REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

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Shady-Cadence
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REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Shady-Cadence » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:15 am

I have decided to amend this review slightly.

I have been a casual militaria collector since about '78, and have seen quite a bit of stuff, good and bad. I like to believe for that reason that I have a decent level of experience with such items. I get off on authenticity and detail probably more than the next guy, however I also accept that I live in the real world, and compromises must be made. Apparently, many WWII re-enactors have incredibly high standards as to the manufacture of their gear. I cannot say for certain who manufactured these, as I cannot find any label identifying the true maker or country of origin. I can only relay what the retailer claims. I am not selling these items, nor am I affilliated with the seller. I have nothing to gain. This review is written from a users perspective, plain and simple.



Up for review are reproduction cap, jacket, and trouser, model of 1943, I recently purchased at the Sportsman's Guide outlet store in south St. Paul. I have not yet fielded these garments, so their durability has yet to be proven. All three are listed as being made by a company called Mil-Tec, which apparently makes a wide variety of reproduction military clothing, as I have several other garments made by them. All are olive drab cotton sateen, which appears to have been made to military specs as I can discern no difference between it and actual M43 garments I posses. They have been made precisely to the pattern of '43, and I cannot stress that enough. The accuracy and attention to detail are top notch, so much in fact that were it not for their "brand new" state, I suspect they could fool most collectors of such items.

The cap $9.97
Forerunner of the modern army "patrol" cap, so for descriptive purposes I will compare it to that. Slightly longer, the bill curves around either side almost to the ears as opposed to ending above the temples as the modern one does. Overall the cap is shorter, but has the same flat top, pitched slightly foreward. The earflap folds down around the back of the head and is lined with a softer, fuzzier cotton fabric. Size is accurate. Stitching is very good, only minor variations were found.(which, incidentally, are also present on actual items, so I cannot count this as a "flaw") Label is present and accurate right down to the font, spacing and method of manufacture, which was mass printing on linen and hand cutting each label on dotted lines. Overall, a quality reproduction.

The field jacket $59.97
Similar to the very common M65 field jacket. Four front pockets; two chest, two waist. Internal drawstring at the waist. Traditional pointed collar with overlapping windbreak for the throat. Epaulets on shoulders, two button cuffs. All fasteners are buttons, which are the proper shape, size and color. Size is accurate. Stitching is very good, with only minor variations on long seams, and adherance to design specifications is remarkable. The pattern on the back of the collar alone attests to this. Size, instruction and inspection labels are all present, and again match the originals in every aspect. Overall, a quality reproduction.

The field trouser $39.97
Five button fly, two front slash pockets, two rear pockets and a coin pocket right of the fly, below the belt. Seven two inch belt loops, two button tabs to adjust waist size. Suspender buttons and securement loops inside the waistband. Button ankle tabs. Waistband and pocket liners are the appropriate white cotton denim. Size is accurate. Stitching is very good, with minor variations that can again be found in originals. Size, instruction and inspection labels present, matching originals in every way. A quality reproduction.

Summary
I believe I've already said it; quality. I will be fielding these soon, and will post any issues that arise. They appear to be 100% servicable, bona-fide military spec. garments, fully capable of withstanding all the abuse the originals took. I have seen, held and used more military gear than most, both authentic and reproduction. The first thing to go when minimizing costs is detail. If it's not an obvious omission, it won't be done. Period. It wastes time, labor and materials, all of which is money. None of these garmens lacks any detail I could find. I can honestly say that these items are "perfect" reproductions, for if they lacked the "flaws" they do have, they could not have been mass produced during a time of war. The quality alone justifies the price, the exact match of the originals is pure bonus. If you're putting together a realistic WWII loadout, I highly reccomend these.
If your gear must be sewn together in the southeastern United States by a middle aged woman named "Betty" 'cause your standards are wound tighter than a bull's ass during fly season, these might not cut your mustard. :wink:

Brad.

http://www.sportsmansguide.com
Last edited by Shady-Cadence on Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Red Leader » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:45 pm

great review and good find.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Chadwick » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:06 am

Ah, I see you plan on doing a late war impression.
Neat. What unit do you intend to have your impression portray? What do you plan on carrying? garand, thompson, carbine, M3?

Pm sent regarding photos
I wouldn't mind taking a look at those.

Not to be a "stitch-Nazi", but Take a look at the stitching on them. I would guess that both the thread is different, and that the stitching pattern is different.
So, as Woodstock rocked on and the boomers got all wild on their weed, the M16 continued to be, and continues to be, the military's weapon of choice - for some weird, unexplainable reason

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by unionman » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:37 pm

Miltec gear is notorious for poor quality control and a lack of durability. Yes, it's cheap and will work for the occasional ww2 game, but if you want something that is going to last, I would steer clear of Miltec and most things sold at Sportsmansguide. I hate to be a buzz kill, but it's worth the extra money to purchase something that will last.

I'm not an expert on allied gear, but to put the label "museum quality" on anything produced by Miltec is erroneous.

This is from At the Front's website, who recently started selling some Miltec equipment due to crushing demand for the cheapest option posssible:

"Miltec" Gear

For those who want CHEAP, here ya go. This gear is made in China and is of decent quality.
It is better than the junk offered by Hong Kong Harry, but not nearly up to speed with our US-made gear.
However, as it is super-cheap, we offer no warranty of any kind. It may last a lifetime or 2 minutes. The main shortcomings are endemic to many goods made in China with no supervision. Thickness. These products are made with low price being the primary demand, quality being 3rd or 4th. The canvas, webbing and metal hardware are all lighter than originals (or our stuff). Some of the webbing is nylon to boot. The color is good, markings are well done and the workmanship isn't bad. If you're doing static displays or "Hollywood" reenacting...meaning you don't actually stress the gear out by hitting the dirt or carrying anything heavier than a candy bar in it, it should be fine. If you're going to actually play soldier and hump a load, I'm not sure I'd be very confidant.
http://www.ostfrontairsoft.com

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Mpls, MN

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Wolfwood » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:48 pm

Great Review Shady.

Unionman-

I would be very dubious about that review you posted. You'll notice that they pushed their own stuff in that review. Doesn't exactly sound unbias. Secondly, they didn't actually give any examples of why the gear is inferior. I don't see any complaints about stitching, or ripping, or fading. Nothing. They just level vague complaints while insisting their own stuff is worth far more. Actually, they mostly say that everything is done well. So I am not too sure what they are trying to say other than the weight is different than theirs.

My BS detector is going off reading that review....

Shady is comparing what he bought with actual stuff he owns, so his review seems more believable.
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Somewhere out there is 6mm of plastic with your name on it.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Shady-Cadence » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:43 pm

Thank you for your honesty, unionman.
What garment of theirs failed for you, and how?
I will be heading over to retrieve my grandfather's uniforms for a more in-depth comparison.
I will also be comparing german garments he captured to the german repro items I possess.
I have no fear of price when it comes to quality, however I have yet to see the "cheapness" of these items that "at the front" insinuates. There's too much detail, detail takes labor, labor costs money. (even in a sweatshop)
Besides, cheapness is often in the eye of the beholder. For example, I wouldn't give you 50 cents for any tool Craftsman makes, 'cause in my opinion, it's cheap junk.
I am sceptical of their review for the same reasons Wolfwood stated
Last edited by Shady-Cadence on Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Chadwick » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:44 pm

Shady brought these to my place today, and we compared them to an original M43 jacket.
We failed to find any difference in stiching, waterial, or otherwise.
I though that for the price they were pretty good repos.
So, as Woodstock rocked on and the boomers got all wild on their weed, the M16 continued to be, and continues to be, the military's weapon of choice - for some weird, unexplainable reason

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Cotton » Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:53 am

unionman wrote: It may last a lifetime or 2 minutes.

That quote make me laugh. Like if you put this uniform on it might completely unravel at any time, cartoon style.

I never really understood the mindset of superduper over the top realism for airsoft. If you want to do an impression fine, but is your game going to suffer that much if you show up in pants that are slightly lighter than originals. Is anyone going to care or even notice? No.

And I think Shady has a pretty good handle on judging gear quality so I would tend to believe him more than some retailer trying to sell you their crap. If airsoft has taught me one thing it's that retailers will say ANYTHING to get you to give them money.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by unionman » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:08 am

I certainly hope that I didn't tick anybody off with my post. If I did, please accept my apologies.

As I mentioned, I'm not that knowledgeable about US ww2 gear...my specialty is in German uniform and equipment. I merely wanted to pass on the feedback from At the Front as I find him to be a completely credible and honest source of information. There are very few vendors willing to disclose an honest assessment of their gear. Rollan is a good honest guy (brutally honest in fact) and I value his opinion.

I think that airsoft actually requires higher quality reproductions because, unlike a lot of reenactors, we actually fight in this stuff as opposed to just parading around a static display looking spiffy. We always push our recruits to get the best quality field gear they can afford as some of the Chinese stuff just explodes after one or two events. That being said, the Chinese do occasionally get it right and produce some high value, high quality items. It sounds like the M43 might just be one of those items.
http://www.ostfrontairsoft.com

Unteroffizier Udo Schaaf, Gruppe West, 3 Panzergrenadier Division
Mpls, MN

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by TIMBO » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:51 am

I realize this is an old thread but I wanted to know if you (Shady) ever did field test this uniform. Thanks

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Shady-Cadence » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:57 pm

So far I have fielded this outfit twice. No problems thus far, and I don't expect any. They "feel"(when wearing) just like originals.
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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by TIMBO » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:15 pm

Good to know, I also have a small militaria collection (mostly inert ordnance) and I've always wanted to get a vintage WW2 G.I. uniform but since I started playing airsoft my desires have grown (slightly :) ) more practical. If I can use this on the playing field and add it to the collection, all the better.

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Shady-Cadence » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:25 pm

Dude, this is your game! The WW2 airsofters are ALL about the extra props! Get yourself an impression, bring some cool stuff out and you will be welcomed with open arms, I guarantee you! Click the link at the bottom of my sig, thats the Ostfront home page. Along the right side there are links to other discussion forums and also vendors of period gear. There's also alot of stuff on the WW2AA forum boards in the sales thread, look through there too. Think you can make Dopplekopf in Rochester on the 27th? You can come as a partisan and play, or just check it out. We should have a half-scale tiger tank there, that alone could make it worth while. 8)

Come out and try INSTANT target recognition! :wink:
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Dietrich Werner, Grenadier. Kampfgruppe West, 8th Regiment, 3rd Panzergrenadier Division. http://www.ostfrontairsoft.com

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by TIMBO » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:48 am

Thanks for the link! Sadly I won't be able to make it to any ww2 themed games in the near future but a ww2 impression is one of my long term goals in airsoft. The only thing "period" that I have right now is a TM 1911 but it's a start! I'll definitly keep an eye on that forum and try to make a game in the spring. (even if I'm just a partisan)

I have been wondering , for these ww2 games is there more semi-auto rifles with only a few lmg's like the "real" war or is everyone running around with a mp40 or Thompson and blasting away on full auto?

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Re: REVIEW: M43 pattern field uniform

Post by Rekkon » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:31 am

It depends on the group. We do tend to have more bolt action rifles in MOA games than you usually see in modern events. Support weapons are pretty rare, but the inexpensive intro weapons are all submachine guns, so there are more of them than there should be. This is not so bad in the case of the AGM MP40 since it only has 55 round magazines. Americans tend to show up with high capped Thompsons however. At the New York event, well over half the German team had Kar 98s of some make or another. With maybe 4 exceptions, all Americans had high capped Thompsons. Those that did not had BARs and .30 cals. In event, the pacing is definitely different than most modern events, which is one of the attractions for me.
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