In-Box Review
SS Shoulder Boards - Panzer
German SS Shoulder Boards for Panzer Units
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Let's face it: the Waffen-SS had the best gear-- and some of the more interesting uniforms. They set themselves apart from the regular army, yet followed its organizational outline, and used its classification into branches of service. Whatever your feelings about the Waffen-SS and its bloody history, if you plan or modeling the many kits with its figures, then you will be faced with the challenge of rendering the uniforms with the proper level of detailing. Archer Fine Transfers has captured their unique look in a series of uniform patches, shoulder boards and helmet markings for 1/35th scale. This review is of the panzer units shoulder boards.

The Wehrmacht 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.). Just like in the regular army, the branches of the Waffen-SS were classified by color (known as the Waffenfarbe, literally the "weapon color" but the meaning being closer to "branch of service color"):

Infantry: silver gray with white Waffenfarbe
Panzers: pink Waffenfarbe
Artillery: red Waffenfarbe
Panzergrenadiers: green Waffenfarbe
Recce: ocher Waffenfarbe

What you get

1 sheet of transfers
1 sheet of Wet Medium Paper
An instruction sheet


As I have mentioned in my other reviews of Archer Waffen-SS insignia, one of the advantages in modeling SS figures is their markings remained constant throughout the Third Reich. No Early War/Late War choices to be made, one set with handle all time periods of the Second World War.

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. Given the few photos I've seen with tankers in helmets, you can probably get by without that 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.


Whatever your opinion of the Waffen-SS, they make up a significant portion of the wartime history of the Wehrmacht, and their soldiers were considered among the crack troops of the Third Reich. Kit & figure manufacturers have devoted a significant number of offerings to them, so Archer’s uniform markings are a superlative way of representing them accurately in this scale.

You can find the other Waffen-SS shoulder board reviews by clicking on the links below:

Waffen-SS Artillery Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Reconnaissance Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Shoulder Boards
Waffen-SS Infantry Shoulder Boards

Our thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Please mention you saw them on Armorama when ordering.
Highs: Superb execution based on good research. Ample shoulder boards for 46 figures.
Lows: Perhaps too many officers and not enough grunts.
Verdict: Highly-recommended. You can't achieve this level of detailing with painting, or this level of ease with waterslide decals.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: FG35043B
  Suggested Retail: $12.95
  PUBLISHED: May 06, 2011

Our Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


Brian, this seems a trifle harsh, after all by definition these boards are going to be used on a black background, so this hardly seems an issue. I suspect theblack outline helps registration in printing. In any case, the construction of SS officers boards at least, especially for officer ranks of Sturmbannfuhrer and above involved the twisted cords on an underlay of waffenfarbe being sewn onto a black velvet or felt base, so there should be some slight outline of black anyway. In fact the presence or absence of this is a good way of spotting a fake! These straps would also be OK for Heer panzer crews wearing the black clothing.
MAY 06, 2011 - 11:52 AM
Brian, I again have to ask you to disclose to the members your role as one manufacturer criticizing the products of another.
MAY 07, 2011 - 09:09 AM

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