Adding Sling Swivels To 1/35 Scale Weapons

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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 ).

Panzer 101 : A Brief Introduction To Understanding German Tanks

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This isn’t mean to be an in depth history lesson on German tanks, but more an attempt to provide a brief outline that will hopefully be useful to the total novice in explaining some of the terms and references used when naming and describing German second world war tanks. So for now I’m going to limit it to just the actual tanks and likewise I won’t be going into the visual variations of the various ausfuhrung but rather just a general outline including stuff like when and where they were used.

So firstly a few terms to become familiar with.

Panzer

The most commonly known term used to refer to a German tank, from the german panzerkampfwagen. You’ll hear or see tanks refered to at times as a “Panzer Three” or Panzer III ( or Panzer Four, Panzer II, etc ). Generally only used with the Panzer One through Four as the five was the Panther and the six was the Tiger I and Tiger II which are more often refered to by those names.

Pz.Kpfw.

The german written abbreviation of Panzerkampfwagen, used in conjunction with the numerical model number of the tank in question, as in Pz.Kpfw.III or Pz.Kpfw.VI. The Germans being a nice orderly lot were good enough to name their tanks from one through to six. Each number usually representing a larger , more advanced tank over the previous with the odd exception that the Kongistiger ( or Tiger II ) wasn’t numbered VII but kept the Pz.Kpfw.VI designation of the original Tiger I. Also in terms of chronology the Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I entered service before the Pz.Kpfw. V Panther.

Ausf.

Short for the german ausfuhrung. If the I, II, III, IV etc are thought of as the models then the Ausf. is the variants within the model. Over each tank’s lifetime they went through a continual process of improvement and upgrades that every now and then these were standardised as a particular model variant or ausfuhrung, for example the Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf. N would be thought of as an “N” variant of the Panzer III. Usually the higher the Ausf. lettering the more recent and advanced the model variant, though there are the odd anomaly such as the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. J which was a simplified version of the preceding Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. H.

Initial, Early, Mid, Late Production

These aren’t official terms and won’t be found in german military nomenclature. Rather they are terms more frequently used by modellers to refer to a particular phase in a variants life cycle. Some variants stayed in service for a year or two and constantly underwent modifications and improvements. Most of these could be dated and as such are used to identify a vehicle as being an initial production, or early in the production run, or late in the production run etc. Most commonly seen with vehicles that had a particular Ausf. with a long lifespan, notably the Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H, The Pz.Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G, and the Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I Ausf. E.

Porsche, Henschel, “Production”

Again these aren’t official terms but rather contemporary descriptions to differentiate between the two types of turret seen on the Tiger II. Porsche and Henschel both competed for the Tiger contract and Porsche produced a number of turrets which were then used on the winning Henschel body rather than throw them away ( oddly both turrets were actually built by Krupp ). There were only something like 50 of these. The Henschel, or “production” turret refers to the usual Tiger II turret. The Porsche turret was more rounded, particularly under the mantlet, the Henschel was flared out all around with flat angled sides.

Berge and Behfels

These are added to the name to denote that the vehicle is either an engineering version ( Berge ) or a command version ( Behfels ). For example a Bergepanzer IV is an engineering recovery version of  Pz.Kpfw. IV and a Behfelswagen Tiger is a command version of the Tiger tank.

Sometimes there will be more descriptive names as the Germans had a tendency to like to name something as precisely as they could and then abbreviate the whole thing down, but those terms will help you understand the basics of what is being refered to.

And so to the tanks themselves.

Pz.Kpfw. I

The Ausf. variants being the A, B, C, D, and F. The first and smallest tank, armed with two 7.92mm machine guns and seen in the opening stages of the war mostly, in Poland, France and a few of the Fs also saw service in Russia. They were also used in limited numbers in the Spanish Civil war. After 1942 these were mostly turned into donor chassis for other vehicles such as ammunition carriers and platforms for light anti-aircraft guns.

Pz.Kpfw. II

The Ausf. variants being the a,b,c,A,B,C,D/E,F,G,H,J,L and M. Bigger brother to the Pz.Kpfw. I this was a bit bigger and was armed with one 7.92mm machine gun and one 20mm cannon. It was a still a bit small for a serious tank of the time so ended up mainly doing reconnaissance work and served in all the early arenas such as Poland, France, the Balkans, North Africa and Russia. By 1943 they were pretty much relegated to donor chassis for self-propelled guns.

Pz.Kpfw. III

The Ausf. variants being A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,J,L,M and N. The first of what could be considered a proper battle tank and having the shape that would become most synonymous with the German Panzer. Armed initially with a 37mm gun that changed to a 50mm with the later produced Ausf. F at which time the Ausf. E and earlier Ausf. F were upgunned too. The A-D were prewar variants that didn’t see action, the E-H were involved in all the early war arenas and the J-N in the mid war period. After 1943 what was left were mainly converted to other roles or used as donor chassis for other vehicles.

Pz.Kpfw IV

The Ausf. variants being A,B,C,D,E,F,F2/G,H and J. The true workhorse of the german tanks and the most common. Starting life with a short barrelled 75mm gun changing to the much more effective long barrelled 75mm gun with the Ausf. F2 ( aka the Ausf. G as it was redesignated later on ) in early 1942. Seen everywhere throughout the war though only the A-D were in the early battles and only in small numbers. The Ausf. H was the acme of the Pz.Kpfw. IV variants and the most numerous. This would have been the most likely version to be seen in 1945 onwards other than the J which was just an H dummed down by losing a few bits to simplify production, most notably the turret motor. Not just the most numerous tank but also the most commonly used chassis for other vehicles.

Pz.Kpfw. V Panther

The Ausf. variants being D, A, G and F. One of the most recognisable with its sloped armour, and probably the best German tank of the war.  These entered production as the Ausf. D in early 1943 and saw action first in russia. Unusually the Ausf. A followed the D, then the G which was the most common variant, then finally the Ausf. F which never went into production. The chassis was also used for the Jagdpanther mounting the 8.8cm gun with no turret, Bergepanthers for recovery, and Behfelspanthers which had fake guns, as well as several planned ( but never produced ) versions mounting twin anti-aircraft guns ( known as the Flakpanzer V Coelian ), quadruple AA guns, and an 8.8cm gun ( to be known as the Panther II ).

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I

The most recognisable name, and one often ascribed to any and every german tank. Only coming as the Ausf. E and entering service in late 1942 at Leningrad, also seeing service elsewhere in Russia as well as being sent to Tunisia to support the AfrikaKorps. Armed with the 8.8cm gun this was formidable but was never really around in large enough numbers and had a lot of mechanical reliability problems. Towards the end of their life around mid 1944 they were replaced with the Tiger II, the remaining ones rather than being rebuilt as Tiger Is were converted into command Befehlswagen Tiger I Ausf. E and Sturmtiger Sturmmorser.

Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger II

Also known as the King Tiger, Royal Tiger or Konigstiger. Easily recognisable from its size and angular shape with it’s sloped armour. Entering service at the start of 1944 as the Ausf. B and seeing out the war though only ever in small numbers. Also armed with an 8.8cm gun but a longer one firing a bigger shell at a higher velocity. Also used as the chassis for the Jagdtiger mounting a 12.8cm gun.

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I hope that this has been of help to anyone overwhelmed by the nomenclature for World War Two German tanks. If there is anything that people feel should be added to this please feel free to sound off and I’ll add in anything that seems appropriate.

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A Quick And Easy Guide To Dating WWII German Field Blouses

I notice that in reviews that German figure sets are often referred to as wearing “early war” or “late war” uniforms, I do it myself. It also recently occured to me that many people wouldn’t know one from the other. So I’ve put together this very simple guide. It doesn’t seek to identify the many small changes such as stitching and linings, but rather to show the progression in small changes that help you to date a uniform to a given year. While it’s easy to explain a 1940 cut tunic in 1944 it’s somewhat harder to explain a 1944 one in 1940.

I’m not going to get into the myriad variations of officer’s tunics, camouflaged smocks, fatigues, tropical uniforms, rocks, jackets, tailored clothing, hats, helmets, boots, equipment etc. Not now anyway as I want to keep this very simple. I may chuck up other guides to some of these at a later date as I feel the urge, but for now I’m just going to be looking at the basic “feldbluse” or field blouse.

Now you’ll have to forgive my artistry, I’m too much of a technophobe to work in anything but MS paint. But I’m not going for complete accuracy with the cut and stitch but rather just enough to be identifiable for the purposes at hand.  Also don’t read anything into the colours other than a general attempt to show how “feldgrau” or Field Grey got less green and more brown as the war went on and material quality changed.

One other point I should make while we’re on the subject of colour is that the field trousers prior to 1940 were more of a slate grey. I decided not to include the field trousers here as they pretty much stayed the same general appearance for what is relevant to modelling in 1/35. There were changes but these were mostly around the waist and wouldn’t be seen on a figure wearing the field blouse over the top of them.

So let’s get down to it. The sections highlighted in blue identify the changes between each year that can be identified on a scale model figure.

Click images to enlarge.

1939 Issue. Five buttons, pleated pockets, scalloped pocket flaps, dark green collar.

1940 Issue. As for the 1941 Issue but the collar is now the same colour as the rest.

1941 Issue. As for the 1940 Issue but now has six buttons.

1942 Issue. As for 1941 Issue but now has patch pockets with no pleats.

1943 Issue. As for 1942 Issue but now has squared off pocket flaps.

1944 Issue. Now much shorter, similar to the British tunic, with only two pockets.

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