A Cautionary Tale On Researching


Some of you who have followed along on my main site, MilitaryModels,  will be aware that one of my builds that stalled last year was an Academy Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H which was been backdated to a final production Ausf.G. One of the key reasons for that build stalling was that I encountered a problem with the markings that I had planned for it.

My original wish was to depict a vehicle in February 1944 on the road back after the rout at Korsun and so I started with the unit factbook pages on Feldgrau to find a suitable unit. I didn’t want to do yet another SS unit so when I came across this one HERE at Feldgrau it seemed perfect. The 3rd Panzer Division took part in the battles around Tscherkassy in the opening months of 1944. So far so good.

Then I moved to Axishistory factbook pages for a little more info and found THIS. Things were looking better, the 3rd Panzer Division was known as the Bear Division, and the bear emblem was something I liked so now I had my unit based on the images at the bottom of the page in that link. Much more reading followed and other images cropped up identifying several 3.Pz.Div vehicles and I found that they belonged to the 6th Panzer Regiment which used a shield made up of an old 4th Panzer Division emblem above crossed swords on a shield. The most common explanation given being that this emblem was taken to 6.Pz.Reg.3.Pz.Div from 35.Pz.Reg.4.Pz.Div by a commander who moved from one to the other.

Seems all good right ? So I ordered the appropriate markings from Archer but while waiting for them someone gave me a set of decals from the Tamiya Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H kit which includes decals identified as 3.Pz.Div with the shield and bear included. So I put those on. And then the Archer decals arrived and here began the problem. The Archer decals titled these as 4.Pz.Div. I consider Axishistory to be reliable so I was a little confused. I asked on Armorama and had it confirmed that the bear was indeed 3.Pz.Div.

And here then is the problem. It isn’t. Of the three vehicles identified on the Axishistory page only the middle one is 3.Pz.Div. The top and bottom are 4.Pz.Div. They both have a bear emblem, 3.Pz.Div has a white one on a black shield and it’s small and usually located toward the rear. 4.Pz.Div has the simplified rearing bear which is red with a white outline for the 1st Abteilung and white for the 2nd Abteilung. There is no evidence of a blue or a black one used by 4.Pz.Div.

I learnt this after several days of solid research while taking the new tack that everything I knew was wrong and starting with a view that I would look into the history of each unit. Quite evident really when you find there is a well recorded unit history for 4.Pz.Div. with plenty of validated photos.

On top of all that I learnt that the shield usually identified as that of 6.Pz.Reg.3.Pz.Div is actually that of 4.Pz.Div which was added to all divisional vehicles in March 1944 after the Division Commander Dietrich von Saucken was awarded the Swords to his Knights Cross ( awarded in January, accepted on February 20th 1944 ). He returned to command 4.Pz.Div on the 1st of March at which time the shield was adopted.

So I found myself with a vehicle that was supposed to be with 8th Army as part of Army Group South leaving Korsun in late February bearing markings of a vehicle that was with 9th Army as part of Army Group Middle in March at the earliest. Bummer. Time to find a new unit, new markings, or a new scenario. Build on hold :-(

So the moral of this story ? Never take one source as gospel, no matter how learned it seems, even the best get it wrong from time to time. Check, double check, tripple check, and if there seems to be contradictions go back and do it all again.


Adding Sling Swivels To 1/35 Scale Weapons


If you’re like me you’ve been through the whole evolution of the scale rifle sling. First it’s no sling, just glue the gun to a hand ( or a back ). Then it’s the single strip of whatever material with one end going to the back and the other end going to the front. Then you get fancy and fold the sling over for 2/3 the length to make it look a bit closer to the real thing but it’s still a couple of blobs of glue fore and aft that hold it in place.

And if you’re really like me you end up making semi workable slings with sliding keepers and the whole blob of glue attachment point just doesn’t cut it anymore. I used to glue tiny little plastic swivels on but they looked too oversize and these days with failing eyesight and sausage fingers that was becoming more and more difficult. Magnifiers help the eyesight but I’ve yet to find a tool to deal with sausage fingers ( a good range of tweezers helps ).

So these days I do my sling swivels like this :

You’ll need fine fuse wire, a small drill bit ( I use a #80 ), a strip of 0.25×0.8mm styrene strip and some superglue. And if you’re like me a good freestanding magnifying glass or Optivisor.

First drill a hole through the point where the swivel will mount. Then loop your wire over and feed both ends through the hole. Pull the wire through until only a small loop is left, then insert the end of the styrene strip into the loop and finish pulling it tight from the other side. Make sure the strip is hard up against the weapon. Pull the wire tight and twist it around to hold it in place.

Then add a small drop of superglue, enough to fill whatever hole is remaining and keep the wire in place. I use a shaved down toothpick for this. Leave it to dry then shave away the excess wire ( you can add a drop of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to cover up any hole that remains ).

Now remove the styrene strip ( if it’s too tight just cut it as close to the swivel as possible without cutting the swivel ) and use a pair of broad nosed tweezers to slightly flatten down the swivel. There you have it, one swivel.

Now just feed your sling through and finish it off however you normally do ( I usually make workable slide keepers so that once everything is dry I can then slide them up to secure the sling at the swivel as the real ones do ).

Know Your U.S. WWII Ammo Tins

1 m2 50 cal ammo tin small

One thing I’ve noticed with model kits as well as with a number of built models is that it is quite apparent that many manufacturers and modellers alike aren’t aware of the difference between World War Two era and modern era .50 calibre and .30 calibre ammo tins ( ammo cans, ammo boxes, call them what you will ). While a WWII era ammo tin can be explained in a modern setting it’s a little harder to explain the presence of a modern ammo tin in a World War Two setting. So here is a very brief, simple guide to help to identify which are the right ones for your WWII era model.

The .50 Calibre Tins : The World War Two era M2 is distinguishable by the side opening hinge as opposed to the modern M2A1 with the hinge on the end and the latch on the other. The M2 has a hasp and staple type closure with a retaining pin, the M2A1 uses the latch which hooks under a lip and then is pushed down till it clips into place. The M2 also has strengthening ribs pressed into the sides where-as the M2A1 does not.


               .M2 .50 Calibre Ammo Tin                            M2A1 .50 Calibre Ammo Tin

The .30 Calibre Tins : The main differences are that the older World War Two era M1 and M1A1 tins have the strengthening ribs pressed into the sides as well as a flat lid. The later M19 and M19A1 have the tapered lid and no side ribbing. All of them have the hinge on one end with the push down latch on the other though the M1 latch is narrower. The M1 and M1A1 also have a toe at the base on the hinge end which is used to lock it into place on mount frames.


               .M1 .30 Calibre Ammo Tin                           M1A1 .30 Calibre Ammo Tin


M19A1 .30 Calibre Ammo Tin