• Restoring 34 Lafette
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Restoring 34 Lafette

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:46 pm
by Abominog
I got a 34 Lafette partial kit to restore! Yeah! Another project!

The rear end cap is sadly gone, so no markings there. However, the lower assembly is marked ECY. And, the original color was dunkelgelb. Now, if I read Bergflak's website properly, this would only be the second known ECY in dunkelgelb.

The thing has been, of course, painted multiple times, and most of any paint is gone. So it needs a restoration.

I'd prefer to blast it to raw metal, prime, and paint panzergrau. I feel negligent in destroying the little bit of original paint, and changing the color. Is this foolish or should I try to preserve some of the original paint or restore to dunkelgelb?

Anybody have a rear end cap lying around?

Re: Restoring 34 Lafette

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:00 pm
by CaptMax
Try Greg at Allegheny Arsenal, I think I saw he had one at the Knob Creek show in his case on the table. Jbaum would know.

Re: Restoring 34 Lafette

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:05 pm
by JBaum
Yup, I remember seeing it. It was in his display case.

Re: Restoring 34 Lafette

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:38 am
by Abominog
Thanks for the insights.

I contacted Greg who claimed he did not have a correct MG34 end cap, but cut me a deal on a 42 Yugo complete upper which was OK since I needed some of those parts anyway.

This "kit" I bought is mostly reject parts, and missing lots of parts. Now I have everything I need except the FCG, so at least can build it enough to put a 34 on top of it.

Lower original paint is dunkelgelb over red primer.

Search mechanism original paint is combo black primer and no primer- the body is black primer, but the knobs and such no primer. Over that was dunkelgelb except on the search barrel.

The upper must have been previously stripped. On the upper, it appears that at every stage of painting, including from the factory, it was painted with the carriage inside the slide rails since there is no paint on the inside of either, nor on the inner portions of small parts (i.e., there is no paint on bolts that pass through the assembly, except on the exposed parts of the bolts.)

Over all that was post-war Austrian green, in two different shades, the top coat came off 60% just sitting in the parts washer. I will note that the entire search mechanism was bound up because it was coated totally in paint by the Austrians. NOTHING on it worked- NOTHING moved.

Now, here's some trivia I did not know, but have since learned. The dunkelgelb was, contrary to my assumption, NOT used in Africa. By the time the Germans switched to dunkelgelb they were out of Africa. But wait, there's more! Dunkelgelb RAL 7028 is not like the Pantone color system- there is NOT just one shade of dunkelgelb- there is a wide range, from very light (as was original to this mount) to almost orange to brownish to greenish! Finally, it appears that dunkelgelb was considered a BASE coat, not a camouflage color- i.e., it could and/or would be painted in the field.

I found at Lowes a rattle can of color to my liking. Of course, when tested it looked terrible. Luckily I tested before I sand blasted and primed.

Still have two weld repairs to accomplish before blast & prime.

Re: Restoring 34 Lafette

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:32 pm
by Abominog
An update.

Folke Myrvang, the author of the MG34/42 book, recommends that the Lafette not be disassembled. It is, in my experience, a chore.

So when I restored mine I didn't have a FCG. I did get a Lafette 42 FCG, so finally decided it's better than nothing. In test fitting, it looks like the Lafette 42 trigger pusher will work, it just has to be cut back 1/4".

To install necessitated another disassembly of the Lafette. Never fun, but I did it, and got the new FCG in there. Then re-assembled the Lafette jigsaw puzzle.

The trigger pusher didn't seem to be returning well. I wrote it off to an old spring. That is, until a week later I happened across the photos I'd taken of the donor Lafette 42 and realized that the "leftovers" weren't leftovers, but in fact two parts I had failed to install in the Lafette 34.

Back to disassembly again...