Paul Walmsley's D-Day German Landser
a review by Jimbob

(I'd like to apologize in advance for the lousy pictures-- My cameras are doing weird things and rather than bringing you these pictures in black & white, you get out-of-focus, slightly off color ones!)

Paul Walmsley knows German, and I'm not talking about the language!

Sometime around the end of October 97, Paul announced at the Sandbox that he would be producing a D-Day German infantryman in a variety of configurations. The most amazing thing about this was the price-- $65 including the figure! Well, you can't ever have enough Germans lying around, so I jumped at the chance and ordered this particular variation: Basic landser (Zeltbahn , fatigues, M42 helmet, rifle (kar97k) and cartridge belt, boots, ) plus the full infantry equipment pack (additional $42).

As you can see, it arrived and I'm really impressed! Paul did a great job, using a few elements from Cotswold (the figure, the jackboots and breadbag), putting his own accurizing touches on others (the grenades, the canteen, the bayonet, the rifle and belt), and creating his own from scratch (the zeltbahn, the ammo pouches, the entrenching tool/cover and Y-harness)! I'm not sure about the mess tin, and the M42 helmet is hard to classify: Paul created that for Cotswold, and it is being issued with their 1940 Wehrmacht sergeant, just released (ahem...did someone say anachronism?).

You should appreciate the fact that Paul knows that D-Day happened after 1942, so has issued the appropriate steel helmet. This photo shows Paul's M42 helmet and the Wehrmacht collar insignia. Finally, someone noticed and made a helmet with the three rivets and vent holes! I'm not sure of how accurate Cotswold's original M35 is: I've read that the rim was turned under in the early version and left "raw" and turned outward in the M42 as a cost-saving measure. As you can see, Paul's fits more snugly, has more clearly defined side flaring, and the outward turned rim. The tricolor national shield is not used on this helmet, since the Germans figured out pretty quickly that they made excellent targets. Another nice thing about Paul's self-produced helmet is that it has a matte finish. History shows that D-Day was not a parade...

Another coup for Paul was the ammo pouches: These are the first I've seen that look accurate-- rounded corners and the stitching of the strap to the top. He mounted the three pouches to a leather backing which has belt loops. In addition, he's even provided the 'D'-ring, which was sometimes used to attach the Y-harness. Also, notice the harness buckles, and the Wehrmacht belt buckle and grenades painted field gray.

This is some of the neat stuff which came with the full infantry pack. Left to right: The bayonet with custom-made leather frog which attaches to the custom-made entrenching tool cover. The custom-made entrenching tool itself is a late-model folding type (which doesn't unfold, unfortunately). A standard Cotswold breadbag (my camera still sees this green as brown!) allows the customized field flask and mess tin to be attached properly; custom strapping provided by Paul.

The Cotswold rifle was accurized by replacing the elastic sling with leather and improving the mounts. Although mine was engraved with a wood grain, I think Paul did this 'extra' for me-- (grin). He'd have to be crazy to do that for every order!

Here's a lousy picture of the whole figure, just so you'll see that he does come with pants & boots.

The splinter pattern camo zeltbahn came out very nicely, with suitably muted shades of brown and greens. The registration of his printing screens was perfect, and I couldn't find a single void or unintended overprint on the pattern. I'm a little disappointed that he didn't sew on the bunches of little buttons and button holes along the border so I could buy 50 of 'em and make a giant circus tent-- just kidding!

Paul was very upfront about the fact that the field blouse was not detailed with pockets and shoulder straps. I can't verify this, because I haven't taken off the zeltbahn, and can see no reason to! He did this to keep the cost down, and it's something I can personally attest to: Those pockets are murderously time-consuming to make! It's the "dickey" concept-- why make 'em if you can't see 'em? (As far as I know, no one puts the luxurious silk lining in doll jackets!)

I'm really relieved that I had nothing but nice things to say about this! Naturally, I'll have to do something about the eyes on the Cotswold head, but other than that-- I'm satisfied. Thank you, Paul! (General disclaimer: Offerings by customizers can vary greatly in quality; it's the "nature of the beast", when things are produced by hand, one at a time. This review reflects my impressions of the product which I received.)

Paul mentioned that he would be producing a limited number of figures per year, and I don't know if he'll continue to produce this one. If you want to get in touch with him, here's his e-mail address: Pwalmsley@aol.com

For your information, here's a list of the options and prices which were offered for this particular set:

Basic landser (Zeltbahn , fatigues, M42 helmet, rifle (kar97k) and cartridge belt, boots, ) $65
NCO but MP40 and pouch (custom) and pistol/holster, binnocs add $12
ASSAULT trooper, as landser but MP44 and custom pouches add $12
ARMY SMOCK version of landser add $20
LW version of above add $10
CC or ME version add $8
Panzerknacker twin pack(smock and zelt figures MP44, kar97k and panzerfaust) $170
Full inf equipment pack (breadb, mess and gas m tins, bayonet/sheath, canteen, Ystrap, ET and custom cover add $42

12/19/97-- Jimbob


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