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In-Box Review
135
Luftwaffe Uniform Insignia
1:35 Luftwafffe Uniform Insignia and Devices
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]

introduction

It might surprise some modelers to think they need a sheet of 1/35th scale uniform patches for the Luftwaffe.

After all, most large scale planes are in 1/32nd scale, and 1/35th figures tend to look too small standing next to a 32 scale model.

But the Luftwaffe or air force included units crewing AFVs such as the Sd.Kfz. 7/1 that mounted the 2cm FlaK quad, and Fallschirmjäger ("paratroops") ended up fighting more as ground units than being dropped from planes after the bloodbath on Crete. The Hermann Goering Division, for example, was Luftwaffe, so you'll need uniform insignia for them if you intend to model those figures.

Given the many branches of the German military in World War 2 and their very specific uniform identification markings, along with the usual badges, unit insignia and medals & awards common to all armies, kitting out German figures can be an expensive and complex affair. Chief among the headaches is the wide and sometimes confusing array of shoulder “boards” and collar tabs showing rank and branch of service. To make matters worse, the regular army or Heer, Waffen-SS and Panzerwaffe (tank crews) all had their own markings (reviewed by me here, here, and here respectively).

The shoulder straps present a particular problem for figure modelers because they aren't really boards, but stiff fabric loops attached at the shoulder. Along with the collar tabs (showing rank and membership in the various branches of service), both are difficult to cast in styrene without looking out-of-scale.

Alliance Modelworks has released sets of decals in 1/35th meant to handle most situations for kitting-out German soldiers, including this set intended for members of the Luftwaffe units.

the set

The set comes packed in the usual Alliance Modelworks poly bag with a stapled-on hang tag for display on a peg board. It contains:

1 sheet of decals
2 small frets of PE
1 sheet of instructions

the review

Each of the branches of the various segments of the Wehrmacht had shoulder boards in specific colors (known as the Waffenfarbe, literally the "weapon color" but the meaning being closer to "branch of service color"). You'd think Luftwaffe would mean one color, but it's never that easy in this hobby:

Flight crews and paratroops: yellow Waffenfarbe
FlaK artillery (including FlaK batteries attached to other units): red Waffenfarbe
Panzergrenadiers or other motorized troops such as the Hermann Goering Division: medium green Waffenfarbe
Light infantry: light green Waffenfarbe

AMW's solution to the vexing array of markings is to offer four sets overall with a simple, elegant idea: a grouping that covers most, but not all situations. At least enough to make the price of the set handle a wide variety of possibilities. The decals included here are helmet & cap eagles, sleeve patches & shoulder boards, various decoration ribbons (Iron Cross ribbons, plane destruction badges for FlaK crews, etc.), chest eagles, cap and helmet insignia & shields, along with a fret of PE with Iron Crosses, combat badges and even some shoulder straps for figures with poorly molded-on ones (a problem with some older figures).

The decals have excellent registration, and are easy to apply. You should make sure to use a good wetting solution; my new option is Gunze's Mr. Mark Setter followed by Mr. Mark Softer. Be sure to keep a sharp eye during application so the decals don't migrate off of raised surfaces like molded-on shoulder straps or collar tabs. When dry, be sure to cover with a protective clear spray to prevent abrasion or harm from washes or pigment application.

The set includes a sheet that lays out who gets what, and my only complaint would be that the various badges aren't identified. Do you know whether your figure should have which badge? This site will help you sort that out.

The set doesn't really deal with the differences between Early War markings (more elaborate and "fancy") and Late War ones. At this scale, I'm not sure how important that is, and AMW contends that variations in shoulder boards are a product of different construction methods over the course of production, washing, and other factors. They concede there are variations, but that it's impractical in this scale to include them in a sheet at this price. It's a debate that this review isn't going to settle, so check your references, and consult other options if this doesn't look like the answer for your needs.

There is also a debate about the correct Waffenfarbe for Mountain troops/light infantry and Panzergrenadiers. Both used a green, but there is a theory the US Army sowed confusion for historians when it transposed the yellow-green/lime green of the grenadiers with the medium green of the mountain troops in its manual covering the German army in WW 2.

conclusion

This set is a very good "one stop shopping" solution for finishing 1/35th regular army figures. I recommend this set highly. The quality of the decals is excellent, and the instructions mean you don't need volumes of research to complete a diorama's worth of figures. Reading is a good thing, but at this price, you can't really beat AMW's solution.

Thanks to Alliance Model Works for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.
SUMMARY
Highs: Includes PE for shoulder straps and decorations like the flight badge and the Iron Cross.
Lows: Could use with some explanation of the various PE badges & decorations.
Verdict: Good all-around source for these uniform markings. This sheet should cover you for any Luftwaffe situations.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: LW35036
  Suggested Retail: $13
  PUBLISHED: Aug 31, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.08%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.57%

Our Thanks to Alliance Modelworks!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2019 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.



   

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