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View Full Version : Authentic WW2 web belt and buckle. (Hopefully an anachronism!)



The Last Crusader
10-23-2010, 10:22 PM
Hi guys and gals!

Jacket topics seem to be the most popular around here, so I thought I throw something else in for a little diversity. ;)

In keeping with my quest for “authentic” looking gear, I have spent a lot of time acquiring Authentic WW2 Brass buckles and authentic brass tips. Inspired by Raider 57’s (from COW) father’s authentic WW2 web belt, I scoured the web for WW2 Solid Brass buckles. After collecting at least ten buckles, I found the one!!!

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/010-9.jpg

The WW2 buckles are a bit shorter and “squattier” looking than the new Brass Buckles, as seen in the photo below. The buckle on the top is my WW2 buckle and the one below it is the Brass Repro. The Repro was totally shiny when I got it and I sanded down the clear sealer and used "Midas Brass Bronze and Copper Oxidizer (#2 Red Brown to Black)" to weather it. It turned out pretty good, but still doesn’t compare to the real thing.

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/023-2.jpg

The webbing portions of the WW2 belts are usually too short to use for an Indy belt, because when worn in the military, the brass tab is worn flush with the edge of the buckle. Since Indy wore his with a generous amount of belt length hanging over, I had no luck finding the authentic webbing long enough to suit.

So, I found a couple of great reproduction WW2 belts that were 50” long. I like the extra touch of having “SEMS INC, 1942” stamped on the inside of the belt, just like the real deal. (Even though it doesn’t show when being worn.)

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/011-8.jpg

Here’s a comparison shot of the varied belt colors of the authentic webbing. The first two are reproduction webbing and the rest are all authentic. Also, compare the two buckles on the left. #1 is my WW2 favorite and #2 is the “new” distressed reproduction buckle. Notice the difference in buckle length; (WW2 buckle is more "squatty.") It's also interesting to compare the varied "weave" found between the different webbing. Even the weave is different between the first two, which are both WW2 reproductions.

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/028-1.jpg

The Solid Brass "belt ends" or “tabs” were found on the big auction site. They were unissued and came “open” so after some artificial distressing, I cut the webbing to size and clamped them on.

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/021-4.jpg

I know that the web belts in the movies were almost "background gear" and pretty much took a back seat to the more prominent gear and clothing pieces. The web belts are so subdued that it is difficult to even get really good screen caps of them. However, when I am wearing my gear and folks are standing directly in front of me, inspecting the gear at their leisure, I wanted the web belt to hold up to close scrutiny.

For me, the web belt has to be as anacronistic as the rest of the gear.

http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv94/tundrarider/006-5.jpg

Thanks for looking!!!

Michael

RCSignals
10-23-2010, 11:23 PM
Thanks Micheal.

I think the WW2 style buckle you show has been 'issue' for many years. That 'squatter', almost more gracious shape. I also have noticed some of the difference you mention with repros, and think the 'key' is in finding 'issue' or older genuine approved from one of the old kit/ accoutrement suppliers. (some of the repros are just brass plated steel)

What are the markings on the back of the genuine buckle? One thing is probably 'solid brass'. Another USA. Is there also a small anchor stamped?

Some of the 'Officers' personal purchase ones were apparently gold plated as well.

The Last Crusader
10-24-2010, 11:10 PM
Thanks, RC, for your interest and observations. Certainly a $5.00 web belt and buckle from a local surplus store will work just fine for an Indy outfit. Or Wade and Todd both supply good belts for a good price.

But the "authentic" look is my goal, not SA, so I decided to go down this road with the belt/buckle. It was actually a lot of fun!

The back of my favorite "gracious" (I like that term) buckle is stamped "Solid Brass." This one doesn't say "Made in USA" though some of the others I have do.

You probably know this; (I didn't :-[) but brass isn't magnetic, so a magnet is a good way to be sure about solid brass or brass plated. I actually confirmed the solid brass aspect with each seller before I purchased.

I assume that there were many companies contracted for these buckles during the war due to the amount needed. The Military probably provided basic specifications to each manufacturer that the buckle would have to meet. Since the specs were not exact, there were slight variations between size and shape.

Thanks for you post! :)

Michael

deadseascrolls
10-25-2010, 12:22 AM
Michael,

Thanks for posting this! As you're aware, I've been searching far and wide to find the most SA gear for my collection. My primary concern was tracking down the right color, which, I'm afraid, has been very hard to do thus far. But I was entirely content on incorporating a brand new buckle into my permanent collection. NOT ANYMORE! I never really gave the buckle any thought much. After all, you had even mentioned that most people don't even look at the buckle and probably wouldn't notice unless under close scrutiny. Well, if you know me, I'm one that will be knit-picking every thread of my gear so getting this tiny aspect correct is very important to me. I've seen many reproductions that have been artifically distressed, and while they look wonderful, I'd rather have the real thing for my permanent collection.

Your advice about what to look for, etc. will be very helpful as I begin my search for the right buckle. I would imagine they're a dime a dozen, so I may start at my local gun/militaria show. Who knows, perhaps a local vet would even sell me his!

Thanks again Michael! I'm VERY PLEASED your giving this piece of gear the attention it deserves.

DSS

The Last Crusader
10-28-2010, 03:27 AM
Thanks, DSS!

One thing of note; I know how important screen accuracy is to you. The WW2 buckle (and belt, most likely) is not screen accurate. I believe that for the films they just used your "off the shelf" surplus store web belt and buckle (the prop folks distressed them).

Don't believe they used the "squatty" WW2 style, but more like the one to the lower right on my second photo above. That buckle started off as a shiney solid brass reproduction which I aged as described in the post.

Good luck on your quest!

Michael

RCSignals
10-28-2010, 04:12 AM
You are probably correct on that Michael, but then again it's possible B+N already had actual WW2 era belts and buckle in their inventory as well as MkVII Gas mask bags.

Kt Templar
10-28-2010, 07:50 AM
They had, what's the word I'm looking for... 'CRAPLOADS'. :D

Angels, the current version of Bermans sold off a lot of old WWII costumes and bits last year. It was a warehouse full, looked like hundreds of boxes of stuff.

http://www.angels.uk.com/uniformsale09.html

faststreetsofhongkong
10-28-2010, 01:18 PM
Michael,

Great collection ... Glad to see someone posting on different pieces of gear & always good to learn something new.

deadseascrolls
10-28-2010, 02:45 PM
TLC, KT, FastStreets:

Thanks for the reply to my response. Indeed, you have nailed my OCD for SA when it comes to my permanent costume collection. I thought as well that, according to the screen stills I've been analyzing, that they may have used off the shelf web belts for CS. For those of you following this thread, that's what I'm particularly focusing on. I've seen on the extra features of the CS DVD that the prop house had to make a lot of things from scratch such as Mark VII bags, whip holders, and even bag straps. So it's possible they decided to use newer, distressed web belts. But it's also possible they may have used actual vintage ones as web belts are, perhaps, the most numerous item left from WWII and are widely available (and cheap for that matter). I'm one of those that can probably be considered lazy as I also do an extensive amount of WWII militaria collecting and am sure I've got at least a couple web belts here at home stored away. Now, it's just a matter of actually digging them out to see what the buckle looks like in comparison to the pictures and stills I've seen and use.

I'm really glad you put that link up KT! After seeing the pictures (and CRATES) of vintage and reproduction stuff, I almost cried at my desk that I was not a part of that. :'( :D What's more, I knew that even if I was a part of that auction, I'd never make it back to the US as I knew I'd probably be cashing in my plane tickets for more cash to buy things with! Never tempt a man beyond what he is capable of resisting --- unfortunately, this place would not work for me regarding that. ;)

Thanks to everyone for your very insightful comments. I'm really interested in this piece of gear and, like TLC, feel for me personally that it should be just right.

I've gotta run right now, but I'll chime back in later with a question on coloring of the web belt.

DSS