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Used original gear for reenactments?


BrokenShovelDude
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BrokenShovelDude

I've noticed many reenactors use a mix of repro and original gear that looks fairly new or is mint. I was wondering if using a mix of "used" original gear and aged reproductions is acceptable among reenactors. (Used imo meaning pretty worn down, almost salty gear) Honestly, I feel that having gear that has a fair amount of wear looks a little more authentic. What do you fellas think? I'm considering joining a unit near by and any input would be great.

 

Thanks

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I've noticed many reenactors use a mix of repro and original gear that looks fairly new or is mint. I was wondering if using a mix of "used" original gear and aged reproductions is acceptable among reenactors. (Used imo meaning pretty worn down, almost salty gear) Honestly, I feel that having gear that has a fair amount of wear looks a little more authentic. What do you fellas think? I'm considering joining a unit near by and any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

I attended the big show this year at Fort MacArthur in Los Angeles where something like 60+ reenactment groups were present and I have to say that guys walking around in fresh minty gear look like store mannequins, not warriors. If you get repros, roll it around in the dust and walk over it. As far as using original stuff: I've have had lots and lots of belt, canteens and other field gear and most of it is still very tough and often cheaper to buy than repros.

 

If you look at photos, it's clear that guy who went into combat in WWII through Vietnam, certainly, did not look too fresh and minty for very long

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I have been using all original gear since I started in reenacting back in 2002.

I have decided to stop when I had an unfortunate incident. I have a pretty nice looking 1942 dated canteen cover that I use for living history (not for rolling around in the mud with). The cover seemed strong and never gave me a problem until this past Reading air show. I went to lift one of the snaps and it tore through the cover. I was devastated and kicking myself for ever using it.

Repro gear is starting to come in price enough were I think it is practical to start using it. I am taking a break from reenacting for some personal reasons, but when I am ready to go back full swing it will be with a set of repro gear.

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Price and rarity, I use entirely original gear that I bought years ago when it was available. The the stuff I bought to use would be called excellent or near mint today. If you find readily available used gear by all means buy it and use it. They made 3 million pistol belts, perfect specimines are common and if you use an original to shreads (which takes a long time) so what. Then there will be 2.999million? In any event, I've long marvelled that they can sell repro field gear when many of the items they sell are more expensive than the original. If you take care of the original gear it will still be worth something later on and the repro will be worth zip. Just my 2cents.

T. Bowers

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Price and rarity, I use entirely original gear that I bought years ago when it was available. The the stuff I bought to use would be called excellent or near mint today. If you find readily available used gear by all means buy it and use it. They made 3 million pistol belts, perfect specimines are common and if you use an original to shreads (which takes a long time) so what. Then there will be 2.999million? In any event, I've long marvelled that they can sell repro field gear when many of the items they sell are more expensive than the original. If you take care of the original gear it will still be worth something later on and the repro will be worth zip. Just my 2cents.

T. Bowers

 

Ha, T Bowers, It just hit me.

I first met you at Odessa 2002. I was 17 and you my friend Mike and some other kid went out and dug foxholes along the woods. We were the only ones to not sleep in tents that night. Do you remember by any chance?

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Ha, T Bowers, It just hit me.

I first met you at Odessa 2002. I was 17 and you my friend Mike and some other kid went out and dug foxholes along the woods. We were the only ones to not sleep in tents that night. Do you remember by any chance?

Sure do, That was a swell event, we were the only ones who really got it right (well except for getting captured by the Germans) but at least we gave as well as we got! I'm living in South Carolina now but I'm hoping to be up in Reading next year for the 20th anniversary WWII Weekend.

Tom Bowers

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Sure do, That was a swell event, we were the only ones who really got it right (well except for getting captured by the Germans) but at least we gave as well as we got! I'm living in South Carolina now but I'm hoping to be up in Reading next year for the 20th anniversary WWII Weekend.

Tom Bowers

haha I was the one in the hole with Tom man that was a long time ago.....

 

 

Cody McCauley

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I used original field gear, guns and helmet when I do US ww2 impression. Only the uniform and boots are repro.

In vietnam impression, all original the same as british.

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haha I was the one in the hole with Tom man that was a long time ago.....

 

 

Cody McCauley

 

Man too cool, you just never know who you're going to run into in the hallowed halls of the US militaria forum. You guys should PM me and let me know what you're up to. I've hijacked this thread long enough

T. Bowers

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I use an Original M1 front seam and web gear with 1918 canteens and a July 44 Garand. At one time I even had NOS service shoes and Leggings, but retired them for Repro. For clothing, repro all the way as the original stuff is too valuable, IMO.

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Though I am leaning towards the "wear original" trend, I would like to make a couple of observations:

 

Original is cheaper in many cases than repro, and better...

 

Original gear, or uniforms where brand new and not 60 years old (though some gear was WWII dated by that time, but it was new old stock (?))...

 

Had a nice pair of mountain pants (and we know how rare these are), wore them on La Defensa in Italy on a field trip, camping out etc...They got ripped to bits, which reinforced the idea that in combat, uniforms didn't really last long, and I was only walking through the shrub, not rolling around in it!

 

One day, all original will be gone if we keep wearing it till it's shredded...

 

Wear original on living history displays...

 

Don't do battles, but if I did, it would be repro...

 

Wear repro (within reason - mentioned above) on field trips to the likes of the Italian mountains, but in parades etc like our recent trip to southern France where the gear ain't gonna get abused, wear original...

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I'd like to thank those who wear original WW2 gear for battles. You're increasing the value of my stuff. :)

 

I wear repro for WW2, except for helmet. After 6 events, you'll look authentic enough.

 

For VN, I wear all original (except boots) because there isn't repro available (yet).

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It depends what I'm doing. My uniforms are all repro. apart from my shirts as I'm too large to find much original clothing in decent condition without breaking the bank. I have a few sets of field gear depending on what I'm doing, good/unissued original stuff for display/fairly static use, used original stuff for field use and high end repro. of the rarer stuff or for things when I know it will get really trashed. I try and fit in the stuff I use with what I am actually portraying, I went to the Ardennes in January portraying a member of 504th P.I.R., my M1943 uniform and boots were repro. but in newer condition than my fieldgear which was all fairly well used original. My thinking was that a member of the 504th could have had the same fieldgear for quite some time, but the M1943 clothing would have been fairly new to them at that point, though probably not quite as new and shiny as I was. I have no objection to using reproduction items if I satisfy myself that they are comparable in quality and detail to original examples. Why destroy the valuable historical object I've spent my hard earned cash on when I can trash a modern reproduction made specifically for just that purpose? I know the stuff may not be original wartime manufacture, but technically speaking, neither am I! I think that it's just a cse of putting a bit of extra thought into what you are portraying, the time-frame, scenario, location and adjusting what you use to suit depending on what you have available.

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I'd like to thank those who wear original WW2 gear for battles. You're increasing the value of my stuff. :)

 

I wear repro for WW2, except for helmet. After 6 events, you'll look authentic enough.

 

For VN, I wear all original (except boots) because there isn't repro available (yet).

 

http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/reenactors/index.asp

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Something to consider is your size. The average Homo Sapien is larger now than 65 years ago. I'm 6' 2" 240lbs which precludes me from owning (for wear) many original uniforms. Of the dozen or so uniforms I have, only one is original WWII. When something in my size comes up for sale on ebay, the bidding is fast and furious and goes for an extreme premium over the smaller sizes. Personally, I prefer original at all events I go to, especially the Living History events where the uniform is unlikely to get damaged and save the repro for running around in the bushes. If you do wear repro, at least make it look like it's seen some wear and tear and there's usually no reason why your LBE or web gear can't be original. Derek.

 

 

 

Though I am leaning towards the "wear original" trend, I would like to make a couple of observations:

 

Original is cheaper in many cases than repro, and better...

 

Original gear, or uniforms where brand new and not 60 years old (though some gear was WWII dated by that time, but it was new old stock (?))...

 

Had a nice pair of mountain pants (and we know how rare these are), wore them on La Defensa in Italy on a field trip, camping out etc...They got ripped to bits, which reinforced the idea that in combat, uniforms didn't really last long, and I was only walking through the shrub, not rolling around in it!

 

One day, all original will be gone if we keep wearing it till it's shredded...

 

Wear original on living history displays...

 

Don't do battles, but if I did, it would be repro...

 

Wear repro (within reason - mentioned above) on field trips to the likes of the Italian mountains, but in parades etc like our recent trip to southern France where the gear ain't gonna get abused, wear original...

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Dirteater101

Another thing to consider. Suppose you do have a set of original web gear in good shape. The Governments of the world made millions of pieces of this stuff. It is not that rare. The really nice stuff (for the U.S. at least) is sitting in a crate in the ordinance museum.... Thousands of pieces!

So really what is the point of having something that you have in a display case? It is not one of a kind is it? You should wear it. My experience on most repros is that they are made far more inferior than its 60+ year old counterpart. Eyelets go out after one day in the field, belt hooks shred after two events. The original stuff was made to be durable, and dare I say it "solder proof".

The main reasons why the original prices have gone up is due to we collectors and the "ebay effect". My first cartridge belt was $15. Got that a gun show long ago. The next show they were $20, the next show $30 and they were still selling. Shortly there after someone got $65 for a c-belt on ebay, so the other sellers thought that "well this one sold for $65, I can get $65 too"... Capitalism in action! God help you if there is a movie or a mini series out that features that item, expect prices to go up! Remember when airborne gear was the same price as infantry gear??

 

My .36 cents (after taxes)

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I no longer do the “running around burning blanks” thing. I do a lot of events, but they’re all displays or parades, so wearing original stuff isn’t that big a deal when you’re not beating it up. Whatever uniforms I wear, I could easily use original everything if I wanted to (as I have plenty that fits), but I mostly use reproduction cloth uniform parts so I don’t eventually wear them out. Boots, too. But I agree with the others who say that original gear is much sturdier and to me, just “looks” more correct to me when it’s in good condition. I got into WW2 stuff in the late 80s, when you could find new condition items easily. For example, I have a M1928 haversack setup from when I started re-enacting in the 90s. It was new old stock and still looks great. Same with most of my other gear, none of it looks beat up. But no matter what, people immediately recognize that my NOS gear is indeed original. Nobody ever asks if a certain item is a reproduction, they always ask where I found that item in such good condition. People can just tell by looking, I think that says a lot. But if I had to do it all now with the prices involved, yeah, I might be doing repro if I’d had to start all over today.

The really nice stuff (for the U.S. at least) is sitting in a crate in the ordinance museum.... Thousands of pieces!
Arrgh! There is no "I" in Ordnance! :blink: Sorry, but that’s a pet peeve of mine having been in the branch on active duty.
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Dirteater101

.Arrgh! There is no "I" in Ordnance! :blink: Sorry, but that’s a pet peeve of mine having been in the branch on active duty.

 

Hey to me Ordinance is dropped from the bottom of an aircraft of fired from a weapon, not a corps.... Sorry, zoomie tendency....

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