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Dam Natalia Parachute Alterations  


Dam Natalia Parachute Alterations

This page shows how like Joel Parr I have had to alter the parachute that I got with the boxed DAM Natalia figure. When I heard that this parachute was being released, I wondered if I could make a fully loaded modern Russian paratrooper, similar to the WW2 US paratroopers I have already made.

 

But I did not realise just how small the parachute harness would be, as it has been made for the smaller female Natalia figure. And it is going to take a lot of work to make the harness bigger, so to do this I have had to buy a second parachute loose. So that I can have the webbing straps the same colour, when I add them into the original harness. Rather than having to re-paint all of harness straps, if I use different material.

 

The picture on the right shows how I have numbered all of the straps, which I will use to hopefully help link to the changes that I need to do the parachute harness.

Parts

Note: In the end to get the figure to the way I wanted it, I have had to use the original parachute from the boxed set. Plus, I have had to buy two (2) extra parachutes for the straps I needed. As I preferred to do this, rather than trying to source material to match the weave of the original parachute straps. And then maybe having to re-paint all of the straps to the same colour.


Joel Parr and the Natalia parachute strap extensions

Below is his advice in italics about how he did it.

I received my parachute gear from this set today, I'm glad I bought two sets, as I've had to strip one set down to increase the length of the straps on the other to make it fit a full size 12" figure, nice gear, but I'm also glad I didn't buy the uniform, it must be tiny!

No worries, the straps on the parachute I had to lengthen were the leg straps & and centre waist strap - the reserve chute was a bit of a trial to get fitted too.

As soon as I tried to put the parachute on the figure I realised that the straps were too short, so using some of the straps harvested from the 2nd set I extended those straps once the emergency chute is added it covers up the centre strap and its just fitting the straps, I found using a very sharp craft knife to cut away the velcro makes fitting it much easier, hope this helps.


Top Shoulder Straps

In Picture 1. I have the un-altered parachute shoulder strap, and it is far too small to fit onto my figure. The top shoulder straps 1. & 2. have been removed and some longer straps have been used to replace them, because on my figure I have used an armour vest as well as the assault vest on top of it. So to have the parachute fit on the back of the figure, I have found that these are a major part of the harness that needs to be altered first, so that I can at the least get the parachute fitted over both shoulders. And once these have been made, the rest of the harness should be fairly easy to change.

 

Picture 1. shows the original smaller shoulder strap. In Picture 2. I have removed the two shoulder straps, so that I can get an idea about how long the new top shoulder straps have to be. Because I have not altered the rest of the harness, I have left one end of both straps un-sewn so that later on I can get an idea about how long they need to be.

1.  2. 

Centre Chest Straps & Buckle

The centre belly belt has also had to be extended, as I need a lot of room to get the harness to sit over the top of the figure's front pouches, plus also have room to fit the rifle under the harness as well. I have also had to carefully undo the stitching on straps 5. & 6. on each of the front 'V' connections, so that they can be moved to sit correctly on the chest of the figure. Once I am happy about their positions, I will have had to re-sew the 'V' shapes back in place.

3.  4. 

Picture 3. shows the original harness on one side of the 'V' shape, before I have in Picture 4. extended the other side to make these straps longer. But I have realised that after trying the parachute on my figure, that there is still not enough material to get the clips fastened.

5. 6.

So as shown in Picture 5. I will have to add some extra strap material onto the other 'V' shape, as I have a lot of material on one side, so I need to balance the adjustment on both sides. This will also help to get the 'V' shapes the same size on each side. Picture 6. shows the extra strap added, I found that I had to make the joint in front of the buckle. Because I found that the double material will not pass through the buckle.

Rear Back Buckle & Straps

I have discovered that by adding some strap material at the top of the 'X' straps as shown in Picture 7. (Note: Make a special note of how the strap is assembled, as it goes over and under itself to hold the shoulder buckle in place. Because you will have to re-assemble this again with the new extended strap ends). All I have to do is remove the stitching on the centre cross straps 3. & 4. that sit on the figure's back. So that when I add the extra material at the top, it will give me more adjustment to get these straps around the chest and fastened up at the front buckles over the front pouches. Note: These additions will not be seen once the harness is on the figure.

 

The stitching on straps 7. & 8. has also had to be undone to lengthen them, this will give me some more adjustment to get these straps around the figure's waist and fastened up at the front buckles.

7.  8.

Picture 8. shows the how far I have got with the harness so far, and by cutting off the rear seat straps as shown in Picture 9. I have managed to get the front buckle fastened together.  I have also tried to see how the rifle would fit under the webbing and around the pouches, and I was surprised to find that it does.

9. 10.


Update 09th September 2018: Correcting A Mistake

A.  B.

Some months after making this figure, I noticed that I had made a major mistake in assembling the front chest straps. And after looking at my reference picture on the right, it confirms my mistake with them.

 

Because as shown in Picture A. above left (red ring), with the right hand chest strap. As it should have been made to look like the one on the reference picture. But I have not bothered to change it until now, as I was worried that I would have to take the whole figure apart, just to get at the sewn straps.

 

But luckily, after looking at the webbing assembly again I found that I only had to cut one sewn joint apart, then pull the strap back through the webbing assembly, and pull it out of the front chest buckle. Then re-thread the strap back through the front buckle the other way, so the strap now looks like the strap as shown in Picture B. above.

 

This is then passed back through the webbing assembly, and I then sewed it back together with the rest of the webbing assembly.


Lower Leg Straps

The straps 9. & 10. have to be extended as well, this is to make sure that the large canvas panel sits on the figure's bottom at the back. I also found that these were too small, so they were stopping me from connecting up the main front buckle. Picture 9. shows the straps removed and in Picture 10. the gap that has to be filled by sewing in two extra straps on each side. This then will allow me to get the straps that go between the legs of the figure connected.

 

Picture 11. shows the rear straps laid onto the parachute, near to where the ends have to be sewn in place. Note: Remember that the outer straps as shown cross over at the back of the parachute, and once the other straps are sewn in place, they have to cross over between the legs of the figure.

11. 12.  

This I found is very important so that when the buckles are put together, each side has a hook and loop to be connected together. To complete the parachute when it is on my figure, I will adjust the buckles as shown in Picture 9. Plus with the outer straps in Picture 12. I will undo the stitching at the hook and loop, and move them up so that the leg straps are tight when connected. Sew them in place and then remove the excess strap material.

Release Cable & Pair of Top Shoulder Straps

11. 12.

In Picture 11. I have also had to replace the release cord from the front handle on the parachute harness, which links to the automatic rip cord release device on the side of the parachute. As it was too short after I enlarged the parachute harness.

As shown in Picture 12. these straps have been causing me a lot of concern, as they cannot be just left hanging loose as shown from the DAM website. And after having an in depth discussion with some fellow modellers, and by finding a YouTube video linked to below. I have found that these straps are too short, as they should go over the top of the parachute frame and are part of the main parachute and canopy.

13. 14.

These are the last straps that I may have to possibly change, because as shown in Picture 13. the pair of straps have to go over the top of the parachute frame, and possibly down into the parachute pack. And as shown in Picture 14. I found out that in real life they fit onto the canopy lines and the parachute itself.

15.  16. 17.

I have noticed that the pair of straps on top of the parachute in Picture 13. are connected to the harness by a second buckle. So I have had to obtain another pair of buckles, from a spare US parachute I have in my spares boxes. Picture 15. shows the top straps undone and the new buckle fitted.

 

Picture 16. shows the original buckle fitted onto one of the top straps. And picture 17. shows the other half of the top straps, threaded through under the first strap and pulled tight. The picture on the right, shows how I have had to buy a third parachute. So that I can as show it in use it to represent the straps. These have sewn onto the main parachute pack under the small top bag.

Reserve Parachute

This has to have the two straps pushed through each of the metal buckles on the front of the parachute harness as in Picture 18. I can now see what Joel meant about the velcro. As I had a hard time getting the straps in the buckles, as well as getting one side of the velcro through as well and I did manage it in the end as shown.

 

The reserve parachute was then folded over into position in Picture 19. I have also found that to keep the reserve parachute held in place on the figure, I have also had to extend the thin straps with the red tag as shown in Picture 20. As these pair of straps help to pull the bottom of the main parachute in tight, with the bottom corner of the reserve parachute.

18.  19. 20.

Ripcord Lanyard

One item that I realised that is missing from the DAM parachute, is the ripcord lanyard. So I have had to get a hook and cord so that I could fit it to the bag at the top of the parachute. The nearest one made in 1/6th scale I can find, has come for one of my spare US parachutes, along with some of the webbing strap.

21.  22.

Weapon

23.  24.

Another item to add to the figure is the AK-74M gun, as shown in Picture 23. again from the DAM website, it has to have the pistol grip held in place in the parachute harness. I have been able to replicate this with my figure in Picture 24., by leaving some slack in the centre strap on the parachute harness. This will allow me to put the weapon in this position, plus also have it held in place behind the spare parachute.

Once this was done, I then used the supplied string to tie the weapon into position on the parachute webbing.

Reference Pictures

A very good film I found on YouTube about Russian Parachutes - Parachutes

Another two films I found - Paratroopers and Paratroopers

This section is continued on Page Six


Thank you to Mr Canoehead for his instructions about assembling WW2 parachutes.

Thank you to Joel Parr for the idea and for making the altered harness first, plus for the help I have had with my paratrooper figure.

Many thanks also to Mike Millhouse and Iain McClumpha for their ideas and reference material help.


 

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