Deconstructing fake Luftwaffe decals

Dear followers ,

In this article I will show you some high magnification photos of fake Luftwaffe decals compared to original ones.

The Luftwaffe fakes I have come across these last 20 years are of poor quality and a trained eye can spot these fakes easily without a loupe. But not everyone is a 100% die hard helmet collector. I see helmets with these fake decals still being sold today.

Authentication becomes more tricky if fake decals are covered with ‘camo paint’ , especially if the tell tale features are covered up and the fake camouflage is expertly recreated. Here the USB microscope can be a powerful tool.

Below example with 2 fake decals sold for 1800$ on an auction site.


On the left an unapplied 5$ droop tail fake and on the right an original droop tail eagle on an ET M35.

You can immediately see the digital sawtooth print in the unapplied example. Lack of details in graphics and also the white shows an even plastic white in the fake and a more milky creamy and thicker white on the original. The original is more layered as the black is printed on top of the white.

Next up is the other style Luftwaffe eagle , an applied one this time.

Top row is the original , bottom row the fake.

This one also shows the digital print which suffices to categorize it as a fake. You will notice the white has more depth and compares better to the original however design wise it is still a very flawed example.


The helmet below fooled many knowledgeable collectors (and dealers) when it surfaced in 2005. It has 2 fake decals and a very convincing camo paint applied.

In this particular case you can just see enough of the decal to declare it as a fake , no tools needed. For further reading on this particular helmet visit German Helmet Walhalla : Here

Here are 2 original WW2 camouflaged Luftwaffe helmets where only a tiny spot of decal is visible. With the USB microscope you even with the tiniest spot of the eagle visible dive in and authenticate it.

Example 1 of an original Luftwaffe camo with decal hidden under the paint

Example 2 of an original Luftwaffe camo with decal hidden under the paint

That is all for now , keep your eyes open and make sure you are one step ahead of the frauds in our hobby.

Until next time.












3 thoughts on “Deconstructing fake Luftwaffe decals

  1. munich17 August 12, 2017 / 8:33 am

    Great work Frank,
    A very informative and interesting chapter.

  2. sysyphus August 13, 2017 / 6:33 pm

    I saw recently on a show a Heer ET decal applied to an helmet with the same tooth-edges like the fake luft showed; not dotted edges rather small lines.
    Since i was armed with a loupe i spotted that, but i can really state that only through my naked eye (although trained) it was pretty convicing because graphicdetails were way much better than known fakes.


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