TIP FROM 136 GEBIRG
I recently picked up a couple of 29th Inf and an 82nd figure and was super impressed with the gear but disappointed in the colors of the uniforms. The 29th and 3rd Div figures are both supposed to be wearing mustard wool trousers and shirts with M-41 field jackets. The jackets are too dark and the dicky and trousers too green. The 42 jump uniform should be a mustard brown or dark tan depending on the dye lots. I have the advantage as an old re-enactor of being able to pull most of the real thing out of the closet for comparison. Anyway I have come up with solutions for both the wools and field jackets/jump uniform:
For field jackets and jump uniforms soak them in a bleach solution. I used 4 table spoons of original Clorox to the qt. It may take several hours to get the jump uniform tan. I pulled out a field jacket periodicly, washed it with dish washing liquid and dried it on a lamp to check the progress. Most of the M-38 field jackets were tan and the 41's a pale creamy green. If you leave it in too long, put a button on the pocket and you got a 38 field jacket. For the wool pants and shirt/dickey, wash the pants once and dry. The shirt is the same poplin as the jackets and will not fade with washing. Get some Rit #20 cocoa brown dye and some 1/8th inch braided elastic.(I was trying to make rifle slings) I used a table spoon of dye to about 2 qts of water in a pot on the stove. Drop your elastic in and leave it for 20-25 minutes for light OD and 45 minutes for dark OD. Why cocoa brown turns elastic olive I have no idea. Wet the shirt and trousers and stir in the dye for about 30 seconds and no more. Rinse and wash immediately. The shirt will be a little dark but ok. Take the trousers and pre-wash, I used Shout, and wash two times. The trouser came out almost exactly the same color as a pair of Jan 43 dated mustard trousers. Note: If you are carful, washing will not damage the division patches but I did have some problems with the flag on the 82nd jacket. Good luck.
There was something funny in the first box of Cocoa Rit dye I got that made perfect light OD and dark OD webbing from polyester elastic. I could not even reproduce it in the second batch from the same box. I have found a combination that will work but it is tricky. Dye the elastic in the Cocoa mix used for the pants. This will make it a light brownish tan. With a little yellow it may be perfect for WWI, but that is the next project. Next, overdye the elastic in Dark Green Rit dye. Again I used about a tablespoon of crystala to 2 quarts. Make sure the solution is not too hot and stir constantly. Pull it out while you still can see a bit of the tan when checking it. If the dye does get too hot, the elastic turns VERY fast, but not to worry. When this happened I got an exact match to my original German gas mask cannister straps and I have a whole slue of Dragons that need just that.
TIP FROM ULTIMATE SOLDIER
The Special Forces weathered look!
Soak the BDU's in bleach, I use Clorox advantage, it's strong and won't harm the fibers! Cover the BDU's, at least an inch over the top of them. Leave them in the bucket for 30- 45 minutes, stiring every 5 minutes, rinse, throw them in the washing machine w/ detergent. Afterwards, just let them air or throw them in the dryer on delicate for 10 minutes. Now here's the secret!!! Take 220 sandpaper and rough up the BDU's on every surface, edge, etc. Take the 220 to the Danners too! You can dry brush light gray onto the scuffed boots or leave as is. The method works on the desert and woodland BDU's.
TIP FROM Soldier B
WWII USMC Camo Patterns