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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


    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


    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


    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;



    "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


    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


    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.

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