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WW2 German Stahlhelm


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#1 Newland

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:44 PM

The story I've been told is, my grandfather served in WW2 and brought home a Luftwaffe Stahlhelm. Sadly he passed away about 20 years ago and my grandmother decided to allow a friend of the family to "clean it up" with a new coat of paint to hide the scratches, scrapes, and dings, thus producing the below result. I found it about 2 months ago while helping my grandmother clean some stuff out of her basement. I was excited, but then also shocked to see such a thing done. So, ultimately my question is, is there any way to remove the "fake" paint while preserving the original coat beneath. If it's not possible, maybe it'd be worth it to get it back to bear bones and add a kelley's paint coat to it?

 

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Attached Images

  • GS1.jpg
  • GS2.jpg
  • GS3.jpg


#2 Bodes

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:55 PM

First, find a spot and see if the paint can be removed by using your thumbnail....May sound funny, but a guy on the WAF used the same technique...Took some time, but he removed the overcoat to reveal a pretty nice helmet....

If this doesn't work, use the least aggressive remover...Use in small amounts and work in small sections...Might want to try acetone...Start underneath near the liner, but don't get the paint on the leather....

Good luck and show us pictures of how it turns out....Bodes

Edited by Bodes, 13 July 2018 - 03:57 PM.


#3 Ronald

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:59 PM

I am afraid that if you something strong enough to remove the outer coat, it is going to also affect the original layer.

#4 mikie

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:15 PM

Bodes fingernail trick worked on my old repainted German helmet I ordered from an ad in the back of an American Rifleman magazine in the late 1970s.  Unfortunately, the original finish on it was in bad shape anyway.  The thing is ugly as heck, but nicer than the weird gray paint it had on it when I opened the box.  Good luck whatever you do!

 

Mikie



#5 Bodes

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:45 PM

Bodes fingernail trick worked on my old repainted German helmet I ordered from an ad in the back of an American Rifleman magazine in the late 1970s.  Unfortunately, the original finish on it was in bad shape anyway.  The thing is ugly as heck, but nicer than the weird gray paint it had on it when I opened the box.  Good luck whatever you do!
 
Mikie


Mike, Your stahlhelm likely came from Unique Imports out of Alexandria, Virginia....These were original WW2 German helmets that were reissued to the Norwegian army following the war....They were repainted a light lime green color in Norway and many had new liners added....Other liners were dyed a rust brown color...UI than bought them as surplus and repainted them various color depending on the branch of service.....Bodes

#6 BEAST

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:46 PM

Search for goof off on the forum and you can see the success that some members have had at removing paint from American helmets. I did it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and had good success. HOWEVER I was also left it on too long in one section and using too much brute force took that part to the bare metal. If you are cautious, use q-tips and take your time, the newer paint comes off.

#7 BEAST

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:48 PM

Btw, I have seen posts off collectors who used goof off on German helmets and were able to uncover the original decals. Good luck!

#8 rtepak6

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:24 PM

If a repaint is in order, what would be the best color to use that would closely match the original?

Dale

#9 Bodes

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:04 PM

If a repaint is in order, what would be the best color to use that would closely match the original?

Dale


Personally I would leave as is instead of repainting....The leather liner is coming apart, and the patina of 70+ year old paint would be hard (if not impossible) to replicate....A backyard restoration will just pretty much look the same....Add to the fact, a family member commissioned the current repaint....It's part of the family's history....Try to strip the current overpaint, accepting it for what it is and looks like, or just leave as is...Bodes

#10 mikie

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:43 PM

Mike, Your stahlhelm likely came from Unique Imports out of Alexandria, Virginia....These were original WW2 German helmets that were reissued to the Norwegian army following the war....They were repainted a light lime green color in Norway and many had new liners added....Other liners were dyed a rust brown color...UI than bought them as surplus and repainted them various color depending on the branch of service.....Bodes


Yep, I believe you are correct. Thanks Bodes for the info. There were remains of a Norwegian decal under the gray repaint. Not US I so won't dwell on it here, but think I paid $25 for it. The repaint didn't stick too well and came off in strips. It left some what I believe is original paint and a fair amount of bare metal. Goof off worked well on an M1 I tried it on. You just have to be careful and not overdo it until you get a feel for how it works.
Mikie

#11 Newland

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:26 AM

Some great answers here, thank you very much guys!

 

Guess all that's left to do is decide and either take action or leave it as it is.



#12 mikie

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:10 AM

If you go for taking action, let us know how it goes. Whatever you do may be helpful for anyone wanting to do this to their helmet.

#13 doyler

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:26 AM

One of my first german helmets I had when I was a young collector was a M42.

It had been painted black.Had a full liner and chin strap.I think my dad gave $20 for it.

I was a avid model builder back then.Not real advanced or skilled just loved kits and the hobby.

At some point I decided the helmet needed a more military finnish and not the gloss black.There was no internet or books with color photos of helmets collectors have now.

I had a few cans of paint and set to work.Put on a coat and dusted it with sand while wet.Let it dry and then added a couple other colors.Ended up a camo.It wont fool anyone

I still have it.I now also put a camo cover on it from the Fury movie.

#14 Bugme

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:56 AM

Since I see a Luftwaffe insignia on there, make sure to keep the Goof-off away from the decal. Goof-off works good but it WILL soften the decal.

Also, as pointed out this is not U.S. so I will have to lock it but, you got some good info to go off of. When you finish it, feel free to post it in the Bring Back section.


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