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2 Panel Corpsman Helmet - Opinions?


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...I am not sure when cracks in the paint started making helmets original. Micro-cracking (actually called crazing) can be caused / hastened by several factors...

There is a difference between "crazing" and "micro cracks". Crazing is what happens when a coat of new paint is applied too soon after a previous coat has been applied. Solvent then gets trapped between layers. As the paint dries, crazing appears but, it does not look like the photos. Also it is mostly associated with laquers.

 

Micro cracks are not always a "sure" sign of aging as you pointed out however, micro cracks are a very good indicator of age and the type we look for does not look like crazing which is actually an automotive term and is most often found in automotive paint scenarios.

 

As for the roasted marshmallow look, it could be fake aging but, not a deal breaker. In hand inspection is really needed.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I have heard very different definitions of crazing - specifically to do with acrylics.

 

Also, micro-cracking is a originally an engineering convention of concrete and paving, and nothing to do with musty old helmets.

 

As with many terms we collectors toss about, loose adaptations and contrivances - ala Black Army finish. :)

 

Nuance of word choice aside, I totally agree. In-hand inspection is always needed in these situations. That said, if forced to make a buying decisions on these pictures, I would pass - unless price made it impossible to do so.

 

 

 

There is a difference between "crazing" and "micro cracks". Crazing is what happens when a coat of new paint is applied too soon after a previous coat has been applied. Solvent then gets trapped between layers. As the paint dries, crazing appears but, it does not look like the photos. Also it is mostly associated with laquers.

 

Micro cracks are not always a "sure" sign of aging as you pointed out however, micro cracks are a very good indicator of age and the type we look for does not look like crazing which is actually an automotive term and is most often found in automotive paint scenarios.

 

As for the roasted marshmallow look, it could be fake aging but, not a deal breaker. In hand inspection is really needed.

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As for the roasted marshmallow look, it could be fake aging but, not a deal breaker. In hand inspection is really needed.

 

What in particular should I be looking for with regards to the marshmallow look? The portion of the helmet where it's the "worst" (the mark on the right of the buckle side panel) looks to me like some sort of liquid that ran down the helmet a bit and dried

 

That said, if forced to make a buying decisions on these pictures, I would pass - unless price made it impossible to do so.

Unfortunately really good closeups like this weren't available when I purchased it. I think what I paid is fair for an original piece but not an "impossible to pass price".

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Took a break from work to look over the helmet a bit more. Found a spot that looks like something on top of the paint. Any thoughts? My first reaction is it's not a good sign but I'm not exactly sure what it is

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Honestly, I don't see micro-cracking. I see scratches. Like some of the others, I would have to see this in hand before making a judgment.

Bill

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I have heard very different definitions of crazing - specifically to do with acrylics.

 

Also, micro-cracking is a originally an engineering convention of concrete and paving, and nothing to do with musty old helmets.

 

As with many terms we collectors toss about, loose adaptations and contrivances - ala Black Army finish. :)

 

Nuance of word choice aside, I totally agree. In-hand inspection is always needed in these situations. That said, if forced to make a buying decisions on these pictures, I would pass - unless price made it impossible to do so.

 

 

Sorry, you are right and I need to be more clear, I come from a background of 20 years of custom car finishing. So, when I was speaking of laquer, I was referring to Acrylic Laquers. Acrylic Enamels reacted with something called "lifting"... it was horrible when you saw it happen. Crazing was specifically relegated to Acrylic Laquers.

 

As for micro cracking: tiny cracks needing to be seen with some sort of magnification. Where the term came from? I have no idea, but have heard this phrase since I got into collecting back in the mid 70's. In the end, it all comes down to: I say potatoe, you say patatoe. ;)

 

Back to the helmet, I am still on the fence.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Honestly, I dont recal ever seeing a Navy Corpsman helmet painted like that. Very Army Like. Most I remember seeing either just had a Red Cross on the front (maybe all four sides, over the plain base color (OD or what ever gray was available), or were painted all over white, with the crosses applied over that. Just an observation.

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Honestly, I don't see micro-cracking. I see scratches. Like some of the others, I would have to see this in hand before making a judgment.

Bill

Some of the pictures I've posted of the red paint may be scratches instead of cracks but what about the pictures in post #11? I'll have to look under the loupe again and maybe add more pictures when I get a chance later tonight or tomorrow. The buckle side of the helmet seems to have a decent amount of micro cracking in the white. I don't see much in the red on either side or in the white on the hook side, though the white paint on the hook side seems a lot thinner than that on the buckle side.

 

Honestly, I dont recal ever seeing a Navy Corpsman helmet painted like that. Very Army Like. Most I remember seeing either just had a Red Cross on the front (maybe all four sides, over the plain base color (OD or what ever gray was available), or were painted all over white, with the crosses applied over that. Just an observation.

I did a real quick search on corpsman helmets and found a similar 2 panel that was posted last year http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/310875-navy-corpsman-helmet-trunk-find/?hl=corpsman

 

though based off of what your'e saying I'm assuming this style is more of an exception than it is the norm.

 

In any case, thanks for the feedback everyone, I really appreciate the help! As of now I'm feeling less confident in this one than I was last night but I'll look things over again when I have the chance and see if anything new jumps out.

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One final note. In 1965, my dad was on an LST. We were headed to Japan, and the ships HM1 would come to the house to give us our shots so we didnt have to sit in the Naval Hodpital for hours waiting to get a couple of shots every week. He was dads buddy, mom fed him and they enjoyed adult beverages. He had 22 years in and was retiring soon.

 

On his last visit, he brought me his Corpsman Bag, complete, except the needles were removed from syringes and the medicine bottles were empty. He also gave me his helmet It was basic OD green with DOC stenciled in white on the front.

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Medic helmets are all the rage right now in the hobby of WWII Herman helmets...where I spend most of my time and energy. They are coming "out of the woodwork" at a rate that is laughable. And they all have 2 things in common....paint with ripples, and that toasted marshmallow look. The OP's helmet shows these same 2 characteristics, and for me personally, I would give it a wide berth. In fact, I give all medic helmets a wide berth just because of the sheer number of them showing up suddenly. Everybody wants one...and the market delivers.

 

 

 

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Medic helmets are all the rage right now in the hobby of WWII Herman helmets...where I spend most of my time and energy. They are coming "out of the woodwork" at a rate that is laughable. And they all have 2 things in common....paint with ripples, and that toasted marshmallow look. The OP's helmet shows these same 2 characteristics, and for me personally, I would give it a wide berth. In fact, I give all medic helmets a wide berth just because of the sheer number of them showing up suddenly. Everybody wants one...and the market delivers.

 

 

 

. As I said, I just dont ever recall seeing a Navy Corpsman helmet with those Army style Pannels on it. Even in thousands of original WW2 photos. I could be mistaken, but I just dont think Ive ever seen one.
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Regarding red cross painted helmets being worn in the Navy, Mannie Gentile brought one back from his destroyer USS De Haven.

 

at 5:25 he shows his Navy helmets and one is a red cross painted corpsman:

 

 

. First one Ive ever seen.
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Was looking over the helmet again and I think I'm seeing several spots where there is rust coming up through the paint. Any thoughts on these pictures? I've also got a few more pictures of some of the micro cracks as well

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I'm liking it more.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Nick, the more I look at this helmet the more I like it; the rust coming from underneath the paint is impossible to fake since it's a natural process that occurs over time. I'm confident that your helmet is original.

 

Pat

 

 

I'm liking it more.

 

Thanks, I think I agree with Pat, the more I inspect it the more I find to like about the patina.

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I think this helmet could have been from the sailor who served from 71-77. It'd definitely be worth trying to contact him to see if it was his. When this helmet was originally listed it had a Vietnam war liner in it.

 

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Hmm, that's interesting, this is the first I'm hearing of a liner associated with this helmet, though my understanding is that the painted medic markings were almost completely phased out prior to the Vietnam war.

 

Looking at the liner though I'm not sure the condition of the liner and helmet match. The liner to me looks to have a lot more rust/corrosion than the helmet.

 

I found the original listing and it looks like there's a name written on the liner but it looks like the first name starts with either a P, B, or R. I'm not so sure the liner is original to the helmet but I'd be interested in hearing what others think

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An earlier post compares rust bleed through and suggested post 13 as an example of this, so I checked it out and there is red paint on the rust.

 

It had to be painted after it rusted.

 

Please help me reconcile this because I’m not experienced enough to make a call.

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