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Hand-Made REPROS Schemes on HGU-style helmets.

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As a side note,

media and procedures didn't change for airbrushing on supports like these metal sheets as compared to helmets. In either instances a primer must be present on raw material - for helmets, the basic paint itself is a good surface, even better if I gave another coat in case of repairing/refurbishing.

A very light coat of nitro white paint must be given if wishing not to make any issues to the original helmet's paint (nitro is aggressive against non-nitro ones) after wich, the nitro white coat is ready for any subsequent color or scheme.


The same for metal supports. Of course if wishing to give an "old" aged look to these sheets (like, if taken away from airplanes) no gloss topcoats will be given as a last touch.

A more appealing semi-matt look (even if more delicate) is desired and this is the very look itself of an airbrushed nitro paint.



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As for contrast with the two painted girls, a double gloss topcoat is almost inevitable on this helmet wich "must" be as striking as possible.

Synthetic/acrylic transparent coat also does enhance the rather subdued nitro colors - the way they appear when dried, but left in "raw" state. Since being, moreover, a presentation/collection HGU-26/P not intended to fly into any airplane the matter of being a relatively delicate thing is left aside.


The same theorically for the above Pin Ups painted on metal sheets, but having them shining under an almost mirror-like coat would make much less sense for a piece .."removed" from an old warbird.

Here the tiger stripes (free-hand done with smaller airbrush) on a basic reddish-gold (done with a larger airbrush).



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The old style, very thin edgeroll was a bit easier to tape-masking than the customized, very thick ones of more recent periods.





This brand-new shell had the two holes in each side for those strings originally needed with the old spring-loaded earphones set.

Almost invisible, after work was completed:






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Outside of mask's receivers I earlier painted the same orange as helmet's shell, in instances I originally proposed to customers or to F-104 pilots of 21th "Tiger" Squadron.

They duly could have the black stripes intersecating them and continuing on... more work to do, appealing anyway. But for this display item I chose to have them in all-black.



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As said before, final result on the following helmets was at my best and customers liked them really very much - at least for me, these schemes ('cause of their very nature) ended up being much less striking than the tiger helmet, especially the "Frecce Tricolori"s.


Thunderbirds helmet still is colorful and does have a good degree of contrast - vivid Red against White, plus some other colours in team's badge at the center rear.

In both helmets, actual difficulty was for me a scarcity of precise measures, proportions and closeup details in those pre-Internet years. Photos seen here and there on books and magazines were a fair source anyway, so the thing needed in great quantities was mainly the patience.

Much work in shape of studying curves, circles, radius of arrows' turnings or badge's outside border - comparing, the tiny F-16s were almost a joke when it came to cut their shapes into the masking paper; ditto, fot the Thunder Bird.

Not to mention the 26 stars in four different sizes.


Arrows on the Italian helmets ended up being virtually perfect, but final result almost was, say, with no "soul" if compared to the amount of work's hours.

This of course. in my opinion.. :(




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Thanks to all you !! :D


Here what should have been the early inspiring image, from a (signed) poster of RAF No. 74 Squadron, brought back home from England in the late '80s.

But eventually I changed to a more symmetrical tigerhead, taken from the original one painted on the wall of 21th "Tiger" Squadron's room at their base in Italy.



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btw, in the past a couple clients gave me the needed stencils 100% correct for a truly complete "Frecce Tricolori" HGU-2/P helmet.


It is the bow fully pulled rearward with an arrow ready in place, often found on helmets actually used by the Italian aerobatic team. Virtually impossible to riproduce by hand, and nonetheless having absolute perfection if you see it really closely in photos of Team' helmets. So, it's really just a decal or similar.

Never known where they got this stuff - was anyway the correct thing, meant to be slipped off support by wetting in water. Also, able to stand application of the overcoat clear (acrylic) finish, without going to wrinkle uselessly.

I used it on not more than a couple helmets, this It.A.F. aerobatic team's helmet wasn't requested among collectors. Much more appealing the Thunderbirds', or the ever-liked tiger's head.

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Fantastic artwork Franco-you truly have a gift. Thanks for posting

Looking for: Fourth/ Seventh Rhode Island Infantry items

Purple Heart : Robert L. Freitag KIA ETO 2/11/45

Any US/German items with the last name "Freitag"

also, war-related posters


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Thanks so much Fstop61 - truly don't know whether it's a gift or not.. sure it does need (in my instance at least) some tons of concentration and patience.


And, either of them is approaching to the bottom of... the stock!! ah ah :blush: :blush:

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the above item isn't the only one I thought about subsequently, should the owner someday swap it for the original one again.. even re-considered my idea of having it back.

Duly spoke of with him, reply was he would have pretty well thought putting the original hood on and preserving the painted one.. but, by having it displayed on a living room's wall!


At least I had tried..

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More close-up.

Just with this one I've tried those water-based paints, many a airbrusher are enthusiast with them. I'm not - nice final result, but too difficult to handle and longer time to dry - job itself already is painfully lenghty..



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