How to Restore German Helmets

Written by brian adler
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Authentic World War II German helmets can have many battle scars or other defects. Some are covered with rust or are missing metal hardware. External paint, interior linings or chin straps also may have disappeared over the years. When they were new, the helmets sported specific colours, accessories and symbols that at first may seem impossible to restore. However, with the right materials, you can preserve these historical artefacts.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Limescale remover
  • German helmet paint
  • Helmet liner
  • Helmet bolts
  • Liner frame

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Spray limescale remover on the helmet, and rub gently with a cloth. Vigorous cleaning can strip off remaining paint and decals.

  2. 2

    Paint the helmet the appropriate colour with an authentic formulation of German helmet spray paint. Paints are available from online dealers such as 1944militaria.com. Common colours include apple green for M35 helmets, dark field grey for early M40 and M42 helmets, and Luftwaffe blue for later M40s and M42s.

  3. 3

    Apply the proper replica decals to the helmet. Decals are available in either dry- or wet-transform types. Decals include Nazi Party shields, Luftwaffe eagles and SS Runes.

  4. 4

    Measure the helmet's inner and outer diameters to determine the inner and outer band sizes for the helmet liner. Sizes are measured in centimetres and go in even numbers, from 52 to 63 centimetres for the inner band and from 60 to 72 centimetres for the outer band.

  5. 5

    Place the liner inside the helmet. The part of the liner without any holes should be toward the front of the helmet; the back has two holes. Use the helmet bolts to secure the liner.

  6. 6

    Insert the liner frame over the rear bolts. Secure these bolts, then the bolts on the sides and front.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a helmet pad to make the helmet fit higher on the head. Pads should be inserted after the liner but before the liner frame.

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