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Is this wing good? Post you advice requests here!


John Cooper
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Hello Gents,

 

I was given this wing as a gift and would like to know if it's an original wing or a reproduction wing for the collecting market please?

 

The wing has no markings, two pins to the reverse, is of one piece construction and is quite heavy.

 

Thanks for any replies.

 

Paul

 

Australia

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I don't think that these are so much a recasting as they were made for resale in the 80-90's at museum gift shops and airshows. Somewhere I have one still on its original card.

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I don't think that these are so much a recasting as they were made for resale in the 80-90's at museum gift shops and airshows. Somewhere I have one still on its original card.

Patrick,

 

Had I not been on my phone, I would have said the same. I just hate typing on the tiny keyboard ?

 

Paul

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Hi All,

 

I've just speculated a modest amount of money on a pair of LGB pilot wings, which I'm hoping are legit. The vertical and horizontal shield lines look good and strong from the pictures (which don't show a great amount of detail, it has to be said) and the fixings look good and in the right place. But from what I can divine on these less than optimal pictures is that it is either a beaten up specimen or could be a repro/fake. What are your opinions on this, please? Happy for you to be frank as I don't have much skin in the game on these.

 

Cheers.

 

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Thanks John. The reason I ask is that it was listed as cast silver (though the seller was more into ladies' jewellery) and the price reflected that. Thought I'd put it up here to see if my hunch was a good one...

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  • 1 month later...
Wedgehead30

I suspect this ATC navigator wing is a newer reproduction. The Whitehead & Hoag hallmark is kinda sunk in the wing. Any opinions appreciated.

 

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I suspect this ATC navigator wing is a newer reproduction. The Whitehead & Hoag hallmark is kinda sunk in the wing. Any opinions appreciated.

 

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This one looks to be "hot off the presses", I would most definitely pass!

 

Paul

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Wedgehead30

 

This one looks to be "hot off the presses", I would most definitely pass!

 

Paul

 

 

agree.. that LGB wing looks like a very worn good original.

 

that ATC wing looks like it came from a gift shop!

 

Thank you gentlemen, most appreciated.

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  • 1 month later...

Here's one for you lads. I saw this 1.5" balloon observer wing, being sold as a combat observer wing, for a pittance so thought what the heck, nothing to lose. The finish looks pitted and in places indistinct so could be cast, but I supposed (perhaps wrongl) that small sweetheart sized wings aren't often faked. So could it be a cheaply produced period piece or just a knock-off? Cheers!

 

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Hi All,

 

I posted the above a while back but it's still gnawing away at me. Do you reckon these are fake or a poorly produced hat-size wing from the time? I've not come across any faked small size wings like this before and the fittings look period (which I know isn't a guarantee of authenticity). I suppose I'm just a little incredulous that someone would go to the effort of pumping out faked small wings like this.

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Kropotkin, I'm of the differing opinion that your balloon observer might be real. First off it's odd that anyone would be faking such a small wing. But I have a couple other reasons as well.

 

With such a small item at 1.5" I'm of the opinion that you're going to have distortion pushing something so small through a die. If one looks at the snowflake backed senior balloon pilot wings on Bob Schwartz's site you'll see that the stars all have very weak snowflakes that most would think were cast. I've yet to see one of these senior pilot wings with crisp snowflakes so assume that they were always weak and not just the result of a worn die.

 

Secondly, most of these small balloon pilot wings seem to be fairly rough finished on the front. I have one that's painted gold but you can see that under the paint it's not a smooth finish. Again it seems that maybe that's the result of being something so delicate and small being pressed through a die. Hopefully Chris or someone more knowledgeable on the die stamping process will weigh in with an opinion on why this happens. Of course my opinion will probably be unpopular but I'd really like to see some more discussion from our knowledgeable members on this one before it's dismissed as a fake. Does anyone have another one of these 1.5" balloon observer wings to compare with? I've never seen another but if anyone has one it'll be a member here. I'm probably wrong on this and hate to disagree with BROBS but just wanted to throw out an opposing opinion to see if we can get some more discussion going. It's odd that it's the very first one of these I've ever seen, a faker should have made a few right? If it is fake then where are the real examples?

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Post WW1 badges are a little outside my wheelhouse, so I want to avoid any discussion of authenticity--in this case.

 

With respect to size and the die striking process; with correct equipment, die-struck metal objects can be very tiny. I have a WW1 era Kinney and Co wing that is smaller than a nickel and it has very sharp, crisp features. Tiny surgical devices are die struck and have extremely precise tolerances. This is one of the features of the die-striking process it allows for excellent precision and replication.

 

Dies are typically made of soft steel, cut using a pantograph (or occasionally struck with a master hob) and then hardened. Being made of steel, if they are not stored properly, they can, and do, rust. If the face of a die rusts, is not properly cleaned and then is subsequently used, the resultant product can have a stippled effect similar to what you might see in a casting. It is hard to imagine a company using a rusted die however...

 

In most cases, if the die was salvageable, it would be polished, and if necessary, partially re-cut. The Robbins WW1 era Naval Aviator die is a good example. The early (pre berries) badge die was partially re-cut some time around the end of WW1; early-type badges have very fine lines in the shield, and later-type badges have much more pronounced lines in the shield. The Robbins Naval Aviator die was partially re-cut at least one more time during WW2 to add the "berries" in the shoulder before eventually being retired.

 

Casting is an entirely different process. In the old days, fine castings were made by making a plaster mold of an original and pouring molten metal into the mold. As the metal cooled differentially, (faster at the relatively cool face of the mold) carbon would coalesce at the surface causing very fine pits. Depending on the purity and viscosity of the molten metal, these pits could be quite pronounced or microscopic.

 

Another aspect of casting is shrinkage. As a metal heats, it expands. When molten, some of this expansion is trapped in the metal at the atomic level. Thus when the cast item cools, the item shrinks. Depending on the alloy content of the molten metal, the amount of shrinkage can be as high as 10%. Castings are usually measurably smaller than the original from which the mold was made.

 

Finally, with respect to casting, Molten metal, being a liquid, has a certain amount of surface tension. This surface tension resists flowing into very fine details of the mold--hence the "soft" or "melted butter" look of the details in some castings. One way fakers partially overcome this issue with surface tension is by using centrifugal force, in their casting pours. Centrifugal casting is better at capturing fine detail than a simple gravity pour.

 

In the case of the badge in question, others will have to weigh in as to the matter of authenticity. From the pictures, it appears to me to be a casting, or (less likely) possibly a strike from a badly deteriorated die. I will note that many original dies are still out there "in the wild," and unfortunately, some are in the hands of fakers. I would want to examine the badge with a high powered loupe, considering all the elements of the badge in its totality--looking for any tell-tale signs of either casting or die-striking before I could make a call as to whether it was a casting or a strike from a damaged die.

 

Chris

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I believe this 1 5/8 inch wide Senior Balloon Pilot wing is an authentic 1920's era example and makes for a good comparison piece to Kropotkin's Balloon Observer badge. Being slightly wider, crisper details and different findings on the reverse might all come into play...

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I originally posted this question, yesterday, in the Valuation section without much luck. So, I thought I would try here as these are a new addition to a collection of one as I'm not usually a wing collector. I do know that BB&B markings are desirable so I took a chance. Now need to know if they are real and any possible valuation. Also are these know as Naval Aviator wings?

 

Thanks in advance and here is a link to all the scans but I posted a least one here.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/274985-thoughts-and-valuation-of-these-bb-b-aviator-wings-thanks-in-advance/&do=findComment&comment=2212134

 

 

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Patchcollector

Unfortunately I don't see any of the "tells" that are present on the authentic ones so I believe that this is a copy,but let's let the more experienced collectors here eyeball it and see what they have to say.

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Another set of Glider Pilots wings have popped up which I'd like some opinions on. I can't find anybody online selling a repro of this one but that's not to say there isn't one. The verdigris can be added to age the wing I suppose. No markings on the back either. Anyway, please let's have your opinions as I'm really keen on adding a set of Glider Pilots wings to my collection.

 

Neil.

 

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