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Making Italian Ammo pouches
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ACTION FIGURES AT WAR

Step by Step - Italian Ammunition Pouches 

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This is my template for Italian ammunition pouches.  First I would suggest you do not print out this picture as it is way to large, but rather do a right click "Save Picture As" and save a copy to your harddrive.  Then you can open it in any paint program and resize it to the proper dimensions or print and reduce/enlarge it on a copier.
 
Note that I made the suspender bracket on the back of it twice as large as it was suppose to be.  This was because the only hooks I could find that worked on the suspender strap were too wide.  I had to accomodate that width in my drawing so I could hook up a suspender strap to it.  You can find these hooks on German style suspenders.  Often you buy these very cheaply on the numerous parts boards like Monkey Depot or Battle Rhino but you have to sacrifice them for the brackets or you can buy that hardware at the Cotswold online site.

Click here to go to the Cotswold Website

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The catalog number for this part is:  GIEA-69L - Buckle: Small 3 bar with Hook End  I think Cotswold will forgive me for publishing a picture of this hook from their website as it is free advertising for them! 

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Picture of actual suspender hook

All pictures on this page are thumbnails.  Click on them for larger images.
 
See below for materials

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Step 1

First I create a paper template.  Using the pattern I carefully cut out the design from my selected material

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Step 2

Next I sew and/or glue the belt loops and suspender bracket on the back of the ammo pouch.

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Step 3

Using surgical scissors and a battery operated lint remover that I bought from Rite Aide I trim as much of the cotton backing off of the material.  I don't try to completely remove it as that would be very difficult.  I do try to thin it out as much as possible so it doesn't show thru the final piece and make it look sloppy.

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Step 4

Now I cut a strip of balsa wood into 12mm lengths.  I color one end with a black Sharpe felt pen as this will help disguise the balsa wood.  The balsa strip I bought had to trimmed on one side as it was slightly to thick by about 2mm.

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Step 5

This step shows the proper dimensions and how I trimmed the pieces to the proper size.

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Step 6

On the cotton side of the material I color the edges and flaps black with a Sharpe felt marker.  This is a messy process and care must be taken to not get it all over the grey side of the pouch.  This will help 'hide' the white cotton interior of the pouch.

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Step 7

The balsa pieces are used to 'form' the pouch.  Center them in the area the pouch will be.  I usually glue mine in place with the Zap-a-Gap glue.

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Step 8

Next I 'fold' the long piece over on the balsa form and glue each panel in place as I go.  I try to keep this relatively tight as it gives a much more crisp detailed look.

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Step 9

It starts to take shape as I fold the material over the front and glue it in place.

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Step 10

At this point when I have folded over the material on all three sides of the balsa form, I fold it back on itself and glue it in place.  Now I place another balsa form where the second pouch goes and glue that in place.  I continue folding till I cover all three sides of that form also.  Carefully trim off any excess material.

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Step 11

The last step is to fold the bottoms up and glue them in place, trimming any excess off as you go.  Now to add the strap that secures the top flap in place.  I cut a lighter material to shape and trim off the excess cotton backing.  I discovered using the lint remover worked really well here and took the cotton backing almost completely off. 

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Step 12

Next glue or sew the strap to the top/front of the flap the covers the top.  Be sure not to fold the top down tightly as the real one was made of thick leather and it had large gaps on the sides.  Carefully arch the flap over the top and then I glue it in place. 
 
Here is where you can see the black felt pen coloring really makes this look much better than leaving the cotton backing white.  On real pouches there was a post on the bottom of the pouch to secure the lid strap.

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Step 13

I take a small round headed pin to create the post on the bottom of the pouch.  I color the head with a Sharpe black felt pen.  I could have used paint but a felt pen was so much faster.  I needed two of these for each pouch, one for each flap strap.

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Step 14

Trim the pin to the right length.  I try to leave enough to go thru the strap and well into the balsa form.

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Step 15

In this final picture of a completed ammo pouch you can see how I placed the pin thru the bottoms of the pouches thru the strap.  That's it!  An Italian infantry soldier would normally wear one of these pouches and the suspender strap would wrap around the user's neck and both ends would hook onto the pouch or two pouches could be worn and each end of the suspender would hook onto one pouch.
 
Italian suspenders looked more like a belt than European "Y" strap suspenders that we are used to seeing.  They wrapped around the neck and hooked the pouches in the front but did not come down the back and hook the belt like "Y" straps do.

Italian equipment leather and ammuntion pouches were a Grey-green color that is fairly unique and hard to copy.  I have three original 1:1 pouches and I have matched these materials to it fairly closely. 
 
I find my vinyl, cotton backed materials at a fabric store called Jo-Ann's and also a pretty good selection of the same at my local Walmart.  Not all Walmarts carry these but at least one of the ones in my area do.  Some advice I found invaluable that I got from a Barbie collector who knows tells me that when you find any kind of material you really like and want, buy a LOT of it.  Buy the bolt if you can.  You will never again see it in your lifetime.

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This is the glue I used.  Great care must be taken using this glue.  The fumes can be toxic and it bonds skin instantly.  Typically I always get it all over my fingers and hands.  When I do I find that all I have to do is take a nice hot shower with soap and the moisture that is asorbed by the skin will cause the glue to come right off and painlessly.
 
You can find this glue at most hobby shops.

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