That is not the picture of the label ZKO helmet manufacturer that you refer
yes, it's dated 1941. look at the WAF listing while it's still there.
This tells the purchaser of this helmet ZKO 1941:
Originally Posted by Wesley's Dad View Post
Discussion of this helmet will be a walk in the fog and will demonstrate well the chasm that remains in Red Army militaria. Until this cache of helmets surfaced, the existence of a ZKO made helmet exhibiting a red star was all but unknown to most in the limited collecting community of Red Army if not all. There was not an established original to my knowledge. On the other hand, there was no reason to think that one never existed.
The cache in question or at least 5 helmets from it were first shared on German Helmet Walhalla in 2011 by the same member offering this specimen on the estand. They were all in similar condition, all starred, and all of ZKO manufacture. This seller also offered a helmet from this cache on estand the same year (I believe), and I bought it.
This was a big stretch for me, taking a chance on a helmet without a comparative example to check it against, sold by a seller in Russia. Given that there was no existence theorem to compare to. Expecting the star on a ZKO helmet to be identical to that on an LMZ is probably not reasonable given that there a several other differences in LMZ versus ZKO made Ssh-39.
In the end, the seller went to great lengths to ship to me from Western Europe via registered mail while on business travel to insure no troubles. When this helmet arrived, I had all the same questions that are being expressed here now. Wanting to compare it to several LMZ types in my own collection, I had trouble reconciling the details. Only when I abandoned that approach and took a more forensic view, did I finally embrace it for what it was represented to be.
Versus a LMZ, the helmet star is different in several ways, as follows:
1) The exact details of the stencil are not identical to the LMZ
2) The star is placed lower on the helmet face than the LMZ
3) The paint is applied to the stencil in a different manner
So how did I get comfortable with this helmet? It is a detail found in the red paint itself that is better visible under moderate magnification. Red paint, particularly Russian red paint from the era does something slowly over time. That is it can oxidize. As it oxidizes, it first turns dull and chalky looking. In the right environment or conditions, the surface of the paint can eventually turn almost completely white. This does not happen on all helmets, but can be demonstrated with some regularity.
The first photo I attach here comes from one of our sponsor's websites. It is a ground recovered Ssh-36 that shows just what can happen to this red paint in certain circumstances. I use it here to simply convey a point. The star on this relic shell started life red.
The second is a section of the red star on the ZKO Ssh-39 that I own. Again, it is from the same cache as the one currently on estand. While the lighting is not the best, the "chalking" of the red paint is clearly evident in the lower, untouched areas of the red paint. Once you realize what this looks like, this same condition can be seen in the seller's photo of the red star on the helmet offered. You can just see the oxidation on this red star beginning to form in the low areas of the painted star in the photos provided by the seller. I'm sure stronger magnification would reveal a more obvious onset of such oxidation.
Do these observations prove these are real? Not explicitly, but in my opinion they probably are. Until some war trophy helmet pops out of some German's estate, probably is as good as you are going to get... welcome to Soviet militaria