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Discussion Starter #1
I've always wanted a WW2 German helmet as part of my WW2 collection,last weekend IMA had Finnish helmets,which look the same, for $58, So I bought one, showed up today,looks pretty good,it's a really dark olive,which from looking at pictures all week looks to be pretty close, from what I could see no two helmets are the same color! But it didn't come with any decals, which really detracts from it's looks,I also like the chicken wire camo set up, but on the decals,I'm going to try to print some,even thought they have them at IMA and I should have thought ahead and ordered then when I did the helmet, but I like to try new things so I'm going to try to print decals, what I need to know is did they trim the decals close to the picture or in a square around it,I'm going to do a national shield on one side and a heer decal on the other, then go see what I can find in the way of rusty chicken wire!
 

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You can go broke attempting to collect "original" German helmets. There were millions of them made and brought home or found or whatever. They are so expensive right now there is a cottage industry using original everything but making them "more original" and selling them for thousands. Buy what you like and can afford remembering that unless you found it on the German, everything else is a story. j
 

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Discussion Starter #3
german helmats

I'm not trying to pass it off as an original bring back, nor am I trying to collect one of each model, but one of things seen quite often on WW2 half-tracks was a German helmet, it's sort of a required accessory,like the canvas water bucket or the M-1 Garand in a leather scabbard tucked behind the spare fuel can on the cowl! But I do try to get stuff as close as possible.
 

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If that helmet came from Finland it may very well have been made in Germany. The Finish army adopted the German Helmet and a lot of German equipment as they to were also at war with the Russians in WWII. I don't know if they made their own helmets or just borrowed them from the Germans.

I have a German Helmet with Norwegian insignia. It turns out the Germans left so much equipment in Norway when they surendered the Norwegians simply adopted it. I use to have a pamphlet put out by Norway showing the home guard units in training with German Mausers and the German helmet still in use in the 1970s.

Back in the 1960s a bunch of German helmets came into this country that came from Spain. They were actually made in Germany and were the earlier M35 models. They had been supplied to Franco by Germany in the 30s. They looked like they had been repainted a couple times when in use and I bet most have since been repainted with German insignia by now. I remember seeing German helmets at gun shows as a teenager and the going price was about $4.00. I bought a WW1 German helmet for that price back then.

Decals were trimmed pretty close to the edge not in a square. Decals were dropped fairly early in the war. The national colors were dropped first then the eagle shield. I don't know if the combat SS units might have still had decals.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
helmet

Other then the pop rivets holding the headband in and the two little extra holes it looks very close! I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do, just some decals,or go whole hog and try my hand a a camo paint job,like I said I'm not trying to fool anybody,I just want a good looking helmet that some half-track crew might have picked up on their way to Germany! The first thing I did after cleaning it up this afternoon was to dye that strap brown, it was a horrible green!
 

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Looks like an "M-40" (collector jargon only, German supply made no such distinction). Im sure the liner is funky but if you want to replace it At the Front has most of the good stuff including the split rivets and chinstraps with correct hardware. Or just paint it and sling it on the vehicle, no one will ever look! J
 

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Discussion Starter #7
decals

My wife ordered some wet transfer decal paper and this afternoon I finally got around to applying them, they look OK, they are a little light because we got clear decal material instead of white back ground, it never dawned on me that printers don't have white ink, so the helmet color bleeds through, although I think it looks more aged then a nice bright decal would,I plan on distressing them and doing a camo paint job on the helmet,I thought it would be easy to find the large opening chicken wire like you see on some helmets, but it's not as available as I though, at least rusty stuff isn't!
 

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Are there any markings stamped into the shell? They'd be on the inside, on the flat part of the brim somewhere. The vent hole doesn't look German to me, so my first feeling is that this one is Finnish made. Could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
hemet

The vent is the same it's the rivet that is different, they used a pop rivet instead of the split rivet like the Germans, and it was Finnish, but other then the rivet and the extra hole it's the same, even the liner is very close. 99% of the people that will ever see this will never know the difference.
 

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"I thought it would be easy to find the large opening chicken wire like you see on some helmets, but it's not as available as I though, at least rusty stuff isn't!"
Get some chicken wire and leave it outdoors for a year. It will rust up fast.
Nice job on the helmet.
Steamer
 

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Just a thought. Did the helmet have a loop on the back. It seems like I heard that those were made in Hungary or Rumania for Finland but I could be wrong. I use to have a soft cover book on German helmets but I have not seen it in years.
 

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The OP stated that this is a Finn helmet from IMA. Its is, indeed, a Finn helmet. They were made on the same machinery as the original German stuff, and SOME of them are actual wartime helmets that got repurposed (And MAY have manufacturer stamps, but no Waffens)

Also pointed out is the extra vent hole and the split pins for the liner. The liner....ooooh, thats the big issue for me....the liner is secured in a very different fashion as the original German helmet and are not interchangeable. I also have a Finn helmet from Atlanta cutlery, (its from the same import batch). I massacred the liner trying to figure out how to put a repro German liner in its place (and make it fit better)

So, I currently have this real nice Finn shell, with no liner, just sitting around. :(
 

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Yes I have a German M35 with no liner. Picked it up at a gun show years ago for $10.00 and it had no liner. I have been locking for one ever since. I have made duplicate leather liners for some German helmets like the West German type but can't find the aluminum band to replace the M35.

I have always wondered why someone brought back a hemet with no liner. Maybe it was all he could find or maybe the original owner was still in and not alive.

This brings up a real story. My uncle was in the CBs in the pacific and worked on the runway that the B29 took off for Japan with the first A bomb. At one time at some Island in the Pacific he arrived after a battle and asked a Marine where he could get a Japanese helmet. He was told "oh there are all kinds of them. Just go back in the jungle a couple hundred yards you will find all you want." So he did and there he found a couple hundred dead Japanese soldiers that had been there for a while. He got two helmet one with a bullet hole but both had no liners. I asked him what happened to the liners and he told me the story and said "boy they sure did stink". I didn't care to handle them after that.
 

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The vent hole is slightly smaller on these helmets, the actual hole, not the fake rivet. Look really close at some German ones. Its not much of a difference, but you can see it.
 

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As far as I know the "M35" Stahlhelm had an aluminum liner band and also a steel liner band. I have seen both. There are plenty of original parts and repro stuff to make what you want. Money is the only limiting factor. This is the reason I will NEVER "collect" German helmets. Too many unscrupulous folks will sell you what you want. I am not old enough to have taken a trophy such as this so I will never have "the real deal". As I will say now and have said before: Buy what you like and forgo the rest. J
 

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The liner used in the Finnish Helmet looks like one from a German WWI M16 helmet. That is why the rivet holes do not always line up with the German Helmet liners. However the Finns did receive large shipments of helmets from Germany in 1940 and again in 43 which is why you will see photographs of Finnish troops with the M42 helmets. The post war early Police Helmets were reissued WWII helmets and there was a factory near Ulm that manufactured them for the Police and the Boarder Patrol. In the late 50's they changed to using a plastic leather supporter for the liner and after the mid-60's to a center mount. That meant that the later helmets no longer had the three rivet holes for the liner and it was secured in the top of the helmet. Several South American Countries also used that top inside mount for their copies of the helmet. Only the Hungarian helmets have the U shaped bracket on the rear of the helmet. It was used to secure the helmet onto the load bearing straps when not worn such as long marches. The German Army on the eastern Front did acquire these Hungarian helmets and used them, especially after the Hungarian allies surrounded to the Russians. There are a lot of German publications on the history of the Stahlhelm and its development. Harry
 

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Discussion Starter #18
decal second try

I tried to age the decals with some steel wool, and the tricolor shield peered off, I wasn't too upset since I wasn't entirely happy with the results, my wife printed out a full sheet of decals so I cut another one out, but this time I didn't soak it in water, I used the method that the germans supposedly did,I layer down a layer of clear lacquer and stuck the decal,backing and all onto it, when it tacked over I applied another coat to seal it, I went back over it with some lacquer thinner to blend it to the original paint,I'm much happier with it, when I brought the helmet in the house tonight to show the wife she handed me a package of white back ground decal paper, oh well I'll have it for next time!
 
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