by: Patrick Selitrenny [ ]
I was quite surprised while browsing for new after-market items on the Web, but here it finally is, the long sought-after product I was still missing!
It is quite plainly a common decal sheet, yet crammed with all the correct sleeve patches for Canadian soldiers involved in Normandy (and elsewhere) in World War II. We have had all kinds of patches for other nations: U.S. Uniforms (dozens), Germans (can I still count all the variations?), and even British ones— see the now defunct Quartermaster series and Archer's dry transfers or Royal's own. Unfortunately, still missing are the 50th Northumbrian "Tyne & Tees" Infantry Division, the 51st "Highland," and the 53rd "Welsh" Infantry Divisions.
These markings were highly prominent on British and Commonwealth uniforms, and the soldiers who wore them did so with true pride. This is why it is so amazing to see just a fraction were represented. So far, the only ones that were available were from Archer, and deal mostly with the Third British Infantry Division, the Paratroopers and Commandos, as well as with Armoured Divisions.
Those who'd like to reproduce soldiers in 1/35 scale landing at Gold Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, have been left out. Not to mention some Scottish Highlanders lined up near Caen, or even near Arnhem later that year. Quartermaster (a Canadian-based decal producer of yesteryear) made a weak attempt to come out with (again!) the 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats, to be specific), the Royal Guards Armoured Division and some Special Forces (among them: the Royal Marine Commandos, the Special Air Service - SAS -, and Popski's Private Army). All nice and well, but as usual, too scarce to really be appreciated.
While I can understand the popularity of such subjects, especially those dealing with the desert war in North Africa, those more interested in the campaign in Europe after June, 1944 were left with the painstaking process of hand painting these patches under a microscope. The results are usually miserable, to say the least. Now, you may ask: what is so important in having a new sheet of decals dealing with Canadian Troops? After all, all they wore rectangular collared patches.
Wrong! They also wore the Regimental stripes and distinctive insignia above it. To reproduce these, one would have to use that microscope I mentioned to reproduce them in 1/35th scale.
I won't describe every tiny bit of what this sheet contains, for one reason because I would need to document myself a bit better about the subject first. I don't know all the Canadian Divisions and Regiments too well, but there are references online that give you clear hints on who did what and when). Suffice it to say that I immediately spotted the right patches for a unit that disembarked on Juno Beach during D-Day, and this for me, is more than enough. There is also a second sheet, which contains shoulder boards with higher rank pips and a load of other NCO ranks, as well as awards and breast insignias. I haven't bought this one, since I already have enough rank insignias on my old Quartermaster sheets, to last me a lifetime.
The shoulder boards included on the Peddinghaus sheet (like with their previous U.S. release), seem at first glance a bit over-sized. The only other downside of Peddinghaus in general still is and remains the lack of appropriate placement references, like for instance, with Archer, or as said, with Quartermaster. They just deliver the sheet, it’s up to you to do your own homework. The printed artwork for the patches is fair at this scale. Under a magnifying glass I thought I could spot a hint of fabric detail. The inscriptions are so tiny one should have an Eagle’s eye to be able to read them, but they are there and I would dare say that they match Archer's quality, although they are water slide decals and not dry transfers.
As stated before, I cannot give you all the details about these decals, since I myself am a big "ignoramus" on this subject and will have to further my research in order not to goof up badly. All I know is that there are patches for Canadian Infantry Divisions involved in Normandy on D-Day, some involved in later Operations throughout France, as well as patches for Armoured-, Tank Destroyer-, Artillery Regiments, Provosts (Military Police) and even for Canadian Paratroopers (including Breast Wings).
I am really satisfied to see that someone is finally moving in the right direction to help those like me who are either too lazy, or too clumsy (I am both) to paint in all those tiny, minuscule details by hand. Now if someone would be so kind as to reproduce the patches with "HD" for Highlanders, "W" for Welsh, and "TT" for Tyne & Tees, together with the Scottish Tartan variations for the Highlanders, I would finally be able to reproduce a scene at Pegasus Bridge, or a true scene about the landings at Gold Beach. In any case I can only recommend this, since it will surely help in the arduous task of identifying some of the Canadian forces who fought alongside the U.S. and British troops in WWII.
Click here for additional images for this review.
Highs: Well-printed, clear markings, with a hint of fabric textures. Unique subject, seldom seen on the market.
Lows: No instructions for correct placement. One has to do his own homework to find it out.
Verdict: All in all, because there are no other alternatives around, it comes highly-welcomed and recommended, but as said, you have to do the hard work.
Copyright ©2021 text by Patrick Selitrenny [ ]. All rights reserved.