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Jon Smith Modellbau - Machine Gunner, Western Front 1917/18

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Product Description

Jon Smith Modellbau

120mm. Resin Cast - includes Trench Section

Contents: Figure (4 parts) Canvas Gas Mask Holder - Segeltuchtasche für Gasmaske Haversack - Brotbeutel M1887 Water Bottle - Feldflasche M1907 Bayonet - Seitengewehr 84/98 Pistol 08 Signal/Flare Gun - Leuchtpistole a. A. alte Art - old type (2 parts) 6 x Loose 13mm Flare Gun Ammunition Machine Gun 08/15 - Maschinengewehr 08/15 (3 parts) Standard MG 08/15 Bipod - MG08/15 Zweibein Rubber Steam Hose Double-Ended Metal Spare Barrel Container - Ersatzrohr-Behälter 2 x Drum Magazines - Trommelmagazine, or the official name: Patronenkasten 16 (2 parts) 3 x Wooden Ammunition Boxes Wooden Ammunition Box - open (3 parts) Water Container - Wasserbehälter (2 parts) Ammunition Belt 4 x Stick Grenades - Stielhandgranaten M.15 6 x Egg Grenade - Eihandgrenate M.17 Steel Helmet - Stahlhelm M.16 with Sandbag Covering In Model Plaster: Trench Duckboards (Base) Firing Step Trench Wall 2 x Sandbags The figure depicts a machine gunner with an infantry unit stationed within the frontline area during the winter 1917/18. This is not the forward frontline, but a support trench further to the rear of the main position. The fact that he is not wearing his steel helmet and warming both hands in his pockets suggests that enemy activity is not expected. The original idea for this figure came from an early wartime group photo of Prussian machine gun troops (MG 08), probably during training. Apart from the absence of the spiked helmet and leather MG carrying strap, this a near as possible reproduction of this soldier. The MG, positioned on the parapet behind the figure (diorama set version) is purely fictional and not based on any one photo. It was quite common in fact to keep the MG 08/15 with all ammunition in the dugouts as this was a portable weapon and would not normally be built into a fixed position as often seen with the larger MG 08. The height of the figure is intentionally below the average 120 mm standard size associated with this model scale and would be the equivalent to a man of 1.70 m height - quite normal for this nation and period of time (French troops were on average small). 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 Field Cap: Feldmütze M1910. Made out of a field grey material. The band and piping were in red of the infantry. The two metal Kokarden badges at the front were - top: Die Reichsfarben: black, white and red (from outwards to the centre) and - bottom: represents the state where 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. Some units covered the red band with a strip of darker material. From 1917 a new field cap was introduced with a dark green band for all arms, but both types were worn along side each other. The field cap was worn extensively throughout the war, both in the rear and front line areas. The troops would wear them in all different shapes and styles. In fact it was commented by the Officer Commanding the Sniper School in the British First Army area, how well the German field cap, with its floppy and uneven edges, blended in with its surroundings. The British caps were far larger and flatter on top, reflecting the light and hence attracting attention. Neck Cloth: Seen around the top to the collar is the neck cloth, first issued in 1907 was made out of a square piece of cotton material and `rolled´ up several times like a scout's neckerchief. Colour: grey 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 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 Belt: Koppel M1895. From late 1915 onwards, belts were issued blackened, with a grey buckle. Up until then most leather equipment was issued in brown. Within the first few months of the war, belt buckles were being painted over in grey. Haversack: Brotbeutel M1887. Also known as the bread bag. Made out of a canvas material and generally used for rations etc. Later in the war, it was a popular place to keep the spare gas mask filter. Colour: grey- brown. Earlier versions, especially pre-war were a lot browner in colour. Water Bottle: Feldflasche M1907. This had a capacity of 1¾ pint and was attached to the haversack by means of a leather strap and buckle. Originally made from aluminium, later Ersatz material and covered with a brown felt material. On one side are the four metal snap fasteners, which were normally painted over in grey. It was quite common for front line troops, particularly during combat periods to carry a second water bottle Canvas Gas Mask Holder: Segeltuchtasche für Gasmaske. In 1915 a canvas gas mask holder was issued with 2 dividing walls, which stowed the mask, filter and reserve-filter in a metal tin. The holder was generally worn either attached to the belt below the rucksack at the rear, or on the right side/front by means of 2 belt loops, fastened with zinc buttons. Later versions of the holder had ring attachments on each of the belt loops enabling the fixing to the bread bag. Although, generally used in the early part of the war, late war photos still show troops issued with this holder. The No. 2 at one end of the holder is the gas mask size and this has been modelled slightly raised to enable easier painting. On the model, part of the flap has lifted to reveal one side of the metal tin containing the spare filter. Colour: canvas holder - grey- brown, number - dark coloured stamp colour - could have been black (on the original items these numbers are quite faded), filter tin - grey-green. Weapons Bayonet: Seitengewehr 84/98. The handle had a wooden grip and the sheath was black. The bayonet frog would have been blackened leather. Pistol 08: P 08. As a MG gunner he had a secondary weapon for self-defence. The 08 - or Luger (the Germans never called this weapon the Luger - this is an anglicised name) was first produced in 1900, with the German military taken it on in 1908 - hence P 08. As a service pistol it had its drawbacks, mainly it was expensive, difficult to produce and susceptible to dirt. Colour of holster: blackened leather. Signal/Flare Gun: Leuchtpistole a. A. (alte Art - old type). Fist accepted for issue in 1894 and essentially used as a form of signalling in conjunction with the artillery and was an indispensable asset to frontline troops. The 3 colours used were red, green and white (white - also as parachute flare - these were normally longer). The different coloured rounds could be distinguished at night by the distinctive tops - in other examples the bottom lip had different numbers of indents cut into them. There was no issued holster and pistols were carried around the neck on a string cord, or kept in a sandbag. Original ammunition for this weapon is rare today and is a sought after collectors item. The models ammunition was mastered with the aid of measurements and photos of original WWI brass flare cases seen at a collector in Bavaria in 2001. The ammunition, or more precise the black powder content was susceptible to moister and great care was taken to keep the supply dry and separate from other stores. Used cases were sent back and re-charged up to 6 times with the bottom of the round being stamped each time. The same pistol was issued during WWII, however with a much shorter barrel. Colour: the wooden pistol grip appeared quite dark on the original example. All other parts were dark gunmetal. Ammunition - brass cases with coloured ends referring to the type of flare; pointed - red, flat - green and round - white. Machine Gun 08/15: Maschinengewehr 08/15. Germany's first light machine gun - Maschinengewehr 08/15 entered service in the second half of 1916 and was available in greater numbers from 1917 onwards. Sir Hiram Maxim invented the first machine gun, and the original was patented in 1883. The need for an increase in the volume of fire, particularly in the attack and defending newly won ground, led to this somewhat cumbersome and heavy LMG. It was in reality a scaled-down version of the original MG 08, incorporating many interchangeable parts. To decrease the weight the constructors reduced the water capacity of the cooling jacket from 4 to 3 litres, redesigned the box receiver and removed the mount for the ZF12 telescopic sight. A pistol grip in place of the double-handed spaded grips and a wooden rifle type shoulder stock were added along with a lightweight bipod. A new flash hider (muzzle booster/flash suppressor) was introduced to give better recoil action. The savings resulted in a portable MG, still weighting 43 lbs. (19.5 Kg) but with the advantages of some interchangeable parts, same function, rate of fire, ammunition (also belts), similar training for crews already rehearsed on the MG 08 and ease of production at the same factories. Conflicting accounts for the correct amount of crew, or Trupp for the MG 08/15 seem to vary between 3 and 4 (2 x trained gunners and 1 or 2 ammunition carriers). A second Trupp consisting of 7 riflemen and section commander could back up this Trupp, or section. The two Trupps would form a Gruppe, the object being to defend the MG at all costs. It was possible with the aid of a leather sling and the 100 round drum magazine for the gun to be carried and operated by a single gunner. The separate crank handle can be attached to the rear right side of the MG block. During firing the handle moves in a half cycle forwards and backwards. Using a small drill and a knife it is possible to hollow out the space inside the breach block, allowing for the ammunition belt to be placed into the opening - here the resin has been cast as thin as possible. This can also be applied to the inside of the forward and rear sling attachment (under the barrel jacket and in the wooden stock). The term 08/15 (spoken ´Null Acht Funfsehn´) is used in the German language to describe anything, which is ordinary, or simple / crude - to describe something senseless - and apparently derived from this MG. Colour: the wooden pistol grip and shoulder stock were of a hard dark wood. The water jacket was either dark green or painted in the many different German outlined-camouflaged patterns seen on steal helmets - this was in fact an official directive from the High Command, but judging from original photos seems not to be too widespread. All other parts were dark gunmetal. Standard MG 08/15 Bipod: MG08/15 Zweibein. This entirely new pressed-steel lightweight bipod was to replace the large and heavy sled mounts used with the MG 08 and allowed for 180° traverse. It had a universal attachment fitting, which could be fitted to the Mauser T-Gewehr - Mauser anti-tank rifle. Colour: dark green. Double-Ended Metal Spare Barrel Container: Designed to carry two spare barrels and a cleaning rod. This was an essential piece of equipment with the high rate of fire achieved by this weapon. Barrel changing was an important part of the training and could even be achieved whist the barrel jacket was still full of water. Colour; grey-green with pale coloured cloth straps and reinforced leather fastener holes. Drum Magazine: Trommelmagazine. The side mounted drum magazine (or the official name: Patronenkasten 16) made out of sheet metal and incorporating a 100 round belt enabled the operating of the gun from the slung position by a single gunner. This magazine weighed fully loaded 3.17 Kg and was attached to the receiver by means of a bracket. The small handle on the rear face had to be lifted into the up position during firing to disengage the ratchet (on the model the handle is in the locked position, preventing the belt from unwinding itself). Normal allocation per gun would be 2 drum magazines, delivered in a wooden box. The round openings at each side of the drum are the actual rotating spindle (2 small discs). Looking into the top one can see 2 rounds cast into the bottom of the hole. On top of these can be placed the 3 separate rounds to indicate a full magazine. Colour: dark green. Discs - metal. A casting web is attached to the handle enabling a better flow of resin - this will need to be cut away. Drum (Magazine) Bracket: A separate detachable bracket is supplied with the MG to support the drum magazine. On many original photos this seems to have always been attached to the MG, regardless if drum fed or from ammunition boxes. For the correct fixing of the bracket there is an indent and small ledge under the feed-block. For ease of casting the recess holes within the bracket have been filled, the outside edges still visible - theses can of cause be drilled out. Pictures of a finished MG can be seen on the JSM website from 2008 onwards. Wooden Ammunition Boxes: The wooden ammunition box held a 250 round woven cotton belt with brass spacer. A push-in fastener held the lid closed with the metal handle folding into the crevice of the lid. One box has a detachable lid - the strip of ammunition can be painted separately and placed inside the open box afterwards. Plywood was used in making the original master ammunition box in order to maintain the wood grain surface structure. The boxes, which I had looked at, had been painted originally in grey-green, with of cause the edges quite worn. Ammunition Belt: The woven cotton belt with brass spacers and rounds in caliber 7.92mm. Different types of ammunition used were: standard ball, armoured- piercing and armoured-piercing tracer (1 every 10 rounds) the belts had a tendency to swell out when wet, loosening the rounds and sometimes causing stoppages. Colour: cotton belt - khaki or light yellow / brown. Case spacers - brass. Round heads - copper. Water Container: Used to collect the condense steam generated by the sustained firing of the MG and refill the cooling jacket afterwards. The swivel spout could be turned back into the recess of the can enabling better storage when not in use. The water cans, which I had looked at, had been painted originally in different grey-greens. Like the wooden ammunition boxes these show considerable ware and tare on outside edges. Rubber Steam Hose: The 2 m rubber steam hose is attached into the top of the water jacket and is to extract the vaporized water, which is then collected within the water container / can. Firing from a trench, or fixed position the MG crew, provided that they had a sufficient water supply, would burry the end of the hose to one side of the gun and thus avoid the rising white plume of steam giving their exact position away. The condensed steam can if necessary be reused to refill the water jacket. Colour: dark matt coloured rubber - not quite black. Tip: the hose has already been sanded matt with fine sandpaper - just rub paint (oil paint for example) into the hose and wipe off afterwards. At least one end of the hose is hollow and should fit over the hose -attachment on the MG. 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 / blocks for preparing, fixing the wire pull cord and painting. Trench Parts Firing step: The built-up fire step is constructed from a sandbag outer wall, log platform and filled with earth. A slight incline to the rear is to enable any rainwater to drain off the surface. On the left side a sandbag has collapsed causing part of the log platform to fall in - this can be drilled out under the supporting log. Trench floor with duckboards: This depicts a section of trench floor; complete with slatted wooden duckboards. The end wooden slats on one of the boards have bowed downwards with the constant use. Underneath the duckboard was normally the trench sump or drainage. The floor is generally muddy and a few footprints can be made out here and there. The figure has 2 alternative positions; either standing on the firing step, or on the duckboards. 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: these can be place within the trench scene. Some of the bags show the prominent seems at the sides and underneath. Tie cords around tops of sandbags are visible, but could be added separately as these would in some cases hang freely. 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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