Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Forum for those interested in accurate WWII impressions and re-enactment using Airsoft. This is not a political or historical section, discussions will be limited to the gear and guns appropriate for the era and theme based games.

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Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Wolfe » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:35 pm

First off, this is not a thread to discuss moral rights. Staff, if you feel this thread is disrespectful or unneeded in anyway, feel free to lock/remove, I will gladly agree, because I had an argument with myself about posting this.

With that said, I would like not only to get into "Modern" reenactment, but also WWII reenactment. Seeing pictures of guys reenacting the Battle of the Bulge (it was the BattleSim guys from WA, if any of you know of them) was actually the reason I decided to move on from plinking about 3 years ago. I'm a self-considered history buff when it comes to 19th, 20th, and 21st century warfare, and this is all right up my alley.

My current dilemma is if I want to go with a primary German or American loadout. I know there were other countries involved, but those two are my personal pick. I like both sides, and have no problem with either (which is why I'm looking for suggestions). I know in the end, it boils down to personal choice, but gosh-darn, it's so hard. :lol:

Here are some things to consider;
- I am fairly fluent in German
- There are a limited amount of weapons out there (that are not custom), and I would like a realistic loadout
- I do have a limit with income, but I'm open for all suggestions, and am not needed this immediately.

Again, I'm just looking for pointers and suggestions. I have read many threads (thanks everyone, great stuff).
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Red Leader » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:29 am

we got 3 groups in the local area.

the 2nd rangers of eau claire, WI.

the 3rd Panzer grenader,

and a russian shock army.

as far as impression cost, russian is pritty cheap for cloathing, but the guns are almost all custom
the germans weapon u can go cheap on with the agm mp40, but (and shady can throw in his help here) the sloathing and gear are really expensive.
and the amaricans are moderatly priced, depending on what u go with, but the cloathing is expensive, for a whole set of cloathes alone, over a thousand bucks. and u have to be nice to it all. but u can do some cheap stuff till u get the better. a pair of od's from any military surplus will work just as well as any real shirt and pants. the helmet u can get at most surplus stores too.

for the cheapest build, go civilian. a nice shirt, slacks, shoes, and any bolt-action rifle with a little cammo wrap or something will work for most re-enactments.

shady, please throw in ur 2 cents.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Rekkon » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:19 am

Heh, I was just out in Washington for a Battlesim event. Great guys and a great event.

I would of course push you toward German, especially since you speak the language, but I might be ever so slightly biased. :)

As Red Leader mentioned, there are three WW II airsoft units in the “local” area. Midwest Ostfront Airsoft (MOA) is comprised of the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division (German) and the 198th Rifle Division (Russian). The 2nd Rangers (US) are also frequently at MOA events. While the MOA has an Eastern Front theme and units, we welcome all Axis and Allied impressions, so you can join whichever unit you prefer without limiting the events you can attend.

For someone on a budget, there are really only two skirmishable WW II weapons on the market, the AGM MP40 and the CYMA Thompson. Both will run you somewhere in the $130-$150 range for the weapon, plus spare magazines. Obviously the MP40 is common in my unit, and they have proven effective and reliable. Accuracy is not top-notch, but that too works for our historical accuracy purposes. Additionally the AGM MP40 is full metal and uses 55 round magazines. The MOA greatly prefers low caps; our ideal rule of thumb is that a magazine should ideally not hold more than three times its historical capacity. I believe there are some new ~110 MP40 midcaps on the market, but 110 > 32x3. AGM’s weapon fires in the 300-330 fps range.

One of our guys picked up a CYMA Thompson to use as a loaner weapon. It has held up thus far, but has several qualities that make it less desirable to us in the MOA. It only comes with a high cap, though I believe low and/or midcaps are available now (I seem to recall some compatibility issues with Marui Thompson magazines). It also fires in the 400 fps range, which is much higher than we would like to see in a submachine gun. At one event, the CYMA guy was counter-sniping our snipers. On a personal note, I see so many bloody Thompson at any event vs. US troops that I would prefer to see pretty much anything else. The CYMA Thompson has a plastic body, and while I have not handled it much (or used it), I got the impression it was substantially less solid than AGM’s MP40.

An additional consideration if you are going for higher accuracy is versatility in your weapon. A Thompson generally limits you to US, while an MP40 is perfectly acceptable for German, Russian and partisan impressions.

AGM is also releasing an MP44 this month in the same ~$150 price range. However it looks like it might be a while before you can get spare magazines. And of course there are a fair number of period pistols in the reasonable price range. The Dboys Kar98 is the only inexpensive WW II rifle on the market, but it is not very skirmishable. It is a really fun weapon just to mess around with, but you are badly outclassed in every way in an actual game. Farther up there are some gas US and German rifles, but you start entering the $400-$700 range for those.

For uniform and gear, I believe the order goes something like this when arranged most to least expensive:
German
US
Russian
Partisan

The MOA allows people to wear 40s looking civilian clothing and play events as partisans. Generally we prefer to see partisans as a testing/transition phase. It lets prospective new players try it out cheaply and/or play while building up to a better impression. This would be your cheapest option. An MP40, some spare mags and a trip to some local thift stores would be about all you need. The downside of course is that you will lack a snazzy uniform and the cool and useful field gear. The MOA also uses partisan player to balance sides as needed at events, so you might get bumped from one side to the other. You can always attend an event or two as a partisan and get to meet the people and units before making your decision.

From what I have heard, Russian uniforms are fairly cheap, and they do not require much field gear, so that also cuts down on the cost of a regular army impression. Russian weapons of course are very expensive and generally custom jobs. The leader of the 198th, Gryphon, makes PPSh-41s out of AGM M14s, but they are about $600. Fortunately “captured” MP40s are perfectly acceptable, and a lot of our MOA Russians use them.

I am not familiar with the cost of US gear, though I am pretty sure a basic impression is cheaper than a basic German impression. I will leave a more detailed analysis in that regard to someone that knows better, and I already covered the weapon considerations with the CYMA Thompson. However another consideration is that most other (non-MOA) WW II events are generally US vs. Germany. Having a US (over a Russian or partisan) impression would make it easier to attend the events of other organizations. The MOA has events in Minnesota and Wisconsin. If that marks about your travel limit, this issue is moot.

German impressions tend to be the most expensive. Part of the cost of course depends on how far you go buying all the gear, and of course you do not need to get it all at once (same with the other impressions). The MOA gives leniency to people building their impressions. You could show up with just a tunic, trousers, service cap and weapon to the first few events. And, long term, we do not require you to have every little bit and piece of German gear (no “Act! Vhere is your butter dish!”). After you mean the minimum, further improvement is voluntary. Another (minor) consideration is that, at least at the moment, the Germans tend to outnumber the Allies at MOA events, though not by so many that it has created balancing problems. Of course, the opposite tends to be true at most other events. More people in general have US impressions than German. But then we like to be outnumbered. It gives us more targets to shoot and makes our victories sweeter. :D

Oh! One last consideration: vehicles. The 198th has a BA-64 armored car (Natasha). The 3rd Panzergrenadiers currently only have a kubelwagon but we (by which I mean head crazy-person Otto) are also working on an SdKfz 222 armored car, SdKfz 250 halftrack and two period Ford trucks. We had a few guys from Michigan come to one event with a half-scale Tiger tank. Now, to be fair, not all of these vehicles will always be included in MOA events, and it is not unknown for us to switch vehicles around as necessary for a scenario.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Wolfe » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:15 pm

Thanks guys for all the info (esp. Rekkon, that is an awesome post). I'm not necessary on a budget, more or less planning ahead. But it's fine, your posts are really great, thanks for the info! :D
Last edited by Wolfe on Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Rekkon » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:45 pm

Oh, you can check out the MOA's website here.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Shady-Cadence » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:19 pm

I can add nothing. Rekkon covered it all! :D
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Red Leader » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:40 pm

sry rekkon, forgot u were on here too.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by unionman » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:02 pm

The rest of the gang summed up everything perfectly. While I personally love doing German, I'd recommend that if you have an interest in doing American that you go that route. Why? Because we need a strong American unit in the Twin Cities to bolster allied numbers. It's an impression that is overdone in the rest of the country, but we badly need Amis her in the Midwest.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Wolfe » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:50 pm

unionman wrote:The rest of the gang summed up everything perfectly. While I personally love doing German, I'd recommend that if you have an interest in doing American that you go that route. Why? Because we need a strong American unit in the Twin Cities to bolster allied numbers. It's an impression that is overdone in the rest of the country, but we badly need Amis her in the Midwest.
I was actually thinking of starting off with American Inf, and then developing a Wehrmacht Heer loadout. For American, I was thinking of giving tribute to Minnesota's own 34th. Since this is more heavy reenactment, are actual service patches and medals generally accepted, or not? I really don't feel like doing an Airborne loadout (even though the Airborne got some of it's start with the 34th), because I feel it's too overused in the airsoft community...
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Chadwick » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:06 pm

Red Leader wrote:we got 3 groups in the local area.

the 2nd rangers of eau claire, WI.

the 3rd Panzer grenader,

and a russian shock army.

as far as impression cost, russian is pritty cheap for cloathing, but the guns are almost all custom
the germans weapon u can go cheap on with the agm mp40, but (and shady can throw in his help here) the sloathing and gear are really expensive.
and the amaricans are moderatly priced, depending on what u go with, but the cloathing is expensive, for a whole set of cloathes alone, over a thousand bucks. and u have to be nice to it all. but u can do some cheap stuff till u get the better. a pair of od's from any military surplus will work just as well as any real shirt and pants. the helmet u can get at most surplus stores too.

for the cheapest build, go civilian. a nice shirt, slacks, shoes, and any bolt-action rifle with a little cammo wrap or something will work for most re-enactments.

shady, please throw in ur 2 cents.
A full german loadout would be far more expensive than an american one.

I would go with an american one. Unless you intend to wear it ONLY to a wwii event expect to get some odd looks when you show up to an open session, etc.

All WWII gear if you want to do it right is expensive, whether it be allied or axis, with axis being more expensive beacuse of scarcity.
Do research on helmets. 95% of the pots you find wont be the correct type, and 99.5 % of the liners will be incorrect if you buy from a surplus store.

If you have any more specific questions please ask. Not only do I do airsoft re-enactment, I do the live fire deal as well.
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: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Red Leader » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:25 pm

Wolfe wrote:
unionman wrote:The rest of the gang summed up everything perfectly. While I personally love doing German, I'd recommend that if you have an interest in doing American that you go that route. Why? Because we need a strong American unit in the Twin Cities to bolster allied numbers. It's an impression that is overdone in the rest of the country, but we badly need Amis her in the Midwest.
I was actually thinking of starting off with American Inf, and then developing a Wehrmacht Heer loadout. For American, I was thinking of giving tribute to Minnesota's own 34th. Since this is more heavy reenactment, are actual service patches and medals generally accepted, or not? I really don't feel like doing an Airborne loadout (even though the Airborne got some of it's start with the 34th), because I feel it's too overused in the airsoft community...
we tend to go with accurate patches. medals i don't see. patches are cheap on atthefront.com and they have a wide variety. i believe that breach makes patches as well, for a fee. though, i just recommend that if your serious, and u want to do a american impression, send a email to tom at the second rangers. it would be nice to have a full squad.

and chadwick, they probobly arent correct, but they look pritty darn close. i haven't been questioned on mine.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Wolfe » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:45 am

Red Leader wrote:we tend to go with accurate patches. medals i don't see. patches are cheap on atthefront.com and they have a wide variety. i believe that breach makes patches as well, for a fee. though, i just recommend that if your serious, and u want to do a american impression, send a email to tom at the second rangers. it would be nice to have a full squad.
Thanks for the link, looks like a good site to do some research and price comparison. :D
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Rekkon » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:48 am

Good to see interest in doing regular infantry. Airborne and other elite units are overrepresented. I like our unit, especially now as Otto works to put more panzer in our Panzergrenadiers.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by unionman » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:11 pm

Chadwick is ultimately dead on...doing any impression "right" is going to cost you an arm and a leg. I do both German and Russian, but I have to admit that my standards for my Russian impression, which I view as secondary, are lower than my German impression. The main thing is to pick one thing and do it really well before branching out.

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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Chadwick » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:01 pm

unionman wrote:Chadwick is ultimately dead on...doing any impression "right" is going to cost you an arm and a leg. I do both German and Russian, but I have to admit that my standards for my Russian impression, which I view as secondary, are lower than my German impression. The main thing is to pick one thing and do it really well before branching out.

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Redleader, next time I see you wearing your vietnam era pot helmet I am going to give you so much shit you are going to feel like you are in a stable.

What I have found in comparison to blank and airsoft re-enactment is that the airsoft re-enactors throw so many bones they could run a kennel. Blank re-enactors are ALL about authenticity. Wrong stitching on your tunic? get rid of it and buy the correct one!
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: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Shady-Cadence » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:34 pm

Chadwick wrote: Blank re-enactors are ALL about authenticity. Wrong stitching on your tunic? get rid of it and buy the correct one!
Which is why they are viewed by many as elitist pricks.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by unionman » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:27 pm

They're different hobbies for sure, but they can both learn from the other.

Airsofters can be too lax on authenticity, but reenactors have major flaws too. In general I've found airsofters to be in better health and more capable of playing the role of a solider.
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Red Leader » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:26 am

unionman wrote:They're different hobbies for sure, but they can both learn from the other.

Airsofters can be too lax on authenticity, but reenactors have major flaws too. In general I've found airsofters to be in better health and more capable of playing the role of a solider.
helps to have actual projectiles flying at u to encurage u to run faster. :twisted:
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Re: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Chadwick » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:06 pm

unionman wrote:They're different hobbies for sure, but they can both learn from the other.

Airsofters can be too lax on authenticity, but reenactors have major flaws too. In general I've found airsofters to be in better health and more capable of playing the role of a solider.
Very true. If you are 50 and weigh 200 you should not be doing a 101st impression.
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: Should I go German or American? (Loadout Q's)

Post by Wolfe » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:39 pm

Chadwick wrote:
unionman wrote:They're different hobbies for sure, but they can both learn from the other.

Airsofters can be too lax on authenticity, but reenactors have major flaws too. In general I've found airsofters to be in better health and more capable of playing the role of a solider.
Very true. If you are 50 and weigh 200 you should not be doing a 101st impression.
Haha, well if you look at it that way, maybe I should put together a HJ impression, due to my age. Joking, but I have considered it... :P
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