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Original vs. repro items


2ndInf.Div.
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2ndInf.Div.

I thought it might be a little interesting to spark up a discussion, so here it is: do you prefer to use original or reproduction items, and what do you think of others who use said items? I will start off by saying I prefer to use original stuff because it is usually cheaper, and because I am actually using the real deal. However, I think that events with rain or snow is when repro items are necessary.

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Its a good question mate and one I pondered on many times as I both re-enact and attend historical airsoft events. My impressions cover the US involvement in Vietnam and so while re-enacting, I try to use a much real and original items as possible. When airsofting, I still use 90% original gear, but throw in the odd repro bit here and there (such as repro 3rd pattern jungle trousers). To my knowledge, the only item of repro gear I use while both re-enacting and airsofting are my jungle boots.

 

Cheers,

 

Tom

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Glenn_Janssens

Doing re-enacting or airsoft is subject to breaking or damaging your gear.

I don't like to see this happens with original items.

Maybe your original gear is widely available today.

But that doesn't mean it would be the same 50 years later or so.

I can't imagine someone doing civil war re-enactment in period trousers or the like.

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Doing re-enacting or airsoft is subject to breaking or damaging your gear.

I don't like to see this happens with original items.

Maybe your original gear is widely available today.

But that doesn't mean it would be the same 50 years later or so.

I can't imagine someone doing civil war re-enactment in period trousers or the like.

 

I have to agree here... Sure, I use some original gear when I reenact, but the thought is always in the back of my mind: "What if I ruin this?" Just this past weekend at the LHRA event at Camp Atterbury Indiana one of our guys popped the male part of his '36 pistol belt fastener, rendering it unclosable. For the higher stress items such as the '23 Cartridge belt, suspenders and uniforms, I use repro gear from the more reputible dealers who use originals to design what they offer. Most of my original stuff is saved for displays.

 

Wayne

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Corpl. Cleaver

For WWII reenactments I use 99% original stuff. My boots, socks, jeepcap, and gloves are all repro.

Originals are my Boxers, "A" shirt, wool uniform, trouser belt, helmet and liner, longunderwear, leggings, poncho, overshoes, and all my web gear. Field jacket is is either an original M-43 or sometimes an original M-41.

I mainly do Living History events and thats what I use.

 

For WWII tactical reenactments, I'll use a repro M-41, tanker bibs (if it's super cold), and sometimes a repro rifle sling.

 

 

But most of this stuff I have gotten so cheap, overshoes for $1, a full 1942 pup tent for $2, two FS SB helmets for $5, poncho for $4, 4 original M-41s for a total of $75, 4 original M-43s for $60, two full set of wools for $30, a 1943 cartridge belt for $0.25.

The stuff looks better and holds up better than ANY repro I have ever seen.

 

 

Tyler

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Cobrahistorian

I've always used original gear. Granted, my tactical days are ten years down the road, but even then, it was 99.9% original until companies produced runs of M42 mountain trousers and parkas, and even then I only got the trousers. Boots were really the only repro thing I used. I'm strictly a living history guy now, and mainly Air Corps, so all of my stuff is original. Less wear on it, and it only comes out a couple times a year.

 

I've always felt that original just LOOKS better.

 

Jon

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Great subject! It has changed for me over the years and depending on what I'm doing.

 

Since the 1990's I did mostly reenacting and wore mostly all original items and still do for those types of events.

 

Since i've been reenacting for the last few years I went from all original to currently replacing items with reproductions.

 

It's best to go down my WWII US Army impression ETO:

 

Helmet: Original trashed helmet that was restored to NOS. I used an original first time out and I simply don't want to ruin it.

 

Overseas Cap: I use an original with a blue pipping but want to replace it with repro as originals are difficult to find. I don't like the quality of ATF so I'm leaning to WWII Impressions.

 

Shirt: I use an original shirt but would like to replace it with a repo.

 

M41 Jacket: Repro is used, my original doesn't fit me anymore!

 

Pants: Again I grew out of all my pants and bought repro pants from ATF, very nice!

 

Leggings: I use originals as I just think that the repos will pop out eyelets. I don't want to spend $50 to find out when I can use inexpensive originals that prove they can hold up. Don't Plan on replacing

 

Boots: I used originals but they started to break in the upper heal area and the hard rubber has become smooth and dangerous in the field with slipping in the grass et al, I have work boots that look exactly like WWII boots that work great although I want to replace them with repos. Many of the repo boots just look OK although I know they will hold up.

 

Suspenders: I used originals and they broke in the field need to buy repos now.

 

Cartridge belt: Was using my original WWII USMC marked belt but because of the rarity I plan to buy a repo.

 

First Aid pouch: Original don't plan on exchanging

 

Canteen ans cover: I use original cover and canteen more on this below.

 

M-28 pack: Original as they are very plentiful and inexpensive. Don't plan on exchanging

 

 

As you can see there a few reasons why I went repo. First that not all the items hold up anymore and broke while I was using it. Second, I simply just grew out of my original collection that necessitated me to purchase repos.

 

Finally, things simply get lost and mixed up with unit gear regardless of how hard we try to make it that it doesn't. We have about 18 people in our unit and things like loaning gear out and forgetting to get things back, questionable new recruits, people loading the wrong items into another vehicle and simply misplacing them has made me go the direction of of repo so I can ID the item with a stamp or marker. I just don't want to mark up original gear.

 

I was missing a great dated 1943 canteen cover and 45 OD7 cartridge belt that I just recently got back from a reenactment that I did over a year ago. I believe when we were tearing down the tents that somebody grabbed them and put them in the wrong vehicle. It was nice to finally get them back but it made me rethink using my originals in the field.

 

We have 20+ of the same items can all start looking the same. No wonder there are original items with three or more name on them!

 

I do take great care of my items, keep them separated from the group and make sure all things are accounted for but accidents do happen when there are just so many friends and strangers around.

 

Leonardo

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2ndInf.Div.

Thank you everyone for the replies so far, this is turning out to be a great discussion! I would like to add more info than I did last night as I was on my iPhone when I made this :lol: First of all, I will have to agree uplandmod. Some items can and can't be used, it depends on condition, rarity/availability, and overall value. I have been doing WWII German for awhile now and I can honestly say that most German items HAVE to be repro, as leather gear does not hold up as well after 70 years, and the gear itself is usually very valuable. One piece of original German gear I often see in use are ammo pouches. Why? The best, and as far as I know only accurate, repro K98k ammo pouches are from ATF, and they go for $100. The other repros go for about $40-$50, but they are not nearly as accurate. Originals usually fetch around $40-$80 depending on condition and type. The same can be said with US field gear. Most equipment can be bought rather cheap, but if you buy repros you are most likely going to spend 2x-3x as much as you can have originals for. Currently I do Korean War living history and I would like to get into WWII and Vietnam next. So for living history original stuff isn't much of a big deal compared to actual reenacting where you're using it and roughing it up. Just my 2 cents :)

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

Mostly reproduction items except for some of the canteens, cups and covers, which are easy to get if they are semi-trashed. Helmets are restored original shells with restored liners. My Mussette bag's original and the compass is original but not much else.

 

I save most of the original items for static displays or sell it so I don't ruin it.

 

Rock

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strayduck230

Great thread!

I strictly do living history with the occasional patrol through the brush. I have always been a fan of original gear and uniforms. As of late, I have switched to repro uniforms so that I do not worry about them and I can trash them to get the combat look for our events. For field gear and such, i use all original. I have my stuff to wear and the other stuff to keep mint. I keep examples of both grades. Users and keepers.

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I've never re-enacted myself but over the years have been involved with many who do. Back in the day (70s/80s) before mass market repros became available it was the real McCoy...or nothing. I clearly remember two incidents which serve as a reminder of how "risky" it can be to use original items. Firstly...jumpsuits. These have always commanded high prices, even back then. If you wanted to re-enact airborne you had to find yourself an original jumpsuit which fit. Not an easy task! One guy I knew had a beauty! He wore it, took a tumble and blew out both knees! :o However, he had them patched in the manner of reinforced pants, but they were never quite the same after that! Another member of the same group had a nice pair of WW2 Corcorans which he used to wear. However, one day the soles just split across! It's a calculated risk. 65 year old gear can look sound but some fabrics weaken with time so there's always the risk of seams splitting, eyelets being torn out and leather straps snapping/cracking. You pay your money...you take your chances!

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For us I want the guys to have repro coveralls, 41's and boots and hats as I don't want a set of originals getting full of grease and oil and such.

 

 

Scott

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I started with original gear, as that was all there was. I remember Phyllis Rose Repro jumpsuits, and that was about the only copies on the market. It took time, but I was fitted top to bottom in original gear. I'm tall and square, so I wore "larger" sizes. 46L etc. Over the years, as the originals wore out, I couldn't always find replacements that fit, so I did without for a while. I finally broke down & bought a WWII Impressions shirt and was impressed because I couldn't tell the difference between my original and the repro - except the torn sleeve.

 

Since then, I've replaced worn out items with quality repros. I no longer reenact, but do living history, so the wear is minimal on originals. In museum settings, the repro pieces blend in so well I've been asked where those big-boy items came from. I still use 90% originals, but have a WPG 4 pocket, field jacket and socks. WWII Impressions has provided that shirt, an overseas cap, some other small pieces. ATF has provided some personal items, and anticipate a few nore purchases. Each of these items seem to pass as originals with few to no mods.

 

I did make some errors - Hong Kong Keith sent me some HBTs that were marginal & didn't wear well, not to mention the items I never got. Some cheesy 2 buckles weren't a good purchase, either. Most of the attempts to save money were errors, either in quality or appearance. I still buy originals to show, but any new wearables will be repro so the originals get minimal wear.

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2ndInf.Div.

I know double buckles were mentioned, and I have to ask where to get them from? ATF or WWII Impressions?

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Corpl. Cleaver
I know double buckles were mentioned, and I have to ask where to get them from? ATF or WWII Impressions?

 

 

I have had my WWII Impressions rough-outs for 4 or 5 years, and they just now need repairs.

I had my ATF double buckles for less then a year and they needed to get ripped apart and rebuilt.

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I don't re-enact so my opinion is coming from "outside" but I do have an opinion on the subject. I don't think that original vintage items should ever be worn for "wargaming" or re-enacting. Vintage is.....well, vintage. The material is old. the thread is old and weakened by age. If something happens to it, it's gone.....forever. I've read many posts about some very fine, very authentic replica uniform and other items that is available for sale.

 

If a repro item is damaged or destroyed....so what; just buy another one. If an authentic vintage item is lost damaged, or destroyed, it's gone; it will never be there again, at least in the same condition. The good repro items are perfectly adequate for an event of this sort. It's just not worth the risk to irreplaceable original items wearing/using them just to do this sort of thing.

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Doing re-enacting or airsoft is subject to breaking or damaging your gear.

I don't like to see this happens with original items.

Maybe your original gear is widely available today.

But that doesn't mean it would be the same 50 years later or so.

I can't imagine someone doing civil war re-enactment in period trousers or the like.

That's exactly what I was getting at in my post except that you've stated it much more succinctly.

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Its a good question mate and one I pondered on many times as I both re-enact and attend historical airsoft events. My impressions cover the US involvement in Vietnam and so while re-enacting, I try to use a much real and original items as possible. When airsofting, I still use 90% original gear, but throw in the odd repro bit here and there (such as repro 3rd pattern jungle trousers). To my knowledge, the only item of repro gear I use while both re-enacting and airsofting are my jungle boots.

 

Cheers,

 

Tom

I could possible see an argument for original, or mostly original stuff for displays.

 

I can't imagine any reason for wearing real, vintage items (not talking current stuff that is still produced) and subjecting it to the likes of paintball or airsoft, just to play at combat. I mean, it's not even re-enacting. It's just running around shooting each other with foam BBs. What possible reason would there be to subject old cloth and thread to this sort of abuse when current and repro stuff, that is still being made, would be quite sufficient for the purpose and would hold up to the stresses of this sort of playing.

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I can see your point of view, but in 7 years of 'wargaming' I've yet to damage my gear on the airsoft field. Someone mentioned higher earlier about 'high stress' items and for me that trousers and boots and so while on the airsoft field I use repro jungle trousers and jungle boots. I've always considered myself part airsofter, part re-enactor and part collector, however I guess I'm not enough of a collector to worry about some of these things. Maybe I've fallen into the thinking of they survived alot worse than me running around in a muddy english wood?

 

Still its interesting to see all these different points of view, especially from re-enactors and non re-enactors etc. I hope this thread continues to generate some friendly discussion.

 

Cheers all,

 

Tom

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Of course, the other benefit of using repro clothing rather than original items is the simple matter of sizing. In the pre-repro era (yes...there was a time when it was real or nothing...I know because I was there!) reenactors not only had to find the appropriate clothing, but clothing which actually fit! Not an easy task. These days, pretty much all sizes are available off-the-peg...even extreme sizes!! I've seen fully kitted-out "paratroopers" who would hardly fit through the door of a C-47...know what I mean?! :o

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2ndInf.Div.
Of course, the other benefit of using repro clothing rather than original items is the simple matter of sizing. In the pre-repro era (yes...there was a time when it was real or nothing...I know because I was there!) reenactors not only had to find the appropriate clothing, but clothing which actually fit! Not an easy task. These days, pretty much all sizes are available off-the-peg...even extreme sizes!! I've seen fully kitted-out "paratroopers" who would hardly fit through the door of a C-47...know what I mean?! :o

 

I've seen quite a few of them to tell ya the truth ;) I don't know if I have stated it or not, but I feel that for my living history displays (currently only Korea for me), there should be no problems having original items sitting out, as long as someone is keeping an eye on it all. Reenacting itself is a different story. For me especially (and I know quite a few reenactors), original stuff is actually much cheaper to get than repros. Although there are darn good repros out there, they usually cost twice the amount of originals depending on the item and where you get it from, and with Korea especially there are no period repro items unless if it's WWII (M43, buckle boots, etc.). So this is my take on it, actual reenacting: reproduction, living history displays: original or repro, preferably original. I feel like I kind of echoed my earlier post, but I have a hard time keeping track of what all I want to say :unsure: Keep the discussion going guys, this is great so far!

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I usually run original jacket and reproduction trousers and boots for my Vietnam gear. I'm probably going to switch to all reproduction uniform soon. Can't say much for field gear seeing as there isn't much reproduction web gear on the market (and most of what I've seen is cheap and inaccurate due to low quality foreign manufacturing).

 

Korea is one of those areas that needs more reproduction gear, and more overall attention. It is considered the forgotten war unfortunately.

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2ndInf.Div.
I usually run original jacket and reproduction trousers and boots for my Vietnam gear. I'm probably going to switch to all reproduction uniform soon. Can't say much for field gear seeing as there isn't much reproduction web gear on the market (and most of what I've seen is cheap and inaccurate due to low quality foreign manufacturing).

 

Korea is one of those areas that needs more reproduction gear, and more overall attention. It is considered the forgotten war unfortunately.

 

Agreed, I have no one to fight around here :blink: Where I'm from a local vet comes out to represent his unit from when he was in Korea, and he said his field jacket is an M51 reproduced in China? I don't remember the details of it, all I remember is him saying that.

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