New old strap

Okey, I don’t know what kind of mess I’ve gotten myself into. But somewhere in the process where I was supposed to upgrade some of my Indy gear, I drifted off. Now suddenly, I’m doing a total overhaul of everything. The only things left from my old stuff that I might be able to use are the canvas military belt, Wested leather jacket and (maybe) the leather whip. The leather whip was the cheapest whip I got from eBay a few years back, and the quality is highly questionable. It just doesn’t feel right, neither does it look right.

Anyways, I’ve been bothered by the MK VII (Mark-seven) Gas mask bag strap I’ve had for some time now. It was a reproduction strap by What Price Glory (WPG). (FYI, the MK V or MK VI Gas mask bags were the the original military issued (World War II) bags the costume department used for the Indy costume. The MK VII however is very similar to these earlier issues, and is the easiest type of original WWII gear to come by nowadays.) Originally, the MkVII British Gas Mask Bag was issued to British troops and police forces during WWII as a precaution against a German gas attack.

The MKV or MKVI bag used in Raiders.

It’s like Indy’s man purse, pretty handy for keeping grail diaries, artifacts and other stuff he might need on an adventure. And as from Last Crusade, it played a crucial role in the plot, as seen below!

The gas mask bag's moment to shine!

Anyways, now back to the straps. The original MK-bags had a short cotton strap long enough to be strapped around the neck. The costume department simply removed this and replaced it with a longer leather strap which for a long time, among Indygear members was a mystery. However, it was revealed by Paramount prop masters that these straps were simply old military surplus rifle straps they got their hands on in the early 80s. And there are lots of discussions on this matter on COW. Nitpicking you say? Oh yes indeed, but that comes with the hobby (and I thought the Stormtrooper community were crazy!). The closest source is the H&K G3 Rifle strap, and I got my hands on two of these. I must say that the color is much more convincing than the WPG ones, and they have much more of that ‘off-the screen’ look and weathering. After all, these have all been natural weathered over time!

Original MK-typed Gas Mask bags issued for British soldiers.

Heckler & Koch G3 Rifle leather strap

Old (reproduction, new non-weathered) WPG Strap vs. New (real old, weathered) G3 Rifle sling.

Old ‘new’ strap vs. New ‘old’ strap!

Oh, did I mention that both the leather strap and gas mask bag smell like..old things? It’s like the smell you encounter when you walk into a flea market, or a costume department storage room. I guess the smell’s a part of the game as well? Oh geesh…I really need a gas mask.

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