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Unusual white 'Mk6'

Article about: Now, here's an interesting thing. This is actually my 'Favourite Composite of 2014' but was endlessly delayed in the post (six days in a Malmo sorting office, three in Coventry...!!!) and ev

  1. #1

    Default Unusual white 'Mk6'

    Now, here's an interesting thing. This is actually my 'Favourite Composite of 2014' but was endlessly delayed in the post (six days in a Malmo sorting office, three in Coventry...!!!) and even though I bought it well before Christmas it just arrived on the 14th January. Better late than never, always look on the bright side, at least it didn't sink in the North Sea. Etc.

    Anyway, as implied, I got it from a man in Sweden, and it is a very unusual object. Yes, it is white. Yes, it has a black rubber (or soft plastic) rim applied. Yes, it otherwise looks like a British National Plastics Mark 6! That's the exciting part.

    The shell is absolutely a Mk6, no question. All the fixtures and fittings are those of a standard Mk6, absolutely.

    But it is white. And this is not obviously an amateur/end-user applied coat of white either. It is crisp and even and I am sure it is a spray-painted factory application. The paint coating is high quality; I wanted to know for certain whether it was a white paint-coat or whether (perhaps even more amazingly) it had been moulded from white material, and it was quite difficult scraping off a little section to investigate. You can see the typical Mk6 green under the white in one of the detail photos.

    And it has an add-on rim. Never seen this before on any version of the Mk6. One might wonder why it is black on an otherwise white helmet, but then of course one wonders why it is there at all.

    And it is *heavy*! Really heavy. Its a medium size (as shown on both the label and the liner insert), and compared to a medium Mk6 it *is* the same size, and yet it weighs a substantial 1786g. That's a massive increase over a standard late production medium Mk6 which is 1392, and a more or less 200g more than a medium Mk6A which is 1592. That's a lot, and while the edge-strip which is not present on either the 6 or 6A must add some weight it can't possibly explain nearly 200 grammes increase.

    The label is interesting too; as you can see the manufacturer is shown as COURTAULDS AEROSPACE, not the most common 6 or 6A maker National Plastics. This is interesting in the context of Sweden (where it came from, remember) because the Swedish Hjalm 90 was originally produced by Courtaulds. There has to be a link here, but I have no idea what it is. Whatever it may be it seems unlikely that it was a competitor to the Hjalm 90, as this label is dated 1995, which I believe is well after the initial production and issue of the Hjalm 90.

    The model number given on the label is NP6, which we can assume is a National Plastics designation, but otherwise I can find no information. It also has a NATO stock number which seems to read 13387-017 and shows up as a sort of push-button assembly, so obviously some mistake. I did try 13367-017 but no result at all there. There's also a serial number for this particular helmet, which is 8. Now that could mean nothing at all, but I do wonder whether there was a very short production run.

    Anyway, a very unuusal thing, and I would very much like to hear some more information on it. I asked the seller about it and of course he knew nothing, but did volunteer that he believed it had been used in Somalia. Well, not impossible, but when, by whom, and what for. The world may never know.

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  2. #2

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    Maybe something Sweden had as a trial helmet as i know Finland brought some mk6 for testing by its army in the early 90s

  3. #3

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    Quote by kradman View Post
    Maybe something Sweden had as a trial helmet as i know Finland brought some mk6 for testing by its army in the early 90s
    Well yes, that is obviously a possibility, as Sweden had already established trade with Courtaulds for the Hjalm 90, as I mentioned. And it would equally perhaps explain why it is badged as made by Courtaulds, which is what the Hjalm 90s were badged as. I did not know the Finns had also trialled the Mk6, so that's new news and another possibility.

    Another interesting comparison - I have a medium Hjalm 90 (1st pattern) and it weighs in at 1360g as opposed to the White Helmet's 1786. It's also dated 1997; does anyone know for certain exactly when the Hjalm 90 went into service?

    Something else I failed to make clear in my original posting is that National Plastics (NP Aerospace) of Coventry, the predominant Mk6 manufacturer, is /was actually a subsidiary of Courtaulds. To be honest I'm not entirely certain either way whether Courtaulds still exist in any form in terms of manufacturing, but I do know that NP is no more, now being Morgan Advanced Materials.

  4. #4

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    Interesting helmet for sure. Obviously it having no British nomenclature markings tends to suggest that it is not a mainstream issue item so even if the British Army had it and it has wandered over the border from Norway where ther British regularly conduct arctic warfare trg it would be a trial item most likely.

    It might seem obvious but this is a recent enough item to make contacting Courtalds PPG Aerospace these days) worth a punt, you can only ask;

    TRANSPARENT ARMOR AND SPECIALTY PRODUCTS - PPG Industries - Aerospace

    Regards

    Mark
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  5. #5

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    Well, Watchdog, I did wonder whether it was a British Arctic Warfare piece but if so it would definately have been a trials item. This is *not* just a Mk6 painted white; its even heavier than the 6A which wasn't even in production in 1995. Of course I accept that in every other regard (barring the edging) it *is* a Mk6, but therein lies the mystery.

    It's worth the price of an email to contact PPG, as you suggest, but I hold out little hope. I've tried contacting compo makers on a number of occasions (often involving patient translation into Serbo-Croat and the like) and mostly I have had no response. And, in todays terms, 1995 is a really long time away. So last century. It's very likely any records would have been dumped once PPG set up in and of itself away from Courtaulds. few companies want to 'waste' money on archives these days. But if anything comes back I'll post it here.

  6. #6

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    Quote by kradman View Post
    Maybe something Sweden had as a trial helmet as i know Finland brought some mk6 for testing by its army in the early 90s
    Do you know any more about this Finnish test of the mk6? I've been looking around and have so far found nothing. I'd particularly like to know why the Finns were interested in the Mk6 when they were well-advanced on their own locally designed and produced composite helmets. And why they requested something that was definately not a standard mk6. I'm accepting the assertion in Roudasmaa's book that the Komposiittikypara K92 was fielded in the early 1992, and there have been at least two upgrades since then. Any information very gladly recieved.

  7. #7

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    Here's a bit of a follow-up on the white NP6. those of you who use CompoSite may have noted that collector Oliver Lock contributed photos of a *green* NP6 in mid-2017. That was exciting enough in itself, but it also added to the mystery as it is dated 1993 and has the individual serial number 2, and despite it being produced two years earlier than the white one (which is dated 1995, individual number 8, badged as Courtaulds) it is badged as National Plastics, which was a successor company to Courtaulds, so therefore should have been a later product. This doesn't make much sense on the face of it. Unless the label was put on a previously made helmet.

    But that's not why I am here. Today I was sent (by unknown hand via Adrian Blake) a scan of a flyer about the NP6, which is attached. It is particularly interesting in that it says it is made of Aramid rather the the ballistic nylon composition of the Mk6, which may go some way to explain its weight and the thickness of the shell, but even so other Aramid helmets are not nearly so thick and heavy. The flyer is dated 1990, which is well before anyone would have thought about the heavier Mk6A, supposedly primarily intended for soldiers in exposed positions, a concept that came into being only after the Gulf Wars started. Its strange that with this flyer we do have more information but are not necessarily any closer to an explanation.

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  8. #8

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    It could be as simple as been done for ceremonial or display purposes watch the video below, please watch all the way to the end!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JAErIYWdoI
    "Per Ardua"

  9. #9

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    Quote by paulp4180 View Post
    It could be as simple as been done for ceremonial or display purposes watch the video below, please watch all the way to the end!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JAErIYWdoI
    Well, obviously not impossible, and entirely plausible if it were a commonly-issued helmet. There are after all lots of white-painted helmets - its a common repaint for Military Police in several countries. And it is true that the Swedes and Finns (maybe the Norwegians and Danes) use white helmets in parades and for ceremonial duties. But they are always - so far as I know - simply painted versions of their usual service helmets.

    However, the central point of all this is not that my NP6 it is white, but that it is an unusual variant of the Mk6 design about which little or nothing is known (until this morning!), and that both known examples (white and green) were sourced in Scandinavia.

  10. #10

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    Looking at the white helmet again could it not have been brought by a company in Sweden involved with mine clearance it would make sense with the weight and it has the holes where a visor could be fitted .
    As for the Finnish army use of the Mk6 helmet i am not sure what they used them for but at the time there were also British made S10 respirators with the green PLCE bags and British made 58 Pattern water bottles with the mask fitting on the cap .The Finnish Army were selling these items off as surplus around 12 years ago all the helmets i saw were normal mk6 green helmets with the normal labels inside

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