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A Cotswold Shopping Trip: Part 2

(This time, I thought I'd try to drive Leo crazy by doing an article that he'd have a hard time classifying...)

Cotswold's German entrenching tool is also a very nice piece: it's well-sculpted, well molded and has a nice matte black finish. The handle is too shiny, but that's easy to fix. All you'd have to do is use coarse grit sandpaper, vertically along the shaft. You don't need to be especially careful either. You want the rough irregular grooves to hold some of the dark acrylic wash that you'd apply after a lighter basecoat of browns. But that's not what we're talking about here, as you can tell from pictures # 1 and #2.

Unfortunately, Cotswold doesn't sell a cover for the shovel! So, unless you want Joe to hold it, or glue it to a vehicle, you need some way of fastening it to his belt. That's where picture #2 comes in. Most of the authentic photos that I ran across didn't give you a very good idea of how the cover was constructed. The most I could see was that the bayonet was secured by a cross strap arrangement. The painting comes from "WAFFEN-SS SOLDIER, 1940-1945" published by Osprey in 1993, and written by Bruce Quarrie, with color plates by Jeffrey Burn.

This isn't a particularly difficult accessory to make. You can find scrap vinyl or leatherette at fabric stores, sold by the bundle/yard. My choice here wasn't particularly good-- it has a rather large grain (but it happened to be the scrap at the top of the heap). But it does glue securely with superglue or what I use, "Zap-A-Gap". The only moderately difficult part of this was the buckle. Here, there's a trade off in functionality versus authenticity. I wanted my entrenching tool to be removeable, so I made a 'D'-ring and hook out of .010 guitar string (That's an Ernie Ball Regular Slinky high 'E' string, if you play guitar). Making an authentic buckle is possible, but would be very difficult to manipulate with our 1:1 scale fingers. The bends in the string were made with tweezers, and you've got to be careful because the diameter of the wire is thinner than a pin, and every bit as rigid! Finally, the belt loop button rivets are made of Sculpey (Fimo, actually) and were just pulled off an existing unused shirt (so they're a tad big).

The next two pictures are just an idea I'm trying out. I'm not really very satisfied with the ankles of Hasbro's CC figures: Mine keep falling over, especially if they don't have adequate ankle support (like a fairly tight boot)! That's because the CC body is much heavier than the vintage or Cotswold's Elite Brigade body. They use a dense rubber on the arms and legs, and the body is molded of a fairly thick hard plastic. To aggravate this situation, the swivel joint at the ankle is made of soft, rubbery plastic-- there's virtually no way to tighten up this joint! Or so it would seem...

What I've done here is drilled through the rubber peg and inserted a tiny model railroading screw and nut. It doesn't replace the rubber peg, but when tightened, they compress the peg, causing it to expand. That seems to tension the joint up a bit-- enough to make the ankle support the body's weight. I'll test it out some more before deciding whether to grind off the excess screw length...

10/02/97-- Jimbob

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