The grenadier evolved from shock troops in the 17th Century who literally were tasked with throwing grenades into fortified positions. Like today’s baseball players, the biggest, strongest men were picked to be grenadiers, and over the centuries, the term came to denote specialized elite forces whose job was to break the enemy’s lines. Foot grenadiers became mounted heavy cavalry, after which it was a short extension to motorized shock troops, the Wehrmacht’s Panzergrenadiers.
The impression persists that Germany’s armed forces rode around in half-tracks storming whatever position needed storming, but in actuality, most of the infantry walked to wherever they were going to fight, whether across the road network of Western Europe or the trackless steppes of the Ukraine and Russia. Panzergrenadiers were the exception, not the norm, and as such were the elite shock troops of both the regular army and the Waffen-SS. Archer Fine Transfers, as part of their series of Waffen-SS uniform markings, has five sets of shoulder boards devoted to the major branches of service:
silver gray with white Waffenfarbe
The Wehrmacht, including the Waffen-SS, used these “boards” (really stiff fabric loops attached at the shoulder) to supplement the collar tabs that showed rank and membership in the various branches of service (infantry, panzers, etc.). The branches were classified by color (known as the Waffenfarbe
, literally the "weapon color" but the meaning being closer to "branch of service color"). This review is for the Panzergrenadiers.
What you get
1 sheet of transfers
1 sheet of Wet Medium Paper
An instruction sheet
One of the good things about modeling the Waffen-SS is their insignia remained constant throughout the Third Reich. With the regular army, there are early war and late war shoulder boards to choose, which requires some research into what the figures you’re modeling were wearing at that particular time. While the exigencies of war meant that some soldiers were undoubtedly wearing some EW items midway through the conflict, the lifespan of a garment was not such that you can use the EW markings for the Battle of Berlin. With the Waffen-SS, you can.
This set includes shoulder straps for forty-six figures starting with grunts (Schütze
or private”) all the way up to Standartenführer
(colonel). They will need to be coupled with the SS Uniform Patches set by Archer (reviewed here on Armorama
). The instruction sheet shows which rank goes with which straps, as well as the proper collar patches and sleeve ranks (also included in the Patches set). If your figure is wearing a helmet without camo covering, then you'll also need the German helmet insignias set
As with other Archer Fine Transfers uniform patches, these are among the best items in their catalog, both for the attention to detail and the precision of the execution. Once again, the research is by Roddy MacDougall
. This is the kind of detailing that is simply impossible to hand paint, and the few water-slide decals out there are infuriating to apply to figures this small. I have used the Archer Wet Medium Paper on other projects, and the results are truly eye-opening: if you have never used dry transfers or have been afraid to try them, this should push you over the edge.
The Wet Medium Paper isn’t a gimmick, it really is Archer’s recommended way of applying these transfers. Their website has simple instructions on how it’s done, but basically you apply the dry transfer to the Wet Medium Paper, then briefly soak it in water. The decal comes free then, and you simply guide it onto the place you want it. Unlike waterslide decals, there is no “selvage” or other transfer film to cause silvering.
Since tanks and halftracks are our bread & butter, this set seems ideally-suited for adding that finishing touch to a build, figure or diorama. Kit & figure manufacturers have devoted a significant number of offerings to the Waffen-SS, so Archer’s uniform markings are the perfect way of representing them accurately in this scale.
You can find the other Waffe-SS shoulder board reviews by clicking on the links below:
Waffen-SS Artillery Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Reconnaissance Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Infantry Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Armored Shoulder Boards
Our thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Please mention you saw them on Armorama when ordering.