Meet Gustav !

Gustav is a bit of a loner , you do not see him around that much and he carries quite a reputation.

His last name is Peiniger and he belongs in the group of WW2 period produced reissue decals. This means they were not applied at factory level.  The story on the decal as I learned it many years ago is as follows :

  1. Wartime produced
  2. You can find these in large quantities unapplied
  3. Because of the point above often post war applied

The last two of those points should be set straight in my opinion.


This is not a discussion point amongst collectors , the decal is clearly wartime produced. Right pulver and look and even the USB close-ups leave no doubt.

Gustav Peiniger close-ups left at 25x zoom , the right one at 200 zoom

Huber Jordan decal close-ups left at 25x zoom , the right one at 200 zoom


Honestly , if I look at the unapplied decals for sale in the last 10 years the Huber Jordan decal is by far the most available one.

The Ed Strache decal follows closely behind the Huber Jordan but the Gustav Peiniger decal I have rarely seen for sale. * Note that a Gustav Peiniger tricolor exists but I have never seen a combo of these decals *

So for me this point is not one I would take into consideration anymore as the Huber Jordan is by far the most available decal.

Example of a Huber Jordan decal



Let’s start with defining where we would expect to see a wartime applied GP decal. It follows the same ground rules as any of the other known reissue decals.

The big majority of such decals are found on reissued M16/M18 helmets and M35’s. You would expect that the components only go up to 1943 not later. These helmets would all be single decal helmets with feldgrau matte paint which can be textured in various degrees.

Here are 2 examples of what I consider period applied GP decals. It maybe coincidental but notice the paint drip on the ET under the decal and under the river of the Quist.

Example one is an M35 ET helmet , you can find it in more detail on my website

The other one I found on the internet and is a M35 Quist helmet. (if the owner of this helmet reads this blog I am happy to add a credit here).


Below is an example of a post war applied GP decal. If we apply the rules laid down above , this helmet is an M42 so that should throw up a huge red flag.

What else can we learn from this example ? The lot number tells us this one came out of the factory without a decal. Also if you look at the left side of the decal there is a triangular damaged area. This is damaged caused by applying the decal to the helmet , while period application flaws in itself are common. 70 years old decals applied in the present are fragile and have a tendency to break. It takes some experience to recognize the signs.

To sum up , things to consider when you spot a helmet with this decal :

  • Shell type (if M42 it will in all probability has a post war applied example)
  • Has the helmet been repainted and re-decaled , if no leave it.
  • Does the decal look better than the general condition of the shell ? This could be cause for concern.


All things taken into account this is not a decal to be scared of and the reputation it has received online is inflated and I know how it goes , it is a smart thing to do to pick up on guidelines from experienced collectors that help you and repeat them so other more novice collectors like you can pick up on it. It’s what I did and was part of.

But sometimes we need to take a step back and review and challenge what’s been taken for granted.

I have seen a great many helmets with this decal that I consider war time applied and yes there are quite a lot out there post war applied , especially the M42 helmet has been targeted for such practices , not just for the Gustav Peiniger decals but for all decals.

So let’s give Gustav a break when we see him again , he may be on your next helmet !

That’s all for now folks.

Have a nice Sunday.









4 thoughts on “Meet Gustav !

  1. Jan September 17, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Thanks Frank, a good read after a sunday lunch!

  2. Wayne September 18, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Great Article Frank ! I look forward to these emails more and more.

  3. sysyphus September 19, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    Very nice and detailed! lovely work Frank and thanks !

  4. sysyphus September 19, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I actually hope to meet Gustav one day, like your last finding 😉

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