models, usually unpainted, without decals and with visible traces of glue, there were plenty of enthusiasts who created extensive and elaborate collections of models showing an extreme level of resemblance to their originals. (46) Unlike beginner modelers, who were satisfied with whatever assortment of model kits they found in stores, these hobbyists engaged in searches for rare kits. Their demand created lively gray markets around Soviet toy stores in major Soviet cities, where one could buy model kits unavailable in Soviet retail trade, including kits of foreign manufacturers imported by tourists, diplomats, or sailors. (47) When no kits were available, such modelers turned to wood, plastic, textile, cardboard, and other basic materials, and plunged into original or reconstructed blueprints, historical photographs, and textual descriptions. (48) Since building models from scratch required an intimate knowledge of the prototype's tiniest details, as well as advanced building skills and special tools, enthusiasts often formed amateur modeling clubs to share knowledge and instruments. Such clubs usually operated during the evening hours on the premises of state-funded children's clubs. (49) They also posted classifieds in newspapers and journals offering to exchange blueprints and other data on models' prototypes with modelers from other Soviet regions. (50)
Such a level of engagement in this hobby changed the relationship between the enthusiast and his objects of modeling. An engaged enthusiast never sought just "any" model, since the creation of a model that resembled its original in the tiniest possible detail was an incredibly time- and labor-intensive process, which sometimes included a search of archival materials and interviews with former designers and operators; it could take months or sometimes even years to complete. (51) Any collection, private or public, follows a certain classificatory scheme. (52) A rare modeler, however, started compiling a collection with a preconceived classification in his head. As a rule, models themselves suggested this scheme to him. A 1989 interview conducted by Modelist-konstruktor with the supervisor of a schoolchildren's technical center in Kotel'nich, a small town in central Russia, praised the center's collection of models and explicated its logic:
At first, boys produced single models, such as a dreadnaught or a moon rover, a walking excavator or a dredge. So much labor invested in each of them! ... But how to preserve the materialized products of children's labor? ... This is when the supervisor had the idea of using these models to create a childrens museum. Yet would it be correct if this collection had a model of an 18th-century metallurgical plant but did not reflect the development of Soviet metallurgy nowadays? Or a model of the first electric engine in the world without a story about the history of electricity? (53) This is why [the supervisor] decided that they should address a certain branch of Soviet industry or a type of Soviet military technology only as an assemblage in historical progression. (54)
The move from an object to a collection is represented here as driven by historicities inherently present in the objects of collecting. In the article, the modeling enthusiast describes his drive to create a museum of scale models as quite literally caused by their longing not to be exhibited alone. (55) A model, when taken alone, was indeed a "materialized product of children's labor," but as an object of display in a "childrens museum" it abhorred a vacuum around itself and demanded a collection. Due to the semiotic nature of a scale model, these collections stood for a fragment of the real world ("a certain branch of Soviet industry or a type of Soviet military technology"), but their very incorporation into a collection created a different system of signification in which it was possible for models of World War I planes to stand next to jets of the Cold War era, or for the Sputnik to be placed alongside not-yet-existent but already modeled space probes and crafts of the future (see figure).
The inclusion of an object in a collection comprises two actions: first, the object is decontextualized from its original environment, and second, it is recontextualized in a collection. Most collections, therefore, exist as systems in which meanings are produced internally, through the interplay of differences between objects of collecting. It is more complicated with scale models, since they, unlike most other objects of collecting, have no prior circulation as commodities or technological objects but are intentionally created as representations of real, usually historical, objects. In this respect, scale models exist on the border between Saussure's and Peirce's semiotics. They are incomplete without other models--that is, without a collection, which can therefore be described as a Saussurean paradigm. (56) Not surprisingly, the most typical story among modeling enthusiasts about how they got into this hobby starts with an accidental purchase or present of a model, which triggered the interest in modeling and led to the purchase of new model kits and the creation of their first collection. (57) To quote Jean Baudrillard, "the need to possess the love object can be satisfied only by a succession of objects, by repetition." (58)
Yet the lack of an independent history prior to inclusion in a collection prevents models from creating a hermetic world, in which objects of collecting acquire their meanings exclusively through interaction with one another. Without biographies of their own, models abduct the biographies of their prototypes and stand as icons--in Peirce's typology of signs--to them; in addition, unlike with most other types of collections, the classification scheme of a scale model collection is never based on the properties of models themselves: they are arranged according to the properties and specifications that their prototypes possessed--such as country of origin, operational history, type of hull or propulsion, and so forth. The decontextualization process, therefore, can never be completed, since the work of a model collector is that of a shuttle, perpetually moving between the object he is manufacturing or possesses and historical information about the actual vehicle. That is why a scale model is never an ideal or completed object: as a hobbyist acquires new knowledge and skills of his discipline, old models are often remade in better detail, replaced with new ones that are deemed more authentic, or just removed from the collection.
In this sense, scale models are never passive objects with the "subjective status" of which Baudrillard speaks in his analysis of "the system of collecting." (59) They urge modeling enthusiasts to embark on a never-ending search for historical details pertaining to military and technological history, which is understood in national terms, since the country of origin and operation is a major classification rubric in the hobby of modeling. Models simultaneously encapsulated and generated the imagination of Soviet history as a continuous development from the early East Slavic states to the USSR and into the communist future (models of nonexistent spacecraft), and their collections added a performative aspect to that history. With sailing vessels standing next to steamships and piston aircrafts next to jets on the same shelf, scale model collections performed historical progress by showing technological change for the eyes of modeling enthusiasts and their audience--both groups predominantly male, educated, and willing to comprehend history as a process of nation building. Tony Bennett in "The Exhibitionary Complex" pointed out how architectural scale models--"the miniature ideal cities"--subordinated urban space to the "white, bourgeois, and ... male eye of the metropolitan powers." (60) In a similar manner, collections of scale model vehicles established a visual dominance over history interpreted as a historical continuum driven by the technological progress and struggle of major world powers, among which Russia/Soviet Union was thought of as occupying a leading position. This is how, for example, a visitor to the museum of the S. M. Kirov Submarine School in Leningrad described his experience of the museums collection of scale models: " [The museum was located] in a long red brick building that had served as a naval barracks before the [Bolshevik] revolution. Every submarine sailor dreams of visiting its rooms. For they contain the history of not only the submarine school but the entire [Soviet] submarine fleet. Model submarines--from the very first one built in the Baltic Shipyard in 1866 to modern nuclear submarines, unique historical documents." (61)
The author then mentions in the same paragraph the Russian submarine Tiulen ', which sank four and captured two enemy ships in 1916, and the Soviet submarine Volk of the early 1920s, before discussing the heroism of Soviet sailors in World War II. The collection performed this historical continuity by bringing together imperial Russian and Soviet submarines before the eyes of the author-as-spectator; model submarines as displayed objects suggested a difference in details, but the similarity in substance, which was "the history ... of the entire [Soviet] submarine fleet." In this particular case, scale models were assisted in the making of this continuity by another material object--the prerevolutionary building of the barracks of the Imperial Russian Navy, in which the museum was located. The collections are performative in J. L. Austin's understanding of this term, because they materialize the very categories of historical time that they portray and call their audience into social being. (62) When the author of the abstract above wrote, "every submarine sailor dreams of visiting [the] rooms" of the museum with its scale model collection, he did not write about the mental state of all Soviet sailors; he described the effect that this collection exerted on himself. Appreciating the power of the collection after it had called him into being, he was that exemplary Soviet submarine sailor--always male, most likely of Slavic origins, well trained and educated to operate complex machinery, and aware of his historical roots going back through the flames of the Civil War and World War II to the Imperial Russian Navy.
James Clifford linked the collection and modern selfhood, speaking of collections as "the assemblage of a material 'world,' the marking-off of a subjective domain that is not other.'" (63) Yet since he was preoccupied with the genealogy of collecting, he interpreted it as mainly a reflection of the modern self, an artifact of subjectivation forces. If we look at scale models and their collections synchronically, the effect is apparently bilateral: they not only objectify ontologies and classifications for any given culture but also produce responsible citizens by performing history as national and progressive. In this respect, the scale modeling hobby was not a mere artifact of Soviet techno-politics: scale models were its active producers and participants materializing the Soviet technocratic historical imagination and luring people into understanding history as a linear process reduced to scientific and technological progress.
The obsession with detail moved scale models from the domain of private possession into the domain of the spectacular and hence the public. In the Soviet Union, the exemplary manifestation of this process was regional and national competitions of scale models among schoolchildren attending extracurricular hobby groups. The winners were determined by the authenticity of their models, and authenticity was interpreted as whether a scale model was constructed in accurate detail or not. Moreover, the winning models from all over the USSR were often exhibited in the Young Technical Designers Pavilion at VDNKh in Moscow or in other central spots of the Soviet exhibitionary complex, such as the Moscow Palace of Young Pioneers or even the Kremlin, an ultimate move from someone's private possession into the public visual domain. (64) Any model was, from its earliest stage of existence as a kit or a set of blueprints, a potential object for display. This potentiality found its realization in collections of scale models, thus preventing them from becoming mere objects of possession. Scale models consumed the private time of their enthusiasts to produce a spectacle of history and social perceptions of historical time. The fetishization of the detail--a necessary condition for models to become objects of display--interpellated a modeler, in James Clifford's gloss, as a "good," rather than "obsessive," collector, the one whose relationship to the object was regulated by social rules and socially acceptable emotions. (65)
In the last years of perestroika and the first years after the collapse of the USSR, the modeling hobby blossomed as its enthusiasts finally received access to the products of Western manufacturers and new private manufacturers emerged all over the ex-USSR. Modelers acquired a voice that was no longer mediated by Komsomol censors. At first it was in the form of the magazine M-Khobbi, founded, published, and read by enthusiasts of scale modeling, and later in Internet forums and social networks. Around them, critical perspectives of Soviet history dominated the post-Soviet cultural field. Yet surrounded by collections of Russian and Soviet planes, ships, and ground vehicles, modelers produced nostalgic narratives, where the object of nostalgia was the Soviet-era visions of historical continuity and progress--or, in Reinhart Koselleck's term, "a past future," which was betrayed by the collapse of the USSR. A 1996 editorial in M-Khobbi argued that "products of Ukrainian [scale model] companies arouse an equal (if not greater) interest in the Russian market than products of their more renowned Western counterparts. This is hardly surprising: after all, Ukrainian companies choose Soviet vehicles as the prototypes of their models. The vehicles that were designed, produced, and operated in combat by our ancestors who at that time had not yet been ordered to divide themselves into Russians and Ukrainians." (66)
The referential function of models turns out to be capable of overcoming not only a temporal rupture but also the territorial dismembering of the USSR. Models heal a lost geographic unity by embodying an imagined historical community and continuity (a reference to Soviet prototypes built and operated "by our ancestors"). For post-Soviet modeling enthusiasts, collections became a medium that materialized this historical imagination and rendered the territorial collapse and temporal rupture of 1991 as non-natural and contrary to the logic of historical development that found its manifestations in scale model collections.
The 1990s were the decade of unprecedented historical pluralism in Russia, with critical assessments of Soviet history by Russian liberal historians and organizations such as Memorial, translations of works by Western apologists of totalitarian interpretations of Soviet history, and the widely publicized revisionism of Viktor Suvorov. With national pride under fire from many sides, scale modeling turned out to be one form of the historical imagination in which this emotion found a refuge. To use Slavoj Zizek's insightful observation, in a culture characterized by the absence of one dominant master narrative, where a set of narratives co-existed as counter-narratives to one another, "the things ... themselves believe in [people's] place." (67) Enthusiasts of scale modeling organized regular competitions and hosted permanent exhibitions in their clubs, which often shared space with local military and patriotic clubs, teams of diggers searching for the remains of missing Soviet soldiers and wartime equipment (poiskoviki), and clubs of historical reenactment. For example, the museum of the Petrozavodsk Palace no. 2 of Children's Arts and Crafts has an exposition that was set up in the early 1990s and combines World War II-era weapons and military equipment found by local diggers, wax figures in historical uniforms of the imperial Russian and Soviet armies, and collections of models of historical vehicles ranging from the early 20th to the turn of the 21st century (see figure).
The ontologies and classifications encapsulated in this and numerous other collections reproduce the historical logic that emerged in the Soviet cultural context. In a similar way, although modeling magazines and guides are no longer published by state-run presses, they follow the same principles of exclusion as their Soviet predecessors did, with non-Russian/Soviet models largely marginalized unless they had a strong connection to Russian military history, as in the case of Nazi Germany's armored vehicles or NATO aircraft. (68) It is hardly surprising, therefore, that since the mid-2000s, after being largely neglected for over a decade, modeling as an organized state-sponsored activity has experienced steady growth. (69) The recent revival of patriotism as a dominant social discourse requires objectification, and scale models of Soviet ships, aircraft, and vehicles are a perfect medium for performing patriotism and historical continuity, both in public and private space. In fact, one can argue that they had never stopped performing this continuity and in this way foreshadowed--among numerous other factors--national reassertion as a pressing social demand in early 21st-century Russian society.
Dept, of History
University of British Columbia
1197B-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences
Petrozavodsk State University
414-33A pr. Lenina
Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation 185910
I am grateful to Bill French, Anne Gorsuch, Oleg Kasatkin, Alexei Kojevnikov, Andrei Krumkach, Dragan Kujundzic, Serguei Oushakine, Olga Smolyak, and the editors and reviewers of Kritika for their comments, suggestions, and criticism of various drafts of this article, which helped me greatly improve it. I presented an early version at the 2014 Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Convention in San Antonio, TX. The epigraphs come from Modelist-konstruktor, no. 6 (1969): 5; and Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1999), 204-5.
(1) M. B. Koval', "Stanovlenie i razvitie sistemy vospitatel'noi deiatel'nosti vneshkol'nykh ob"edinenii" (Doctor of Educational Sciences diss., Moscow, 1991); M. A. Zaitseva, "Kvoprosu o roli uchrezhdenii vneshkol'noi raboty v vospitanii sotsial'noi aktivnosti starsheklassnikov v 50-80-e gg. XX veka," Iaroslavskiipedagogicheskii vestnik, no. 1 (2009): 90-94.
(2) A. A. Romanov and A. I. Shuvalov, "Genezis klubno-kruzhkovoi raboty v pedagogicheskoi praktike Rossii," Psikhologo-pedagogicheskii poisk, no. 1 (2007): 117.
(3) Itogi Vsesoiuznoi perepisi naseleniia 1989 goda, 2: Vozrast i sostoianie v brake (Minneapolis: East View Publications, 1992), pt. 1:11.
(4) M. A. Koshev, Istoriia i problemy kul'turno-tekhnicheskogo razvitiia rabochikh kadrov narodov Severnogo Kavkaza v 60-e-nachale 80-kb godov (Maikop: s.n., 1994), 91. Writing about the mostly rural North Caucasus in the 1960s, the author speaks of the "beggarly state" of schoolchildren's technology groups in the region.
(5) E. N. Medynskii, Vneshkol 'noe obrazovanie: Ego znachenie, organizatsiia i tekhnika, 4th ed. (Moscow: Nauka, 1918). See esp. chap. 1 (9-17) on the general importance of extracurricular education and chap. 13 (241-51) on museums and technical exhibitions. The first edition was printed in 1913.
(6) See Scott W. Palmer's discussion of the role of OSOAVIAKHIM and its predecessors in the propaganda of aviation in the early USSR (Dictatorship of the Air: Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006], 103-24). Lev Kassil' and Maks Polianovskii's well-known The Street of the Younger Son (awarded a State Stalin Prize of the Third Degree in 1950) explicitly linked its protagonist's hobby activities in aircraft modeling and his wartime heroism (Ulitsa mladshego syna [Moscow: Detskaia literatura, 1949]).
(7) The specialized journal Politekhnicheskoe obuchenie (Polytechnic Education) was established in 1957 and renamed Shkola i proizvodstvo (School and Industry) in 1960. In Vitalii Melent'ev's futuristic 33 marta, published in 1957, Soviet high-school students from 2005 operate advanced agricultural equipment; and in Kir Bulychev's cycle of novels Prikliucheniia Alisy, the protagonist, a teenage girl from the communist Earth of the late 21st century, works on cutting-edge scientific experiments (Melent'ev, 33 marta: 2005 god [Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo detskoi literatury, 1957]; Bulychev, Sto lettomu vpered [Moscow: Detskaia literatura, 1978]).
(8) Leonid Brezhnev, "Rech' na XVI s"ezde VLKSM," in his Leninskim kursom: Rechi i stat'i (Moscow: Politizdat, 1972), 32.
(9) This belief found reflection in an impressive body of writing on the role of Soviet youth in the "scientific-technical revolution." For an annotated bibliography, see V. G. Bylov and I. G. Minervin, eds., Molodezh' i nauchno-tekhnicheskiiprogress (Moscow: INION RAN, 1985). For a scholarly discussion of these beliefs, see Julian Cooper, "The Scientific and Technical Revolution in Soviet Theory," in Technology and Communist Culture: The Socio-Cultural Impact of Technology under Socialism, ed. Frederic Fleron (New York: Praeger, 1977), 146-79; Harley Balzer, "Education, Science, and Technology," in The Soviet Union Today: An Interpretive Guide, ed. James Cracraft (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 233-43; and Mark Lipovetsky, "Traektorii ITR-diskursa," Neprikosnovennyi zapas, no. 6 (2010): 213-30. Of course, this was not a uniquely Soviet feature. For the link between technical education and visions of national development in other national contexts, see Gabrielle Hecht, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998), 23-26; and Andrew Hartman, Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
(10) "V nogu so vremenem," Modelist-konstruktor, no. 3 (1988): 2-3; "Fakel gorit ... no kakim plamenem?" Tekhnika-molodezhi, no. 3 (1990): 2-3; Koshev, Istoriia i problemy kul'turnotekhnicheskogo razvitiia, 91.
(11) N. Bulatov, "Sozdanie detskikh tekhnicheskikh stantsii," in Smena Komsomola: Dokumenty, vospominaniia, materialy po istorii VPO (1917-1962 gg.), ed. V. G. Iakovlev (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1964), 134-35.
(12) V. Bezrodnyi, "Imia emu--pedagog," Modelist-konstruktor, no. 3 (1970): 7.
(13) Vladimir E. Gurin, "Tvorcheskii trud kak sredstvo formirovaniia nravstvennogo soznaniia i povedeniia starsheklassnikov," Sovetskaia pedagogika, no. 7 (1980): 52-57, quotations on 54.
(14) Gabrielle Hecht, "Introduction," in Entangled Geographies: Empires and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War, ed. Hecht (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011), 3. For a more detailed discussion of techno-politics as a strategic usage of technologies to reach certain political goals, see Hecht, Radiance of France, 15-17.
(15) N. A. Babaev and S. S. Kudriavtsev, Letaiushchie igrushki i modeli (Moscow: Oborongiz, 1946).
(16) David Brandenberger and Kevin M. F. Platt, "Introduction: Tsarist-Era Heroes in Stalinist Mass Culture and Propaganda," and "Terribly Pragmatic: Rewriting the History of Ivan IV's Reign, 1937-1956," in Epic Revisionism: Russian History and Literature as Stalinist Propaganda, ed. Platt and Brandenberger (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), 3-16 and 157-78, respectively.
(17) Richard Stites, "Soviet Russian Wartime Culture: Freedom and Control, Spontaneity and Consciousness," in The Peoples War: Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union, ed. Robert W. Thurston and Bernd Bonwetsch (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 171-86.
(18) Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989).
(19) Industrially produced scale model kits appeared with the introduction of plastic injection technologies in model making in the mid-1930s and enjoyed steady growth after World War II; prior to this all models were custom built (Brett Green, Modeling Scale Aircraft [Oxford: Osprey, 2012], 4-6).
(20) A. Tarasenko, "Relikviia trudovogo podviga," Modelist-konstruktor, no. 5 (1969): 4.
(21) Natsional'nyi arkhiv Respubliki Kareliia (NARK) f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 63a, 11. 27-28; d. 162, 1. 74.
(22) Richard Lines and Leif Hellstrom, Frog Model Aircraft, 1932-1976: The Complete History of the Flying Aircraft and the Plastic Kits (London: New Cavendish, 1989), 126-27, 195-97, 206-9; Sergei Svinkov, "Neizvestnaia Novo," M-Khobbi, no. 4 (1995): 44-46.
(23) Russian enthusiasts of the USSR-produced ex-Frog scale models created an online encyclopedia, Novokits.ru, which provides detailed information on all models purchased by the Soviet Union from Frog and their production and marketing in the USSR (www.novokits. ru, accessed 9 September 2014).
(24) This was a tendency rather than a strict rule: both Spitfires and Hurricanes, for example, were supplied to the USSR under the Lend-Lease Agreement, but their models were produced anonymously, in contrast, Avro Lancaster, which was never imported to the USSR, was sold under its own name.
(25) An excerpt from the Daily Telegraph, 13 April 1985, reproduced in Lines and Hellstrom, Frog Model Aircraft, 1932-1976, 135.
(26) Letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 9 September 2014.
(27) Sergei T. Luchininov, Iunyi korablestroitel' (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1955), 4.
(28) Letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014.
(29) Sergei Malik, "Bol'shoi smotr aviamodelizma," Modelist-konstruktor, no. 1 (1975): 47.
(30) Luchininov, Iunyi korablestroitel', 4. The author refers to the Russian circumnavigation of 1819-21, the participants of which were among the first explorers to sight the ice shelf of Antarctica; this sighting was framed in terms of the "discovery" of the Antarctic continent by later Russian and Soviet historians.
(31) Luchinov, Iunyi korablestroitel; 7-47; I. A. Maksimikhin, Kak postroit' model' korablia: Posobie dlia uchashcbikhsia (Leningrad: Gosuchpedgiz, 1956), 5-16; A. I. Dremliuga and L. R Dubinina, Iunomu sudomodelistu (Kiev: Radianska shkola, 1983), 3-9, 21-37.
(32) My discussion of the fetishism of detail in modeling as a hobby is inspired by the well-known debates about the fetishization of facts and documents in the discipline of history. See, e.g., Edward H. Carr, What Is History? (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001); Keith Jenkins, Re-Thinking History (London: Routledge, 1991); and Alun Munslow, Deconstructing History (London: Routledge, 2006).
(33) Oleg V. Lagutin, Samolet na stole (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo DOSAAF SSSR, 1988), 5.
(34) On the archive of knowledge and its ideological implications, see Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge and The Discourse on Language (New York: Pantheon, 1982), 79-131; Antoinette M. Burton, Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); and Ann Laura Stoler, Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009). It is curious that modelers sometimes explicidy recognize that their collections can be interpreted as an archive of knowledge, as in the following quotation, which refers to a collection of armored vehicles: "My brother's archive of armor is well known on the Internet" ("Kto kak nachinal: Istoriia khobbi," Diorama.ru [www.diorama.ru/forum/viewtopic. php?f=10&t=4220&start=40, accessed 21 October 2014]).
(35) NARK f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 63a, 11. 68-69; d. 126,1. 75, 87.
(36) A. M. Pankratova, ed., Istoriia SSSR Uchebnik dlia 10 klassa srednei shkoly (Moscow: Uchpedgiz, 1952), 138-74; S. A. Seraev, ed., Istoriia SSSR- Epokha sotsializma (Moscow: Prosveshchenie, 1973), 11-13, 32-35; A. E Aver'ianov et al., Novaia istoriia, 1871-1917: Uchebnik dlia 9 klassa srednei shkoly (Moscow: Prosveshchenie, 1987), 228-29, quotation on 228. For a discussion of Soviet textbooks as part of the Marxist-Leninist master narrative, see James V. Wertsch, "Narratives as Cultural Tools in Sociocultural Analysis: Official History in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia," Ethos 28, 4 (2000): 524-25.
(37) NARK f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 162,1. 74.
(38) Luchinov, Iunyi korablestroitel', 7; Dremliuga and Dubinina, Iunomu sudomodelistu, 21.
(39) V. N. Krasnov, "Sudostroenie i morekhodstvo v dopetrovskoi Rusi," in Institui istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki im. S. I. Vavilova: Godichnaia nauchnaia konferentsiia, 2010, ed. Iu. M. Baturin et al. (Moscow: Ianus-K, 2010), 482.
(40) Ethan Pollock, Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 7; Palmer, Dictatorship of the Air, 32-36.
(41) NARK f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 162,1. 86.
(42) See, e.g., R. M. Mel'nikov, Kreiser Variag (Leningrad: Sudostroenie, 1983).
(43) Compare with Gabrielle Hecht's discussion of the historical discourse produced by French technocrats in The Radiance of France, 21-22.
(44) Alf Hornborg, "Technology as Fetish: Marx, Latour, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism," Theory, Culture, and Society 31,4 (2014): 119-40.
(45) Benjamin, The Arcades Project, 204-5. See also Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993), 151-66; James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 215-51; Susan Pearce, ed., Interpreting Objects and Collections (London: Routledge, 1994); and Kevin M. Moist and David C. Banash, Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013).
(46) On the home collections, see the previously cited Diarama.ru discussion of late Soviet-era personal experiences in collecting scale models: "Kto kak nachinal: Istoriia khobbi."
(47) Interview with Igor' Zhmurin, Petrozavodsk, 7 June 2014, author's personal archive; letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 25 October 2014; letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014; "Plasticart-4: Grazhdanskie samolety SSSR," nnm.ru (http://nnm. me/blogs/chubakka08/plasticart-4_grazhdanskie_samolety_sssr, accessed 22 October 2014).
(48) NARK f. R-2323, op. 1, d. 63a, 1. 28; "Zapishite moi adres," Modelist-konstruktor, no. 6 (1969): 13.
(49) Letter from Oleg Kasatkin to the author, 25 October 2014; letter from Andrei Krumkach to the author, 28 October 2014.
(50) For examples of such classified ads, see Modelist-konstruktor, no. 6 (1969): 13; Modelistkonstruktor, no. 2 (1970): 19, 27; and Modelist-konstruktor, no. 2 (1973): 32.
(51) S. Pavlov, "Uvlechenie na vsiu zhizn'," Kryl'ia rodiny, no. 12 (1970): 26.
(52) Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects (London: Verso, 1996), 87-89; Stewart, On Longing, 161-63.
(53) The author here refers to an electric motor built in 1834 by Moritz von Jacobi, a German physicist and engineer, in Konigsberg. Von Jacobi was later employed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, which gave Soviet historians of science and technology reason to regard this invention as being part of the history of Russia.
(54) Modelist-konstruktor, no. 1 (1989): 2.
(55) Jean Baudrillard argues that this is typical of any collectable object: "This is why owning absolutely any object is always so satisfying and so disappointing at the same time: a whole series lies behind any single object, and makes it into a source of anxiety" [System of Objects, 86).
(56) Susan M. Pearce, "Objects as Meaning; or Narrating the Past," in Interpreting Objects and Collections, 19-29.
(57) Interview with Igor' Zhmurin, Petrozavodsk, 7 June 2014; "Kto kak nachinal: Istoriia khobbi."
(58) Baudrillard, System of Objects, 86.
(60) Tony Bennett, "The Exhibitionary Complex," New Formations, no. 4 (1988): 96.
(61) Viktor G. Oliinik, Radi zhizni na zemle (Moscow: IzdateTstvo DOSAAF SSSR, 1988), 433.
(62) J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962).
(63) Clifford, Predicament of Culture, 218.
(64) Modelist-konstruktor, no. 7 (1981): back cover.
(65) Clifford, Predicament of Culture, 218-19.
(66) "Editorial," M-Khobbi, no. 3 (1996): 1.
(67) Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso, 2008), 34.
(68) A. M. Sevast'ianov, Volshebstvo modelei: Posobie dlia sudomodelistov (Nizhnii Novgorod: Nizhpoligraf, 1997); Nikolai Polikarpov, Model 'nye khitrosti: Posobie dlia modelistov (Moscow: Tseikhgauz, 2006).
(69) Aleksandr Leontovich and Boris Rudenko, "Vozrozhdenie NTTM prikhodit v shkolu," Nauka i zhizn no. 6 (2004): 40-41; Boris Rudenko, "Krug chistoi vody," Nauka i zhizn ', no. 10 (2006): 49-51.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2016|
|Previous Article:||The thaw and the idea of National Gemeinschaft: the All-Russian Choral Society.|
|Next Article:||Gorbachev's agriculture agenda: decollectivization and the politics of perestroika.|