WW2 German Army
Zeltbahn 31

OLUJ D-tails  003

    OLUJ D-tails Zeltbahn 31 Tent is the second product from this small company from Serbia I'm reviewing. The first was a set of World War 2 propaganda posters from German occupied Serbia. This time we received a product definitely more versatile, as Zeltbahns were used by all German military formations during the World War 2. But what is Zeltbahn? As a historical background I will quote what is written on the information sheet included in the set:

"The 1931 pattern of shelter quarters patented as the "Warei" Zeltbahn was to replace the square design used until then by the Reichswehr. It was produced in plain colors and a variety of camouflage patterns and was used by all branches of the German armed forces, party organizations and police and auxiliary units."

Zeltbahns could be used individually or a few of them could have been buttoned together. Four Zeltbahns buttoned together formed a small tent and this is what you can build from OLUJ D-tails set.

Contents of the set.
Click on picture to enlarge it.
Zeltbahn is printed on a very thin paper.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

    The set is packed in a zip-bag and comes with a small instruction sheet and larger sheet with historical background and general information about the use of Zeltbahns. On the instruction sheet a small diagram is provided for assembly of tent and in the text you can find information how to achieve more natural wrinkled look of the tent using PVA glue and water solution and a few toothpicks.

    Zeltbahn is nicely printed on a very thin paper. Colors seem to be quite accurate judging from various photos of real Zeltbahns that can be found on the Internet. I made a little test to make sure that the ink used to print Zeltbahn is really waterproof, as inscription on the paper sheet claims, and I can confirm that it is really true.

    As I didn't want to use the original OLUJ D-tails product for my tests, I scanned it and printed from my computer. Of course my printed copy no longer had the accurate colors of the original and was printed on much thicker paper, but at least it gives general idea how the product looks like once assembled.

    The original product would look much better than what I achieved, as my Zeltbahn was too stiff and didn't look natural. Also for more realistic look modeler should punch holes in places shown in instructions and add some scale replicas of rope or leather straps. I personally would also suggest adding small punched out round pieces of thin styrene or paper to recreate quite prominent rows of large metal buttons.

Assembled tent.
For this test I used a scanned copy of OLUJ D-tail Zeltbahn, printed from my computer on a paper much thicker than that used for the original product. Colors are also not quite the same as in original.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

Comparison to 1/35 figure size.
Click on picture to enlarge it.

    Assembled tent looks rather featureless, compared to real thing. Adding some straps and wrinkles to the Zeltbahn can improve the appearance, but I would suggest one change in the design of scale replica of Zeltbahn tent. As can be seen on the picture of the real thing below, Zeltbahn triangles overlapped on edges, creating very noticeable long narrow flaps. In model Zeltbahn one such flap is only present where the edges of paper are glued together, while remaining three edges of tent are too flat. It would be much better to print four separate triangular Zeltbahns - the assembly would be a bit more difficult, but at least all edges would overlap like in the real thing. Also providing separate triangles would allow modeler to build larger versions of tents, which were made by joining more Zeltbahns together.

Real Zeltbahn tents. The one in the background is in the same
camouflage pattern as the one in OLUJ D-tail set.

    One more thing that is worth mentioning is that the paper sheet with Zeltbahn is printed just on one side and is white on the other. This means that you cannot leave your tent open unless you paint the inner side of it yourself.

    OLUJ D-tails Zeltbahn 31 Tent is very interesting product and worthwhile addition to many WW2 dioramas. It is not perfect, but it is rather cheap - one piece is $4, including worldwide postage costs. As I wrote above, much better results could be achieved by using separate triangular Zeltbahn sections instead of one piece tent. But there actually is a simple solution to this problem - if you get two Zeltbahn sets from OLUJ D-tails, you can cut them to pieces and from one set you will get two complete triangles. Then by combining such triangles from two sets you can build one more accurately looking Zeltbahn tent. And scrap pieces folded into small bundles could be added to your diorama and imitate folded Zeltbahns.

For more interesting information about real Zeltbahns, visit this website: http://www.zeltbahn.net. You can also find many photos of Zeltbahns on eBay, as many of original WW2 items and copies are offered for sale there.

Many thanks to Aleksandar Mladenovic of OLUJ D-tails for review sample.

If you are interested in purchasing this product contact Aleksandar at this email address: tobruk@eunet.yu.


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