Show me the decal !

Those that know me from the forums know that I all too often complain about the lack of decal photos when people post their camo helmets for review.

Camo helmets always have a wow factor when they are being posted , even bad ones. That means that some post war painted schemes are so good that we need to look better at the things we are familiar with.

  • Base paint , can be viewed best inside of the helmet.
  • Decal , often hidden but indications of it being there should be visible upon close inspection. Here the USB microscope can be of great help.

M35 Reissue helmets with overpainted decals are very good study objects if you want to see how paint and decals react to each other.

Here are some examples (You can see more of these helmets on the reissued Heer helmets page)

A fully overpainted DD Heer.

A single decal ex DD Heer

RonR’s EF SD Heer, paint is nicely cracked over the decal.

Reissued helmets tell us that in most cases even if completely overpainted we can see the decals ergo the same holds true for helmets painted with camouflage colors.

HOWEVER It does not automatically mean that all helmets that do not show any decals are fake. A helmet should still be judged by its own merrit but the presence of decals  helps in fascilitating the authentication process.


A couple of months ago a proud collector showed his new Luftwaffe camo helmet on the warrelics forum. Decal partially hidden under the paint.




Upon closer inspection I called it as a fake decal. If you read my previous article on the quality of Luftwaffe fake decals you know that they are very flawed and here the tiny bit that we see reveals a fake decal.


Example of a similar fake eagle.


This example illustrates better than words why we need to take decals into account when looking at camo helmets. It’s not just the look, the paint , the wear. If the decal is fake the paint and the wear no longer comes into play.

For those interested in reading the entire discussion you can find it HERE.

Before we move to the next chapter , here’s another example that made it to a dealer website 5 years ago.

3 things to take away from this example.

  1. Fake camo build on an Original shell (remember this is already 5 years ago)
  2. They did a convincing job on the camo
  3. The decal is the very well known ‘easy fake’.



What can this tool do for us collectors when looking at overpainted decals ? Simple.  If enough of the decal is left it can tell us if the decal under the paint is real. It requires scanning the decal area meticulously but what is also very important one needs to know what to look at.

A tan DAK painted / Mediterranean DD Luftwaffe helmet with overpainted decals. Scanning the decal area reveals enough of the Luftwaffe eagle to make a positive determination. The creamy white is typical for Luftwaffe decals and black print lines are also visible. Typical age cracks are showing nicely. The tricolor turns up something interesting as it appears to have been covered with paint before the camo was applied.




Here’s an Authentic M40 NS Heer tricolor camo. Damaged decal , the outline of the decal is visible even where completely overpainted. Only 200 zoom photos tell the story. The pulver , the print line that is visible and how the decal is damaged adds all up.



If you like to see one more example please check out the photos I added to the Tools for modern collectors page.


So the glitter and glamour aside you have to realise that the only thing that can help us is by adding things up and to include the decal into the equation if at all possible.

If traces of the decal are visible do not discard it and have a better look.

Have a nice sunday evening and thank you for your continued support of GHV. Feel free to leave a comment.

























13 thoughts on “Show me the decal !

  1. Rod Bowles March 3, 2019 / 8:01 pm

    Well done Frank,

    Yet again a brilliant article your knowledge knows no bounds! I’m just so thankful that there are real experts like you to help the integrity of the true enthusiasts, dealers and collectors from the fraudsters and dishonest folk out there who bring dishonour to this great hobby. Can’t thank you enough Frank, please keep up the great work.

    Vbw Rod

    • schwerpunkt73 March 7, 2019 / 7:29 pm

      Thank you Rod , I do my best to gather information from my collectors friends and do some research myself. I am glad that you find it useful.

  2. Jac March 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

    Great article Frank. Thanks! Jac

  3. Lars March 3, 2019 / 8:41 pm

    Love your articles thank you for sharing your knowledge

  4. Jeroen March 3, 2019 / 9:07 pm

    Thank you Frank, very interesting post. 👌🏼

  5. Philip Nestor March 3, 2019 / 9:52 pm

    Great articles as always Frank. Have you ever done a side by side comparison of different authentic SS decal next to the fakes and what collectors should look for . I think for a collector like me it would help greatly to see a photo of a real and then fake SS decal.If you’ve already done a article about this my apologies but J would definitely want to see this so I can avoid making expensive mistakes!!i recently got Kelly Hicks books Vol. 1 and 2 on SS helmets any other books or articles from you would be helpful.Thanks

    • schwerpunkt73 March 7, 2019 / 7:28 pm

      Hello Philip , I will give it a thought. The thing is that more fakes exist than Original SS decals (only 4 designs) so it pays off more to study those.
      But I will tryo to cook something up that might be useful.

  6. mrveach7838 March 7, 2019 / 11:06 am

    This was the first entry notification I’ve received since joining the blog. I was blown a way! The research, the photos, the writing – all top notch. It only intensifies my passion for collecting. All I can really say is, thank you!

    • schwerpunkt73 March 7, 2019 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you very taking your time to comment .

  7. sysyphus March 7, 2019 / 4:13 pm

    Great work Frank as you always use to do !

    • schwerpunkt73 March 7, 2019 / 7:26 pm

      Thanks Andrea , let me know when I make mistakes but privately 😉

      • sysyphus March 8, 2019 / 1:11 am

        You will never do mistakes Frank.

  8. yvss March 14, 2019 / 7:56 pm

    thank you Frank for your help and your explanations

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