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Old 01-31-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
Tony Barton
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British Camo Smocks

I know many folks here on SAG know all about these things , but there is so much confusion about this subject , and I've had time for a little painting today , I thought I'd post some pictures and an explanation which I hope will help sort these things out . The arrival of " Wes Worthy " from DML also means that lots of people will be wondering whether he's right or not : the topic is live on this and other forums .

FIRST : brief historical explanation : There were two Camo smocks issued to British troops in WW2 , and they were rather different :

1) The Denison smock [ 1 in the pic below ]: this was designed for Paras , and used by all Airborne troops , and later by others like Commandos who could get hold of them . It was lined , had a short zip down from the neck , but NO HOOD . The Camo varied a bit between batches , but was on a tan/light khaki base , with dark brown and dark green overpainting , often showing real or printed brushmarks . This is the characteristic garment worn by British Paras , and continued in use post-war , often fitted with a full-length zip . One-sixth Versions of this have been supplied with DML " Ian " , "Harry Collins " etc, and with the BBI " Roger Cooke " figure , which is probably the best .

2) The Windproof smock : this was unlined , made of much thinner fabric , had a hood and a matching pair of trousers , and a different camo pattern , with a pink base , and Plum Crimson , pale green and Dark brown overprinting ( the dark brown happened when the crimson and green overlapped ). It was issued to all sorts of troops , chiefly the Line Infantry , and was really only in use during the last winter of the War , 44/45 .
Post War it continued in use for about 20 years , again by all sorts : by Infantry in Korea , and Special Forces like the SAS everywhere : IT WAS NOT a Special Forces Garment , and calling it an " SAS Smock " is just plain wrong .
The one-sixth versions which have appeared , with DML" Oscar MacKinnon " , with the CustomCraft Black Watch Figure , and now with " Wes Worthy " have all got the cut right but the Camo wrong ;
Look at the pic :



At 1) is the Denison smock : this is the BBI version , which has the best colouring .Fine .

At 2) is the WINDPROOF smock from DML ( notice the hood ): Wrong Camo : it should look like :-

3) Which is my repaint : the colours are not perfect yet ( I'm working on it ) but you can see how very different it is from 2).

At 4) is a daylight photo of the real thing , from which I'm trying to match the paint : make allowance for the slight White-out effect on the printed photo .

The colours on my repaint are too stark : these Windproofs quickly got faded and dirty , so here's another showing a weathered version , again compared with the DML unmodified version and another photo :



I hope this will clarify things : sorry to be a bit of a rivet-counter , but I think you can see why people are so disappointed with these figures .
By the By , the Windproof suit was not a common Sniper suit : I know of two veteran British snipers , neither of whom ever saw one : they used the Denison instead .
Once I've finished my painting experiments I'll post a little tutorial and make some suggestions for paint choices .


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Old 01-31-2007, 09:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
the Windproof suit was not a common Sniper suit : I know of two veteran British snipers , neither of whom ever saw one : they used the Denison instead
I've read some accounts and based my sharpshooter on this giving him the dennison smock.

But after some more reading and some pic's I may give him an SS camo smock

Great camo comparison Tony, always good to see a nice study on camo, your pattern is coming along nicely, very informative post, thanks for sharing
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:32 PM   #3
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Good info here Tony. Lots of carping coming from the ranks, at least we're seeing some Allied stuff even if there are some errors. By the look of your experiments with colour you might have a solution in the works.

Is it me or is the pattern on the real smocks different?
The edges of No. 4 seem to be random and ragged.
The edges of the weathered version seem to be more geometric and defined.

Did you bleach it out before painting?
Does the paint harden the fabric?
Could it be laundered to soften the colours?

Geoff
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:34 PM   #4
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Excellent post Tony and thanks for the lesson. I have seen the numerous posts around the boards about how "such and such is wrong" but no one ever took the time to explain what it was that was in error, so it didnt matter to me. Now I know a bit more, thanks
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:11 PM   #5
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Very good research!! My question will be the same as Johnny's. And eagerly waiting for your experiment result and DIY, too. Thanks again!!
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:26 AM   #6
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This thread got me curious so I pulled out all the Denisons that I have.
Below are a number of varying colours. Style seems to be more or less consistant but the colours whoa!



From what Tony is saying the only one that really comes even close is the "Battle Worn" version.



Geoff
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:43 AM   #7
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Geoff -- I think as Tony points out -- the difference is the Windproof Smock vs. the Denison Smock.

The Denison (no hood, zippered with the snaps closure at the crotch) was for paras and later scrounged by commandos and others. The Windproof (hooded, drawstring closures at neck and waist) was used by commandos.

Its the Windproof smock that Tony has altered and suggests the camo is wrong.

The Denisons varied somewhat, as Tony points out, from some that were actually hand painted to some of the ones produced with a printed fabric as I understand.

Your photo lineup example shows different versions of the two different smocks. The Custom Craft and the (second from left) DML version are Windproof smocks. The rest are Dennison's. The Wes Worthy smock and trousers are the Windproof set used by commandos.

The first Windproof smock to hit the 1/6 arena was I believe the FK&C Oscar McKinnon SAS Commando released by DML a couple years ago.

If I misinterpreted and am overstating the obvious, please accept my apologies.

As for Tony, thanks so much for this project. I have been itching to ask someone over at OSS to demonstrate this very thing, particularly the camo pattern issues.
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JTFazz";p=&quot View Post
Geoff -- I think as Tony points out -- the difference is the Windproof Smock vs. the Denison Smock.

Its the Windproof smock that Tony has altered and suggests the camo is wrong.

The Denisons varied somewhat, as Tony points out, from some that were actually hand painted to some of the ones produced with a printed fabric as I understand.

Your photo lineup example shows different versions of the two different smocks. The Custom Craft and the (second from left) DML version are Windproof smocks. The rest are Dennison's. The Wes Worthy smock and trousers are the Windproof set used by commandos.

The first Windproof smock to hit the 1/6 arena was I believe the FK&C Oscar McKinnon SAS Commando released by DML a couple years ago.

If I misinterpreted and am overstating the obvious, please accept my apologies.

As for Tony, thanks so much for this project. I have been itching to ask someone over at OSS to demonstrate this very thing, particularly the camo pattern issues.
Good thing I got up this morning as I'm learning something.

So correct me if I'm wrong here.
The Denison was the camo that would have been used by the Scout/Sniper platoons which "Wes Worthy" would be a member of and therefore he is actually in the wrong uniform?
The Windproof Smock was used by Commandos and was coloured like the Battle Worn model? (more or less)

Which of the above Denisons actually represent an real uniform colour and pattern if any?

Geoff
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:02 AM   #9
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Guys, re-read Tony's post, especially item 2. If I am reading it correctly, the windproof smock was not a "commando" uniform item but issued to frontline troops in general.
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sixth Vanguard";p=&quot View Post
Guys, re-read Tony's post, especially item 2. If I am reading it correctly, the windproof smock was not a "commando" uniform item but issued to frontline troops in general.
Thanks Teach, " Dunt gut much book learnin eh!"

The Denison was originally a Para item; that was rare amongst line infantry, but prized by Scout/Snipers.

The Windproof Smock was more common in line infantry after late 44' and the available 1/6 versions are wrong.

Am I getting closer. Or just brain farting?

Geoff
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Canuck";p=&quot View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixth Vanguard";p=&quot View Post
Guys, re-read Tony's post, especially item 2. If I am reading it correctly, the windproof smock was not a "commando" uniform item but issued to frontline troops in general.
Thanks Teach, " Dunt gut much book learnin eh!"

The Denison was originally a Para item; that was rare amongst line infantry, but prized by Scout/Snipers.

The Windproof Smock was more common in line infantry after late 44' and the available 1/6 versions are wrong.

Am I getting closer. Or just brain farting?

Geoff
I think in my case, its both. But I think you've got it down.

I remember now (and should have read more clearly) that the Windproof was issued to other than just special operations type units. Some of the fellas over at OSS schooled me on this when I made the assumption the Oscar McKinnon smock was just a different version of the Denison.

Must stop taking my history lessons from DML...

At any rate... schools out for me. My brain hurts.
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:10 AM   #12
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Interesting thread -

My first thought on seeing the DML Windproof was that it looked like Rhodesian camouflage material from the 1970's.
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:48 AM   #13
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That's great !! I'm just doing British airborne that the Dension smock really confusion me within different products. Now here is much more clear of British Camo Smocks! Thanks for the information!
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:30 PM   #14
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Thank you for the history lesson Tony.
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:21 PM   #15
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Geoff, to answer your question about which color would be correct, as I understand it, they pretty much all are (except maybe the BBi Neil Williams version; that one looks kind out of place ).
The colors of Denison smocks varied pretty widely even when they were new, not to mention after they were worn for months, much like the ongoing "what color is khaki" debate (but I won't open that can of worms here ).
The line up of soldiers wearing the various Denisons looks more realistic than if they were all the same, don't you agree?
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:19 PM   #16
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Mike , I agree with you about the colour range in Denisons : there were at least three patterns made , and batches from different makers varied too ; then there's the effect of ageing , post-war use and modification , etc etc .
An extremely knowledgeable Airborne collector friend of mine ( who is also very generous in loaning his stuff ) remarked that no two Denisons were the same , and he's seen a hell of a lot !
The point of this post , of course , is not the Denison but the Windproof : none of this would have arisen if the 1/6th manufacturers hadn't been so lazy or mean in the first place in getting the Windproof pattern wrong .
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:01 PM   #17
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Thanks for the excellent tutorial, Tony.
I've repainted my DML "Ian" Dennisons and added ribbed cuffs...I hope that I haven't botched them up by backdating them....
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:55 PM   #18
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Dougmo , you did the right thing : the " Ian " smock is nearer to the paler colour of the first pattern smocks , and they all had the knitted cuffs . These were also frequently added to the latter patterns ( the ones with the strapped plain cuff ) by using a pair of army issue socks !
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:01 PM   #19
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Thanks for this tutorial Mr.Barton
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Old 02-02-2007, 03:01 AM   #20
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Thanks Mr. Barton, a very informative, interesting history lesson. I love these kind of threads, you're just better than most in explaining and illustrating the subject.

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Old 02-02-2007, 07:09 PM   #21
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Here's another pic , showing the finished Windproof smock weathered and on a figure : Typical Corporal during the winter of 44/45 :It looks a lot more subdued now :



Just for fun , I've done a B/W version as well , to show what to look out for in wartime pics :



I'm still working on another one , with some subtly improved colours : will keep you all posted .

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Old 02-02-2007, 07:12 PM   #22
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Fantastic Tony, your work is a benchmark!
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:58 PM   #23
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That looks awesome!
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Old 02-02-2007, 09:07 PM   #24
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Looks like you got it spot on Tony.
Sorry for the Denision confusion. That's another thread all by its self.

I was looking at "Uniforms of the British Tommy" and the colour plate is pretty much what you've got.
We're you aware that there was also a "Drab" windproof. Sort of a light biege/tan colour. Same cut.

The British snow suit was also of the same cut as the windproof smock, but......duh white.

Geoff
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:21 PM   #25
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We're you aware that there was also a "Drab" windproof. Sort of a light biege/tan colour. Same cut.
The suit, windproof, drab seems to have come in several shades of tan/khaki. According to the photos I've seen in books and from private collections the difference between these and the camouflaged suits (apart from the colour) is that the non-camouflaged ones lack the cuff- and ankle-tabs.

There also was a mountain smock of the same cut, but made from an olive denim-like material.
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Old 02-03-2007, 02:03 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Tony Barton";p=&quot View Post
Here's another pic , showing the finished Windproof smock weathered and on a figure : Typical Corporal during the winter of 44/45 :It looks a lot more subdued now :



Just for fun , I've done a B/W version as well , to show what to look out for in wartime pics :



I'm still working on another one , with some subtly improved colours : will keep you all posted .can you tell me why thay used these colors? thay seem to stand out.

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Old 02-03-2007, 08:00 AM   #27
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Simple answer : Don't know !
If the actual DESIGN of camo patterns at this period has been researched , I don't know of it . It might seem a bit startling , but of course it's intended to conceal at some distance rather than close to : I suspect it might be rather effective .
As Royoboy has pointed out , the camo version was one of a series of Winproofs , originally designed for cold , windy conditions : I expect that producing it in a camo pattern was something of an afterthought . The garments themselves were obviously popular and useful ( they are very lightweight ) if the choice of them by postwar troops is anything to go by .
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Old 02-03-2007, 11:12 AM   #28
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Really like this figure!
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Old 02-03-2007, 12:25 PM   #29
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Really nice figure ! and a really nice "peau de saucisson"

I hope that the pics i've send to you will help.
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Old 02-04-2007, 04:34 PM   #30
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Thanks for all the great info Tony! The figure is awsome as well. What did you use for helmet scrim??

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Old 02-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #31
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The scrim is made from painted pieces of an old shirt ! I've done a little run-down on improving your Tommy's helmet on OSS :

http://www.onesixscale.co.uk/forums/...ic.php?t=16427

and follow on down .
Sorry , but I still don't know how to do the Linky thing properly !
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:59 PM   #32
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Thanks Tony, that's just AWSOME!!

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Old 02-05-2007, 06:23 AM   #33
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Tony,

I would like to ask the following questions.

1. Do you bleach the wind proof smock before re-paint, or just apply the paint directly?

2. The factory-dyed color pattern of the wind proof smock still differs from the original. Do you repaint the correct pattern or just follow the outline of each color block? If re-paint the correct pattern, then how do you do that? Draw the outline with sharp pencil first and then paint?

3. what kind of the paint do you use? enamel or acrylic?

Thank you very much and wish to let you see my Mighty Gloss soon!! ^^
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:45 AM   #34
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Chung , I'm going to write all this up properly in a tutorial , so to avoid duplication I'll keep the answers brief:-

1) I tried bleaching with household bleach , but it made no impression on the colour , so I just applied the paint direct : you need two thin coats to cover .

2) Whilst mostly following the pattern on the garment , I had many pics of the originals in front of me as I worked , and made some modifications : the pattern is a very varied one , so I don't think you can go too far wrong so long as you look at such pics to get the general "feel" .

3) I use acrylics : various mixtures of Liquitex , Galeria , and Vallejo for the green . You work wet on dry , starting with the pink tan base , then the green , then the purple , lastly the dark brown ( though you can just leave most of that as printed if you want ):




The starkness of the colours can be then toned down with an overall beige wash : here's a second smock I've finished with this wash : it's also been rubbed over with chalk , and scrubbed off again with a dry brush :



There is a slight difference now between these two smocks : the originals do seem to vary a bit , at least as reproduced in photos ;
There are certainly at least two variant printings of the fabric , with slightly different colour shades , and these variants are often made up into one garment , so you end up with EIGHT colours on one garment : I haven't tried that yet !

Later this week I'm promised a visit by a friend with an original smock and trousers , and I shalll be able to take some pictures of my own , which will help : so far I've been working from published pics .


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Old 02-05-2007, 10:26 AM   #35
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Thank you very much, Tony.

While I got the DML's smock, I realized that the material might hold the color against the bleach. That's why I asked you if the bleach could fade the color significantly. And most of your steps described here with respect to the result showing at the very beginning of the post are quite match with my imagination. Thanks for the clarification.

For painting the various green/tan block seems to be easier. But the purple spot-like pattern will be very challenging!!

However, the final result of both two smocks are very persuasive!! Almost 100% the same as a real one!!
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