by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
HISTORYThe basic form of shelter for the U.S. soldier during World War II was the two-man pup tent made up of two shelter half pieces that fasten together with a row of buttons or snaps along the top. Early shelters used brass buttons to attach the halves and to close the flaps. Later shelters used snaps with the brass or steel hardware blackened. The buttons matched up to a row of button holes, while the snaps were two-sided. With either system, any pair of shelter half pieces could be fastened together with a watertight closure along the top line. The shelter half was approximately 7 feet long, 5 feet wide and 45 inches in height. The rectangular part of the shelter half formed the pitched roof of the tent while the triangular end formed the back wall at one end and a flap door at the other. The early shelters had no front flap so the tent was open to the elements. Grommets along the base of the tent had cord loops for the tent stakes. Each soldier was issued a shelter half with a folding or 3-piece tent pole, 5 tent stakes and approximately seven feet of rope. The shelter half coloring ranged from khaki or olive drab #3 to the darker olive drab #7. When the tent material was khaki, the poles and stakes were unpainted, plain wood. When the color olive drab #7 was used, the poles and stakes were painted to match. Ideally two soldiers would be able to pair up and assemble their individual quarters together to form one shelter. However an individual soldier could set up his quarter as a small lean-to type of shelter to sleep under or to use as a rain or wind shield or simply as a ground cover or blanket.
THE KITJ’s Work has released WWII U.S. Army Shelter Tent, number PPA3077, in 1/35 scale in their Diorama Accessories Series, and it comes with two separate two-man tents which depict two US shelter quarters combined to form a two-man tent during World War II. The modeler gets two tents in two different colors, khaki or olive drab #3 and olive drab #7. The kit is made in China and it is in the “14” range meaning that it is suitable for ages 14 to adult.
THE PACKAGINGThe kit comes sealed within a clear plastic bag which contains the single paper-sheet kit itself as well as the instruction sheet.
THE INSTRUCTION SHEETThe instruction sheet included in the kit is a single-page very basic assembly guide. I personally would have liked to have seen a better detailed sheet including a few step-by-step instructions in regards to the folding order and which portions to glue.
THE KITThe kit comes with one paper sheet containing two pre-cut United States military shelters in two different period-appropriate colors, khaki or olive drab #3 and olive drab #7. The shelters come with perforations to make it easy to make all of the folds. The shelters can be assembled with one end closed and the other end open or they can be assembled with both ends closed. I think that another option available to the modeler would be to cut the shelter in half along the center line to create the actual individual shelter halves themselves.
ASSEMBLYThe assembly is very straightforward and is very easy to understand. Being pre-cut the shelters are easy to remove from the main sheet, but the modeler will need to remove the small attachment points left behind from removing the shelters. There is no recommended adhesive listed on the instruction sheet or on the J’s Work website. I would recommend basic white glue or a glue stick. I assembled these with a glue stick as I like the way it works and the adhesion is all but immediate. The shelters were easy to fold into the correct shape due to the perforations. There are flaps on both ends of the shelter to use for gluing. Once I glued them into place I was able to make the final creases to put the shelter into its correct shape. The completed shelters measure 3 7/8 inches long, 1 ¾ inches wide and 1 1/8 inches high. I placed a 1/35 scale US figure in the pictures for scale comparison. The completed shelters could easily be used in a diorama or vignette setting without much work other than some scratch-built details and some weathering.
CONCLUSIONAll in all this is a decent set of shelters. I was impressed with the detailing on such a simple item. With scratch-built tent poles and tent stakes along with some thread or scale rope it would be very easy to detail these shelters. I like the kit and I feel that anyone who purchases it will be pleased as well. I would have no hesitation to recommend this kit to others.