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A Cotswold Shopping Trip: Part 4

By now, you ought to have a good idea of what Cotswold's gear is like. As you may have noticed, they come pretty close to being what Hasbro used to be, before that fateful typo that started the Hasbro sculptors churning out 1:5 scale hands and weapons.

Errata from Cotswold Shopping Trip #3: I mistakenly referred to the buckles as metal, when in fact they are vacuum-metalized plastic. I discovered this when I turned one over and actually looked. (Doh!) Item #2: I mistakenly referred to one of the belt buckles as a Wehrmacht, when it is really an SS buckle. It was a bad day for buckles...

This is a comparison of MP-40's. At first glance, you might suspect that Cotswold was cheating and just recasted the vintage Hasbro toy. On closer inspection, you'll notice that the ribbing on the receiver is different and there is a missing screw detail below it. There are other slight differences as well. The remarkable thing is how similar it is! (My theory is that they modified a casting so that they wouldn't get sued.) Hats off to them-- they did a great job; and even improved it with the brass strap adjustment buckle. By the way, Cotswold's is the one on the left. I'm not absolutely sure about this but I believe the one on the right is an original Hasbro. (Mine got chewed up a long time ago.)

While we're looking at things that go bang, here's a peek at a Mauser (Hey! Isn't that Han Solo's blaster?) and a Japanese Nambu. The Mauser looks sort of plain and doesn't have very crisp details. It's a huge hunk of hand weaponry, and making the holster for this bebe would be a fun project! Like I said, they look very original Hasbro-ish.

Here's a picture of some ammo pouches that those guys carrying KAR98's wear. Cotswold's version is on the top, and the "Soldiers of the World" version is beneath it.

As a matter of historical fact, they came blister-carded to the German army in groups of three. So Cotswold's version wins out there. They also got the little pin thing on the bottom right. From most of the pictures I've seen, it looks like button hole is most common where the buttons are. Since you can't open either of these versions, I guess we can't tell, huh? Shape-wise, the Cotswold version seems sort of stylized-- I don't have an original Hasbro version to see if that's where they got that from. Also, I doubt whether they were ever that shiny! But heck, they look cool.

Das Boots-- Well, Cotswold offers four variations: black or brown, rubber or plastic. The one on the left is the black plastic Jackboot. It has an obvious mold line running down the center, and I believe it is very similar to the vintage Hasbro version. The one in the center is the black rubber version. It has a wider sole (which is detailed on the bottom) and has natural folds sculpted in. It looks a bit "clumsier" than the plastic one because of the wideness, but overall it looks better (in my opinion). So what's that cool looking one on the right? It's Luke Skywalker's X-Wing pilot boot! Sleek and pointy toed in a very stylish rubber-- no Jackbooted Nazi officer should be without a pair! Unfortunately, they aren't available separately, and the pilot outfit is pretty cool in its own right... (sigh.) By the way, all of these boots are easy to put on and remove from a vintage Joe's feet, but you should dust the rubber ones with talcum powder. Hopefully the rubber ones will remain that way as they age.

Okay, that just about does it... Although I didn't take any pictures, the MG34 is pretty cool too. Get the ammo belt, but you can probably do without the bipod. It constantly falls off.

In closing, I'd like to comment on the pricing of these items, since they are sort of expensive. I'm convinced that these are niche market items. That means, Cotswold probably doesn't sell gobs of these things. If they did, manufacturing economies of scale would probably bring the price down. Heck, Hasbro might even decide to produce them! Maybe people aren't buying them because they're so expensive? I don't know, and it seems like a Catch-22 situation. As it is, Cotswold has faithfully served this market and from what I can tell, they are a small business. In my opinion, they deserve your support for taking the risk and offering this stuff. If I may tug on a patriotic string, the good ol' US of A got to where it is today through this sort of little guy entrepreneurialism. So... open your wallet, and spend some bucks today! (on cool German gear, nyuk, nyuk)

Signing off,

Jimbob-- 10/17/97


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