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Restoring Brodie helmet


spconnolly007
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As an aside. What is the general opinion on camo patterns on brodies similar to the German patterns? I have always believed that these were all post war paint jobs, but I was flipping through a 1933 book of period pics the other day and found a picture of a group of Tommys plainly wearing Brodies with exactly this type of camo. They are British for sure, as the 08 pattern webbing is plainly visible.

Andy

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Andy, I have not seen any personally, but that doesn't mean much! I too would have believed it to be post war or American if I saw one. Any chance of posting a photo? Regards Sean

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As an aside. What is the general opinion on camo patterns on brodies similar to the German patterns? I have always believed that these were all post war paint jobs, but I was flipping through a 1933 book of period pics the other day and found a picture of a group of Tommys plainly wearing Brodies with exactly this type of camo. They are British for sure, as the 08 pattern webbing is plainly visible.

Andy

Andy,

There have been previous threads on this much debated topic, with those who say they existed, and those who say they never existed. Either way, photographs of such painted helmets in use during WW1, are probably as rare as the helmets are rare. Is it possible for you to post the photograph ?

Regards,

LF

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LF, is it possible to see a picture of the topside of your Brodie? It looks excellent.

Does anyone know how far the freshly applied paint schemes would differ from the very dark, subdued colours that are seen on original helmets today?

I'm in the process of restoring a much-fannied-about-with MKI, and in the process of getting it down to bare metal came across traces of paint very similar to that on LF's lid. I believe that this is the colour it was issued in and it's the colour I want to match to, but it's significantly lighter and brighter that the chocolate brown finish I've seen on originals. I have a theory that the lead content in the paint causes the colours to darken down significantly over 100-odd years. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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LF, is it possible to see a picture of the topside of your Brodie? It looks excellent.

Does anyone know how far the freshly applied paint schemes would differ from the very dark, subdued colours that are seen on original helmets today?

I'm in the process of restoring a much-fannied-about-with MKI, and in the process of getting it down to bare metal came across traces of paint very similar to that on LF's lid. I believe that this is the colour it was issued in and it's the colour I want to match to, but it's significantly lighter and brighter that the chocolate brown finish I've seen on originals. I have a theory that the lead content in the paint causes the colours to darken down significantly over 100-odd years. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Likewise, I have no doubts that the colour pigment of the paint as first applied nearly 100 yrs ago, will have altered in shade with the passage of time. It would be a revolutionary discovery to have formulated a paint that could be repeatedly saturated, sun burn't, covered in mud etc etc and somehow managed to continue to look as good as new! I also believe the original colour will have darkened with age, but I'm not sure how this theory will help anyone determine exactly what the original shade will have look like?

Dave

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LF, is it possible to see a picture of the topside of your Brodie? It looks excellent.

Martin,

Since posting the photographs of my two WW1 Brodies, I have now added two more to my Collection, one in particular having a very nice and unusual sandy colour.

I shall take photographs of all four together so that you can see the colour comparisons of each side by side.

Regards,

LF

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I also believe the original colour will have darkened with age, but I'm not sure how this theory will help anyone determine exactly what the original shade will have look like?

Other than taking off the top layer of paint, but even then we don't know if the paint underneatht has also changed over time.

I think that the search for the "true" shades of apple green, dull green etc. are fairly pointless anyway. Considering the variations that would have existed between different factories, batches and quality control processes, plus repaints that were done to comply with GHQ edicts, I bet that wartime helmets came in a huge variety of colours.

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In support of the camo brodie helmet I have a photo of three early rimless types. The bottom helmet has had a period overpaint of brown with simple green splotches - not the most dramatic camo pattern but less conspicuous than the apple green.

typa2-1.jpg

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LF, is it possible to see a picture of the topside of your Brodie?

Martin,

Attached are photographs of my 4 Brodie Helmets, and as you can see, they all have different original finishes.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-78397900-1340827357_thumb.j

post-63666-0-59315300-1340827396_thumb.j

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Thanks so much. They really are in great nick.

So, am I right in thinking they are all later MKIs, one with a smooth finish, one with a dense texture, two witn a sparse texture?

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Thanks so much. They really are in great nick.

So, am I right in thinking they are all later MKIs, one with a smooth finish, one with a dense texture, two witn a sparse texture?

Martin,

Thank you, I am pleased you like them.

All four are completely original Mk.1's with the 1917 type liner, having the rubber dome ring fitted.

The helmet finishes are pretty much as you described.

Regards,

LF

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John in Minnesota

3 excellent helmets, and more of what I would expect to see rather than the German style multi-coloured patterned helmets.

Thanks for posting them.

Regards,

LF

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  • 1 month later...

Hello gents (and ladies)

Just a catch up on things. Firstly apologies for the delayed response posting the scan I promised. It took me a little longer to scan the image than I intended. Now Ive actually looked at it properly (as in with my glasses on!!) I can see that what I thought was a painted helmet is actually a painted camo cover. Still I suppose if they went as far as to paint the covers its just as likely they would have painted a helmet. The verdict is still out on this one for me.

imga1021.jpg

I have a couple of pics of the restoration of the HS 28 I spoke about earlier. I was trying to get a close match to the paint scheme that would have gone over the top july 1st 1916.

Dave I have to say your tip about the paint was totally spot on. The match is so close its almost scary. I didn`t take a pic of the bales against the helmet interior, but take it from me, the original paint on the bales is shockingly close to the mixed paint you suggested. Sadly I think I went a little overboard on the sawdust/sand/dust finish, The helmet has been sitting on my roof for the last few weeks, gathering some "age" It still needs a little work before I will be happy with it, but its well on the way. I will knock some of the dust off I think. Here are a couple of pics. Bear in mind they were taken with a flash, so not fully accurate. I will appreciate any opinions. I want it to look correct when I display it.

img1774ty.jpg

And the interior which I think looks great!

img1776k.jpg

There is still a way to go before I refit the liner. I`m still trying to source the copper pin for the top. I have the bifurcated pins for the bales.

After a lot of soul searching, I decided not to restore the American Brodie. Since posting my original post, I have obtained a couple of very nice examples any way. After many years of collecting Imperial German items, I have suddenly realised how interesting British and American items can be. I have finally obtained a raw edge brodie. Its very very ropey and in need of lots of tlc. I would love to hear what people think. From what I have learned from this forum and from one of the links posted on it, it seems to be a type B helmet. The bales and liner have gone, but there is a fair amount of the original paint on the shell. It certainly seems to be apple green. I am in two minds about this one. I could restore it or I could just leave it. What do you people think? I would love to replace the liner at the very least. I believe there are some accurate copies available. I am sure that the paint is original and I am sure there was never a rim fitted. It is stamped with what looks like LS? and 34. Im guessing the low number may well fit in with your theory of batch firings Dave?

Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.

img1772g.jpg

img1771kv.jpg

I hope I havnt broken any forum rules with the size of my pics. I didn`t actually realise how big they were until I finished this post!!

All the best

Andy

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Nice job Andy, why did you not fit the bales before painting? If you can't source a copper rivet for liner PM me and I will make you one. If the LS rimless is an early version you will notice a difference in the draw of the shell to later version, the top being flatter, but the number would suggest this anyway. I think you will find that Dave, like myself, are not in the 'batch firing' camp with regards to the 34, but no doubt he will be along to confirm this. The early rimless do seem to have a shorter peek which your photos seem to show, Im sure this has been discussed earlier in the thread? Personally, I would restore it, but each to their own! Any chance of a photo of the inside? By the way, how on earth do you manage to post such large photos? Since the forum update, Ive yet to work out how to post a photo, let alone one so large! Regards Sean

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Hi Sean. The bales and the liner complete with strap are all still attached together. When I got the helmet someone had just removed the liner complete and blasted and primed the shell. The bales still have most of the original paint on them and the match with Dave`s paint suggestion is uncanny. I`m hoping when I fit the liner I can just put a dab of paint on the pins and blend it in with a bit of thumb rubbing.

I am still a little unsure about the external finish, it actually looks better than the flash picture shows, but I think I over dusted it.

The rimless does seem to match the measurements given by http://www.greatwarcollection.nl/Html/Brodie.html I think it was you that linked the site earlier in the thread. The paint seems to be original and there is no evidence of it ever having a rim fitted. I will post a pic of it this evening from the inside, though there is no liner or even remnants of a liner remaining. I am leaning more towards restoring it, and certainly will fit a liner. I have found a paint matching company and the sample pot of apple green they have made me looks very very close to the original. I will paint a small area tonight and post up the pic.

The offer of a copper rivet is much appreciated and I may well take you up on the offer if I ever work out how to pm people!

As far as posting large pics goes, I use imageshack to host my pics. When you upload a pic, it gives you a list of codes you can copy paste into the forum. I just click the insert image button and paste in the code. Normally I would use the forum code that imageshack provide, but for some reason I used the direct link and the pictures came out at this size.

Best

Andy

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Do not restore your raw edge or add a new liner!!!! The raw edge are the only brodoes I think have cammo. Mine has the apple green with slight faint orangey / russet patches and have seen many identical examples in collections. I think yours too has the patches as one can clearly be discerned.

Regards

TT

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Great job Andy - very well done. I think if the rimless was mine I'd be inclined to leave it exactly as is, minus liner etc. I can't help but think its possibly been to hell & back and now bears all the scars that life has thrown at it over the years. I'm intrigued about the possible LS stamp. As far as I know there are several known makers ending in 'S': FS Thomas Frith, HS Hadfields, BS Beardmore & Co, & MS Miris Steel. There remains one unident MLS, which makes me wonder if yours might have a very faint 'M' hidden by paint? The batch/heat firing debate can be devisive so I don't want to rake it up other than saying I don't really understand the heat firing suggestion and to me its much more obvious that the lower the number the earlier the production date by whichever maker applied their stamp to it?

Dave

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Dave, without scrolling through the whole thread, I thought that LS stood for Leadbetter & Scott? Andy, when I say restore, I mean add a 6 toungue repro liner and new bales NOT re-paint!! I only removed what paint had been applied to mine by a local museum for display purposes. Once it was back to whatever was left of original paint, I left it as is. Again, this is a personal choice, but I would rather have a repro liner than no liner at all. Again, if you wish to go down that road, I would happily supply you with repro bales that I have made for myself and other members. Regards Sean

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Leadbeater & Scott will be the LS marker - I have to admit I'd forgotten about this one. Edwin LEADBEATER Steel & file manufacturer (Leadbeater & Scott) St Mary's National & Artisan Works, Penistone Road, Sheffield. (Kelly's 1893)

Dave

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Hi all

Firstly thanks for all the replies. I think the resounding opinion is that the rimless should not be repainted. I`m very interested in what trenchtrotter says about the splotch cammo paint. When I first looked at the finish, I spotted the orange patches (there are actually 3 or possibly 4 still visible) but I thought it was either rust staining or the remnants of faces that a child may have painted years ago! After looking more closely, there is plainly a diff colour paint there. Does anybody have or can any one point me towards any pictures of one of these helmets? I would like to display one next to the brodie to show what it likely looked like in its hey day.

On further inspection and a little wire wool cleaning, the LS seems to be more likely BS. I gave up trying to photograph it as it just vanishes in the glare. Full daylight is needed I think. I did do a brass rubbing which has come out well and I will post a pic of this later tonight (after my bath and a few glasses of wine to unwind :w00t: )

My plans for the rimless have now changed somewhat. I won`t be repainting it, but I do however feel, as Sean does, that any liner is better than no liner. I can`t actually see what harm fitting a liner will do. I can always reverse the process easily and without damage to the helmet. Currently there are no bales, no liner and no trace of any paint on the inside. The remains of the bale rivets are already loose, so the only original part of the helmet that will be damaged is the copper rivet. This is already in a very poor state. I just feel that it will display better with a liner and chinstrap. Of course an original liner would be the best route, but I can`t honestly remember ever seeing one for sale any where.

I will try and get the pics of the interior up later tonight (and the brass rubbing of the marks). I believe the bales for the early Brodies were slightly smaller than the later ones?

Sean I will try and pm you later regarding the bales and the rivet. Also I believe you fitted an early pattern repro liner to your rimless. You mentioned that it wasn`t advertised on the site, but was available on request. Its probably me, but I don`t see a contact number or email address on the site. How did you contact them?

As far as the HS 28 paint job goes, I am pleased you all like it, though I`m still not convinced I got the dusting right. It does look much better than the pictures and is very convincing. I`m sorry to rake it up once again Dave, but following your logic, the HS 28 should be earlier than the 34. To me, this makes perfect sense and is highly plausible. Now I have a few more Brodies in my collection, I have had the opportunity to study them a little more. I can see now what people mean when they talk about the shape and the pressing marks etc being different between early and late helmets. The US versions I have (one British made but with a high batch no. one US made) are both much more regularly shaped. However the HS 28 and the BS? 34 are both much more `irregular` They have creases from the pressing, rims and sides tend to vary in width etc. I am fairly convinced, that the HS 28 is actually an early helmet like the rimless 34. Sadly as it had apparently been blast cleaned and primed by the previous owner, it lacked any original paint, but the shape, the pressing creases and the width of the peek and sides etc suggest to me that it is an early helmet. Also when I look at the rim, there is a very large overlap (actually 2 inches!) and it is very roughly spot welded. Is this normal? The rim isn`t a great fit, there are large gaps between the rim and the helmet, almost like a field modification. The rim is steel by the way and not aluminium. Is it likely that this is an early helmet modified to meet later standards? If only the paint or even some of it had still been present. I will try to get some pics of this aswell.

Once again, thanks for the replies and again Dave..sorry to drag up this old topic!

Best

Andy

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Andy, if its BS then its W.Beardmore and Co. Ltd (Glasgow) who supplied from January 1916-1918. Yes, the bales were slimmer in width on the earlier type. With regards to MHW, if memory serves me well, once on their site, you have to go through the order form for regular liner and then make a note that you require 6 tongue. They will contact you by e-mail to confirm, as I remember, but I can assure you that they were very professional. Look forward to hear from you, regards Sean

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I've only recently come back to this thread and Andy's reference to the HS 28 marking he has in his helmet. One of my pair of helmets is also HS 28 and just as Andy has described the rim on his helmet, so mine has a very rough & ready affair with a hefly spot weld indicative of being done in a hurry, possibly in a field workshop. It was also formed from steel, a good portion of which was completely rusted through. I'm convinced in my own mind that the helmet will have started life as a raw edge and then hastily rimmed when the time arose. Later still the alloy rim protectors came on stream ensuring the rims no longer rusted as they inevitably would do. Also as Andry reports, my HS 28 has quite distinct 'stretch marks' from the press process. My own helmet still has its 'original' lining and chin strap in it, but as I subscribe to the view that at any time in its life its 'original' lining may well have been replaced, I'm not at all convinced what you see is necessarily the very first and 'original' liner that will have been fitted into the shell. Applying this form of logic, I would tentaively suggest it does not particularly matter which pattern liner Andy might opt to fit as either may well have been fitted in its lifetime?

Dave

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Dave, can't remember if we have discussed this before, but I would suggest that what you refer to as 'stretch marks' are actually signs of wear on the press tools that stamped these helmets out. As the blanks are held between an upper and lower die (press tool), the punch comes through the upper die to stamp the helmet shape. Once the gap between the upper and lower die wears, due to high volume stamping, too much metal flows in to the lower die creating the 'stretch' appearance. Here endeth the toolmaking lesson!! :thumbsup:

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Sean, surely if this was the case, `stretch marks` would be more apparent on later helmets as the dies would be worn more after multiple use? Did they use, or is it likely they used `softer` metal on early dies. Although my experience is limited, it does seem from what Ive seen on web sites and what Ive actually held in my hand etc that it is the earlier pressings that show these `ripples` Later helmets seem to be much more regular in shape. There is a very good example of the `stretch marks` we are talking about on the site you linked actually. Is it more likely a badly made or softer metal die would cause these marks? They do seem to be more apparent on what we regard as early pressings.

I still hav`nt done those pics by the way..to much wine and toooo relaxed at this point!!

Andy

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