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The Man in the High Castle - How to Build John Smith's Impression.

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Click here for the Krause Papierwerke product page dedicated to "The Man in High Castle"


About the series and the character

Many of you have watched the Amazon Prime series "The Man in the High Castle". For those who didn't, it's a series based on a novel that takes place in the alternative reality where Axis Powers won the war. The east of the USA is under German control, while the west under Japanese. The undisputed master of the western part is Obergruppenführer John Smith. An American officer who, after Nazis nuked the Washington and government capitulated, sided with Germans in the civil war that followed. Within 2 years (by1947) the Nazis won and the peace returned to the American continent.

John Smith is portrayed as a very shrewd, convinced Nazi, father of family and master of intrigue.


About John's uniform


As in every movie about Nazis, the creators chose to put him in a version of a stunning M32, black SS uniform. There were some modifications to it though:

  1. American Nazi Armband on the left arm. Half red, half striped with blue swastika in the middle. Clearly referring to the flag of the USA.

  2. Shoulder boards on both, not just the right shoulder.

  3. "New York Corps" cuff-title on left sleeve.

  4. Unique medals along with some historical ones.

  5. Medal ribbon bar with historical and fictional ribbons.

  6. M32 black SS general visor cap is standard, but instead of typical SS skull (Totankopf), there's a bizarre combination of regular army metal wreath with SS pin (rather than army cockade) inside of it.

Where to get the items you will need to recreate John Smith's impression

Most of the items you will need (the historical ones) are readily available from numerous sources. Below I will describe what you need and where to find it. Some unique items, I could not find anywhere else, are now available from Krause Papierwerke. Browse the products on the page devoted to "The Man in the High Castle" or check items below.


Main uniform elements (top to bottom)

Item

Photo

Source

Notes

Est. cost

M32 SS General visor cap



Numerous, just google it.

Make sure to get general's. Officer's will be very similar, but have white piping instead of silver. Pick one with late insignia (eagle). Best don't go for "saddle" form.

$70-200

Cap insignia



Googe: "metal heer visor cap wreath". Hessen Antique has a nice one.

Buy a small SS-pin (16mm) here. Or look for a small "SS-pin" elsewhere.

Replace skull that came with cap with wreath+pin configuration.

$30

M32 SS tunic (wool)



Google M32 SS tunic. Many sources. Hessen Antique presumably supplied them to the series.

There will be 2 version available - Gabardine and Wool. John wore Wool. Make sure breast pockets aren't slanted!

$100-150

Black tie & white shirt



Any source will do.

$20-50

Suspenders



Google for black suspenders.

Any black suspenders will do.

$20

SS officer leather belt



Nice buckle at militaria-net.co.uk, though many other sources

$40-60

​SS Black Pants (Jodhpurs)



Google M32 SS pants. Lots of sources.

I recommend to buy from the same source as tunic, so they match.

$80-100

Black leather riding boots



Hessen Antique, SM Wholesale, google for leather riding boots.

Don't get typical reenacting boots with hobnails. You need sleeker officer's look.

$100-350

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