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Are These Gunner Wings Fake?


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#1 militbuff

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:26 PM

These wings came with a WWII AAF group that I got directly from the son of the man. Everything else in the group is fine except for these wings. They look very cheaply made to me. Perhaps the vet got them back in the 1980s-90s to replace a pair he had in the war.

Anyhow, before I toss them, I want to make sure that they are indeed fake.

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#2 militbuff

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:27 PM

More pics

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#3 militbuff

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

Last pic

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#4 costa

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:55 PM

do not at all look good to me.



#5 Paul C.

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:09 PM

Yes they're "fake" or new.... but I would keep them with the group

#6 pfrost

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:26 PM

Frankly, It almost looks like a really crude repair job rather than a casting (and thus a fake).  I wouldn't be so quick to toss them away before taking a closer look.  To me (and I am just going on what I can see) it looks like someone added a bunch of solder to the back of the wings.  Better pictures of the back and front in sunlight would help.

 

Still, you could likely find a "clean" version of this wing for about 50$ with some patience. 



#7 CliffP

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:30 PM

;)

 

For heavens sake don't toss them!  Patrick is correct in his assessment.

 

The badge is 100% okay but whoever made the repaired (probably the vet himself) got a bit carried away and used too much solder, but who would ever know without looked at the back?  Frankly, I think the repair adds to the historic biographical appeal of the badge.

 

All in all, a very nice acquisition, and congratulations are due for getting the group.

 

Cliff    :-)



#8 AZPhil

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 12:23 PM

I thought wings were stamped. This one has what looks like casting lines across the top of the wings. I would like to hear what other think about those lines.

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#9 manayunkman

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

I don't know what to think as it looks like there is some "flash" from casting but it also looks die struck.

 

If it is original it looks like it was converted from a pin back to a clutch.

 

The posts do not look like ones you would see on an issue piece but replacements.

 

They look too long and too sharp and most likely a personal preference. 



#10 MikeK

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 06:04 PM

For me also the badge is a casting - the pics of the top edge of the wing clearly show flashing. Note that good castings will pick up shear marks from an original die struck badge but die-striking/trimming will never leave flashing along the edges! Personally, I don't see any signs of repair. The "mounds" at the base of the clutch posts are well formed and well differentiated from the undulose "filling" on the reverse of the wing. If it's part of a grouping, I wouldn't be throwing it away either though. Who knows when/why it was made and added to the group. Regards Mike

#11 Patchcollector

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 06:48 PM

Just by looking at post # 2,it looks like there was repair work done from the globs of solder spread across the back.Or,was it a remnant of casting?I don't know enough about the manufacturing process to be certain.



#12 pfrost

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 10:42 AM

Better pictures will tell, but I would bet a dollar to a peanut that it is a crude repair, not a casting.  Cliff is correct, someone got a little hog-wild with the solder. 



#13 manayunkman

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 06:25 PM

How do you overcome the flashing on the upper seam ?

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#14 manayunkman

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 06:28 PM

You can see that it is on the center of the edge.

 

 

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#15 KurtA

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 07:05 PM

Are the wings rather pliable?  Does it seem like you can bend them easily?   These wings strongly resemble wings I bought from "The Insignia Collector's Club" in the late 1960's. Those were crude remakes.  I bought a full set of all the different styles for $15.  (Totally used up my collecting budget for months!)



#16 AZPhil

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:45 AM

Better pictures will tell, but I would bet a dollar to a peanut that it is a crude repair, not a casting.  Cliff is correct, someone got a little hog-wild with the solder. 

 

 

I'll take that bet and raise it to $5 and donate it to the site if i'm wrong.

The metal alloy used to "Solder/repair" looks to be the same alloy that the wings are made of. If it was done at a later date the solder would be of a different type of metal based material than what was used to make the original wing. Also if you look at the bottom of the wings in the second pic you can see air hole flaws in the casting.

 

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#17 pfrost

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:25 AM

As I said, better pictures would tell (or handling in person).  But I'll take the bet (with 5$ going to the forum).

:D

Two things, (1) what you are seeing is in fact flashing, but this is not signs of casting, but actual signs of a poorly finished die strike. There was typically a two step process in making a wing, the first strike was to make the wing , then a second toot was used to strike and sheer off the excess metal.  Rarely, the planchet was misaligned with the second tool, and the shearing processes was incomplete, leaving small "flashes" of metal.  That is what I believe you are seeing there.  From different angles, you can see that one side of the wing was misaligned and isn't the same as the other, and in fact you see damage to the edge from the second strike.  I have seen more than a few wings that got past what ever QC the company had and showed this type of damage.  This is (IMHO) NOT a sign of casting.

 

(2) The slop on the back is not the wavy cruddy finish of molten metal that had hardened as part of a casting.  In some pictures you clearly can see that it is a build up of solder (note the arrows).  That is because someone (likely the original owner), tried to repair the wing and did a poor job of it.

 

But without better photos, its just academic and all in fun.  

 

Patrick 

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#18 AZPhil

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 10:30 AM

Hello Patrick,

I Totally agree! all in fun. Just trying to learn something here.

In your first pic between the arrows on the right, on the flat portion near the edge is the casting flaw/airhole I am referring too. There is another one on the left side about the same area.

 I am also curious about the "repair". What was he repairing. I don't see any cracks on the front. It was not because he was adding the pins, as you can see those are a totally different applications of the metal being used and they are on top of the other metal.

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#19 pfrost

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 11:55 AM

These pattern of wings are usually (but not always ) pin back.  I would assume that the original pin got broken off at one time, and the fellow tried to repair it himself.  Here is a period repair of a nice observer wing--but by someone with more skill and less solder.  As for the wing in question, he also could have just been playing around during the repair, as there is nothing as much fun as melting something on to something else.  No way to know for sure, if he had no solder sense, or was just screwing around, but that is my sense.

 

Second, since most of the back is covered by the solder, it is hard to really get a sense of the whole back of the wing.  However, little dings, scratches, wear and tear, and such often appear as casting flaws.  Even on relatively mint wings, you frequently see these little imperfections.  My sense is that you aren't really seeing casting flaws, but rather just normal wear and tear on the wing. 

 

I think if you look long and hard enough at any wing, you are going to find these little pits as such.  A case in point are the AECo wings.  Those wings are notoriously bad for crappy looking finishes and soft details. 

 

Still, I would be willing to bet that without the back repair no one would have said "boo" about this wing.  Take that away, and the "flashing" may cause some to be worried, but having seen and handled a fair amount of wings with those types of manufacturing flaws, it doesn't worry me. 

 

Again, I see nothing that would raise any red flags that this is anything but a period (and poor) repair on a relatively common wing.  Of course, all the caveats of not having it in hand, etc. apply.

 

Patrick

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Edited by pfrost, 06 July 2014 - 11:57 AM.


#20 AZPhil

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

I am using my zoom on the back and that doesn't look like sratch or pitting it looks like an air pocket in the casting. One other thing I noticed was the tip of the bullet looks hollow.I haven't seen any like that. If the OP is following this better pic's of the mentioned areas would be great..

Either way right or wrong. This site has helped me in the past with flight helmets and O2 masks info. So I will put the $5 in the donation can when this is finished!!!

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#21 pfrost

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:41 PM

Phil,

 

I still think its a good wing with a bad repair.  Like an old football player, but I'll do the same!  5$ to the forum from me as well.

 

Best regards

 

Patrick


Edited by pfrost, 06 July 2014 - 01:49 PM.


#22 AZPhil

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 02:16 PM

Patrick,

LIke I had mentioned. I'm just trying to learn something about these. I only have 4 sets of wings in my collection and only one is the aerial gunner. So I have not Handled a lot of them. But I have been told by advance collectors about some of the fakes that have been cast. My donation is on it's way!!! Great talking with you Patrick.

 

Take care

semper Fi

Phil



#23 CliffP

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:07 AM

;)

Not wishing to beat a dead horse. . . however, as Patrick said, "it's academic and all in good fun," there are a couple of facts that should also be taken into consideration which support his belief the wings were not cast.

 

In the second photo below we can easily see an open air space between the original gunner device that had to be applied to the center shield of the actual full size badge when it was made.  There is also an air space between the tip of one of the wings on that gunner device and the shoulder of the full size wing badge itself.

 

Gentlemen, if the badge was cast, those air spaces would have been filled in.

 

Cliff

 

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#24 AZPhil

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:27 AM

I am totally on board with the academic statement.I would really like to see better pic's. If I were to pick these up and see the flash lines and the blob of molten metal on the back along with the bullet tip that looks hollow with a very poorly defined edge. I would consider them a cast fake.The space you have blocked in is the forward section of the flash line. It looks like a 2 piece cast and the gunner device was cast and them attached to the wings from the back using that blob of molten metal.

 I am just trying to learn something here.

. CliffP what Mfg. would you attribute these wings to?

 

Semper Fi

Phil



#25 pfrost

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:56 AM

They are likely Amcraft made wings.




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