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"BEF webbing and helmet colours" Topic

19 Posts

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1,980 hits since 13 Nov 2012
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Cyclops Inactive Member13 Nov 2012 6:55 a.m. PST

About to start on my 15mm BEF for France 1940 thanks to the Skytrex 20% off sale (thanks guys) but I realised i don't have much in the way of info for my Brits.
I'm pretty sure the uniform remained pretty much unchanged throughout the war but what about helmets and webbing? I've seen later war Brits with green webbing but for early war I thought it was much lighter, a sort of buff colour. And were helmets a mid to dark green?
Thanks for any help. I'm trying to avoid another Osprey for what is pretty basic information.

45thdiv13 Nov 2012 7:54 a.m. PST

The helmets and webbing did not change either. I paint mine the same as in 1943.

Gaz004513 Nov 2012 8:34 a.m. PST

Green for newer issue webbing- I have some 1940 issue webbing straps that are faded down to buff……I paint the helmets in a mix of mid and dark green….varies by exposure to the sun and weathering of course.

Cyclops Inactive Member13 Nov 2012 10:54 a.m. PST

Thanks guys.

number4 Inactive Member13 Nov 2012 11:10 a.m. PST

Webbing was issued khaki (light tan); the gas mask case should be this color. Everything else was "painted" green with a paste called "Blanco" intended to clean and preserve it. This came in light and dark shades of green as well as white. Horrible stuff – the white comes off all over your dress blues.


hurrahbro13 Nov 2012 12:01 p.m. PST

There are differences, but taking into account factors like how colour shades change with scale, concealment improvised in the field, muck and dirt accumulated while in use,(may/june 1940 was apparently hot dry and in some places dusty) then one shade for general use should be perfectly fine.

There is a lot of well read re-enactors and active researchers on this site, so I do trust their research


1940, seems as if a lighter "pea" green was the more common webbing. Later a darker shade.
Helmets tended to be browner in 1940, later greener. Hessian covers are more 1940, not sure if these were improvised in theatre, later more specialised/adaptable nets, in both cases, helmet covers are not universal.

You may want to use these slight differences to help define sections/companies/battalions within your force. You certainly would not be the first person to do so.

old tommie Inactive Member13 Nov 2012 2:47 p.m. PST

You could try the SHQ site as they have painting guides.

Porthos14 Nov 2012 4:23 a.m. PST

I find "Bleached Bone" (GW 61-17)looking realistic for WW I webbing which is the same for early WW II.
Blanco – oh dear.. We used it in the Dutch Army (1966) by setting it on fire. After melting it is far easier to put on !

CCollins14 Nov 2012 2:34 p.m. PST

While Webbing natural colour didn't change dramatically over the course of the war, (though canadian stuff is a richer golden colour than british made)

Blanco colour was suprisingly varied. Early war shade no.97 seems most common

Which pretty much supports what Hurrabro posts.
A great reference >

Martin Rapier15 Nov 2012 6:05 a.m. PST

In the Dads Army episode where they get trained by the SCW veteran, the British supervising officer is wearing early war pea green blancoed webbing. Very distinctive.

Personally I usually paint WW2 webbing as unblancoed as it makes a nice contrast with the khaki battle dress.

I would third the recommendation for blanco and bull however, I know the guy who wrote it and he really knows his stuff. I reserve his advice for my 1:1 scale webbing:)

johnnytodd15 Nov 2012 10:35 a.m. PST

Everything you'll ever want to know about Commonwealth webbing can be found here:

Cyclops Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 2:53 p.m. PST

An entire site devoted to British Army webbing? The mind boggles. Very useful though.
Thanks again everybody.

spontoon18 Nov 2012 8:13 a.m. PST

I feel that film and television do us a disservice by showing BEF or early WWII Brits in green web equipment. A lot of what I see is actually 1944 pattern web, which wasn't actually issued until after the war ended.

Dad's army as a reference? Their ammo pouches are actually binocular cases!

As far as colour goes, the manual that came with 37 Pattern webbing states that it should not be blancoed or coloured, merely washed with soap and water to remove stains, AND the brass should NOT be polished! Yeah, like that was going to happen in the British army!

I've seen photos of rifle regiments where the webbing was coloured black, and one of the RTR regiments did the same.

For my figures I use several different shades of tan for webbing. This reflects pieces issued from different manufacturers,countries, and fading. I'm sure not many troops got complete sets all from the same source.

Canadian webbing tends to be more yellowy, and Indian webbing tends to be more oatmeal-grey. Not sure about Aussie, or S. African. There was even some made in the U.S.

spontoon18 Nov 2012 8:14 a.m. PST

Oh, and I always paint my helmets as if covered by a sandbag.

Martin Rapier19 Nov 2012 5:32 a.m. PST

"Dad's army as a reference? Their ammo pouches are actually binocular cases!"

Yes, I know.

number4 Inactive Member19 Nov 2012 7:35 p.m. PST

Oh, and I always paint my helmets as if covered by a sandbag

Why? Are you afraid someone might recognize you? :))

spontoon19 Nov 2012 10:22 p.m. PST

@ Number 4;

", asif THEY were covered by a sandbag"

number4 Inactive Member20 Nov 2012 12:25 a.m. PST

Sorry, I couldn't resist that one :)

spontoon25 Nov 2012 9:12 p.m. PST

Don't blame you!

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