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M42 Helmet


Spasm
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Tried a new technique that came out pretty well. Originally was a LOT worse condition than the one below. It came as the rubbish one in a batch of relics that I bought together. I had to rebuild all of the raw edges (which took absolutely ages - days in fact) so it was my trial and error helmet. It also has a batch and maker's stamp now (all correct as I've checked them in the batch numbers book). I'll add a liner and chinstrap at some point, age them and probably keep on the shelf as a display next to an example relic. 

 

It looks pretty good in the hand as the camo coat looks like it's worn and peeled off of the grey base paint (which is what I did), through which is peeping rusty steel. I still need to think through how to make it even better but I'm getting there.   

Edited by Spasm
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Tried a new technique that came out pretty well. Originally was a LOT worse condition than the one below. It came as the rubbish one in a batch of relics that I bought together. I had to rebuild all of the raw edges (which took absolutely ages - days in fact) so it was my trial and error helmet. It also has a batch and maker's stamp now (all correct as I've checked them in the batch numbers book). I'll add a liner and chinstrap at some point, age them and probably keep on the shelf as a display next to an example relic. 

 

It looks pretty good in the hand as the camo coat looks like it's worn and peeled off of the grey base paint (which is what I did), through which is peeping rusty steel. I still need to think through how to make it even better but I'm getting there.   

If you weren't an artist then you would be a forger?  That is a scary skill you have and leaves the newcomers to the hobby perhaps a little anxious?  I know you are passionate about what you do so no worries but what if someone dodgy got a hold of your gear such as this. If they lost the decal then I think it would take a lot of the kids today.  Do you like copyright them some how as your work?  Perhaps something for the future if you are not decorating them with themes? 

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Some good questions that I honestly don't really have an answer to and would be happy to discuss to get clear in my own mind.

 

I think forgers are artists in a way, particularly forgers of paintings. The techniques take a lot of learning which requires a lot of interest or, I suppose, incentive in some way. Perhaps that incentive could be greed.

 

I'm in no way leading the market (so to speak) in restoring relics and/or ageing replicas. There are some very very expensive replica helmets out there (Fallschirmjager helmets for over £500 for instance). Application of a good technique in painting and ageing would make them look and feel like the real deal. Add and age some good quality decals and application of the correct type of paint could get these helmets onto the shelves of some collectors no doubt. With the prices that we're seeing for high end SS and Paratrooper helmets I've no doubt there's helmets coming off of production lines somewhere.

 

I'm never going to get into the high end reproductions, nor am I going to present a restored helmet for anything other than what it is. All of the decals on mine are hand painted so wouldn't fool anyone with any knowledge at all. Mots of my restored helmets have plenty of filler but admittedly not easily seen. All of my helmets are also signed. By the way, all artwork is copyrighted with the artist unless that copyright is signed away.

 

However, one of my helmets (without themed artwork all over it) in another person's hands? The removal of the signature and replacement of the painted decal would be pretty simple. And, as we all know, a lot of militaria sales are made without an in depth knowledge of the subject, are done off the cuff and forged helmets do pull people's trousers down regularly. Particularly young and/or inexperienced collectors.

 

I attended a show a few months ago and saw a young guy try to sell his helmet to a dealer. The dealer saw that it was a copy straight off and told the young guy that he'd buy it as a replica. The youngster wasn't happy as he'd paid many times what the dealer was offering. I did give it the once over and it was clearly a copy, quite a bad one in fact. I felt pretty bad for him having been there myself on several items, as you all know. I don't collect much stuff now due to this.

 

I do like doing these helmets but with relics now getting expensive, they are pretty difficult to display (unless you have a war room) and me probably moving into some other form of artwork there's not going to be that many (without themed artwork) to catch anyone. I really hope so.

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I am glad that to the experienced this is fairly obviously not a period paint job etc.... but to the novice if sold this could come back onto the market and be very convincing and they might be fooled into parting with a quite large sum of money. Finding someway to mark it to show it is your work would be good if you don't already do that, perhaps some sort of permament mark on the inside, welded initials or similar under the skirt.

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Too be clear, I was in no way implying that you would do this as a fraudulant endevour, anyone that takes the time to read your threads can see quite clearly what you are about.  As Jerry says, as it stands it is what it is.  I would only add that with a bit more devious work it may become more, that was all.  I got a bit of a hard time for suggesting the same thing to a Polish bloke that was producing 're-enactmant' leather gear, it was in its produced state quite cleary new but it was as it should be so a couple of re-enactment years later in all weathers you would have a quite plausable fake.  He went kind of quiet as I think I was too vocal but if his intentions had been entirely honourable then why did he go quiet?  he would not reveal haw many he had already made and sold which I thought was quite interesting, anyway I digressed and this is not anywhere near the case. 

Edited by Jock Auld
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Jock, I never took it that way and sorry if my reply read as though I did. But I do think you raised some good questions.

 

No doubt, I've become interested in making these helmets as good as I possibly can, or until I get bored. Or possibly the price of relics and my time costs doing the artwork will outprice genuine helmets available.

 

I'll always be clear when undertaking commissions or selling these helmets. They are all marked with where they've come from, albeit a very easily removed signature type mark. Even welding (although welding to these relics would be very difficult) would be fairly easy to get rid of. Nearly all are pretty easily seen to be restored if you look inside as I use glass fibre and filler to strengthen and fill holes. I can't be arsed with the work to make the inside as good as the outside. So unless someone is going to ask me to paint a good quality helmet or spend a really horrible few days to sand/grind the inside then they'll always be pretty easy to see. 

 

I agree with more devious work they could become more. My early stuff is far too naff to fool anyone and all of my later stuff has themed artwork applied. I would recognise any of the helmets I have produced and as I keep very good records (for the tax man) I would dob in anyone I saw trying to pull any wool over anyone. 

 

But you never know, maybe my paintwork will be worth far more than any helmet in the future. Look at the prices our homeboy Banksy bollox is pulling. And even that Gogh bloke who knew where he wanted to be by saying "I try things I can't do so that I can get better at them" never got any further than his painting by numbers splodges.

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No your reply never came off that way it is just that I know I will never make it in PR, thats all, so to head off any missunderstanding I made above post. I think you know I admire your ability and am even envious of it.  I wish I could be as good at something worthwhile as you clearly are.  Please don't go cutting off any apendeges, you will need ears to hear with, fingers to paint with, ect... LOL.

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