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> Converting a Brown Wool West German Field Shirt
praetorian
Posted: April 11, 2007 05:06 pm
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Hello-

I stumbled across your forum while researching Romanian WW2 uniforms. I have a few Romanian items and will be in Romania in July where I hope to find more.

I know that Italian Front Group now sells a complete Romanian repro uniform but it is expensive. I was intrigued to see it mentioned on a reenacting site that you can convert one of the 1980s vintage West Germany Army brown wool uniforms into WW2 Romanian. To the best of my recollection, the shirt would be a fairly decent match for an enlisted tunic.

Has anyone come up with a step by step conversion guide?
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mihnea
Posted: April 11, 2007 05:48 pm
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I think converting a 1980's W German uniform to Romanian WWII uniform was never done in Romania.

About the Italian Front uniform repro in my opinion the color is a bit off but I have seen one pair of trousers of similar color. My problem is with the Y-straps that are made after the Osprey drawings that are pure fantasy in my opinion, I counted until now four different types of Y-straps and none like the ones in Osprey.

What equipment items do you have?
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New Connaught Ranger
Posted: April 11, 2007 06:32 pm
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QUOTE (praetorian @ April 11, 2007 05:06 pm)
Hello-

I stumbled across your forum while researching Romanian WW2 uniforms. I have a few Romanian items and will be in Romania in July where I hope to find more.

I know that Italian Front Group now sells a complete Romanian repro uniform but it is expensive. I was intrigued to see it mentioned on a reenacting site that you can convert one of the 1980s vintage West Germany Army brown wool uniforms into WW2 Romanian. To the best of my recollection, the shirt would be a fairly decent match for an enlisted tunic.

Has anyone come up with a step by step conversion guide?


Hallo praetorian :D

The uniforms would have to be from the 1960's as these resemble the WW2 items better 1980s West German uniform items are to modern in apperance.

I think part of the problem will be getting the brown dye to "take" on the west german 1960s material, which is already dyed a dark green. Definately not a job to do at home but professionaly done, which will cost money as well.

Kevin in Deva. :D

This post has been edited by New Connaught Ranger on April 11, 2007 06:34 pm
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praetorian
Posted: April 11, 2007 07:22 pm
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Thanks for the quick responses. I saw mention of doing the conversation on a link that was provided in another thread to a US reenacting group. It mentions the conversation as a possibility for members.

The cut (I don't have one in front of me right now, but I have a pretty clear image in my mind of what it looks like) of the the West German shirt is roughly similar. The collar can close and it has only two patch pockets up top, like a Romanian enlisted tunic. My understanding is that the late model Romanian tunics were simplified somewhat and given less elaborate shirt-style cuffs which would be another common feature. I seem to recall that the German shirt has concealed front buttons, but I've seen a color plate of a Romanian tunic that had this feature as well.

As for the color I remember the German wool being predominantly brown with just a hint of green, very similar to the final WW2 German uniform color. They're pretty cheap when you can find one in a surplus store. I'll look this weekend and try to give one a proper examination. If the color is too far off, it wouldn't be worth dying which is a complete pain in the ***.

Hopefully I can pick up a real one in Romania this summer, but I'm not overly optimistic. I think the tunics were so basic in appearance that most probably ended up as work jackets after the war.

I agree with you that the IFG tunic color looks wrong. I'm sure the explaination for this would be that it is a repro of an unissued tunic and should fade to the more recognizable shade of brown with wear. Regardless, it's 350 euros and I'm cheap.
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New Connaught Ranger
Posted: April 11, 2007 08:07 pm
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Hallo praetorian :D

I sold two sets of the old wool style Bundeswehr tunics (jacket & pants) last year, I had brought them with me from Germany in 2003, they are hard to find now even in Germany as German Ww2 re-enactors use them for WW2 items. I got 160 Euros for them.

I still have one pair of long trousers and will photograph them tomorrow in natural light, to me they look more green, than brown, and then post the pictuures here.

Kevin in Deva :D
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Kepi
Posted: April 12, 2007 10:37 am
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QUOTE (praetorian @ April 11, 2007 07:22 pm)
Thanks for the quick responses. I saw mention of doing the conversation on a link that was provided in another thread to a US reenacting group. It mentions the conversation as a possibility for members.

The cut (I don't have one in front of me right now, but I have a pretty clear image in my mind of what it looks like) of the the West German shirt is roughly similar. The collar can close and it has only two patch pockets up top, like a Romanian enlisted tunic. My understanding is that the late model Romanian tunics were simplified somewhat and given less elaborate shirt-style cuffs which would be another common feature. I seem to recall that the German shirt has concealed front buttons, but I've seen a color plate of a Romanian tunic that had this feature as well.

As for the color I remember the German wool being predominantly brown with just a hint of green, very similar to the final WW2 German uniform color. They're pretty cheap when you can find one in a surplus store. I'll look this weekend and try to give one a proper examination. If the color is too far off, it wouldn't be worth dying which is a complete pain in the ***.

Hopefully I can pick up a real one in Romania this summer, but I'm not overly optimistic. I think the tunics were so basic in appearance that most probably ended up as work jackets after the war.

I agree with you that the IFG tunic color looks wrong. I'm sure the explaination for this would be that it is a repro of an unissued tunic and should fade to the more recognizable shade of brown with wear. Regardless, it's 350 euros and I'm cheap.

I don’t know if the cut of the Bundeswehr tunic is similar to the Romanian WW2 models. Some of Romanian tunics had 4 breast and side rectangular patch pockets and pointed cuffs, others had only 2 apparent breast pockets and shirt-type cuffs. What is the model you prefer?

You talked about a shirt not a tunic. Is this made in cloth or in canvas (summer). What about the shoulder straps or has it any rear vent?

It would be better if you could have a photo of this item in order to see if it worth to spend time and money to modify it.

For some details concerning Romanian WW2 uniforms for reenacting, see: http://www.6dorobanti.ro/index.php?article=10&language=en

To pick a real Romanian WW2 tunic here would be a real miracle.
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praetorian
Posted: April 12, 2007 10:45 pm
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Hi Kepi-

The West German Uniform I'm talking about is the cold weather version of the moleskin green shirt and trousers. It's wool and predominantly brown in color, but more of an auburn than a dark brown. It is really a shirt, but it is made of tunic grade wool. Two upper patch pockets with flaps, no bottom pockets, I believe concealed buttons, and shirt-style cuffs. As I said, similar in style to Romanian enlisted tunics that I've seen photos of. One difference that does come to mind is that they have a strip of material that runs vertically down each side in front, bisecting the pockets. I believe this was to prevent the y-straps from damaging the shirt. This things were everywhere a year ago. Sportsman's Guide, Cheaper than Dirt, Surplus Stores, ect. They ran about $10 for the shirt. I will try to pick one up this weekend. If it is as I remember it, I'll post some photos.

Please understand I'm not advocating this as a uniform suitable for conversion. I was interested to see it mentioned as such on a Romanian WW2 reenacting website.

It looks to me as if the Romanian enlisted tunics were fairly standard with some modifications made to simplify manufacture later in the war, while the officer's tunics showed more variation in construction and material. I'm guessing that Romanian officers, like German officers, were responsible for purchasing their own uniforms and had some latitude in terms of detail and material. Also, what was available to them for purchase probably depended a lot on where they were serving.

As far as color goes, I came across a thread on this forum that shows three or four swatches of genuine WW2 Romanian material. They vary considerably. You have German WW2 reenacters who will tell you there are only a few correct variations of field gray. This is BS. Wool quality and color in German Army uniforms varied tremendously as the war progressed. The color ranged from "correct" verdigris to gray, to green, to brown, to combinations of several of these colors. The wool quality and dye formulas were inconsistent and uniforms were produced in factories from France to Russia and everywhere in between. I'm guessing that a similar variety exists among examples of Romanian military wool.

I'll post photos if I can find the West German shirt.

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New Connaught Ranger
Posted: April 13, 2007 03:49 pm
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Hallo praetorian :D

The Moleskin version of the Bundswehr army is certainly not a match or anything like the material worn in WW2 by the German or Romanian army it is too smooth in apperance.
(IMG:http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/5665/s360007d5an5.jpg)
(IMG:http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/4647/s360007d6nx2.jpg)
(IMG:http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/9118/s360007d7iw6.jpg)

These are more like the WW2 issue, but are in fact from the 1960's.

Kevin in Deva :D

This post has been edited by New Connaught Ranger on April 13, 2007 03:50 pm
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praetorian
Posted: April 13, 2007 07:44 pm
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Success!

My local surplus store had three sets of the wool West German brown wool uniform so I picked-up the largest size. $15 for shirt and pants.

I did most of the modifications to the shirt in about an hour. It wasn't difficult. Putting a buttonhole in each pocket flap attaching the belt loops to the back, and making some small repairs will require the assistance of my friend's industrial sewing machine. I hope I succeeded in attaching the photos to this post.

The pluses: cheap, available, decent color, doesn't require much modification, sturdy and well made

The minuses: The top of the front opening is cut at a slightly odd angle, the sleeve openings are German-style and uncuffed, it may be a bit short

The pants are nice as well. The have the correct angled flaps on the front pockets but lack the German-style adjusting strap in the back.

I'm sure the color will be argued about. My impression is that Romanian military wool is generally somewhere in between Hungarian (more tan colored) and Bulgarian (more chocolate brown). The officer's tunics shown here on the forum are beautiful, but they are officer's tunics. The gulf between enlisted men and officers in the Romanian Army of WW2 was so vast that I don't think you can realistically compare officer's uniforms to enlisted items. The one nice textbook enlisted tunic that I've seen photographed on this site is really not that far off from the West German after some modification.

I throw this out to the forum as an intellectual exercise more than anything else. Were I a reenactor and my choices were spend a ton of money on an IFG repro, try to find an early post-war Romanian tunic, buy a repro from the guy in Romania and then pay someone who actually knows how to sew to take it apart and reassemble it correctly, or modify a West German brown wool uniform for around $20, I think I'd go with the West German.


http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/81/copyofim000477uz6.jpg
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New Connaught Ranger
Posted: April 13, 2007 08:49 pm
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Hallo praetorian :D

What you have is the same material as the trousers I posted and it sure aint Bundswehr "moleskin" this were issued in the late 1950's to 1960s, in fact the label on the inside should have a date.

(IMG:http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/6466/copyofim000477uz6re2.jpg)

When are you going to dye it? and do post pictures of the result.

With regards finding an original Romanian WW2 Uniform, chances are extremely slim to none B)

Kevin in Deva :D
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praetorian
Posted: April 13, 2007 10:53 pm
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I didn't suggest using the West German moleskin uniform I mentioned that the brown wool uniform pictured was cut just like the green moleskin warm weather version. As there seemed to be some confusion over what brown wool uniform I was talking about, I figured that most people had seen the cotton version and could use that as a point of reference.

What do you think about dying? I don't think it looks bad as is. When you examine it closely you can see the hint of green but apart from that I think it's ok. Great for $15 anyway.

I do have the correct acid dye for wool and could take it a shade darker.
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New Connaught Ranger
Posted: April 14, 2007 08:18 am
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Hallo P :D
QUOTE
"The West German Uniform I'm talking about is the cold weather version of the moleskin green shirt and trousers. It's wool and predominantly brown in color, but more of an auburn than a dark brown. It is really a shirt, but it is made of tunic grade wool. Two upper patch pockets with flaps, no bottom pockets, I believe concealed buttons, and shirt-style cuffs. "


Seems to me like you were talking about Moleskin in your post :P

I would dye it a dark shade as it will tend to get lighter with washing and exsposure to sunlight with time. As long as there is no reaction between the new dye job and the old dye job all should go well.

Kevin in Deva. :D
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praetorian
Posted: April 14, 2007 01:05 pm
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I'll give it a shot. I learned a while back that you can't really get a good result with the dye you can purchase at the grocery store. You need to use acid dye, which by chance I have anyway. I'll post a photo once its complete. Thanks for the help.
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RHaught
Posted: April 26, 2007 02:25 am
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Darius1941 did a West German conversion for his uniform. Maybe he would be able to assist you with this.
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darius1941
Posted: April 28, 2007 11:23 pm
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I use a converted west german wool tunic for my romanian impression and I will
go over a few things which I found out about this conversion.
First of all if I could afford one of those repro romanian uniforms from the gentleman at the romanian museum I would make this my first choice as there is
nothing better than having a reprodution uniform than a conversion! :D
But since I bought a home last year my cash is limited and I must use the conversion for a time.
As for the conversion which I did a few years ago,first I removed the strips of woo
l on the tunic which run from top to bottom.
Then I sewn in a button hole on each flap pocket and added a button.
I believe the elbow had a piece of wool on them for re-enforcement which I also removed.
There is really nothing you can do to the cuff short of a major re-work so i left them as they were.
That is pretty much all there is to the conversion except for the color which is a
problem as the wool dose not take any dye job well.
The trousers are a major job and I used a pair of swedish wool trouser dye brown and this wool accepts the dye better.
The soft cap I made myself and the equipment and such are as close as the correct equipment as I can find.
I had a pair of the west german wool trouser 20 years ago which I wore aside from
reenacting and I believe that as I washed these trouser in the washing machine that the wool was losing some of the green and the wool begain to look as if it would accept a dye better.
One good thing about this uniform is that you can sleep in it and get all dirty and have a many tears and damage it more with out the worry of the cost of a reproduction.
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