by: Randy L Harvey [ ]
The World War II German Zeltbahn (ground tent) individual shelter quarter served both as a tent and as a poncho. It was made of highly water-repellent duck cloth in the form of a triangle approximately 6 feet 3 inches along the base and 8 feet 3 inches along the other two sides. There were buttons and buttonholes on all three edges. The shelter quarter was covered with various camouflage patterns with some having different patterns on each side, greens on one side and browns on the other. Along with the Zeltbahn each soldier was issued two tent pins and one tent-pole section for use when the shelter quarter was made into a tent.
Ordinarily four men put their sections together to make a small pyramidal tent. Other combinations were possible; the most common being eight and 16-man tents. The eight-man tent was constructed by erecting two three-sided pyramids and buttoning an inverted shelter half in the space between them. The 16-man tent was made by joining four of the long sides of the eight-man tent. A regular, four-section, pyramidal tent was erected on this base. The tent stood over 9 feet high. When worn as a poncho, the shelter quarter provided good protection from rain because of its excellent water-repellent property. The soldier's head was inserted through a slit with the narrow point of the triangle in front. The two rear points were brought forward and buttoned together. Slits were left open for the arms, where the poncho draped like sleeves. Motorcyclists and bicyclists could also fasten the shelter quarter around the thighs to cover and offer protection for their legs.
Jís Work has released WWII German Army Shelter Tent, number PPA3078, in 1/35 scale in their Diorama Accessories Series and it comes with four separate German shelter quarters which can combined to form a four-man tent during World War II. The kit is made in China and it is in the 14 range meaning that it is suitable for ages 14 to adult.
The kit comes with one paper sheet with four pre-cut individual German shelter quarters in Splittertarnmuster or Splittertarn (splinter-pattern) Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 camouflage pattern which was a four-color military camouflage pattern developed by Germany. The pattern consists of a disruptive, zig-zag pattern of hard-edged wood-brown and medium green polygons printed on a light field-grey or tan background. A random pattern of green dashes, called "raindrops", was applied in places to improve the camouflage effect. The shelters come with perforations to make it easy to make all of the folds. The shelter quarters can be used to make a four man tent or they could be used individually if desired. Although I did not try it I am sure that the shelter quarters could be placed on a 1/35 scale figure as a poncho. An additional benefit with the kit, after the construction, is the left over camouflage sections on the sheet that is left behind after the four sections are removed. These will prove to be a valuable asset to the modeler as the pieces can be used to scratch-build shelter quarters that are folded, wadded up, hanging from a branch or a piece of equipment, thrown on the ground, etc.
The 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 kit comes sealed within a clear plastic bag which contains the single paper sheet kit itself as well as the instruction sheet.
The assembly is very straight forward and is very easy to understand. Being pre-cut the shelter quarters are easy to remove from the main sheet. The modeler will need to remove the small attachment points left behind from removing the shelters from the main sheet. There is no recommended adhesive listed on the instruction sheet or on the Jís Work website. I would recommend the 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. The flaps on the sides of each shelter quarter make it convenient to glue the pieces together. Once I glued them into place I was able to make the final creases to put the shelter into its correct shape. The completed shelter measures 2 3/4 inches wide at the base on all four sides and 1 1/2 inches high. I placed a 1/35 scale German figure in the pictures for scale comparison. The completed shelter could easily be used in a diorama or vignette setting without much work other than some scratch-built details and some weathering. This was a very easy item to assemble and took very little time to do so.
Thanks to Jís Work for the review sample. Please be sure to mention that you saw the kit reviewed here when ordering.
All 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 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 have no hesitation in recommending this kit to others.