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Jon Smith Modellbau - Infantry NCO, Western Front, 1917

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Product Description

Jon Smith Modellbau

120mm. Resin Cast.

Contents: Figure (5 parts) 2 x Spectacles (Acryl Glass) Mauser C96 Pistol Bandolier Trench Periscope (4 parts) 2 x Stick Grenade - Stielhandgranate M.15 3 x Egg Grenades - Eihandgrenate M.17 Steel Helmet - Stahlhelm M.16 In Model Plaster: Trench Duckboards (Base) Trench Wall 2 x Sandbags The figure depicts an NCO with an infantry unit stationed within the front line area during the winter 1917/18. This is not the forward front line, but a support trench further to the rear of the main position. The original idea for this figure came from a group photo of German Kraftfahrtruppen - transport troops, posing around some vehicles. Apart from the absence of the ankle boots and changes to the collar, this is a near as possible reproduction of this soldier. Although the original photo is quite clear - it is not apparent with the fall of light and shadow if he is wearing spectacles or not. The Mauser C96 pistol was added slung casually over the left shoulder as if only coming out of the dugout for a breath of fresh air. The German Soldier of 1917 and 1918. The German soldier in 1917/18 had changed somewhat from his comrades of 1914. Firstly, he would have been much younger - on average about 18/19 years of age after finishing training - NCOs a year or two older. The style of his uniform differed not only in quality but function as well, with many items of clothing and equipment produced in Ersatz material. Infantry companies within the front line area numbered on averaged 75 - 80 soldiers, some as low as 50 (full company strength would be around 135 men), with the bulk of its fighting capacity and experience held by only 15 - 20 old sweats. As the war progressed more emphasis was put onto automatic weapons and as many as 4 MG 08/15s per infantry company were to be found. Uniform NCO / Officers Field Cap M1917: Einheitsfeldmütze M1917. This is the later version of the grey NCO / Officers Field Cap. There were in fact many different types and forms of the field cap both privately purchased and official issue items. In order to simplify production on account of shortage of natural materials, especially leather it was decided to leave out many of the pre war characteristics in later caps. From spring 1917 onwards the peak and chinstrap were no longer made from leather, but an Ersatz material, either vulcanised fibre or treated card, both finished in a matt grey tone. I have chosen to model an old type black leather chinstrap to give this otherwise grey in grey field cap some coloured contrast. The chinstrap at each side had either black metal (old type) or grey buttons. The coloured band and piping were from mid 1917 also officially issued in grey, although some caps were produced with band and piping in resedagrün, or mignonette (Reseda), a type of greyish-green. Of cause these resedagrün caps were sought after and officers and NCOs valued the slight difference in appearance. The two metal Kokarden badges at the front were - top: Die Reichsfarben: black, white and red (from outwards to the centre) and - bottom: Kokarde representing the state were the unit was raised - e.g. Prussia - Preussen: black, white and black. Bavaria - Bayern: white, light blue and white. Brunswick - Braunschweig: blue, yellow and blue. Hessen - Hessen: white, red and white etc. Neck Cloth: Seen around the top to the collar is the neck cloth, first issued in 1907 and was made out of a square piece of cotton material and `rolled´ up several times like a boy scout's neckerchief. Colour: grey Field Service Dress Tunic M1907/10: Feldrock M1907/10. Underneath the greatcoat he wears the Field Service Dress Tunic M1907/10. This was the main field service dress issued to all foot troops during the first years of the war. It had depending on the unit or home state different variations of cuff and skirt design. Colour: made out of a dark grey material (Jäger, Maschinengewehr and Schützen units wore sometimes a green- grey version). It had a turn down collar, with eight nickel or Tombak (an alloy of copper and zinc, which had a matt bronze/yellow colour) buttons at the front. Although hidden underneath the greatcoat the shoulder straps for infantry regiments were piped (outlined) in white, with the monogram, or number in red. Red piping also appeared along the front of the tunic (where the buttons lie), the outside edge of collar, skirt decorations at the rear and the cuffs. On the collar is the gold coloured Unteroffizierstresse, or NCOs braid. Field Grey Overcoat M1915: The standardized field grey coat M1915 for all ranks (including officers) was to replace all other types in service at the time for both mounted and dismounted soldiers in the German Army. The coat was to be more practical for front line service, enabling extra freedom of movement and make officers and other ranks appear alike. Front line experience showed that troops needed good protection against the elements and the extensive cut of the coat enabled the wearer, particularly in cold conditions to add extra garments underneath. In addition, during off duty hours the soldier could rap himself up within the coat. The length of the coat was to half way up the calf muscle; the turned back sleeves should cover the hands up to the knuckles. In the above centre part of the back was a large fold, which started at the collar and ended at the waste band belt. The lower part of the rear was split in two, started just below the waste belt and was held together by 4 horn buttons. If an equipment belt was worn with the coat then the waste belt should be visible below. For mounted and marching troops the front 2 coat flaps could be turned outwards and fixed to the sides (more commonly seen with French troops of this period). The wide reed-green turned down collar (field-grey with Bavarian units) could be buttoned up either under the chin or with a second fastener hook over the mouth. In front is a row of 6 Tombak or nickel buttons (later on account of shortages - steel) the last button should be below the waistline (or belt). At each side were 2 large pockets with flaps. On the greatcoat itself, the structure and fold of the creases follows the standard form copied from various photos of German troops in the field. It is always better when gathering reference material to use original photos of troops who have been actually wearing their uniforms over long periods of time, as most garments (as indeed all types of clothing, depending on the material used) will crease and fold in roughly the same way. Some reference books, especially for collectors of uniforms are helpful for colour-reference and information etc., but will not always portray an accurate picture of how the uniforms appeared after being worn over long periods of time. Infantry Boots M1866: Infanteristiefel M1866. The nailed infantry boots were made out of leather and had a tendency to `winkle´ down around the ankle after being worn in. Depending on size they had between 35 and 45 nails in the sole, with a reinforced heel. Colour: at the beginning of the war the boots had a natural light tan, which was then often darkened by coats of dubbin. Later, boots (and much of the other leather items as well) were issued in blackened leather. Equipment Trench Periscope: The homemade periscope would have been made locally, either by himself, or more probably by the unit carpenter. When in use it was quite common to rap sandbag material around the top for better concealment when being used. Paint the inside of the periscope before fixing the 2 mirrors onto the 45° slopes and then add the outside wall-section. The wall-section and the original master are all made out of the same 0.7 mm plywood and therefore give an equal surface grain when painted. Colour: brown wood colour, but remember if untreated, wood when left outside for longer periods will turn grey. Bandolier: The bandolier was a practical way for carrying extra ammunition and still used in many armies today. This type was designed to hold 70 rounds - 14 x 5 in clips. The bottom 2 pockets on each side were double. Inside, a strip of v-shaped card was fixed along the points of the rounds to stop them damaging (pushing through) the material. On the outside of the pockets are the opening strips (rip off cords), made out of natural coloured sack-material. On some photos one can see 2 lengths of thick string at each end of the bandolier, presumably to attach to equipment. Troops would also tuck the bottom ends to the bandolier into their belts. The fact that this was a ‘one off - throw away' item and that it was made out of a thin, low quality material, means that there are few original bandoliers to be seen today and are sort-after items by collectors. The way the bandolier has been modelled is to allow it to hang freely from a nail or something similar within the trench. Colour: bandolier - light blue/grey. Opening strips - brownish-yellow. Steel Helmet: Stahlhelm M.16. This helmet, which first entered service in 1916 was designed by Professor Friedrich Schwerd and made from high quality chrome-nickel steel. Weighing between 950 and 1200g, depending on size - more heavier than the Allied helmets, but giving a better protection to the face, ears and neck. The horn venting bolts on each side enabled the fitting of an extra armoured shield over the helmet (also available in 1:15th, 120mm from JSM, winter 2008) for sentries, snipers or other more dangerous employment. This weighing around 2000g was seldom used; although a total of 50 000 were produced. Colour: the helmet was issued in field- grey, but was sometimes repainted at the front with a four- colour camouflage scheme - red- brown, ochre (brownish- yellow), green and blue- grey. Some helmets had these patterns also outlined in black. Helmets were also covered using the light brown sandbag material, or the issued helmet-covers, seen particularly in the later war period. The M.17 & 18 helmets followed with only slight differences to the inside and chin strap fasteners. The last model to see service during the war, if only in small numbers was the M.18 Ohrenausschnitt, or Helmet with ear cut-outs (also available in 1:15th, 120mm from JSM, winter 2008), more commonly (and stubbornly) known as the Cavalry or Telegraph Helmet. In fact the cut-outs were a further design feature of the M.18 to improve the hearing ability of the wearer. Note: The rim and underneath edge of the helmet can be thinned out, giving a more realistic appearance of the original item - for casting reasons this has to be thicker. The brown card supplied can be used to represent leather or material chin straps etc. Cut the card approx. 1.2mm wide and 22 mm long and flatten or rub down on a hard surface with a blunt tool (handle of a modelling knife is ideal). Bend the strip around a pencil to give a natural curve and glue into position on the figure. The colour, thickness and texture achieved from rubbing down the card gives a good reproduction of leather in this scale. Weapon Mauser C96 Pistol: At the outbreak of hostilities the 08 Pistol, long barrel version Luger (the Germans never called this weapon the Luger - this is an anglicised name) could not be issued quickly enough to artillery and auxiliary units, so the German Army purchased a large number of C96s, which also had the extended wooden butt. Although originally put through trials 1 year before the war, the C96 was not taken on. The calibre is 7.63, with a 10 round capacity in the magazine, which was later changed by the Mauser Company in 1916 to the standard 9mm. In order to avoid mix-ups with different ammunition, a figure 9 was carved into the pistol grip and painted out in red. The tool on the side of the leather holster is the cleaning rod with a wooden handle. The small pocket at the front holds a spare ammunition strip. Normally, the pistol is carried attached to the belt, on the left hand side. A sling was also supplied to enable the person to wear the pistol over the left shoulder with the weapon resting on the right hip. The ring attached to the bottom of the pistol grip can be hollowed out. Although originally intended for issue to artillery units these pistols found their way into many other parts of the army and were particularly popular with soldiers and NCOs serving in the front line units (Officers would normally have smaller pistols). Also, these pistols were well liked with Stormtrooper units for their reliability and robustness. Colour: leather supporting rig - natural leather, wooden should stock/holster - brown wood, gunmetal - dark metal colour. The brown card supplied can be used to represent leather, or material straps. Cut the card in the required lengths - approx. 1.0 mm wide and flatten, or rub down on a hard surface with a blunt tool (handle of a modelling knife is ideal). The colour, thickness and texture achieved from rubbing down the card gives a good reproduction of leather in this scale. On the figure under the collar a small cavity or indent has been left to help position the top end of the pistol sling. Colour: brown leather. Stick Grenade: Stielhandgranate M.15. The second type of German stick grenade to be issued (in greater numbers from 1916 onwards). The turned wooden handle would have the fuse duration stamped on one side, along with the makers name and production date. This grenade had the advantage of a screw cap, covering the porcelain ball and pulls cord igniter-system, keeping it dry and free from dirt. Most stick grenades were set with a 5.5 or 7-second time delay. The cap crown has 8 knurled indents to enable a better grip in wet/muddy conditions, or when wearing cloves. The metal clip on the side of the explosive charge is for attaching to equipment etc. On some original photos it can be seen that the screw caps have already been removed, ready for instant use if needed. The original master model was made using a fine grain wood to reproduce the surface of the handle. Colour: Metal parts - green/grey. Wooden stick/handle - untreated wood starts turning grey after a length of time when exposed to the elements. Note: with a bit of care and a thin, sharp blade it is possible to hollow out the gap behind the clip and the explosive charge, not forgetting to leave the bottom part of the clip still attached. Egg Grenade: Eihandgrenate M.17. This was introduced in early 1917 as a lightweight, long-range offensive grenade to be used in conjunction with the more powerful ‘ball' Kugel or stick grenade. The grenade could be thrown up to 50 m and was carried in greater numbers, quite often in sandbags. This is the late version with the central fragmentation band. The screw-in friction primer fuse has a wire loop attached to the top - approx. the same length as the visible part of the fuse itself - this can be made from light copper fuse wire. When not primed the grenade would have a small metal screw-stopper, or transportation plug inserted. Colour: grenade - black, fuse silver metallic, pull cord - wire. Tip: these are small parts so leave the grenades on the casting canal for preparing, fixing the wire pull cord and painting. Miscellaneous Spectacles: It was not uncommon for front line troops, even in the infantry to have spectacles and is seen on many photos of this period. There are 2 (1 spare) computer cut spectacles in 0.25 mm plexi glass and a strip of thin copper wire to represent the bows (side pieces). It would advisable putting off the assembly of the spectacles until last, also leaving the head off the figure. Paint the wire and the outside of the glass separately. If you paint just the outside edge of the spectacles, this should shine through the glass giving a good impression of a metal rim. Glue the spectacles over the nose first (a small dab of wood-glue is ideal), and then fix the bows each side. Colour: flat- brass. Right Hand: The area between forefinger and thumb can be cut away, giving a natural position of a hand hanging loosely. Here the resin has been cast thin. Trench floor with duckboards: The base supplied with the figure depicts a section of trench floor, complete with an end section of some duckboards. The end wooden slats have bowed downwards with the constant use. Underneath the duckboard was normally the trench sump or drainage. Colour: if untreated, wood when outside for longer periods will turn grey. Wooden revetment wall: Set at an angle, slanting outwards from the trench floor and intended to hold back the earthen walls to avoid collapsing (through rain water). The vertical beams are holding the wooden revetment planks in place and these in turn are held by wire, attached to pegs and built into the soil underneath the parapet. Individual sandbags: The bags have been modelled as lean up against the trench wall. Tip: when working with modelling plaster it is always advised to file and sand rather than cut or clip away as this could lead to larger part breaking off.

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