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Panzer Unit References

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  • Member since
    June 2020
Panzer Unit References
Posted by Panzernoob on Saturday, June 6, 2020 3:17 PM

I feel like this question is probably asked too frequently,  but I'm terrible at data mining and after tons of broken links and deadends...  I give up. So, I am looking for good reference photos, preferably color, for German armor specific to their units. For example to find a Grossdeutschland Panzer IV F1 and see the camouflage and unit markings. I know there is not an exact pattern and crews work differed etc, but I'm looking for real vehicles to imitate. I see a lot of the same images regurgitated,  but not real photos.  I don't necessarily want to paint someone else version of what they think the pattern is (which includes a model company). I see a lot of contradictions and bad information out there as well. 

I do have the old panzer colors volumes enroute, so that will help, but the more the better. Though new to fine scale modeling, I am a bit OCD. To me, the more historically accurate the better. Despite the fact that "there is no one right way", to me, if there is accurate historical evidence for a vehicle, I want to make that vehicle. There may not be only one right way, but there are definitely wrong ways.

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Monday, June 8, 2020 6:25 PM

it would help to know what you are trying to do.

Vehicles, armour etc. up to February 1943 were painted an overall RAL 7021 Panzer Grey.

Basic search on google pulled this up.

The F1 was produced to an extent of 464 units, until its replacement in March 1942.

The GD Panzer Regiment was operating the long barreled F2 by the summer of 1942

Notice the divisional insignia, the white stalheim on the left rear mudguard.

  • Member since
    June 2020
Posted by Panzernoob on Monday, June 8, 2020 9:57 PM
I'll answer in two parts. Part one, just a quick clarification....I was hoping to identify some resources whether they be books, websites, magazines... (whatever) which I can refer to see a bunch of variations on what was actually out in the field (for tanks). So, for the example we have been using, yes, the PzIV in Dunkelgrau would be standard, but the inefficiency of the color to effectively blend forced field camouflage (right?), so I've seen tanks painted with the signalbraun to break it up. I've seen models where it was striped, random swirl (similar to old US tricolor camouflage uniforms) and then more like a tigers stripes. So, that being said, if I wanted to find that same tank after the men in the GD spruced it up and compare it to say how the SS troops of Das Reich did theirs, or even what natural or non-paint camouflage was added... I'm having trouble locating those resources. I felt that if I could find a particular tank, I could recreate that tank rather than creating an imitation and making up a fictitious tank number and just throwing it into a unit (so to speak). Part two: I used the GD as an example because of their fame, but I've actually got the Trumpeter Late Model Tiger coming... so that's the one I'll be working. It's in 1/72 scale and I have some 1/72 scale SS troops I'm working too... so in this case I'd like to put together an appropriate SS diorama scene. Keeping in mind, I'm just a beginner so I have to keep it reasonably open... I don't want to narrow myself to a particular battle, but I want everything to be appropriate. Also, I cant emphasis how bad I am at Googling, though I did find that top picture you included Appreciate any help you give.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 3:47 AM

The problem is that people are coming up with images or models based on what they think the pattern is because they have no choice. 99.9% of the time we have to make a best guess. There may only be one image of a certain tank, chances are it will be B&W. It may be partially obscured. What your asking for is in the hands of the Reich Properganda ministry and individuals with a camera.

I aim to make my models as historically accurate as possable, but i know there are limitaions. At least with German aormour the number of offical colours are limited. You should try this with late war aircraft.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: Revell 1/72nd Type VIIc U-Boat

  • Member since
    November 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 5:02 AM

There is much around on the internet and indeed, we are really at the mercy of the Reich Propoganda Ministry as Bish says.

Generally speaking all vehicles from 1940-43 were RAL 7021. Some units at the front in Russia May have used some other colour as well to try and break up their outline. In reality, a trip to German Archives to go through regimental records and photographs is the real way to do it.

In the meanitime, because it didn't happen properly in my PM here's the photos.

Top Row, Left to right, RAL 6003, followed by Afrika Korps colours

Bottom Row from left Dunkelgelb Nach Muster followed by the 4 RAL 7028 shades. RAL 8017, RAL 1001, RAL 8012 (primer) RAL 7021.

Original Dunkelgelb Nach Muster and RAL 7028 shades in daylight, order of usage.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 5:32 PM

There's another aspect which can confuse.

Some of the vehicles used were so few in umber that research can easily catalog them all.  So, people can argue from the recorded histories of specific vehicles.

Some of the captured vehicles are also extremely well known, too.

But plenty of other vehicles were in vast numbers, which makes arguing from the specific to the general a complicated task.  And, from Specific to General back to Specific harder still.

Probably your best bet are finding Orders of Battle for a given organization.  If you know that XX Regemient fielded Batialions YY, ZZ, etc. which then fielded Companies and platoons with specific vehicles.

At which point you can scour the references and images to see what they were doing.  Remembering that German doctrine was to employ as much camouflage as possible, paint, vegetations, etc.

What can be easier is to find an image that captures your attention, and focus upon that one specific vehcile.

Maybe.  Perhaps.  Your Mileage May Vary.

And never lose sight of the valuable people here.  Many of them have significant libraries of info at their hands.  If you post a photo, and it's track 121 of a given Abteilung of some Reginment, and ask, "What would the Platoon Leader's track look like based on this?"  Probably be more than a little bit of help in that.

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 6:30 PM

    One thing I can add to this discussion honestly is DO NOT reference live museum pieces for paint reference. There are a few who get it right however most are just basic to the timeline inwhich the vehicle was used.

  I also don't want to be a crumudgen but my brother is OCD about factual representations, I feel that it is OK to do your research, it is OK to ping anybody for help, just please understand WWII was 75yrs ago, most of the actors have left us so as modelers we are left with restored artifacts put together by people who may not have been in action at the time.

    My deepest apologies for the long post, I think your post just hit alittle close to home. I look forward to seeing your finished and correct models. Good luck, have fun, and HAPPY MODELLING.

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    June 2020
Posted by Panzernoob on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 10:20 PM

I totally agree. That's one reason why I had thought using photos and unit specific information might help to mitigate the toll time takes on facts and the distortion which inevitably results. To be honest, it kind of saddens me to think that it is so hard to get correct information and images of items which dominated the European landscape for years (and certainly proved to be a major influence on history), yet at the same time I can easily find the correct shade of a celebrity's lipstick or their favorite [whatever item]. Having both served in the military and studied history, I am passionate about these topics as well and wish to do them justice. I find it frustrating to have such a difficult time to find the truth and accuracy.

  • Member since
    June 2020
Posted by Panzernoob on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 10:57 PM
Also, please don't interpret my peculiar view/take on what constitutes historical accuracy as looking down on other renditions of what may have been. I have seen some pieces done with skill levels I could only dream about acquiring. In many ways I wish I had the vision/imagination to think outside of my box. That isn't something I seem to be good at though. I definitely support those who can and fully appreciate good work when I see it. I have no doubt that once I grow through my learning curve and become comfortable with what can and cant be reasonably recreated I will create models in a much different fashion. Definitely open to any ideas and anything that increases my skill level. Every shared idea can be an opportunity to better myself with this.
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 12:37 AM

Just some notes. Grossdeutschland was an Infantry regiment thru Barbarossa and 1941. In 1942 it was expanded into a Motorized Infantry Division. So for the period when the Panzer IV F1 was being fielded in 1941, the unit would have no Panzer element. 

 

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  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 8:02 AM

   No worries Panzernoob, as I stated it hit alittle close to home. My apologies that ya felt I was cross or un caring aboit your desire, and be sure I DID NOT nor DO I judge a person purely on what is said on the forums. If I had met you in person and knowen you for 10yrs then I would rib yaWink until then I will help as much as I can.

    It's all good.

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    March 2019
  • From: Tacoma, Washington
Posted by Coffeepoweredprof on Thursday, July 2, 2020 2:38 PM

There's been a lot of great advice here already, but I can attest that if we can decide on a particular unit and time frame, researching colors, camo schemes, and vehicle modifications becomes much simpler.

There are huge ranges of books out there that chronicle individual units and tank types, though color photos from the period are rare to say the least.

Thomas Anderson's "Sturmgeschutz" is replete with great photo reference of how crews kitted out their vehicles. The "Achtung Panzer" series is also a useful reference though full disclosure, most of the photos are of museum pieces, and the text will be problematic if you can't read Japanese. The series is, however, excellent at showing the various modifications made between versions of tanks, eg: changes in exhaust types from Panthers D to A to G.

Panzerwrecks' "Panzers in Berlin 1945" is one of the best references I've seen since it is very specific, has lots of photos I've not seen elsewhere, and has great detail photos that us modelers love. Again, full disclosure, it's not cheap, I think I snagged one for $50 and that was a steal (neither is the Achtung Panzer series because it's been out of print for around 20 years, but it's not too bad if you're willing to troll eBay.)

  • Member since
    June 2020
Posted by Panzernoob on Saturday, July 4, 2020 5:26 PM

Thanks Coffeepoweredprof. That's actually perfect. Those books are exactly the kind of repository of pictures and knowledge I'm looking for. I think having a large colleciton of various photos at my finger tips is really what I was after. Even if I can't get the unit specific markings the way I originally imagined, I still like the idea of not having to scour the internet looking for photos I like. I'm a little old school in that way. I don't mind computers, but I really like having a hardcopy book or photo in front of me. If there are any other series or books similar to these that you enjoy, I'd be happy to hear about them. Feel free to PM me if you think no one else would have interest. In particular, if you know of anything reprinted or done recently... I had heard a rumor from the local model shop that someone was doing something very similar to the Panzercolors series, kind of their version of a Panzercolors update, if you will, but they never heard if it got published (my thought is no). Also, I like the New Vanguard/Osprey books as reference information. If anyone knows of anything like these that would be great too.

Thanks all.

  • Member since
    March 2019
  • From: Tacoma, Washington
Posted by Coffeepoweredprof on Monday, July 6, 2020 1:20 AM

Glad to be of service, and I understand *exactly* what you mean about preferring a paper reference book. Google Image Search has its uses, but for modeling, it's simply no substitute for a good book.

I was going to recommend the Osprey series, as I've found them to be helpful, though most of their color material will be illustrations. I have found Wade Krawczyk's "German Army Uniforms of World War III" to be helpful since it's all photos of real models wearing a mix of original & reproduction gear (though this book can be skipped if one is not inclined to include figures with one's models.)

George Forty and Thomas L. Jentz have both written extensive works on German armor with excellent photo reference, some of which is difficult/impossible to find elsewhere. Dennis Oliver has a really nice series focusing mainly on German armor, and his books include a section purely about models of the subject, the companies that make those models (Academy, Dragon, Tamiya, etc) as well as companies that produce replacements and accessories like track and photo etch sets.

The Tiger B is my favorite WWII tank, so I've got some books on that in particular. It's not cheap, but Waldemar Trojka's book on the King Tiger is gigantic, and probably the most helpful book I've read on the subject. It cost a pretty penny to ship it from the publisher in Poland, but it was 11/10 worth it for me.

If you find yourself in need of some more esoteric information, like for example, how the Tiger I's radio set is wired, small publishers/distributors like For the Historian have book lines that can be helpful. In this case, they released an English translation of the Tigerfibel - the manual given to Tiger crews during the war. It's amazingly well-written, such that even a poorly-educated draftee or a nerd 70+ years later can make easy sense of it.

My last recommendation is Yoh Morinaga's "Panzertales." Made to accompany a line of 1/144 models for the World Tank Museum in Japan, English translations are tricky to come by, but well worth the wait. It's not especially helpful as a model reference, but the illustrations are in a really cool comic style, and it's loaded with information about what it might have been like to actually fight in the tanks. It also doesn't take itself too seriously, which can be a breath of fresh air.

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Monday, July 6, 2020 11:12 AM
In regards to the old Panzer Colors volume do not rely on the the books as they are very dated and full of inaccurate info. Such as saying in 1945 the Germans went back to using old stocks of Panzergrau along with many more errors throughout the three volumes. Bill Murphy who co-wrote the first volume did have a website where he listed all the errors in the books however I can’t find the page right now.
 
 
The books are good for the photos I’d just take a lot of writing with a grain of salt and also the color plates. They are a product of the time yet the photos are still worth it.

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by Ixion on Monday, July 6, 2020 11:30 AM
  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Monday, July 6, 2020 12:09 PM

Ixion

Much obliged; been trying to find that page for some time.

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