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.
AND NOW FOR THE WISHFUL THINKING PART
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.
I often hear collectors defend dealers , it is an honest mistake , it’s a good guy , you can’t know everything , he refunded me so I am happy.
What I’m concerned selling fakes is no way to treat customers and people should be less understanding when it happens. Be glad you get your money back but don’t say your happy of the service ! Even if the dealer was clueless about it , fuck it he is responsible. He’s the one that calls his website : Jimmy’s Authentic WW2 memorabilia – 100% Original stuff. It’s on him !
We as customers have the power in our wallets. Tougher customers will make it tougher for the frauds , tougher for the clueless dealers.
Take a look at this video at 9:09 , Antiques dealer Wittman passes a table FULL of fake SS helmets. What’s his excuse ? It’s his job for Christ sakes.
This helmet was reviewed by their expert and given the thumbs up. After I complained the listing was cancelled. Fake decal of course , painted name is also added later. Also the lot number is a good indicator that the helmet should not have a decal.
Auctions websites can yield very nice items but only for those with an expert eye and a great deal of experience. If you have to buy from them based on their experience you are in for disappointment.
This was up for auction as an authentic M42 SS helmet and people were bidding on it. After it was brought up on the German Helmet Walhalla forum the auction was cancelled.
Bad liner , bad decal.
Another example of an upgraded authentic helmet with the Signal magazine logo. It’s without a doubt post war added to increase the helmet value. Some poor soul will pay 1600 euros for a 250 euro helmet.
Historical Antiques, Orders and Medals
I kid you not , initials AH.
A fake FJ helmet for 5250 euros
Fake DRK decals
Wittman Antique Militaria
As I wrote in previous blog post , helmets with factory logo’s are rare and authentic firefighter helmets with no or damaged decals can be upgraded easily for maximum profit. Wittman has several civic helmets where the factory logo or stencils have been post war added. Priced at times 5 the real value without the logo.
Remember , fake helmets means more stuff in their inventory is fake so make sure to get more opinions on items you are interested in.
When I was having fun reviewing Peter Nash’s book I was confronted with the fact that a lot of it played out on Facebook. I am not on Facebook. But many members of the German helmet collector community are and so the word got out there anyway.
I have always felt that a collector must not stand alone , in fact he needs to find the best and biggest bunch of German helmet collectors on the net and join them. While communicating with each other privately and in small groups via Facebook is enjoyable. I find forums and in particular one forum to be the best online venue for anyone interested in German helmets.
That forum is German Helmet Walhalla.
What can you expect from this forum :
You become part of the largest international community of German helmet collectors.
Anonymity , you can check in under a nickname. A true participating collector will soon be known by all members. No neighbours or relatives or work colleagues have eyes on what you are doing.
A forum has structure and that structure works like chapters of a book. It makes German Helmet Walhalla a fantastic resource with years and years of data. Many times have I browsed and looked at topics posted 10 years or more ago. It is but one reason why a forum like GHW should be supported.
GHW has 5 subsections for German helmets and a host of others for members also interested in other military items.
Dedicated moderators and admins really add something , they help shape it and steer discussions in the right direction.
The power of the community brought together by GHW triggered interesting projects such as the lot number list , the study of liners , leather markings and dome stamps even some members published books on German helmets. Furthermore the Champagne rune fraud was revealed by admin Doug B and XRF facts x-ray business model was outed as a travesty when it was first deployed to the public.
One other big important case to make for GHW is that it is online for 12 years without dealer sponsorship. This for the sole reason that there can never be a conflict of interest. It speaks volumes for admins past and present that they persevere in their dedication and also to its members that have always kindly provided donations to keep the forum “in the air”.
One of the younger members on GHW wrote a fine post on the forum about the downside of Facebook. Here’s what he wrote.
It’s very simple to start a Facebook group. Much easier than starting a forum. Anyone can make one, and start inviting everyone they know. There are some MAJOR shortfalls to the groups:
1. The topics fall down the page quickly. They are hard to archive, hard to find, and very easily edited and or deleted by the users.
2. You cannot easily view topics by members. Here on GHW2 and WAF most of us judge who’s who by the other topics they post, for example if I post an M43 cap and someone comments on my thread saying it’s good or bad, I will often go look at that persons other posts to see if they own any or if they’re knowledgable on the subject. I think it’s something we all do. On Facebook anyone can comment, and often people who know NOTHING about militaria will comment out of boredom or maybe they are just a *** disturber and there’s no way to really see the quality of their other comments or what they have posted. The search function is very basic. The typical quality of replies is very low.
3. People can remove their posts or comments whenever they want. If someone posts photos of a fake or is selling a fake, it can be easily removed later.
I’ve been watching a lot of Facebook groups and to be honest it seems like we’re taking a step back as collectors. What is most upsetting is seeing a lot of items for sale on there that would never pass muster on here or even WAF from people who know better. Often these people have appointed themselves as “Moderators” and “Admin”. Some groups truly feel like a dumping ground of fakes. Some groups are okay, and some are really awful, most have at least a few con artists.
In some groups only “admin” are allowed to sell items, and only “admin” are allowed to comment if items for sale are real or fake. You can immediately see the issue there.
Collectors need to stick together for the simple reason of safe guarding our knowledge on German helmets (which is also the purpose of this website).
A splintered community is a weak one. So if you want to spend your time efficiently and not on several different mediums there is just one spot. See you there !
10 Days ago the most insulting and useless publication ever made was released. Peter Nash’s German combat helmets. The book was universally rejected on all collector communities where dedicated helmet collectors roam.
It’s not difficult to understand why the book was dismissed , apart from the many high amount of fake helmets (paint , decals and horrible liners) the author also attacks many well established facts about German WW2 helmets in order to support his collection of fakes.
I will explain here what any collector that wants to get into German helmet collecting can take as fact.
THE DECAL VS SHELL CORRELATION
What is it ? To put it short. We found out which decal types were applied to which helmet makers. Hold on while it may look simple it really isn’t. Some companies used several decals , some just on M35’s etc… All decals have been mapped now and it helped collectors worldwide a great deal.
Anyone who has not read the books released in the last 15 years about German helmets has missed a great deal. On top of that a lot of that knowledge comes from collectors that interacted via forums. People like Nash tend to be dismissive about what they call internet collectors. You can be conservative and anti internet but that doesn’t mean the world stops turning. There are just as many generations of collectors interacting via the internet than there are off line collectors. It’s not just the new kids on the block. Online you can find Ron R’s fabulous collection of over a 1000 helmets. That one collection in itself blows all false intent of Nash’s book right out of the water. Pick up 5 , 10 or 20 ET/ckl factory ET helmets from Ron and they will all have the what we call ET-style decal. Ron’s collection all by itself makes the decal vs shell correlation fact. But we didn’t stop there. People that have a passion for research know that before theories become fact that they have to be tested repeatedly and helmet after helmet it all fell into place. This has never been a one man’s project but a group effort by passionate collectors.
Jan Meland is a very well known Norwegian collector who build his collection almost purely by sourcing helmets via ads out of the Norwegian woodwork. His book German combat helmets a Norwegian collection showcases his finds with super high definition photos. Just scroll through that book and look at the factory helmets. You will see time and time again the decals we mapped out on the shells they should be on.
Already in 2003 Tom Kibler mentioned the relation between decals and helmet makers in his book German combat helmets of the Third Reich – a study in photographs.
Kelly Hicks’s SS steel did the same in 2005 but specifically on SS decals.
In 2006 collectors of the German Helmet Walhalla forum started reference sections where decals posted on the forum were grouped by decal style for making the mapping easy and accurate.
In 2009 Ken Niewiarowicz’s study Germany’s combat helmets appeared with again confirming the finds within the community. This book was followed up in 2016 with a study purely on decals. The helmet decals of the Third Reich. (made with help from Anders Lehrman).
And in 2015 another great work from a passionate collector was released , Frederik Suppo’s Le casque Allemand. tome 1.
That’s 15 years of knowledge right there which covers data from many thousands of helmets , probably far over 5000 helmets (not 300 as Peter Nash falsely claims in his book). Helmets found today in veteran’s footlockers , attics or basements all fall into the same patterns.
Below M35 helmet was recently found in an attic in Holland , the ET style decal while a most common decal is not even featured in Peter Nash’s decals gallery. Photos courtesy of https://www.ww2-militaria.nl/
CKL is ET and HKP is SE
For some strange reason Peter Nash does not believe the ET factory changed over to CKL/ckl mid war and he does not believe SE became HKP/hkp.
So did the Thale plant stop producing mid war ? Of course not ! It changed to CKL/ckl.
There are so many indicators that confirm the change over : CKL/ckl continues to have Thale dome stamps , they still used the same decals already mapped out which are the ET style Heer decal , the unbordered Polizei eagle (unique to that factory I might add) , the very well known ET style SS decal , the same Luftwaffe adler and so on.
ET is also the only company that made Fallschirmjäger helmets which also changed to the CKL stamp mid war.
On top of that the font of the stamps is identical. Recently even a QVL helmet was discovered with a crystal clear Thale dome stamp.
For SE we can make the exact same case , SE started later with the M42 so they started marking their M40’s mid war with HKP/hkp.
Also SE did not stop making helmets mid war. They continued as HKP/hkp.
Same decals , same font used in their markings and same typical bulgy vents are found SE and HKP/hkp shells.
It does not take a rocket scientist to add this all up.
HELMET LOT NUMBERS
If your read Peter Nash’s ramblings about lot numbers you would think it’s some kind of Voodoo pseudo science. The problem is that he doesn’t understand what it is about. Like with everything he is afraid of what people in the enlightened 21st century have learned.
Simply put a lot number database is a list of helmets.
Data we collect in such a database is :
When enough data is gathered one can derive conclusions from it. The list does not authenticate other helmets with similar lot numbers as that would be silly , it exists to get a bigger view on decal applications , how long liners were used , basically to see patterns emerging from it (or not). And we do see patterns.
Certain decals correspond to certain makers , you see also the lot number list seals the discussion on that matter.
We can see decal drops in the database (late 1943) corresponding to lot numbers
We can even see which makers produced KM helmets and which did not. Which produced SS helmets and which did not.
It’s a fantastic tool that has helped further the hobby in conjunction with many other projects started by passionate collectors. Like there are collectors that have taken it upon themselves to study liners and liner stampings , dome stamps and using the USB microscope to get 200x zoom signature close-ups.
THE HELMETS IN PETER NASH’S BOOK
The book is a gallery of Big foot fakes. A decal that’s known to have been reproduced since the eighties in various forms. While Peter Nash himself talks about variations he shows in fact the same fake decal over and over again.
Nowhere does the book have any connections with reality , it is completely disconnected from all previous book releases which have great support from the collecting community.
An original Big foot decal is only found on Quist shells.
This one is from the book page 166 , on an ET shell.
We know thanks to the lot numbers list that tricolors were not added by the factories on M40’s anymore. Only a handful of M40 helmets with tricolors are known to exist. The idea being that these must have been added for reasons unknown after the helmet left the factory.
In Peter’s book are 3 ET M40 DD Kriegsmarine helmets again all with a Big foot fake decal and fake tricolors.
ET only used the ET style Kriegsmarine decal and on M40’s never with a tricolor.
For comparison a real ET Kriegsmarine decal with ridge as universally accepted by collectors worldwide.
Some USB close-ups. All authentic decals have the same look under high magnification. Polizei eagles , Heer , SS , etc…
FAKES under high magnification. Flat , lacking depth and the metallic content looks like cheap plastic which they often are.
If you think filling a book with a sub standard fake Heer eagle is a feat than the low quality fake Luftwaffe decals in the book will blow you away.
I actually got HQ photos of a helmet that’s been used in the book because it was already discussed in a topic on German Helmet Walhalla in 2017. Click here for the topic.
The second type eagles fakes on the helmets in the book are even more disturbing.
CONCLUSION : FAKE NEWS
While I could further break down the SS decals and the reproduction liners , I have I think with this article covered the many aspects of what is wrong with Peter Nash’s book. Why this book was released with its many errors and attacks on known facts we might never know but I am sure time will tell.
In any case it put our noses on the fact that anyone these days can write a book , the days are long gone when the collector only had a book to guide him and was at the mercy of information he did not have control of. Today the German helmet collector is probably the best informed collector of Third Reich militaria. Forums have inspired collectors to study for themselves and share knowledge and information. Now we can say without a doubt , writer your book is full of mistakes.
Got me a book to review via a friend today , he said “Frank you have to see this book” and sent me pictures and video via Whatsapp. The book in question is a self published book by author Peter Nash on German Combat helmets 1933 – 1945.
The photos and video preview I received prompted me to jump in my car and drive to my friend to get it. You will understand when you read the review.
REVIEW German Combat Helmets 1933 – 1945 by Peter J Nash
Warning : This review may contain traces of sarcasm
So there it is a hardcover book with 360 pages.
But what’s that on the front cover ? Not a very convincing example of a period German WW2 helmet but I guess it’s just my suspicious nature. Right ? We will see…
Page 1 and another suspicious looking German helmet with a fake tricolor ? There must be an explanation , let’s skip to the introduction.
The introduction tells us that the helmets are from the author’s 30 years collection , counting back this means he started collecting in 1988. Dangerous times. No internet , no color books to help you. Dealers reigned in those days as did fakers.
Other helmets come from his sons 25 year old collection and the icing on the cake Weitze and Oakleaf militaria also provided images in return for some advertising. Just what the community needs , another helmet book with dealer involvement.
So let us assess what is in the book , the disappointing cover aside.
Page 6 and 7 again 2 fake helmets. I know it is hard to tell from the photos but the right helmet is quoted as being an ET and carries a Big foot adler. Don’t get me started on the Kriegsmarine one , just too crazy for words.
Peter do please educate us on helmets because we are obviously missing something ? Skipping the fakes from page 8 to 11 we find on page 12 Peter his take on decals.
Peter says that the decal vs shell correlation is false. In his words “This false theory has resulted in de-valuing many collections and the smearing of well intentioned dealers.”
Dealer protection again…
Ok so I’m now on page 12 having read the most inane drivel from someone that has seemed to make a living from collecting fakes and then imagining them as authentic. What treasure is there still to gain from this book Frank I hear you all wondering ?
Hold your horses , check out this gallery of authentic decals. Sorry for the poor photos but you will see that in Peter Nash’s world the Big foot fake fits on all helmets.
The authentic Kriegsmarine decal gallery does not have a single authentic decal either. It shows again all Big foot fakes.
The Luftwaffe adlers he shows are all fake. The easy kind !
The books has 90 helmets in it , generously counting I came out at 68 easy identifiable fakes of which 9 out of 10 had fake big foot decals. Even M42’s. The liners are all cheap Eastern Euro crap.
Oh yes there is also SS stuff in there but we have already proven Peter is in above his head here. The gallery of crap continues.
Then come the even more insane pages in the book. Peter tutors us on what’s the difference between a fake and a fake. What !?
Steady guys , in Peter’s world he is showing the difference between a fake and an authentic decal. Look he’s written it above the decals.
In our world however I am looking at a person that has lost his marbles comparing 2 identical fakes.
CONCLUSION : Why was this book written ?
One would think that it makes no sense that anyone would write a book filled with fake helmets BUT in the world of Third Reich Militaria collecting it does make sense. It is not the first time fakes were inserted in books to make them authentic. The subtleness of previous cases is missing here altogether.
I can only speculate but the book challenges several generally accepted facts on German helmets. I say facts because testing theories based on observation is an accepted scientific process. By such observations we have made huge leaps forward in decal and helmet knowledge in general. To refute these findings made by collectors worldwide is utterly stupid.
The only party that really benefits from undermining collector communities are shady dealers.
Another reason why this book has seen the light may have to do with the fact that the collection would be put up for sale soon. Maybe or not the author only recently discovered he’s been collecting fakes for 30 years.
“Look it’s in a book” has made many victims. If he knows the helmets are fakes and I can’t imagine that no-one told him the book is made with fraudulent intent pure and simple.
Whilst digging through the internet I came across some items , outright fakes , that were sold as original.
The fake chinstrap business on which I blogged about few months ago is still booming here in Europe. I wonder when they will pop up on US dealer sites.
Fake M42 RAD – CKL 4741
I would think by now dealers would be more studied on lot numbers and would know this helmet is supposed to not carry a decal. And let’s not even start on the decal it’s a RAD chicken…
From Griffin : SOLD FOR 1200$
Ongoing trend : Upgrading CIVIC helmets
Civic helmets have been candidates for post war upgrade since the eighties. They are cheap and are available in volume. They are often upgraded with logo’s of famous manufacturers and caution is always required when you encounter one.
Here’s a so-called Krups factory helmet , the shell and liner is original and this was an early firefighter helmet with tilted swastika and tricolor. Now upgrade with a fake Luftschutz decal and fake Krups decal. This helmet is for sale at Paradesantiques for 600 GBP.
This example below pretends to be a factory fireman’s helmet of the Steiff factory which is a famous German Teddy Bear manufacturer. Eigentum tags are mostly found on fake examples and they are a red flag to begin with. Fakers like to make less interesting helmets more interesting by adding such small details to make it ‘all add up’.
Below another example of a Steiff factory helmet.
Here’s a fake red cross BMW Gladiator shell , the shell and liner are original. The decals and again the Eigentum tag in the dome have been added.
On Ebay fake templates are being sold just for the purpose of creating fantasy pieces.
Both have the authentic RB numbers but watch out for these , they are being sold in volume in Europe by the most shady dealers like Haas and Spree and infecting other dealers their inventory in singles.
I have finally completed my page on the fake Champagne runes decals. Instead of putting it all in my blog I decided to put it under the fake and repro section of the website. At the bottom is a link to the website page.
While outed already in 2015 it is still a hot topic today in 2018. Just yesterday a topic was closed by the moderators on German Helmet Walhalla after 2 dealers had their say on the matter (one of them was Kelly Hicks , author of SS steel whom first published the Champagne rune decals). If you haven’t read their responses you probably can guess the gist of it. See no evil hear no evil. Right.
Today another CR topic popped up on the Wehrmacht awards forum. It brought back the times when Kelly Hicks was involved with XRF authentication. Some of you will remember the business he was starting up with another collector to try and monopolize the authentication of German helmets , decals in particular. With a ray gun they would point at a decal , pie chart it in components and tell you for 250$ it’s real or not. Not only is it absurd to try and monopolize and monetize helmet authentication I would even call it unethical. The fact that they started churning out certificates of originality for fakes marked the end of that. So this topic from 2009 that was just bumped up relives those interesting times.
Sometimes things can be as simple as 1+1. Don’t be a victim and keep in charge of your knowledge , the next fraud is already lurking in the dark alleyway ahead.
I am working on several pages at the same time , one is the Fallschirmjäger helmets page which you can already view. I am also working on an article about the Champagne runes fraud for which I’m digging through 13 years of forum topics and I am planning to make
a page on helmet paint colors.
Several sweet helmets have been added to the website recently , this is an ongoing process so make sure to check back often.
I will also post a lot number database update in 2018 very soon.
Wire camouflage helmets always fetched top dollar for as long as I collect but where 10 years ago a lot trickled over from old collections with solid woodwork provenance the majority of wire helmets beings sold today lack this provenance. Authentic wire camo helmets are rare and hard to authenticate. While camo paint can give us more clues , a piece of wire is just that.
There is good money in wire camouflage helmets and that puts them in the same place like Red cross , SS helmets and multi color camouflage helmets. Right in the crosshairs of frauds.
Getting a consensus
A lot of wire helmets are posted on forums for review. Not even 10% get all round positive feedback. Most get mixed feedback.
Why do collectors not see eye to eye on these helmets ? There is no guidebook what to look for so collectors will have different views on what they like to see.
The fakes don’t help
If collectors collaborate with books on camouflage helmets like the garbage which was published a few years it’s no surprise that fakers keep on having a job.
This terribly bad book is a good example where mixing good with bad stuff can make bad stuff good. Confusing isn’t it ?
While today some of these fake wire camo’s are easily dismissed because of an incorrect decal this was not so 20 years or more ago. It is interesting to look at the paint , wire and aging techniques.
You can imagine now the story on the decals is out that fakers have moved on…
Glass half full or half empty ?
Wire helmet collecting has never been easy but with the internet and today’s prices it’s become more difficult finding that unique piece for your collection. Despite the fact many wire helmets are being offered for sale. This should be seen as warning that the market is following demand. Demand of rare helmets can be met in 2 ways.
Collectors see opportunities to cash in and sell a couple from their collections.
Fakers see opportunities in the rise in demand and drop a few ‘new’ ones in the market
Are you paranoid ?
Let’s not be gullible and think that the SS Champagne rune debacle from 2 years back was the only crooked thing that’s been constructed to help you depart with your hard earned cash. Similar fraudulent constructions have been discovered in other areas of Third Reich collecting. Visors , badges , SS honor rings just to name a few.
Fake camo’s have been doctored up for decades , even in the eighties and probably earlier. There genuinely are people that take pride in it.
This fake wire cage is being sold for 6 bucks and is available in several sizes , it can be buried and will show age after a few weeks.
Even aged it will not fool most collectors but this shows there is a market for it.
Below are some examples , if you want to have fun look at the photos and see what you think. The caption will tell you.
I deliberately did not add a 100% authentic wire to the mix above. You can view a few examples on the Camo page of my website.
Where is that Unicorn ?
The point of this article is simple , genuine wire camo’s are extremely rare. They are not available in quantity but they are faked in quantity on many levels. There are quite a few chicken wire helmets available on the market as I write this. Do your homework and do not spend your cash on a fata morgana.
The title of this blog article is a question that many collectors pose on the online forums. The answer to that question is important because if a helmet is a Kriegsmarine helmet it has a higher value. The fact that decals can tone very heavily makes it sometimes almost impossible to see if a decal is silver or gold. Still you do not want to buy a helmet at Kriegsmarine price if it turns out it is not a Kriegsmarine helmet.
I already have a page on GHV that talks about the heavy toning on Heer decals here.
This week-end I had a chance to plug in the USB Microscope again to answer for myself if the helmet I found was a Heer or Kriegsmarine.
WOODWORK FIND : KM or Heer ?
This helmet just surfaced out of the woodwork in Belgium.
The helmet came out of basement that the grandchildren were cleaning out after their grandfather passed away. The grandfather told them he got the helmet from a German soldier. He was still a kid during the war. That is all the story there is to it.
The helmet is an M40 , ET size 66 with a 1940 dated liner band. Lot number is only partially visible 112x.
The camo scheme is interesting as it looks to have been dabbed in mustard green/yellow paint which was spread unevenly across the helmet.
It is in fact very similar to another helmet I have.
Some USB close-ups of the paint.
STEP 1 : USB microscope at 25x zoom
Upon first inspection at home I got excited. The decal is nice and evenly golden. I did not spot an area that looked less golden. And the helmet is an ET which is another box ticked.
I set up my USB microscope and scanned the decal. It blew me away at 25x zoom. Evenly proportioned gold color.
STEP 2 : Looking for the ridge
ET Kriegsmarine decals are know to have a pronounced outline all around the decal. Collectors call this ‘The ridge’. It is part of the KM decal printing process.
You can spot the ridge with the naked eye but in case of a more worn decal or in this case partially overpainted one a black light can help.
Unfortunately I could not see the ridge with the black light.
STEP 3 : USB Microscope at 200x zoom
Comparing these close-ups to those of an original KM decal answered my question. As you can compare from yourself below the difference is like night and day.
What do we see in the original close-ups ?
Surprisingly at 200 zoom a KM decal’s pulver is made up for 98% out of gold foil but you still see some silver and darker elements in there.
The 25 zoom photo shows the same but less pronounced.
A Kriegsmarine decal (left at 25x , right at 200x)
Now the other decal :
It does not show a pulver made up of 2 different components. Even at 200x zoom it is still even in color.
In the right photo you can spot larger areas of silver around the damaged areas.
But also significant is that gold color at 200x zoom looks like a brown washthat is very uneven. You can see small and large clouds. (The results correspond to a similar analysis a few years back)
The decal on the woodwork helmet at 200x zoom.
Sometimes we need to go a little deeper to find the truth , this could have been classified as a KM camo helmet and maybe nobody would lose sleep over it. But if we stop analyzing and think that details do not matter we lose control over our hobby and I know people that love to pull away the power of knowledge from collectors as that would give them back the power to sell you utter crap.