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M1 helmet paint stripping, will collectors regret it in the future?


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#1 ccmax

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 01:48 PM

Let me begin by saying that I see no problem in stripping a helmet that is post WWII painted to reveal interesting markings beneath, or even the original factory finish. However, how do you think this compares to some habits that were common with German helmet collectors 10 or 15 years ago, like switching liners and digging decals out of camo field paintings? Nowadays, such helmets are not thought to be very desirable by a lot of German helmet collectors, whereas many M1's that have been enhanced by the removal of post war paints are still appreciated. You have to take into account that an original WWII painted M1 is far rarer than any type of German camo helmet around, but anyway the environment of M1 collectors seems to be much more permissive than in other fields. Any thoughts?

Edited by ccmax, 02 July 2009 - 01:49 PM.


#2 M1A1-1944

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:42 PM

Obviously if anyone remembers the before and after on this ESB helmet you would know my opinion. I feel the same way. I think an honest GI helmet with painted insignia is one of the rarest helmets to find and each has it's own character. Uncovering the insignia is like bringing it back to life. Digging the decal out of a camo'd German helmet, to me, is more of a destructive move because your taking off the original camo paint, which is very sought after, to uncover a common decal underneath??? Everyone has their opinions and likes/dislikes. If you are happy with what you have, and I am, then that is all that matters.

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Edited by M1A1-1944, 02 July 2009 - 02:54 PM.


#3 General Apathy

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 05:31 PM

Hi, I know your talking helmets and I'm talking Jeep. Before I got into the clothing collectable side of militaria collecting I was a jeep fanatic, lived it, breathed it, drove it every day, and was locally well known for the Jeep.

Well I would have driven to the moon and back in that Jeep, or certainly anywhere on this earth, however a number of friends gave me loads of verbal ribbing, that my jeep was dirty and muddy and didn't look as factory fresh as theirs, but this was only all down to fresh paint on most of their Jeeps, not mechanical perfection.

So I took eighteen months to strip, rebuild and replace anything needed to be and what did I get, I got a Jeep that neither looked like mine, never drove like mine, cornered like mine or performed in any way like mine, I hated the damn Jeep every day there after.

I never again enjoyed all the previous experiences which I had done in that very same Jeep, and never drove it since. Relate this to how many times have you messed with any item and got so far and then thought ooh just that little tweek more and then snap, damn didn't mean to do that, too late I did it and now it's broken.

Well for the best part of things the old adage applies, ' If it ain' broke don't fix it ', so be careful out there just how far you take something.

Cheers ( Lewis )

#4 Blake_E

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:00 PM

I'll be stripping the 29th helmet completely back that i just bought of Bugme soon, so i have no problem with it either. As said, it's more of a 'rejuvenation, or restoration' to the proper original article. Seeing as how, say, an M1 fixed bail, with painted insignia, that has been korea repainted for eg. The fixed bail being THE original WWII configuration helmet, that's what they were made for - WWII. The korean repaint has wrecked the helmet, in a collector sense, but also wrecked the helmet in an originality sense. Stripping the helmet to uncover desireable insignia (or even just the original paintjob) is just restoring the helmet to it's original configuration, as that is how the M1 fixed bails were, and is how one should sit on a WWII collectors' shelf, in it's original, as was, FIRST wwii configuration. I have a million thoughts in my head, but finding it hard to put into words, so hope it makes sense :P But i guess it's kind of like a rifle, for eg. Do you take an early WWII m1 garand, that is all original, but has been post war arsenal rebuilt, and leave it, because it's original untouched, OR, do you remove the post war parts, and restore it to it's proper early configuration, making it not only, it's FIRST original configuration, but it's wwii service time configuration?
Interesting topic actually! Eager to hear other opinions

Edited by Blake_E, 02 July 2009 - 08:02 PM.


#5 aef1917

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 04:11 AM

Stripping the helmet to uncover desireable insignia (or even just the original paintjob) is just restoring the helmet to it's original configuration, as that is how the M1 fixed bails were, and is how one should sit on a WWII collectors' shelf, in it's original, as was, FIRST wwii configuration. I have a million thoughts in my head, but finding it hard to put into words, so hope it makes sense :P But i guess it's kind of like a rifle, for eg. Do you take an early WWII m1 garand, that is all original, but has been post war arsenal rebuilt, and leave it, because it's original untouched, OR, do you remove the post war parts, and restore it to it's proper early configuration, making it not only, it's FIRST original configuration, but it's wwii service time configuration?


I'd better get busy stripping off all those postwar painted insignias on my WWI helmets then.

#6 Cobrahistorian

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 06:21 AM

Hmmm... ok, this thread seems to be getting a bit more attention. My question is, HOW does one go about stripping paint off of a helmet without damaging the original finish? I've got a beautiful fixed bail helmet that my predecessor at the museum saw fit to paint medic's crosses (badly) on. How can I get them off without damaging the original finish?

Edited by Cobrahistorian, 03 July 2009 - 06:24 AM.


#7 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 06:33 AM

I'll be stripping the 29th helmet completely back that i just bought of Bugme soon, so i have no problem with it either. As said, it's more of a 'rejuvenation, or restoration' to the proper original article. Seeing as how, say, an M1 fixed bail, with painted insignia, that has been korea repainted for eg. The fixed bail being THE original WWII configuration helmet, that's what they were made for - WWII. The korean repaint has wrecked the helmet, in a collector sense, but also wrecked the helmet in an originality sense. Stripping the helmet to uncover desireable insignia (or even just the original paintjob) is just restoring the helmet to it's original configuration, as that is how the M1 fixed bails were, and is how one should sit on a WWII collectors' shelf, in it's original, as was, FIRST wwii configuration. I have a million thoughts in my head, but finding it hard to put into words, so hope it makes sense :P But i guess it's kind of like a rifle, for eg. Do you take an early WWII m1 garand, that is all original, but has been post war arsenal rebuilt, and leave it, because it's original untouched, OR, do you remove the post war parts, and restore it to it's proper early configuration, making it not only, it's FIRST original configuration, but it's wwii service time configuration?
Interesting topic actually! Eager to hear other opinions


In all respect to your comment, I prefer to leave those Korea lids as they are. Unless of course, there's some cool insignia under the repaint. But, say you find a fixed bail helmet with that dark OD finish for Korea and no evidence of insignia beneath. You've got a nice helmet that was used by at least two combatants, in WWII and Korea. I think that has much more character than an example that you can say was only used in WWII...or that you stripped and say was used in only WWII.

Stripping a Korea helmet just proves that it is the Forgotten War. There are thousands of solid WWII lids out there...no need to strip a Korea helmet to further enhance a WWII collection. I'm sure you could find someone to trade with if you came across one of those reused lids. (cough cough)

Rob

#8 AustinO

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:49 AM

I'd better get busy stripping off all those postwar painted insignias on my WWI helmets then.

This is a horrible, horrible joke. also: :w00t:

#9 Blake_E

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:07 AM

aef1917, Rob, i think you guys may have misunderstood me a tad, i was trying to speak in a more broader sense, rather than a personal opinion, and was having trouble putting it into words, which is why i pointed that out. I was leaning rather to the stripping of helmets with painted insignias, not just wwii paint. Remember, i was exampling about a fixed bail with insignia. Obviously, one would have to be a few marbles short to strip an original used korea war lid, just for a different shade and time of plain OD paint, that IS crazy and wrecking a helmet :P

Edited by Blake_E, 03 July 2009 - 10:07 AM.


#10 VMI88

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:39 AM

I think in almost every case you're better off doing less rather than more. You can always alter something later if you choose, but you can't undo an alteration in most cases. Too often I see people replacing insignia to be "correct" or otherwise messing with an item that might well be original. I realize that stripping overpaint is in a slightly different category, but it's still altering an original item to conform to our ideals.

Bill

#11 Bugme

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 01:50 PM

Look at my avatar. Those medic insignia were under a post war paint. Wanna know what I think of revealing insignia by removing over-paints? ;)

#12 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 05:13 PM

aef1917, Rob, i think you guys may have misunderstood me a tad, i was trying to speak in a more broader sense, rather than a personal opinion, and was having trouble putting it into words, which is why i pointed that out. I was leaning rather to the stripping of helmets with painted insignias, not just wwii paint. Remember, i was exampling about a fixed bail with insignia. Obviously, one would have to be a few marbles short to strip an original used korea war lid, just for a different shade and time of plain OD paint, that IS crazy and wrecking a helmet :P


I suppose I'm just touchy then :lol: In that case, I agree with you!

Rob

#13 LoadedColt45

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 09:05 PM

Unless it is very obvious that the helmet is marked - one must remove the Korean era paint to see that any WWII insignia was ever applied. Yes, it would be very dissapointing after the work was done only to see that no insignia was uncovered.

Back to Cobra's question - how do you go about removing post war paint without removing original WWII paint as well? Also, can the "sand" texture be romoved? If so, how is that done? I have a sand textured fixed bail helmet in otherwise beautiful condition - how can that be removed?

#14 EasyRed1944

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:26 PM

As i like to collect WW2 era M1 FB shells , i wouldnt mind to remove postwar repaint. I had an airborne Westinghouse liner with repaint, i removed it and i found a name underneath it...i know i won't have the luck every time , but to me its nicer to have a shell in its origin(al) condition.
If it has postwar markings on the outside i'd leave it alone,and i never buy such things in the first place.

Yes korea paint is original, but if i find a faint marking underneath it, it has to go down.

I think its just a personal choice everytime.

#15 Bugme

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:45 AM

The 29er Insignia on the photo below, was found under a post war repaint that was then painted with lime green automotive paint. :pinch: I could see the outline of the insignia even though there was quite a bit of paint on it. I used Goof-off to slowly work off the over-paint. Goof-off only removes acrylic paints not lead based(most insignia) or baked paints(factory finish). Still you have to be very careful since with enough rubbing, the older paints will be affected. Another product is: Whink. I've not used this before but other collectors claim it works as well or even better than Goof-off.

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Edited by Bugme, 04 July 2009 - 08:46 AM.


#16 Cobrahistorian

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:03 AM

Just started working on my front-seam swivel bail helmet as practice for the museum's FB helmet. Got quite a surprise, although I guess I should have expected it. It had been repainted a bunch of times (including once by me, where I added reenactor Officer insignia). Looks like this helmet may have been a Navy damage control helmet at some point, since it was painted overall bright friggin red! There's remnants of red paint on the chinstraps, so that was an indicator even before I started, but still....

I'll see about getting some pics up a little later.
I've been using Goof-off and it has been pretty effective. Spray on, rub in small circles with a paper towel and voila!

Pretty cool!

Jon

#17 vette

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:08 PM

Nice 29er Bugme. I agree that a insignia on an M1 is rarer than a German helmet with insignia. I have been looking carefully at my 50 plus M1's to find a jackpot. So far I have only found a snow camo'd M! under black post war paint. Bugme told me about Goof Off and it seams to work quite well. Bill


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