I have wanted to mount a full paratrooper mannequin for years, but I never seem to be able to get the cash together for an original T5. An original with the canopies and risers – if you can find one – will set you back 5000 euros. A semi-original, reconstituted from (mostly) original parts is about 2000 euros. The few repros available cost at least 1000 euros without any original parts.
Jump-master44 now has a full set for 750 euros available at their eBay store, and it doesn’t look like it’s made in China. It does have a few faults, but very minor ones that are either invisible on display, or which can be fixed with a bit of handiwork.
+ Overall great repro and better than the ones I have already seen elsewhere.
+ The OD green harness costs 50 euros more, but it’s much more realistic than white
+ The original (A4) chest pack adds a lot of the been-there realism
+ Realistic label on chest pack
+ Pretty realistic green elastic straps on chest pack
– White webbing of the static line is too white. You’d have to stain it…
– Missing pocket for inspection booklet on main pack
– V-ring would be more realistic if it weren’t green with green webbing
– Not so realistic label on main pack (wrong font)
– Static line sewn onto extraction panel
– No cord included for closing main pack
– No rubber bands included for draping the static line
These are the pros and cons in short. Now let’s take a closer look. As usual, click on the pictures to enlarge them.
What sets this reproduction apart from others is the green webbing and hardware. Others I have seen all had white webbing. That’s nice if you use original webbing, but the repro white doesn’t cut it for me. The green repro webbing is very close to the orignal color, and only up-close do you see that the weave is different (I am being finicky here). For your reference I have made a photo of green and white repro webbing next to samples of original webbing.
|Repro webbing compared to original|
Note that my original green webbing is a bit faded and the white webbing a bit dirty, but you get the picture. I chose to replace the white static line (white is the correct color for the static line if the harness is green) by an original which I bought years ago. It doesn’t get any better than that! If you don’t have an original static line lying around, you might try to stain the repro white webbing. I haven’t tried this myself, but I read somewhere that you can dye it with tea. First try it with a lightly colored solution, because you won’t be able to reverse the process. Detach the static line from the extraction panel first. Not a big deal for a static line, but if you have to dye and entire harness, you’d have to work with a sponge. That’s why I went for the green webbing.
|Repro static line hook compared to original|
The static line hook is pretty close to the original as you can see in the picture above. The other hardware of the webbing looks great too. As it’s all painted OD green instead of plain aluminum, the hardware doesn’t look as spanking new as does the bright unpainted metal on the white harness. Just a small remark about the V-ring for attaching your Griswold bag and the like. On originals, these were not attached by the manufacturer but sewn on by riggers afterwards. If you own an unissued Griswold bag, you will see it has a D-ring attached to the hook meant to be sewn onto the harness. On original parachutes, you will see the V-ring sewn either directly onto the green webbing, or onto a small piece of white webbing. Those V-rings would have been bare metal, not painted green. I may yet cut off the V-ring provided to replace it by an original as soon as I find a bit of original white webbing. Another thing I noticed was the stitching of the attachment of the chest cross-straps. I thought that on originals this was always done with large cross-stiches. Here it’s done with straight crosses (+ instead of X). You can see an example of both the V-ring and the cross-stiches on the picture of an original set below. However, after looking closely at more pictures (period black and whites), I found out they also existed with straight cross stitches. Maybe something to do with different manufacturers.
|D-ring and cross stitches on repro||And an original|
This is in fact the least visible part when you display the set on a mannequin, which maybe why it is here that we find most of the faults. Not that it isn’t well done, far from it. Starting at the rear, you can see in the picture below that the static line is sewn onto the extraction panel. In reality, this should be a squarish hole for the static line to loop through. I will detach the static line, cut a square hole and sew the borders with a sewing machine (or maybe I’ll ask my sweet quartermaster to do it for me). The static line is folded 7 to 8 times across the back so that the static line comes out over the left shoulder. Each fold can be tucked in the loops on the side of the pack, secured by short wide rubber bands. Sadly, these rubber bands are missing. You can buy them at paragear.com, but I don’t know if the length is correct. In the picture below you see the loops and the area in red where there should have been a pocket for the inspection booklet. This is a bit annoying, but invisible on display.
|Static line sewn onto extraction panel||Missing pocket for inspection booklet|
Another thing that’s missing is a cord to tie the extraction panel to the main pack. It should be some kind of white heavy yarn. I don’t know the exact diameter. It would have been nice if this were included, but I found just the thing at Veritas (shop for sewing supplies etc.). Before tying it down you need to fill the pack with something to simulate the canopy. I recommend the foam as used in cushions and mattresses because it can be cut to shape and it’s very light (you don’t want your mannequin to tip over). The only visible fault is the label on the side. As you can see in the picture, the font used on the label is not correct. The text itself is correct enough, except for the June 1944 date perhaps, which is a bit late for a D-Day issue pack.
|Inside of the main pack||Manufacturer label on main pack|
The reserve pack or chest pack is the most visible part when you have it on display. Fortunately this is where I have the least remarks. It’s made up of an original A4 pack. Two of the three web handles were removed (the T5 has only one) and OD green hooks have been added. The pull handle is a repro, but you can’t tell from the outside. The 6 repro elastic rubber bands, called bungee straps, are green and quite nice. Not the usual white jobs you see on other repros. But I replaced them by originals. As you see, it pays to scrounge for original parts, even if you don’t own a complete original set. The label of the reserve pack is a perfect copy of the original. The only minus here is that the reverse side does not have the two reinforcement straps, as can be seen on the photo of an original chest pack below. But this isn’t visible on display, so I only add it here for completeness.
|Front of pack. Note original bungee straps.||Reverse. Note absence of reinforcement straps.|
|Detail of the nice repro T5 label.||Reverse of original T5 with reinforcement straps.|
You’ve had the short and the long of it. I think we can conclude that jumpmaster has done a great job. I would rate it 8/10. With a few minor improvements (stitching details, main pack pocket and label) and a few more extra’s included (rubber bands, string to close main pack), it would merit a 9/10. Perfecting the color of the white webbing will probably remain a job for the buyer.
My wish list
I would encourage jumpmaster to add new models to its offering. I still want a T4 and a T7-A (modified T5 for Holland jumps).
You can contribute too
If you have an original T5 or another repro that you want to share details about, or if you just want to give your opinion, please send me an e-mail.
Dear Wouter, I am a costume supervisor (ex B.O.B.) and early next year may be doing a smallish budget WW2 film in Hungary based on US Paratroopers June 1944 (82nd Airborne). In the film we will need app. 20 guys fully rigged in their T5 para packs. About 5 of these guys also need to be seen with deployed canopies and the lines. I realise it is not going to be easy or cheap to do this and time is needed. The question is can you find 20 x T5 para packs and 5 x deployable canopies (preferably in camo). What sort of money might be involved? Also once we have used them (just 2 or 3 days of the filming) we would like to resell them back to you. So, in effect, we are just renting them from you. Would you consider this as an option? I thought I would start asking these questions now as I know it takes a long time to prepare these types of items. Thank you and regards Daryl Bristow
Hello Daryl, sorry for my late reply. My site has been a bit of a mess after moving from Blogger to WordPress. I can’t help you myself but I can give you some addresses of people who make repro T5’s. I know of three who still make them. The price for a T5 with chestpack is about 900 EUR. Canopies are more difficult, but French or postwar spotted chutes are very similar. On film it would be hard to see the difference. Most canopies are incomplete though (shroudlines cut and canopy cut), so this may be expensive too. I’ll send you some links this evening. Best regards, Wouter
I have a complete T5 rig complete with silk chute. I would be happy to deploy it if I can get a packer to repack it. I have two complete rigs. Sounds like would be fun. How do you sign up for this gig
I also have enough M1 Garands to stock everyone in the shot.
I am still looking for yet another T5 Airborne rig and I am out of bungees for the tray.
Bonjour, une petite question je recherche de la web pour harnais de parachute T5 en copie auriez vous une adresse merci
C’est pour en constuire un harnais vous même? Le matériel d’origine devient difficile à trouver. Si ca vous intéresse j’ai un static line en repro avec le crochet.
Ihave a little qeustion about this harness. Is it possible to put a modern sqaure canopy voor staicline harnesse in this harnes and is it possible to put a modern reserve canopy in the chest pack?
(P.S. It is nice to see that someone want a repro of the chute which where used in the netherlands.)
Yes, I think it’s possible to re-rig this harness with actual chutes. But I guess you’d have to be very confident of your rigging skills if you actually plan to jump with it.
Good luck and currahee 😉
I have a lot of WW II parachute equipment to much to list on my web site. I have everything from original T5 chest packs to T7’s up to T10’s. I have seat packs by the dozen and Norden Bombsights, only thing missing is the stabilizer as I need one of them bad. I have over 30 m1 Garands on display. I have 2 tours in VN and while I hate the memories I cherish the WW II stuff as my Dad was there and got his T-Shirt the hard way. I welcome any communication with people of similiar interest. my best email for this stuff is firstname.lastname@example.org as I am a licensed FFL also. I have original 24ft Silks so instead of putting foam in your repro put a silk you will love it.
There is a T5 on reproduction Ebay now if anyone is interested. I would like to have one but do not know enough about them to tell if this one is a good one or not.
Do you know where I can obtain some WWII parachute webbing for making a museum display Army Air Corps parachute harness?
No, I’m sorry. You can keep an eye on eBay, but it’s been a while since I have last seen rolls of original webbing.
WARNING: DO NOT buy anything from Jump-Master44! I purchased a T5 rig and backup chute back in Jan. 2012 and here it is June and have not received it. I asked status adn I got replies that parts are on back order. After waiting for over 4 months I finally asked for a refund and he stopped answering my emails. He is a crook and has no honor! Again, do not deal with him! He will take your money and you will get nothing!
Hello Lee, I’m sorry to hear that. I got mine years ago, while he was still selling many on eBay. I thought he’d stopped making them. Maybe he will read this and come forward to sort this out. I hope so, but it doesn’t sound good. Someone just recommended the T5 made by Rigger Made Unit.
I’m president of a reenactment association in France named “Les Oies Sauvages”
One of our members work perfectly under T5 Parachutes and more items.
You could search on internet : Rigger Made Unit
His webbing is reproduction or original and the reproduction webing look to be original 100% cotton and not nylon like those you show on your picture.
Actualy he work under a X Type MKI Parachute Project
Yes, Rigger Made Unit has very nice stuff and is already on my Links page. I have two rigger-made bags from there which are really nice. Thanks for your commment!
Thanks I will check out Rigger Made Unit. Unfortunately, I need to raise he money again. I don’t really have any hope of getting the money back from jump-master44. But I wanted to get the word out so no one else gets robbed. If you guys in Europe can pass the word on all your forums that would be great. I live in Canada so can’t really do much from here except get the word out.
I also had a very bad experiance with Jumpmaster44 I ordered a reserve and waited and waited finally got it and looked like a grade school made it. I have originals to compare it to but wanted to see his work before ordering something big. Glad I did. It would suffice to say nothing on the reserve was right and I do mean nothing. I honestly beleive he figured just another dumb American. I put it on Ebay not to sell it but to display it and I did not put one negative word in the add the pictures spoke for themselves. I ended up distroying it as I did not want my company name even close to it. Even my employees would not take it. I am very respectful of other people bussiness and do not take lightly saying negative things about a company but this was way over the top poor workmanship and even the claws were not cleaned prior to being installed. That was a while back and maybe he has gotten it down pat now I hope so.
Well… if he doesn’t deliver what you pay for, such as in my case, it’s very difficult to judge if his work is any good or not. Again, I paid him good money and received nothing… he stopped answering my emails some time a go. I guess he figures me living in Canada and him in France that he is free to rip people off. It’s a shame because he gives the French and Europeans a bad name. It will be a very long time before I deal with anyone outside of North America.
End July i will have my repro T-5 parachute in stock. The sale price for a complete set will be 475 euro ( harness, backpack with pull out panel and T-5 reserve, this is without canopy)
The first pictures can be seen on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/quartermasterinspector
Hello Peter, it would be nice if I could do a review about this reproduction and put it on my site. Can I come to Hamme to take some pictures and see for myself? Do you have plans for a modified T5 (T7)? Groeten, Wouter
I have an original T5 front mount pack inside it has a 1 24 irvin Mk 3, it has risers and connector mount clips., it is compleate, if you are interested e/mail me, regards Michael
Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass. I do know someone who specifically collects chest packs. Is it OK if I send him your e-mail address?
hey i was looking on line today cause while cleaning out my wife’s grandfathers house and we stumbled upon a t-5 from the research i’ve done i am just wondering what all you could tell me about this item and from the look of it i believe it hasn’t been opened since 1943ish thanks
Hello Derek, that sounds like a really interesting find! Your grandfather was a paratrooper in WW2? There’s a lot to say about the T-5, more than I could summarize in one article, and I haven’t attempted it. What I find most interesting, and what you might want to check, is if there are any 2 or 3 letter markings or symbols on the parachute or reserve pack. I could help you with the meaning of those. Kind regards, Wouter
Ik ben druk doende een originele T5 aan te schaffen.
Ik hou je op de hoogte,
Do you know the format for the govt/factory serial numbers? How many digits, etc.
My unit just purchased several repro harnesses, and we want to number them so we can tell which has been fitted to whom.
Hello Archangel, unfortunately I don’t have that information, sorry…
Do you have reinforcement straps available for sale? I’m trying to complete my t5 parachute chest pack but I don’t find this parts.
Please, let me know
Hi José, I’m sorry, no spare parts for sale.
A great article and very well described.
I would like to know your opinion, about another replica of T5 parachute “Normandy version”, which is on the market.
It is the one that sells quartermaster inspector.
I would like to know your opinion about the quality of this replica.
Hi Ruben, I think this is a very nice replica, and better than the one in my own review (which is no longer sold). QMI is also a reputable seller and they have good stuff. Already bought quite a bit there over the years. Good luck!
I’ve just bought myself the Rigger Depot 1st type T-5 and reserve for my E 2/505th 82nd impression, now before anyone says they’re extremely expensive, yes they’re. But when you take into account it’s got genuine green webbing and all genuine hardware fitted, also joshua DeJong takes the time and effort to find out what unit your covering so you get the exact type of T-5 they would’ve jumped with on D day, I also got his PFAPs and E&E pack and contents. I can honestly say it’s all top top quality, the very best on the market and worth every penny, the government’s custom charge hurt. But unfortunately not a lot you can do about that. But if your after the very best on the repro market, look no further then The Rigger Depot.
Thank you for your comment Chris. Something to bear in mind. I am considering a T-5A conversion suit for my Market Garden mannequin, or a T-4 training parachute.