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Wz 31 Helmet

Article about: This one arrived yesterday, an ebay purchase. My main areas are TR and US helmets, but I have wanted one of these for a while. It is complete, down to the wire attachment device on the long

  1. #1

    Default Wz 31 Helmet

    This one arrived yesterday, an ebay purchase. My main areas are TR and US helmets, but I have wanted one of these for a while. It is complete, down to the wire attachment device on the long end of the chinstrap, but the leather is dry and stiff. There are several ink stamps on the interior of the shell - "Ludwikow" - "37" - "39" and a capital "K" and Arabic "2" in an oval. Hope you like it. Jim G.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Sorry to say that - it's a modern restaration of original steel helmet. Whole "salamandra" paint, stamps etc ... are modern. Same with rust ...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Hi Jim,

    First off, thanks for posting the pictures. The good news is that the helmet shell itself is genuine. But not wanting to be the bearer of bad news I was awaiting someone else to step up and post the first comments. Pat15567 is correct that it is a refurbished shell. This one may have been produced for the re-enactor market, or created to deceive.

    The Ďblotchyí application of the anti-reflective texture is an immediate red flag. The texture on the Ludwikow produced wz.31ís is much more even both in terms of the size of the granular cork and its distribution across the surface. Also, the textured paint was applied over a smooth base as would be expected with a freshly produced helmet shell. Yours is clearly applied over a rough surface. See side by side comparison below.

    Itís this finish that collectors of wz.31ís watch for first. Itís about impossible to replicate the original salamandra texture convincingly. Although in the case of your helmet they did cleverly remove enough paint to expose the cork, which is what one typically finds on surviving original examples.

    Also, the chin strap appears to be a reproduction that has been falsely aged. The liner is suspect as well, possibly an original ring with replacement leather pads. The liner ring has at one point been removed.

    If it was an inexpensive purchase then youíve got a reasonable representative piece for your shelf. If the seller misrepresented the helmet as completely original and youíre set on obtaining a fully original example then push for a refund.

    Regards,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Thanks for the input. I think I got stuck, it was not cheap, and he has not responded yet to my emails. I should stay with what I know, TR and US.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Quote by helmet2id View Post
    . . . I should stay with what I know, TR and US.
    Or check here first before deciding to buy! These helmets in good original condition are quite scarce, but they do pop up, so stay on the hunt. I spotted this auction when it was running several weeks ago, but did not flag it for observation, and don't recall what the seller was claiming. If he did advertise it to be completely authentic, and you paid via Paypal, then I believe you still have some recourse for a refund. Donít give up.

    Best wishes,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Agreed, it looks like it was redone.

    Here is my wz.31


  7. #7

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    meyle77 - could you post some pics of the liner please? I'm trying to get an idea of what an authentic Polish liner looks like. Can you comment on its specifications? Do you know if the Poles refurbished their German and Austrian M16/M17 helmets with Polish liners? Photos of German M16s used by the 10 BK appear to have the German chin straps. Austrian M17s had cloth chin straps (at least the ones I've seen). Would you know if the Wz 31 chin strap was used on the Austrian M17?

    Where would one get a repro Polish chin strap as on the Wz 31. Also do you know of any modern paint that matches the colour of the Polish paint used prewar. Thanks.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    I get some photos within next few days.
    Check out this link for some photos of the wz.31 helmets - http://www.helmy.w8w.pl/polski%20wz.31.htm

    As to M16/M17, I will check the book on Polish helmets and let you know.

    Chin strap was made by Armian so check them out. As to the paint, there is and was discussion about Salamandra and colour matching on Polish Odkrywca forum and the results vary. In general colour needs to be mixed and application of cork is not easy.
    The off the shelf paint would olive drab but it is not 100% match.
    The proper colour is Bronze green, RAL 6031 (RGB:73,87,70 decimal) .

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Sorry to butt in, but here's a picture of a wz.31 liner residing in a complete original unmolested wz.31 in near perfect condition (US GI bring back from Germany in '45, after it supposedly served as a war souvenir for a German vet of the September '39 campaign). The close up picture of the "pillow" is actually from another wz.31 helmet.

    I took a quick look in Jacek Kijak's book on Polish helmets for information on the German M16's used by the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade. Unfortunately it does not get into any details on modifications the Poles may have made to the German helmets. I'll scan through some other references.

    As far as repro wz.31 chin straps and pre-war khaki shade paint - available here on Allegro:

    Chin strap: PODPINKA DO HE

    Paint:

    Farba w odcieniu polskiego khaki (1955496736) - Aukcje internetowe Allegro

    NAJTANIEJ POLSKA FARBA KHAKI DO HE

    Regards,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wz 31 Helmet

    Thanks Tony for the info. And thanks again meyle77 for your posts.

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