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peregrinvs

WWI German Helmet Paint Colour

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peregrinvs
Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

For no more reason than my own amusement, I'm considering a 'brought back from the dead' restoration on a semi-relic M16 helmet shell. Like I did last year with a British MkI Brodie helmet:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/248510-brodie-helmet-restoration/

 

 

This brings me on to the hall of mirrors subject that is historical paint colours. After some reading around, I have reached the following tentative conclusions:

 

- The helmets were painted Feldgrau, but like Khaki in British usage 'Feldgrau' merely refers to a range of broadly similar colours. There was no single standard shade of Feldgrau.

 

- The WWI Feldgrau was generally a more green and less grey shade than that used in WWII. (Standardised as RAL 6006 Grauoliv from 1940-45 I believe)

 

- RAL 7009 Grüngrau is a reasonable off-the-shelf approximation of a WWI type Feldgrau. I believe this colour was also used on helmets from 1935-40 and so may have been inspired by a typical WWI colour. (Alternatively Revell 67 'Greenish Grey' model paint is more or less the same as RAL 7009)

 

- Late war colours became more brown in tone and RAL 7013 Braungrau is a reasonable approximation of this.

 

So I was wondering if anyone had any corrections to make to the above musings or anything further to add?

 

Thanks,

Mark

 

 

 

image.png

Edited by peregrinvs

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peregrinvs

Wish me luck. I'm going in...

 

Not very pretty, but it's actually pretty solid and somewhat redeemed by the fact that it's a size 68 = extra large. I believe they're relatively uncommon.

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (1).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (2).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (3).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (4).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (5).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (6).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (7).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (8).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (9).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (10).JPG

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Dave66
7 hours ago, peregrinvs said:

Wish me luck. I'm going in...

 

Not very pretty, but it's actually pretty solid and somewhat redeemed by the fact that it's a size 68 = extra large. I believe they're relatively uncommon.

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (1).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (2).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (3).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (4).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (5).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (6).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (7).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (8).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (9).JPG

M1916 Helmet - size 68 - pre-clean (10).JPG

The Brodie was excelent...looking forward to seeing the results of this one.

 

Dave.

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peregrinvs
On 30/06/2018 at 22:43, Dave66 said:

The Brodie was excelent...looking forward to seeing the results of this one.

Thanks. The end result will be some time away as cleaning it and filling in the pitting will take a long time. (Especially the latter)

 

I was going to give it my usual citric acid dip to clean it, but I've run out and my usual local source is out of stock. I decided to give a new method of rust removal a go: molasses / treacle. Apparently it contains a chelating chemical that binds with the rust so it comes away from the metal. I bought a tin, diluted it in a suitable container and added the helmet. I'll give it a few days and then take it out to see whats happening.

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Dave66
5 hours ago, peregrinvs said:

Thanks. The end result will be some time away as cleaning it and filling in the pitting will take a long time. (Especially the latter)

 

I was going to give it my usual citric acid dip to clean it, but I've run out and my usual local source is out of stock. I decided to give a new method of rust removal a go: molasses / treacle. Apparently it contains a chelating chemical that binds with the rust so it comes away from the metal. I bought a tin, diluted it in a suitable container and added the helmet. I'll give it a few days and then take it out to see whats happening.

Hope all works well...as with all these things, it's always time taken in the preparation that pays dividends, if ever I get my garage back tinkering like that can be extremely rewarding.

Keep us posted,

 

Dave.

 

 

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JMB1943
Posted (edited)
On 02/07/2018 at 07:32, peregrinvs said:

Thanks. The end result will be some time away as cleaning it and filling in the pitting will take a long time. (Especially the latter)

 

I was going to give it my usual citric acid dip to clean it, but I've run out and my usual local source is out of stock. I decided to give a new method of rust removal a go: molasses / treacle. Apparently it contains a chelating chemical that binds with the rust so it comes away from the metal. I bought a tin, diluted it in a suitable container and added the helmet. I'll give it a few days and then take it out to see whats happening.

 

I have used the diluted molasses treatment on a mess tin that was corroded.

Sitting in the garage at 40-50 deg F, it took about 4 days to start working, as evidenced by the scum formed by hydrogen evolution on the surface. It was finished after about a further 7-10 days.

If you don’t disturb the helmet, you will see its shape clearly defined on the surface of the liquid.

Your thread on the Brodie restoration was a good read, and I’m following this thread with interest.

Thanks for posting these, with all the photos and detail!!!

 

Regards,

JMB

Edited by JMB1943
change deg C to deg F

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Dave66
43 minutes ago, JMB1943 said:

 

I have used the diluted molasses treatment on a mess tin that was corroded.

Sitting in the garage at 40-50 C, it took about 4 days to start working, as evidenced by the scum formed by hydrogen evolution on the surface. It was finished after about a further 7-10 days.

If you don’t disturb the helmet, you will see its shape clearly defined on the surface of the liquid.

Your thread on the Brodie restoration was a good read, and I’m following this thread with interest.

Thanks for posting these, with all the photos and detail!!!

 

Regards,

JMB

Takes quite a time, how do the results compare  to other treatment methods, ever tried electrolysis?

 

Dave.

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JMB1943
Posted (edited)

Dave,

 

Electrolysis is the gold standard method, widely used by professional conservationists.

However, it requires a carefully regulated, low amp dc current,a sacrificial iron anode and monitoring.

Certainly faster than molasses, the advantage of which is that you set up and forget.

I have not done a comparison of molasses and electrolysis.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

Edited by JMB1943

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Dave66

Thanks JMB,

restoration has always interested me, so nice to hear of different methods and their results.

 

Dave.

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JMB1943

Dave,

 

I must admit that the mess tin was not brought back to pristine condition.

Electrolysis might improve it, but I would first have to degrease it to remove the thin machine oil that I had wiped on following the molasses treatment. 

Since all of my other memorabilia have a well-used look, which I prefer, the tin fits the part.

That said, I do have a helmet shell in similar condition to that which Peregrinus renovated. 

I look at it and am tempted....but only sometimes.

My general attitude is to clean and stabilize rather than return to “as new” condition.

 

Regards,

JMB

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Dave66
6 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

Dave,

 

I must admit that the mess tin was not brought back to pristine condition.

Electrolysis might improve it, but I would first have to degrease it to remove the thin machine oil that I had wiped on following the molasses treatment. 

Since all of my other memorabilia have a well-used look, which I prefer, the tin fits the part.

That said, I do have a helmet shell in similar condition to that which Peregrinus renovated. 

I look at it and am tempted....but only sometimes.

My general attitude is to clean and stabilize rather than return to “as new” condition.

 

Regards,

JMB

I have to agree with the last sentence, and always been my aim to stabilise and preserve an item, from blades to scientific instruments, never want to put them back to as new, but where possible clean and functional.

But my Brodie is in good nick apart from a little minor moth to the wool pad, but due to the dangers of the pad material, it's in a sealed display case to be on the cautious side. Given Peregrinvs excellent results on his, I'm seriously considering restoring a shell that's lost most of its commercial value and having a piece that can safely be handled, yet still of the period.

look forward to seeing the results on This M16.

 

Dave.

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peregrinvs
13 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

If you don’t disturb the helmet, you will see its shape clearly defined on the surface of the liquid.

Yes, that's exactly what's happening. Hopefully a good sign. I assume the current warm temperatures are probably helping speed the chemical reaction as well.

 

As you may have noticed in the pictures, it looks like someone used it as a container to mix concrete or something. It may also need an acid dip to remove this.

 

I've used electrolysis in the past with mixed results. As mentioned, it needs to be monitored whereas chemical methods can be ignored once set up.

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peregrinvs

A comparison of modern paint colours...

 

The card has been painted in Revell 67 matt 'Greenish Grey' model paint which is allegedly the same as RAL 7009 Grüngrau. One half is the paint straight out the tin and the other has had matt lacquer put over the top. The M42 helmet has been painted in RAL 6006 Grauoliv and the M16 helmet has been painted in another restorers version of WWI Feldgrau.

 

Having looked at some pictures of M16's on the web with allegedly original paint, I could believe that some were painted in a Grüngrau-like colour - allowing for wear and fading. However, there's an off the shelf repro WWI paint here that looks more like the darker colour of my restored M16:

 

http://www.1944militaria.com/German_WWI_Gray_Green_Helmet_Paint_p/hspww1.htm

 

But as discussed, there was no fixed original colour... Here's some pictures of an early 'square dip' M16 helmet and the alleged original paint in the interior looks not unlike Grüngrau to my eyes:

 

https://www.warhats.com/ww1-german-m16-square-dip-helmet-refurbishment.html

 

So I think Grüngrau is currently looking like a possibility. What do other people think?

 

In other developments I've taken the rusty M16 out of the molasses solution for a scrub and there's definitely less rust than I started with. However, it's having no effect on the concrete residue so I've switched back to my usual citric acid. I've also detached the chinstrap loops - I think they're a little too far gone for restoration purposes, but I'm intending to keep them with the helmet.

Paint colour comparison (1).JPG

Paint colour comparison (2).JPG

Paint colour comparison (3).JPG

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JMB1943
7 hours ago, peregrinvs said:

In other developments I've taken the rusty M16 out of the molasses solution for a scrub and there's definitely less rust than I started with. 

Mark,

 

Has the shell lost the burgundy-brown colour at all ?

Also, did the molasses treatment loosen the rust, so that scrubbing had an effect ?

Regards,

JMB

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peregrinvs
11 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

Has the shell lost the burgundy-brown colour at all ?

 

Also, did the molasses treatment loosen the rust, so that scrubbing had an effect ?

Yes, the citric acid is taking off the brown layer and revealing the metal underneath.

 

The molasses loosened it a bit, although I think I'm probably using too weak a solution to have a big effect. The swap to acid has sped things up significantly. It seems to be only softening the concrete residue rather than dissolving it, but a bit more comes off each time I scrub it.

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peregrinvs

Some mid-cleaning pictures. I think about 95% of the rust is now gone, but it's always the last 1-2% that takes the longest.

 

But what's rather more interesting is what's turned up on the brow I'm not quite sure why it's only there, but it looks rather like how I'd expect rust stained and faded pale Feldgrau paint to appear. As occurred with the MkI Brodie helmet I restored, remnants of original paint can survive amidst the rust.

 

If it is original paint, then again RAL 7009 is looking promising for an off the shelf equivalent.

 

M16 helmet - mid-clean (1).JPG

M16 helmet - mid-clean (2).JPG

M16 helmet - mid-clean (3).JPG

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depaor01

That paint if that is what it is was well hidden by the rust.

I'm curious to know if you intend removing/covering the pitting, and if so how.

Dave 

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peregrinvs
17 hours ago, depaor01 said:

That paint if that is what it is was well hidden by the rust.

 

I'm curious to know if you intend removing/covering the pitting, and if so how.

It is a bit odd. I think in hindsight there was some sort of brown coloured coating over the rust on the exterior. Some sort of rust inhibitor?

 

I'm aiming to completely conceal the pitting on the exterior and partially conceal the pitting in the interior. I shall start by putting on and then sanding down some car body filler and then putting on and then sanding down layers of paint until it is smooth. Before that though I'm going to repair some cracks and holes around the rim with steel epoxy followed by a coating of Kurust.

 

Most of the pitting isn't that deep, so hopefully it won't be too time consuming.

 

 

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depaor01
1 hour ago, peregrinvs said:

It is a bit odd. I think in hindsight there was some sort of brown coloured coating over the rust on the exterior. Some sort of rust inhibitor?

 

I'm aiming to completely conceal the pitting on the exterior and partially conceal the pitting in the interior. I shall start by putting on and then sanding down some car body filler and then putting on and then sanding down layers of paint until it is smooth. Before that though I'm going to repair some cracks and holes around the rim with steel epoxy followed by a coating of Kurust.

 

Most of the pitting isn't that deep, so hopefully it won't be too time consuming.

 

 

Great stuff. Thanks for that. Looking forward to seeing the results.

Dave 

 

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Jools mckenna
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, peregrinvs said:

 

I'm aiming to completely conceal the pitting on the exterior and partially conceal the pitting in the interior. I shall start by putting on and then sanding down some car body 

 

 

 

When I restored my M16 (more of a repainting in the end), I thought of using car body on my helmet but decided otherwise after seeing criticism on the practice but I can't wait to see the result of your restoration. (I would of used epoxy if the rim was cracked or damaged but luckily the rim wasn't cracked or damaged on my relic)

Edited by Jools mckenna

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Jools mckenna

Anyway, regarding colour, I went for more of a green than a grey. I did this after seeing Warhats.com's restorations. 

1192751_orig.jpg

7604023_orig.jpg

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JMB1943

Jools,

 

That green is a very attractive shade; is it a single color or did you mix to get that ?

Also, oil- or water-based ?

 

Regards,

JMB

 

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Jools mckenna
Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, JMB1943 said:

Jools,

 

That green is a very attractive shade; is it a single color or did you mix to get that ?

Also, oil- or water-based ?

  

Regards,

JMB

 

3

The photos I shared are those of warhats restorations. This is my helmet:

thumbnail_WP_20180711_17_45_03_Pro.jpg

thumbnail_WP_20180711_17_45_13_Pro.jpg

thumbnail_WP_20180711_17_45_19_Pro.jpg

Edited by Jools mckenna

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Jools mckenna
14 minutes ago, JMB1943 said:

Jools,

 

That green is a very attractive shade; is it a single color or did you mix to get that ?

Also, oil- or water-based ?

 

Regards,

JMB

 

On my one, I used  BS 278 spray paint(Kings Army Industrial Paint) and then used a black acrylic paint as a wash.

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JMB1943

OK, thanks.

Regards,

JMB

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