Illustrator Ron Volstad, whose work has graced the box tops of hundreds of kits, says about Wehrmacht insignia, it's a subject "to make the stoutest of us run away screaming like a little girl."
The Wehrmacht, including the Waffen-SS, used very specific identification markings on its uniforms, including the usual combat badges and unit insignia you find common to all armies. In addition, they employed a system of shoulder “boards” (really stiff fabric loops attached at the shoulder) to supplement collar tabs showing rank and membership in the various branches of service (infantry, panzers, etc.). The branches were also classified by color (known as the Waffenfarbe
, literally the "weapon color" but the meaning being closer to "branch of service color"):
silver gray with white Waffenfarbe
Artillery (including FlaK batteries attached to other units):
green, but different shadesWaffenfarbe
The colors allowed for a quick recognition of a soldier's place in the general hierarchy, but matching them gives heartburn to figure decal makers.
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 Panzerwaffe
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
As I've stated previously in my review of AMW's Waffen-SS markings set
, I generally hate doing Wehrmacht figures.
There's so much hassle in assembling the various uniform marking sets, researching which ones you need, etc. The controversies surrounding the markings doesn't make modeler decisions any easier, too.
AMW's solution is to offer four sets with a simple, elegant solution: a set of decals that covers most situations. Not every situation, but enough to make the price of the set handle a wide variety of possibilities. The decals include helmet & cap eagles, sleeve patches & shoulder boards, various decoration ribbons (Iron Cross ribbons, tank destruction badges for Stug crews, etc.), and 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).
And in a nice touch, they've added throat mikes and earphone bands to add an additional element of detail for tankers.
The decals have excellent registration, and are easy to apply. You should make sure to use a good wetting solution, and keep a sharp eye during application, as the decals can slip off the raised shoulder straps and collar tabs on many styrene figures (I have not tried them out on resin figures, but assume the same applies). 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 the Tank Combat badge or the Tank Destruction 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 topic that reasonable people can disagree on, and Ron Volstad was kind enough to walk me through the various permutations when I asked him about it, including saying that the Waffen-SS never adopted the green piping the army used for Panzergrenadiers. He also says 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. Oy.
This set is a very good "one stop shopping" solution for finishing 1/35th Panzer figures. If you're doing SS tankers and Stug crews with SS armored divisions, you'll need both sets. And I recommend both 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.