I have been involved with WW2 airsoft for a few years now, and like most I started with the more modern loadouts prior to making the switch. There was a niggle in my mind with both styles of the game; would I as a larger individual, be able to get kit to fit without being limited in what is available; or pay through the nose for tailor made replicas not made to the same quality or material as the originals they copy? The fears for this in modern airsoft were quickly dispersed when coming across Tru-spec and their BDUs available in all camouflage patterns up to sizes of 5XL!
Now what about WW2 loadouts – can we get WW2 uniforms in sizes for the more, lets say, manly amongst us?
Within our group of fellow WW2softers, there is every body size and shape imaginable resulting in a lot of us sourcing kit from different places. There are ‘lucky gits’ who can attend the militaria fairs such as Stoneleigh, wander around the stalls and come out with a full set of BD for less than £60 or even less (but I am not bitter so will not bring it up!). Then there are the ‘normals’ who can buy off the peg from reproduction companies who offer uniforms made to original patterns, stretched to allow them to fit modern builds. Again these, with a bit of looking, are readily available and you only have to look at the kit guides on this website to get the information.
So if you’re above average in both height and weight are there companies that can tailor to your needs? Is it more expensive than what the average man would pay? This subject is one that I have spent many hours researching, and investigating the many suppliers to see if options are available. At this point I would like to point out that I run two main loadouts British and Russian, so while this article will be more geared towards those impressions, I will also point out to you supply kit for U.S. and German so it’s only a case of having a look around their websites.
I was lucky when I first started, and was pointed toward Sanjay and Replicaters. According to some forums and other’s personal experiences Sanjay may not have had the best reputation for the kit he supplies. However, I can only comment on the service and quality of that I have received myself and what the other guys I know who have used him have said. In fact that there have been no problems with any of the items we received, such as a full set of ’37 pattern BD, a shirt and either a GS cap or gaiters for £120, fully tailored to your own measurements. This is a bargain in my book any day of the week. His website is full of all types of uniform and accessories so it really is a good place to look.
There is, however, more than one supplier who allow for tailored service, the others include; British firm, The History Bunker, whose service allows for tailored fitting on a selection of their items and again offer uniforms for all possible factions of the axis and allied countries. Secondly, is What Price Glory for American based replicas. These guys allow for larger sizes but do not offer tailoring service so have a look at their size charts before dismissing them. As for the costs factor using British ’37 pattern as a benchmark, they both work out at about within the region of £160 so I believe that this is cheaper than even some of the more well known reproduction companies charge.
And to share my knowledge on Russian kit, there are three companies that I have found which will cater for bigger individuals. Two are from eBay and they are HIKI Shop UK, HIKI Shop USA and KOLIYA. I used HIKI when getting my kit as they offer slightly larger items but do limited runs so lines can sell out and are not added back for some time, so you will have to be lucky when searching. If you have slightly more finance available then Trident Militaria are an awesome place to go and they advertise what items are available in big sizes as you look around their website. I have had one of their camouflage smocks off them and these things are huge. In fact I was told before I ordered that you could get two people into one and a know for a fact now that this is very true.
Just a note on German loadouts, when I was first starting out I dabbled with the idea of German and did some investigating. The best way I thought of a starting loadout was a pair of trousers and a camouflage smock as both are easily available in big sizes with the smock being able to fit a 61” chest. Try Panzerfaust1943 and Spearhead Militaria through eBay again for the most reasonable prices that I found.
So, this is a guide for where to start looking, from someone who has been there, not the places you must go for your loadout. I’m sure there must be more sources and if you find one do let me know!
The History Bunker www.thehistorybunker.co.uk
What Price Glory www.whatpriceglory.com
HIKI Shop (UK eBay) http://stores.ebay.co.uk/HIKISHOP2
HIKI Shop (USA eBay) http://stores.ebay.co.uk/HIKISHOP
Trident Militaria www.tridentmilitary.com
Spearhead Militaria http://stores.ebay.com/Spearhead-Militaria