Up for the discussion is this repainted 502nd Lt. Helmet i purchased from Scott Berry a few years back now. He's a good bloke and his helmets are marked as repaints. I'd recommend him for a reenactor pot! It was originally a front seam, WWII issue that has been repainted and converted to D bail for display or reenactor use. It was in perfect condition. The only thing i did to begin with was strip the new paint off the helmet rim to expose the original dark green paint underneath. All the rim paint as you see it is genuine WWII. Then i did the rest of the aging. It's a nice looking helmet, no question, i've always liked it anyways, it's a well done display and will be engraved as such when i'm done with it, so it will never fool anyone.
Now a term that comes up often with repainted helmets is 'washing'. A wash is simply a mixture of any antique looking color, that is applied over an insignia to make it appear vintage/old/used/dirty. Effectively, what they are doing is as simple as this example on my BBQ cover. To the left is where i had previously cleaned rusty rifle parts, and the rusty water has covered the white cloth making it look older. A wash can be made off various materials, tea's, coffees, iron oxide (rust), but are usually a dead giveaway as they are
2. Rub off easily
4. On top of the surface
You may ask, ''what do you mean by 'on top of the surface', doesn't rust start on the surface anyway?'' Wrong.........But we'll get to that in a moment's time...............
The moments time is now
Let's take a look at something called 'rust bleed'. Now, rust will affect anything containing even the tiniest amounts of iron. For rust, we need 3 things.
3.Water/Moisture in the air
When we paint something, we seal the surface against the weather, combatting rust for hopefully, a long time to come. Think about a car, we can sit a newely painted car in the weather, for hopefully years, without any rust forming, because we have sealed the metal surface from the elements. It's only when that sealing layer gets thin, that we get problems. Helmets are no different. A freshly painted helmet, never exposed to the elements to thin out that sealing layer, won't be rusted (hence the few 'mint' M1 helmets we occasionally see around). BUT, helmets exposed to the weather, will naturally thin over time. Rust cannot form until it gets into contact with any bare metal containing iron. You might even be saying ''well hang on Blake, i've got a helmet here that's covered in green paint and has rust'', but take into consideration rust will form on the tiniest, micrscopic gaps in the sealing layer. As the helmets weathered from the rain, sun, wind and air, this sealing layer gets thinner and thinner and thinner until even the tiniest, little pores are open, for rust to start attacking. We know this beautiful, subtle mix of green paint and rust as 'Patina', and it is the overall look of the exterior of any helmet. Now this is where Rust Bleed plays in. If the rust seaps in to any of these micrscopic gaps in the sealing layer, there is nothing from stopping it spreading UNDER the paint, in turn, rusting the helmet from the INSIDE OUT, through the painted layer. Usually around the cork, giving an even effect. This is called 'rust bleed', as the rust will appear to be bleeding through the outer layer of the helmet, from the inside out. Here's a look at rust bleed on an iron bar. We can clearly see the huge gaps of paint missing, where the rust has gotten under the sealing layer of paint and is rusting from the inside out.
Now, when we apply this theory to helmets, we get our lovely patina, complete with rust bleed, yet still plenty of green paint left. This is an excessive look, but right as rain and genuine as can be. Much more subtle looks need to be held in hand to be examined, hence the term collectors use of needing to 'see the helmet in hand' Many may even use a microscope to check super close ups of the exterior, i'm not sure to be honest. This is why buying a big price helmet sight unseen is risky, make SURE to get a returnable period, so once examined in hand, you can give the OK, or NO K.
Edited by Bugme, 14 June 2009 - 03:51 PM.