SS decals – A short guide

The decal design is simple , just 2 black runes on a silver black bordered shield. SS helmets are highly sought after by collectors and demand much higher prices than Wehrmacht helmets. These 2 things bring them into the crosshairs of fraudulent people. SS decals have been reproduced as early as the seventies.

In the 20st century collectors spoke only about the 1st pattern runes and the 2nd pattern runes. Approximately 15 years ago the first books were released from which we learned there are actually 5 different SS decal designs with each design specifically assigned to a helmet factory (2 in case of EF). Unfortunately some of the research was erroneous and believed all 5 helmet factories produced SS helmets when in fact only Eisenhüttenwerk Thale (ET) , Quist Esslingen (Q) and Emaillierwerke Fulda (EF) produced them. The decals placed on NS and SE/hkp helmets called Champagne runes were proven false over time. You can read more about the how and why here. So we are left with 4 SS decals to study.

  1. The Quist decal – Only found on Quist made helmets.
  2. The ET decal – Found on ET made helmets and also EF helmets
  3. The EF style decal – Found only on EF made helmets
  4. The Pocher decal – On all but not factory applied except on the Medium duty single vent Edelstahl helmets.

The ET/ckl runic decal

ET already started placing these decals in 1938 on their M35’s and placed them on M40’s and M42’s up till 1943.

There’s one thing to watch out for. I have not come across any M42 with ET maker stamp that carried an SS decal. All the M42 with SS decals are ckl stamped. Maybe they do exist but I have not been able to find one yet.

EF only used this decal very sparsely on their M42’s. EF is decal wise a complicated factory. They also used 3 different Heer decals and 2 different Kriegsmarine decals. Their Luftwaffe decal however is unique to them as is the so-called EF runic decal.

The EF runic decal

This decal is unique and I so far have only observed 1 M40 SS by EF which is in the Hicks SS steel book but there are no close-ups of the decal. You will find this decal predominantly on the M42’s by EF. If anyone of my friends that reads this has an EF M40 SS I would love to see it. This decal was not used on M35’s.

The Quist runic decal

It also looks like Quist started to apply these decals from 1938 onward up to 1943 in the same way that ET did. There are no exceptions like with ET or EF. Quist continued to produce M40’s when the other factories changed over to the M42.

Just one thing to watch for is the decal drop date. Make sure to check rear marked Quist M40’s with the lot number list.

The Pocher runic decal

I kept the best for last. This is the decal that has no rules so it’s important to take extra care when you do an inspection of a helmet with this decal.

The only thing you can take for granted is that it is the only SS decal used on Medium duty Edelstahl helmets.

Medium duty Edelstahl helmet , odd decal placement but 100% correct

You can see this decal on M35’s by Q , ET and EF. For example , a lot of black overpainted M35’s will have the Pocher decal. Typically reissued SS helmets will carry a Pocher decal but again mostly M35’s. Following the reissue logic it is possible to find an NS or SE/hkp helmet with a Pocher decal. (although I cannot think of one example).

The Pocher shield was also used on M40’s and M42’s. Often applied over decals of another branch and just like any other reissue decal the Pocher is also found on a myriad of other helmet types like the M16/M18 and appears to have been used on commercial/civic shells as well.


Decal study always boils down to looking and comparing. Each decal shown above is unique. If someone shows you a Q decal without showing you the shell you should be able to say that it is a Quist decal. If then the shell turns out to be an ET shell you were for sure looking at a fake Quist decal. Sounds pretty simple isn’t it ?

That is why it is important to look at the full picture , it is not just about the decal. It is about the maker , the lot number and the other components.

If I see a bad photo of an SS helmet and I can already see the liner is fake , it’s already game over. I don’t need to see more.

That’s it for now , keep collecting ! And as always your feedback is appreciated.


Tracking the fakes : LIVE

The helmet below , an ET M35 Double decal SS is currently up for auction at Live auctioneers.

It has three bids up to almost 1700$ but the helmet is a complete post war refurbishment and needless to say it does not hold any value whatsoever.

  • The paint has the wrong color
  • The decals are clearly reproductions
  • The liner band and leather are reproductions

I hope through my post here we can spread the word. It was already posted earlier today on the Wehrmacht awards forum.

Enjoy your evening and thanks for checking out and using my website. A lot number list update should be ready soon.



Tracking the fakes #6

Some bigger names feature in this episode of Tracking the fakes. It’s incomprehensible to me why some helmets get posted for sale while there are viable concerns with originality or some which are at least worth a serious discussion.

A helmet that does not follow factory logic must have some kind of provenance if you want to sell it as 100% certified real. Previous ownership is not provenance , it can be part of it but it is not the start of it. The same with extremely rare helmets no-one so far has done any meaningful research on and which exist more as copy than authentic. You just don’t sell helmets you think are real , you sell helmets that are real.

Enjoy this article and thank you in advance for your comments.


Gottlieb Militaria auctions

This a typical dealer that I have seen selling fakes between the good stuff for decades.

A couple of years ago he also started an auction website for militaria , it has come up with selling fakes quite often (and I just look at helmets).

Like most dealers he wrote a book. It is every dealers dream to be considered an authority on a subject. Gottlieb wrote about SS honor rings. Of course he is no authority on honor rings but now some people think he is. You can read more on the subject if you click (and register) here.

Below some fakes that have been caught , just this year only. The DD Heer was auctioned of just recently.

Fake SS helmets and a fake camo helmet , all courtesy of Gottlieb auctions

Militarische Antiquitaten , a FAKE WEBSITE

Don’t get caught by this website :

This website came to my attention a few months back when someone put one of their helmets up for discussion on a forum. The lower than normal price for that helmet (and other items on the website) are a huge red flag. Other than that I did not think much of it but recently this website popped back up on my radar because of Nick the administrator of the Lowlands militaria forum. He had contact with the owner of the website on some of his items and received very odd answers to his questions.

It reads like a ‘how to spot a fraud’ pamphlet

  1. You could not get more detailed photos of any of the items on the website , the reason being that the items were stowed away in boxes. A pretty stupid business model I would call that.
  2. You can not go there and look at the items (or pick them up)
  3. The website states as location Luxemburg but the items are not in Luxemburg or so the owner claims
  4. Prices are suspiciously low

On the Wehrmacht awards forum you can read a topic of a victim of this fraudster. You can read it here if you are a paying member.

If you are a victim of fraud you can report it to the Police.

Regimentals UK

Watch out for this transtional helmet with fake Kriegsmarine decal. Priced at 2500 GBP.

German Helmets Inc

A popular site from a dealer that wrote a pretty good book on German helmets.

But this helmet ?

This is a late rear marked Q66 single decal army helmet with a three-color spray camouflage pattern applied. The helmet shell took some sort of hit at the top from which a significant crack developed. I have to say that this helmet is by no means a “one-looker”; given the condition of the paint. I took some time with this and scrutinized it fairly well. I believe it is a good one. Although I can just hear the forum guys calling me names over this one. $1250.00

German helmets Inc

It’s by no means a one looker original , I agree. But it is a one looker fake.

Starting with the brand new paint , the crack that has zero paint loss along the edge and yes a late war Q shell , rear stamped Q mark with a lot number past the decal application point. This helmet is not even worth a discussion let alone 1200 USD.


This site has some strange offerings , first off this Wolfsangel SS runes M42.

It’s being sold as an I think it is original. Quite funny that. Here’s what the dealer says.

 I have never owned one, but in hand this helmet has every appearance of pre-1945 manufacture and wear. (Additionally worth mentioning, NS is the sole known maker for another very unusual helmet type, the ‘Sauerland’ organization’s helmet.) The liner shows a lot of use but is supple. There are no markings discernable. Sale includes my COA. 5950 USD

SS steel website

If it sells for 6K I am sure we will see many more “I think it is original” helmets popping up on dealer websites.

Truth be told if this can be proven as a genuine Wolfangel helmet it’s worth far more than 6K. But that’s just the problem. So far no-one has done an indepth study into these decals and as often more fakes than originals are around to study. Still I believe at least this decal should exhibit the same traits as any other Third Reich printed decal.

It is just typical of how money nuts the militaria world is that a helmet can be sold without even knowing if the decal is real. The fact that the Sauerland decal has been observed only on NS shells has zero bearing on this helmet.

Do your research thoroughly then sell it.

Here’s another oddball from the same website. EF M42.

EF used 2 SS factory decals. The typical EF design runic shield and more uncommon the ET design runic shield.

The decal on this helmet is neither and the seller also acknowledges it. But like with the first helmet some circumstantial provenance is woven around the helmet to explain the not text book decal. It’s a Ukranian so he painted a runic shield on his helmet. Yes could be or someone painted it to increase the value perhaps ? Champagne rune scandal rings a bell ? I say painted because to me it does not look like a waterslide decal.

Here’s the seller’s text.

This rare helmet was a walk-in to a coin shop in Winnipeg Manitoba, purchased by an advanced Canadian collector friend of mine who is very widely known in the community. He sold it to another Canadian friend, who has had it for the 20 years since then. The helmet is an EF66 M42, issued commensurate with the time frame of the significant expansion of SS Volunteer forces from the occupied countries (unfortunately only two digits of the heat lot number can be discerned because of the thick paint of the inscription). With a Sryllic inscription and the fact that there are many Ukranians in Winnipeg, made it a compelling piece to collect. The shell is a size 66 with a size 58 marked liner in very good condition. The original strap is present and in very good condition. The SS runic shield is a variant, which appears manufactured, and bears a strong resemblance to the post-1940 ET pattern shield. Closeups of the design are provided. The name painted in the skirt appears to say “F.J. Nikolai.” Sale includes my 100% lifetime guarantee of authenticity

SS steel website

Military Collectibles Inc

I never quite understand what’s up with websites that can’t even post good photographs of what they are offering. Nor can I understand how they keep in business.

This M42 , even with these crappy photos has a clear fake decal. A badly upgraded M42 no decal like there are many around.

Here’s a similar helmet this time not with a fake decal but with an original Gustav Peiniger post war applied.

That’s it for now , keep hunting gentlemen.


Tracking the fakes #5

Oh never a dull moment when you collect militaria. Plenty of rubbish to go through each time one searches ‘German helmet’ on Google.

This time I got inspired to do another episode of tracking the fakes when someone mentioned Spree Militaria to me. It’s a site I remembered but not frequent. Now I know why.

Sometimes helmets are so ridicously bad that I am amazed someone takes the trouble to photograph them.

Spree Militaria

Here we go a camouflaged Quist DD Kriegsmarine helmet , this would be a top shelf item in anyone’s collection… If it was authentic… which this one is not.

Because Quist did not produce Kriegsmarine M35’s , because the decals are fake and because the paintjob is so badly done. Still Spree dares to ask 1995 euros for it.


The Luftwaffe helmets on his site are of similar quality bearing the ‘easy fake’ Luftwaffe decal. Mein gott , it is terrible. I would not buy a button from that website.


LION GATE arms and armour

Definitely not a website specialised in selling German helmets but how hard can it be to have one German helmet checked out ?

This Red cross is a total fantasy piece with fantasy decals. It’s a black Feuerschutz helmet that has been upgraded to something more special in order to ask more $$$. They ask 1065 USD !

Ebay and other online Auctions

I always advise new or inexperienced collectors to avoid auction sites as it can end in disaster easily. Auction houses like to present everything with big words , posh representations and you really feel that what you are bidding for will be exactly as they describe. Unfortunately a lot of items are misrepresented or completely fake. Of course there are good helmets there but you need to be able to filter them out. Bad purchases are often not refunded!

One helmet to be extremely wary about is the cloth / canvas / wire camo. These helmets are typical collector traps. Sure German soldiers are observed wearing these type of camo’s but the truth of the matter is extremely few have survived the war and they are easy to fake.

The helmet below recently was on auction and sold for over 4000 euros. The helmet was reviewed one the Wehrmacht awards forum and quite quickly (and justly) dismissed as a fake.

M42 helmet models (especially those with no decals) are a prime target for fakers so when coming across camo’s , red cross painted helmets , wire camo or any other M42 with something that seems rare and unique be very careful.

This helmet on ebay is a good example of a fake camo M42. The supposed Luftwaffe factory color that we see on the inside is clearly not the correct color. The extensive orange oxidation is also a give away as is the reproduction liner. On the exterior again the orange oxidation is an issue.


Weitze , as usual mixes good with ridiculously bad.

Watch out for this Dutch Luftwaffe flakhelfer , it’s the “easy fake” Luftwaffe eagle combo with a fake Hitlerjugend diamond. A combination which is pure fantasy.

Also watch out for Heer helmets being advertised as Kriegsmarine. This is clearly a half toned Heer decal (looks like and Ed Strache decal). So this one is a completely authentic helmet , just not a Kriegsmarine.

Here another one , clearly not Kriegsmarine and there are many more.

Stahlhelme der Kriegsmarine sind nur sehr selten zu finden quoting Weitze 🙂

The transitional Polizei with fake decals I presented in an earlier episode of detecting the fakes is still in his inventory.


Arguably one of the dealers I found the most absurd fake helmets over the past 15 years , myself and many other members posted many topics on this dealer throughout the years. You can read one here (remember to register) : here

The helmet below is for sale today on his website for over 4K USD. It seems the canvas wire crew has been hard at work but still a totally unconvincing helmet.


The final bad boy to add to this blog. First of all this dealer his photos are the worst I have seen which makes it even for me tricky to detect the fakes.

Take a look at this M42 NS Kriegsmarine helmet (NS did not produce Kriegsmarine helmets).

Fake Bigfoot decal and post war paintjob.

This horrible fake red cross helmet is marked as sold (poor buyer) also comes with a fake Bigfoot decal and a fake tricolor. Alarm bells should ring when you come across a Heer or Luftwaffe DD M40.

Fantasy ! (fake adler and also a combination of paint color and eagle to the front that is not commonly observed)

That’s all for now folks. Appreciate your comments and have a great sunday.



Tracking the fakes #4

Helmet upgrading

It’s a practice that we can trace back to the earliest collectors. Helmets were made to fit certain examples missing on the shelf. Often camouflage paint and wire were added. M42 no decal helmets were subjected to become SS helmets or camo helmets.

With helmet prices going up over the decades upgrading became even more interesting and lately with interests in wire camo’s and medic helmets peeking we see a great increase in examples available for purchase. This is the market following the money which is unusual because only woodwork finds add to the known pool of helmets and even 10 years ago a medic helmet or a wire camo helmet were considered rare. A Normandy or 2 color camo helmet with wire was considered ultra rare.

Check out this wire helmet for sale on ebay , period or upgrade ?


It’s not !

Below the same helmet made more interesting for collectors with adding wire camouflage. The price has tripled…


It also happens with other kinds of helmet attachments. The helmet below has a strap but switched from the lower helmet to the upper helmet and of course no mention of it being swapped on the dealer site.


Now let’s see what other bad stuff has turned up online lately.

IMCS militaria sells a hard to upgrade fake

Luftwaffe M42 SD Helmet
Fantastic Luftwaffe M42 SD helmet in near mint condition. Maker marking is hard to see but it must be “CKL” which is “Eisenhuttenwerke Thale” in steelpot size “66” The steelpot has 99% of its original Luftwaffe camo paint and a 100% Luftwaffe decal.
The helmet is complete with its original liner (never being removed) and its original leather combat helmet strap. Overal a fantastic Luftwaffe helmet. Hard to upgrade!!!

Too bad to see this nice no decal CKL with this ‘easy fake’ Luftwaffe adler.


Militaria relics , quote themselves as the reliable Militaria site

Unfortunately this NS SS helmet is bogus as NS did not produce SS helmets.

2350 euros , I think not.


EPIC artefacts

This is a no brainer , a good firefighter helmet with sticker like fakes.  Come on guys , really ?



A name that sounds like it must have some decent inventory , the opposite is true. The owner would not recognize a German helmet even if he was somehow catapulted back to Nazi Germany. That’s how utterly terrible his inventory is.

Product Description , I added comments between brackets !

Very nice Kriegsmarine model 42 single decal helmet. Nice gold tone eagle decal (FAKE STICKER) for Kriegsmarine. Helmet retains most all of it’s finish. (POST WAR PAINT)  Decal is about 90% intact. Liner (FAKE) is nice and bit brittle. (FAKE) Chin strap is marked. Helmet shell is marked CKL64 and 4730. (NO DECAL HELMET) I can’t make out the liner size stamp, but approx. size 58. Overall a fine helmet in very fine++ condition. (FOR A RE-ENACTOR).

1000 USD  (150 USD)


Some more duds on this website.



I found this website by accident while searching for TENO helmet examples. (while writing this and looking at their inventory I realised that these guys featured in one of my previous articles of Tracking the fakes).

Their “about us” make it seems as if they know what they are doing but looking at their helmet inventory they are clearly clueless.

About Us

The concept is simple. All of the items offered here are from private Collections and are owned by Collectors. We sell them on behalf of the Collector thereby maximising the Collectors return on investment, rather than the Collector attempting to sell the item to a Dealer at a generally lower price. As well as making our living in this business we are avid collectors with over 100 years of collecting experience between us covering all areas including Antique and Deactivated Weapons, Napoleonic, Victorian, WW1 and WW2 Militaria including 3rd Reich Items.

Let’s start easy with a Luftschutz beaded shell that got upgrade with a fake Luftwaffe adler. It only costs 200 GBP.


The next one is… well it must be some sort of joke. This feuerschutz helmet received two nasty looking fake decals and costs 1500 GBP !


They also sold this other upgraded feuerschutz helmet with a fake TENO decal.



There is so much Low quality replica Third Reich stuff for sale it is a crime. Websites like Reich relics and Spandau are made in a way that as a total newbie you are drawn in by their self proclaimed expertise.

When browsing their websites it’s like you have found the holy grail when in fact they are showing a fata morgana. Nothing is what it seems in these shops and you will be lucky to walk out with something that will be worth something a month later.

We really need to spread the word about these shops. Every new collector that spends his money there is a collector lost when he realises he bought junk.

It’s the same like those antique shops in Bulgaria that are filled with poor swastika engraved cigarette cases , flasks and watches. You walk in and you think wow I’m lucky I’m first in this shop. Your heart beats faster and you cash out and once home you review your treasures , do some research and discover it is all junk.


To end on a good note , I do see some online dealers that appear to have cleared out the fakes from their inventory. When I started to buy helmets online myself back in 2004 it was generally accepted that dealers had mixed inventories (good and bad mixed up).

The popularity of online forums however brought this practice much more into the limelight and dealers not paying attention to what they were selling (let’s be gentle) basically got repeated bad feedback.

Once you have the “crook label” it is hard to shake it off again.

I’m sure it has made an impact on some to rethink their business model. (or to at least keep the helmet inventory clean because the helmet collector community has a big online presence).

Persistence pays off and so does sticking together as a community. If you haven’t joined yet I can recommend signing up at one of the forums here.

Have a great sunday.


1940 Dated Double decal Luftwaffe helmets

It must seem like a strange subject title. Usually we do not associate the term “Double decal” with 1940 unless we are talking about Polizei or SS helmets.

For collectors (myself included ) 1940 is the year that double decalled Wehrmacht helmets died.

But I bought last sunday on a fair in Holland a nice double decal Luftwaffe helmet… with a 1940 dated liner band and 40 dated rivets. A fellow collector shared the print out of my lot number list. I knew that this particular number was in there. Number 4780. Maker code Q 66.

I just wanted to see if the steel liner was recorded on other examples for this lot number but also on lot numbers surrounding this one.  … It was… and also on Double decal Luftwaffe helmets.

I will first show the helmet and continue below.



What I usually do when I add a new helmet to my collection is look for helmets with a similar lot number or with lot numbers close by.

The best source for finding helmets corresponding to numbers in my Lot numbers list is the German Helmet Walhalla forum. Just put the lot number in the search box.

It gave me this nice camouflage helmet to compare with. Same 4780 number, steel liner band.

Photos courtesy of Anders L


The other one I found came as a little bit of a surprise because it’s one I used to own but had forgotten about ! Lot number 4768 is another 1940 dated DD Luftwaffe.


If you look at Quist lot numbers from low to high , you expect the logic to be low = early , high is late. But if you look at the Quist M35 lot numbers the liner band dates jump around and it is hard to see a logic in them.

Here’s just a small sample that shows how chaotic Quist is.

M35 2922 Q 66 DD Polizei alu liner
M35 3053 Q 62 DD Heer alu liner
M35 3058 Q 64 DD Heer alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 3061 Q 62 SD Heer – reissue alu reinforced liner
M35 3168 Q 64 DD SS alu reinforced liner
M35 3168 Q 64 DD LW alu liner 1937
M35 3173 Q 64 DD Heer alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 3173 Q 64 DD SS alu reinforced liner
M35 3175 Q 62 DD LW alu reinforced liner
M35 3200 Q 64 DD LW alu liner 1937
M35 3212 Q 64 SD Heer alu liner
M35 3226 Q 64 DD LW alu reinforced liner
M35 3233 Q 64 DD Heer alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 3233 Q 64 SD SS alu reinforced liner
M35 3233 Q 64 DD SS alu reinforced liner
M35 3301 Q 66 SD Heer alu liner 1937
M35 3478 Q 62 DD Polizei – reissue alu reinforced liner
M35 3478 Q 62 DD Polizei – reissue alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 3478 Q 62 DD Polizei – reissue steel liner 1940

When we look further down we come across an interesting batch of lot numbers , number 21441. The first one is also in my collection and it has the same brand of 1940 dated rivets. Yes it is a factory single decal reissue but look at the others , they are DD’s.

M35 21441 Q 68 SD LW – reissue alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 21441 Q 68 DD LW alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 21441 Q 68 DD LW alu reinforced liner 1939
M35 21441 Q 68 DD LW alu reinforced liner
M35 21441 Q 68 DD LW alu reinforced liner
M35 21441 Q 68 DD LW steel liner 1940
M35 21446 Q 68 DD LW steel liner 1940

Here’s my SD reissue example :



And here another helmet of lot 21441 as a DD Luftwaffe.  Note the round cornered D rings which indicates a 1940 dated liner band.

Photos courtesy of C. Roelens.


You can find more detailed photos of this helmet on the German Helmet Walhalla forum if you click here.

It’s clear from the examples provided (and there are many more) that Quist in 1940 was still assembling Double decal Luftwaffe helmets. So far I have not observed a similar practice with the other factories.

It will I hope make us look with a more open mind when we come across a 1940 steel (or aluminium) liner band in an M35 DD Luftwaffe by Quist.

Have a great sunday , your comments are appreciated.

Happy hunting,


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.

























Tracking the fakes #3

My little birds pointed me again towards many websites with fake helmets. Usually these helmets are posted for review on the forums I visit. Sometimes I blunder into them while browsing websites.

The fakes presented below are not earth shatteringly dangerous. A one on one comparison with the decal galleries on GHV can easily help to detect them as fakes.

Nonetheless , they are being sold as authentic WW2 decalled helmets.


They take the top spot as they obviously have no clue how real authentic WW2 helmets should look like nor do they seem to care. This is one of the most atrocious websites I have come across in a long while. And they justly receive the golden turd award.

Golden-Turd-Award (1)

While they are pricing their ‘fakes’ below market price they seem to have a problem with saying that a helmet has been messed with. The biggest indicator is in fact their price.

Ever heard of authentic helmets being on 40% sale ? With the following flavor text :



They have more such examples in their inventory.

This M42 ‘supposed SS’. Yes it is only 850 GBP but no mention of it being a blatant fake. It is not even worth the discounted price of 510 GBP.



Now you know that they have an allergy to say the word reproduction or fake you can rest assured that the entire inventory is make believe.

Here’s a SE/hkp M40 SS camo FULLY NAMED and researched for just 2000 GBP , No ! Now discounted to 1200 ! Finding a name in the Kriegsgraber database does not mean this helmet belonged to that person. There is more to research than just looking up a name and saying “that is him”.


Spandau has many similar items and they are just hoping to saddle one poor bugger up with an expensive piece of post war created crap.


Be aware of the fake Austrian Polizei helmet. You can clearly see it is a raster printed digital fake.

He also has an NS M42 single decal Police (without close-up) you need to watch out for.


ISMILITARIA / Strachan militaria

Strachan Militaria specialises in original militaria from Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, Russia, France and Spain from the major conflicts of the 20th century.

Here is their top fake. Priced at 4550 GBP.

  • Fake shell
  • Fake decal
  • Fake liner

Continuing our journey

Smack down ! Fake wire camo for 3500 $ at Militariacollectibles.

It is not a hard one, starting with the fake Luftwaffe eagle and the extensive wire/shell contact damage. Could not grab a close-up of the decal but trust me. You can zoom in on their website. It’s the well known ‘easy fake’ adler I covered in my previous blog article.



Regimentals UK also gets a spot in this newsletter of fakes with very easy to spot fake decals which tried to copy Austrian style Police decals.

Horrible but yours for 950 GBP.


After this collector passed away a few years ago (I cannot recollect the exact year) his collection was rapidly sold off. The collection was made up of mostly transitional style helmets (M16, M18 and Austrian style) that were professionally repainted and redecalled. Most of the helmets received SS decals paired with the party shield. Needless to say some of the helmets were sold or at least were tried to be passed off as authentic pieces.

A lot of collectors including myself saved the website photos in order to keep an eye out should these helmets come up for sale again.

A couple of days ago someone spotted a helmet for sale from this collection. The SS decal is a typical ‘crushed glass’ Pocher fake.


Here is another example. Repainted , fake decals but good shell , liner and strap.


That’s all for now.

Thanks for your continued support for my website !







14 years of Fake decals – Luftwaffe

Dear readers,

I have seen all kinds of fakes pass by online and on local fairs , I’m pretty methodical when it comes to dealing with all kinds of data. Be it lot numbers or remembering decals , helmet paints etc…

The purpose of this article is simply to show from my viewpoint how dangerous or well made fake decals are and if there have been improvements over the years since I started studying decals.


While it is impossible to say exactly when this first example was designed it surely dates back to the early eighties. Just do a side by side comparison with an Original decal and encircle the differences. Some are very obvious. Take a particular look at the head area and lower claw.

Funny thing is that it still confuses dealers and newer collectors even today. I started calling it “The easy fake” many years ago. Once you have identified the many mistakes I’m sure you will agree.



The next reproduction decal is superior to the “Easy one” but still flawed and easy to recognize as it has an extra line across the claw that should not be there.


So at first sight the second one is the more dangerous one but what has been the impact of this “better” decal on the hobby in the last couple of years ?

The answer is practically no impact. I saw this decal turn up only on a couple of helmets of which several were Fallschirmjäger helmets and I have not seen it for at least a couple of years. We can assume therefore that this decal had a very low production run and is probably no longer in production.


The next decal is a reproduction Straightleg decal. These have been around for as long as I can remember and they probably turned up around the same time as the “Easy fake”. So around the early eighties would be my guess.

There are many graphical mistakes in this one so comparing it with an original is key to learning how to easily spot it. The first thing you can check is the iris in the eye which is bigger than that of an original. But many other lines are incorrect as well.


A snakeleg version of this reproduction decal exists as well and is equally flawed. Furthermore throughout the years there have appeared different copies of this copy.

While these types of fakes are less common I see people having more difficulty with them. I remember a topic from 2005 where a camo helmet with this type of fake decal was sold between dealers.

Still as reproductions go again this is a poor attempt.



So these are the best of the best reproduction Luftwaffe decals I have come across in the last 14 years. While the German helmet collecting community got a whole lot smarter in these years no better Luftwaffe reproduction decals have turned up.

I often read that the fakes kill the hobby but these decals can’t even be called fakes. They are so far from the original designs that they can hardly be used to swindle someone.

Remember that helmets with fake decals usually often have other aspects that are incorrect. Newly painted , man made wear , replaced or fake liner , fake chinstraps.

For further reading and to see more examples of reproductions check these 2 links :

  1. Gallery of fakes
  2. Comparison between real and fake Luftwaffe decals

Let’s close with a combination that never existed. A Luftwaffe decal with a Hitlerjugend diamond.


Next time I will take a look at a decal from a different branch of the Wehrmacht and we will see if they are more worrisome.

Enjoy your sunday.


Wire camo’s : Very wishful thinking

I touched upon wire camo collecting last year but it seems a lot of people are still on the hunt and a lot of dealers are still offering pieces. Supply and demand.

My previous article on the wire camo’s can be found here :


There is a mindset in the militaria world that says if an item is uber expensive it must be real. We have seen this trend come and go with SS helmets and camo helmets. These helmets were hyped up a couple of years ago and price increases of 30% or more were not uncommon. Not suprisingly a lot of collectors were hurt by such hypes , they either overpaid a lot or they got a fake helmet. 2 – 3 years later the overinflated prices dropped back to a normal level.

I see wire camo helmets being hyped since a year as well. Recently 2 dealers started advertising such helmets at prices over 10K.

Here such an example currently on Lux militaria. if you check my previous wire camo blog (link at the top). This very helmet is featured there , sold on an auction for 4.6K. Now you can buy it at three times the price.


Supply and demand will set the price , 10 years ago a wire helmet was a rare beast. If you saw one it would be a factory decalled helmet with wire. A tricolor camo with wire was infinitely rarer. Exotic even.

Looking at the market today there is a wire camo for every budget. To me that tells me there is something seriously wrong. If you actually also look at the helmets being sold it is crystal clear that something is wrong.

People jumping into collecting will not see this trend but collectors with 20+ collecting years under their belt will.


Collectors are on the hunt all the time , looking for variations and good deals. Or paying a little more for that gem you have been after for years. There is little to no danger if you know your decals , helmet paints , liners.

For some reason however basic things like that often get thrown overboard when we look at camo helmets. Suddenly the decal needing to be there is no longer a key point.

How many factory helmets have you seen where the decal was taken off in comparison to decalled helmets ? It will be a very very small percentage.

So for me a decal is key on a camo helmet that should have decal , the decal should be hiding under the paint , in cracks or damage.

With wire camo’s we need to scrutinize even further , lower grade helmets with partial decals fit the need to be post war upgraded with wire.

So if we bring the decal to the table when we inspect wire camo’s , how do we explain its absence ? It’s scratched off , sure and now with wire it costs 3 times more…

Below examples without a decal currenly sold or for sale on dealer websites.




None of the above helmets give me a good feeling. The interiors are 100% Original , the shells all good but none of the wires seem really connected the helmets. All three are without decals (or barely) so the exterior is of low grade and less interesting to collectors. For someone looking to make a quick buck such lower grade helmets are like gold.

Compare the helmets posted above to the one look helmets below. Two helmets acquired from the families of US veterans.

Photos courtesy of RonR

Day and night is the difference between these 2 helmets from Ron’s collection and 95% of the wire helmets I have seen posted on forums.

Good wire helmets exist.

Mediocre , good and very good fakes exist as well.

Hunt carefully,