Welcome To My German Cable Layer Backpack Page.

This page is about how I have changed the Dragon Will Kahler signals cable reel backpack. My main reason for the changes was that although it is a well made item, I found after looking at the reference pictures I have included at the bottom of the page. The moulded plastic tool pouch just looked completely wrong, so I did a search with the help of some fellow modellers on the Sixth Army Group forum for a 'leather type' of pouch as a replacement.

And after searching around on both eBay and most of the online 1/6th dealers, and even buying some pouches to see if they would fit. I have had to finally make my own leather bag for the frame, out of some soft thin leather off cuts that I bought. The picture on the right, shows the rough calculations I ended up using to make the bag. The main one's are the width of the bag as that has to be 40mm, and the overall height which is 70mm for the flat piece. Because when it is folded up it has to fit into the frame with a height of between 25mm to 30mm.

Making The Pouch and Support Pad

The pictures below show how I used a square piece of balsa wood to make the shape of the bag itself, which I placed as shown below left inside the material. I then folded the material around the edge to make one side of the pouch. Note: Making sure that you have the height of between 25mm and 30mm with the top flap folded over. This was then sewn together to make the assembled side, this was then repeated for the other side. Once both sides have been sewn together, the spare material for the sides as shown in the middle picture below can be trimmed to size.

With the finished bag I have as shown below, I made it so that the top flap goes through the lower of the two cross bars on the frame that the bag fits onto. I then placed a small piece of tissue paper into the bag to bulk it out slightly. I then put the front flap for the bag where the buckles would go, through the gap between the two cross bars, to see just how much of the I had to cut off the bottom of the front flap. So that it would rest on the centre of the bag. In the picture on the right, I have just folded the bag up before sewing the sides together, to show what it would look like.


I then took the bag off the frame again to sew some thin pieces of leather to the bottom of the bag for the buckles, I then painted it, as I wanted it brown and not black. And the only paint that I found I could use that stayed on the leather was some Daler-Rowney Burnt Umber acrylic artists paint, as it is quite a thick paint although I did have to use a small amount of water to dilute it. Once that was dry I then put the bag carefully back onto the frame, and then cut two more thin strips of leather for the top parts of the buckle straps.

Note: This is where I have cheated a little with this, because I don't have the skills to sew these in place. So I fastened the buckles together and I glued the straps in place with some Cyanoacrylate glue.


Another item I made for the cable layer based on the reference pictures below, was the leather back support pad. I am afraid that I did not take the measurements for this as I made it. But the size of the pad itself is 40mm high by 35mm wide. And I do remember cutting out a piece of material 80mm long by 35mm wide, which I then folded in half and sewed the sides together. I then placed a small square of tissue paper inside it to pad it out, and I then sewed the top part together. This again was painted and when it was dry I sewed it to the fabric material at the top and bottom to keep it in place.

Finished Tool Pouch and Support Pad

The three photos below show both the tool pouch and the leather back support that I have also made. In the first picture below left, this is how the cable reel looks as it comes supplied by Dragon. In the second picture, I have placed the moulded plastic pouch that I removed from the frame, under the leather tool pouch to show the comparison. The third picture is a close up photo of the leather tool pouch, which just fits inside the outer part of the frame.


The pictures below show a close up of the leather support pad, which I have rather badly sewn onto the green fabric material to keep it in place. The other picture shows how the tool pouch fits inside the frame and it is held in place by the top flap which has been put between the two cross bars at the top.

Weathering Of The Cable Layer

To lose some of the toy effect look that the reel has, I have as shown below used a combination of acrylic paint washes and the Tamiya Weathering powders. Note: I found that by using cotton buds to apply the powder, I had a lot better control over just where I can apply it.

In the first picture above on the centre screw thread, I used some Rust powder to fill in the thread detail, and on top of that I have then used a combination of the Silver and the Gunmetal powder to add some highlights to this area. The next pictures above and on the right, show how I have used a combination of some of the same Burnt Umber paint that I used on the leather parts, but this time I diluted it down heavily with some water and used it as a wash on the reel, frame and the chain detail. This was then carefully wiped off to leave the darker colour inside the details.


Once that was dry, I then used some of the Mud colour to help to dull down the plastic look of the frame, I then gave the edges of the reel, chain, frame and the handle edges a light wipe over with the Gunmetal powder to bring out the details. After that I then used some of the Silver powder very lightly to get a slightly shiny worn edge to the reel, it's mounting points and the top parts of the chain. I also added this to the toothed parts of the cogs. Another thing that I had to do was to brush over the cable itself with some of the Black weathering powder, this is because while doing the other steps I mistakenly got some of the Gunmetal and Silver on it.

Cable Layer Reference Photos

I found these pictures of a full size German WW2 cable reel, and I have put them here for reference purposes, because I found that they came in very helpful when I was making the leather tool pouch and the pad. And I would like to thank Bunker Militaria and the owner of these pictures, for their very generous help in allowing me to use them here on my webpage.


Continued on Page Two - Cable Two


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