This is my dummy MG42 (okay M-53 dammit
) and my partial MG34. The differences between them in terms of construction details are really quite striking. It's also possible to tell a little about their histories and the long journeys they've been on from the markings and other clues.
The MG34 shroud is marked 'DOT 1944', which means it was make in occupied Czechoslovakia in 1944, in Brno. That factory was never bombed, and produced the MG34 right up until the city was overrun by the Soviets. This example has had the swastika-bearing acceptance marks ground off, and has been reblued a deep blue-black almost like hematite. These mark it as a gun that was probably used by the Czechoslovakian army. The bipod is a prewar example, as it has the logo of Gustloff Werke (of Suhl) stamped on it, rather than a three letter code like the barrel shroud.
The MG42 is mostly a Yugoslavian M-53, which was a postwar copy manufactured on captured tooling. Some of the internal parts have wartime codes, but no waffenamts (military acceptance codes). The codes place the parts as being made in the eastern part of Germany, but never making it into government hands. These facts tell a story of the parts going into Yugo hands from the GDR after WWII, but before Tito and Stalin fell out in 1948. Potentially, this weapon served in the Balkans Wars in the 90s, but I can't be sure. The finish on these is a much more matte brown/black/gray, indicating that the finish is parkerized, rather than blued.
With welding facilities and practice, I may eventually do rewelds of these to make legal semiautomatic weapons, but I'm in no hurry.
The line of questions that comes up with things such as these is often troubling: I am not a Nazi, nor am I any of a laundry list of other things. Including Batman. As to 'why do you need that lol' the answer really boils down to 'It pleases me to do so' (thank you, Mr. Lawrence). You could say that such things are a cure for Gnosticism, if you wanted to be obscure... and being obscure is one of my hobbies (Hey Jude).
I may do some foam copies someday, for the trooping and Pvt. Ryan crowds.