Land of uncategorized things...

12/27/97 (in progress) This figure features Action City's Waffen-SS Plane Tree Smock. It's a really nice outfit--many times nicer than the one I made--but I only got the basics so I've had to equip it with some of my own stuff. The map/report case turns him into a platoon leader I think. Since he's carrying Cotswold's MP40, I made some magazine pouches for him. Also, I gave him a flashlight to fill up the gap in his belt. Right now, his backside has the usual stuff-- entrenching tool, water flask and mess tin. I've yet to make the breadbag and gas mask tin. I do need to read up on these SS guys to figure out what kind of rank insignia would be appropriate.

One of the ironies here is the use of Ike's head... he's probably turning in his grave!

12/26/97 Latest incarnation of the machine gunner, this time with a Jimbob-sewn uniform: The SOTW one was impossible to suitably accurize due to the placement of the lower pockets. This time I glued the pockets on: The result didn't justify the hassle of sewing 'em, in my opinion. I gave him some of the medals I'd recently made, the flashlight, and a more "field-ready" helmet. The helmet was an experiment using thick acrylic mixed with-ahem- cigarette ash & South Padre Island beach sand. The flashlight's lens & reflector was filled with Faller liquid plastic cement-- it dries crystal clear & glossy. The closeup of the vinyl holster shows the brown "wear weathering", with a thinned coat of gloss varnish. This is to make the plastic, which has nice scale handling properties, look more like leather. Some minor changes were made to the machinegun: parting lines were sanded out and the whole thing repainted, the butt screw and charging handle were added and a fold-back articulation was added to the bipod. I still haven't figured out how to make the legs fold closed.

12/13/97 (in progress) A circa 1940 German infantryman. I got finicky about the color of the uniform, and since I couldn't find "field gray", I dyed my own by using pearl gray Rit dye on seafoam cotton cloth. The color looks fairly close according to some of the reference photos I've seen. Weird thing is, in other photos of the same uniform, the color is off! (Irrelevant here, since my camera's acting up; adding purple tints where there are none... and I had to stitch two pictures together to get adequate detail for this one.) Anyway, the trousers are a purer shade of gray, supposedly "stone gray".
The most time-consuming part is making the pockets. Although I cheated with these by gluing them to the blouse, I did attempt to simulate the stitching. Damn, it's hard to sew a decent seam along a scalloped pocket flap! There's hardly any room to work in, and I had to guide the fabric through the machine with a toothpick, one stitch at a time!
You can only be so finicky about authenticity though. I'm not satisfied with the texture of the materials, but the cotton was easier to work with and had a relatively "to scale" thickness. The trousers, which are a thicker material, seem to drape unrealistically.
A few other details: the buttons are pebble textured (although it's exaggerated) clay, and the shoulder straps are decorated with flattened braid shielding wire. The collar is decorated with white ribbon.

12/07/97 The Panzer uniform had a sleek design to facilitate movement within the cramped quarters of an armored vehicle. The only things that are new in this picture are his double-breasted jacket and his headsets/throat microphone. I took liberties with the headset design, but the throat mic junction box does have the on/off switch (although it's missing the side lock switch). The plugs/strain reliefs are bare wire wrapped around the cords. The jacket doesn't have buttons yet, and once again I amalgamated the decorations-- I liked the pink waffenfarbe, so I put as much on as I could-- plus the death head patches. Right now, he's just borrowing this cap-- I might make a black M34 field cap, but I think this style looks better. Actually, I preferred the look of the soft officer's cap, but I've got enough of that style already and then I'd have to worry about the stinkin' rank insignias...

11/28/97 All that hard work reduces down to this one stinkin' picture? I don't think so!

Just so you know what I'm talking about, look at the smock and ignore everything else. It took me hours and hours to paint the Waffen-SS oak leaf pattern on the cloth using screen printing ink. Since I didn't need a whole bunch, I decided to paint instead of learning how to make screens. My first effort was a total washout: I diluted the ink with water and it diffused through the fabric. Although it looked cool, it didn't match any authentic pattern-- something I learned after my sweet wife bought me a $60 book on Waffen-SS camouflage patterns. So I started over, from scratch. It was only after spending many many hours painting this version that I realized that the background wasn't quite the right color. Auugggggghhhhh!!!

Since I wasn't willing to write off all the time I'd spent, I decided to proceed and made a pattern, cut it and sewed the thing. I figured that anything I made would improve this stern-looking guy's outfit, whose tunic has the buttons on the WRONG SIDE. I was actually surprised at how well it turned out! Next time, I'll try to get the colors right...

Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM