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Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

Article about: Good evening to you all It is I, the infamous member who tried to restore a Normandy German Helmet relic :-( (this actually makes me sound like the opposite of a super hero !) To try to make

  1. #1

    Default Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Good evening to you all

    It is I, the infamous member who tried to restore a Normandy German Helmet relic :-( (this actually makes me sound like the opposite of a super hero !)

    To try to make amends, I am posting a thread each on my remaining two relic German Helmets which both, according to the seller, originated from digs in the Ardennes. Now, I have no proof as to the lids being found in the Ardennes but to me at least they seem legit based on the degree of rust, damage and the price I got them at which was rather low (I can't see someone going to this degree to fake a relic and make almost nothing as a profit).

    This first helmet pictured below does raise some questions in my mind and I was wondering if perhaps you have encountered anythign similar in your experience:

    * The damage toward the top of the helmet appears to be from a bullet whereas the other damage seems to be from shrapnel. Has anyone seen this before or am I reading too much into the holes ?
    * The very orange coloured parts on the helmet don't seem to be rust. Is this rust, plant matter or perhaps the remains of material covers ?
    * There are no remains whatsoever of a decal. Is this consistent with the degree of rust ?
    * Now I know this is a long shot, but has anyone previously seen the black tar-like splatter that is on the inside rear of my helmet ?

    Looking forward to your insights !

    Thank-you in advance, kind regards

    Adolf (not the famous one btw !)
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Adolf

    Try putting it in a bucket of Oxalic for the day, you never know what may emerge. By the state of the corrosion, its will not be much so do not get excited. As regards the tar like splatter as you put it, its most likely just a chemical reaction to something in the soil or on the helmet.

    They could have been dug anywhere

  4. #3

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    A helmet with that much pitting and corrosion you'd be very lucky to find a trace of decals.
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  5. #4

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    This one, your right Gunny, not a chance, the other one may have remnants only. This one there may be a little paint left

  6. #5

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Good morning chaps

    Thank-you for the feedback, much appreciated. I am very weary of using that acid everyone is talking about ... my liver is already in poor shape from way too many social events ! What type of business or institution would be able to do the acid bath for a customer ? I'd like to farm that task out if possible. Also, is "beeswax" known by any other name ? I want to pop into the hardware store to get some as I want to try to preserve the two helmets for proper display ... these old timers deserve to be treated with respect (as I have learned the hardway).

    Have a super weekend guys

  7. #6

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Because Oxalic acid is sold in hardware stores for rust stain removal from cement paths, it only requires common sense in handling.
    Acid granules into water ( NOT the other way round ) / a well ventilated ( outdoors ) area / gloves, eye / face protection & a filter mask is basic protection for any acid and it DOES work - not miracles but will clean a lot of the active rust off the shell. The 'orange paint' may well be residue of white winter paint changed colour because of the ferrous oxide ( red rust ) ..... you could be lucky!!!
    Cheers, Dan
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  8. #7

    Smile Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Hi Dan

    Thanks very much for the info, will make a trip to the hardware store and make certain I have ALL of the recommended safety items and preparations.

    Kind regards

    Adolf

  9. #8

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Adolf, DON'T get a ferrous phosphate rust convertor - the ones usually sold for de-rusting steel - as this will blacken the metal and put a white powder residue on the surface ......yechh!! ONLY the white granulated oxalic will not damage the metal or change it's colour. Just don't leave it too long and make sure the helmet is FULLY submersed or there will be a line at the water level if it is not.
    Cheers, Dan
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  10. #9

    Lightbulb Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Also, keep in mind that in the Ardennes ( as elsewhere in NW Europe ) 'ground dug' can also mean found on the ground eg in overgrown countryside, bushes, covered by dead leaves etc. Although claims can be dubious, I've been surprised myself by items which can still be found, admittedly off the beaten track, on the surface.

    Nice-looking relic, BTW !

  11. #10

    Default Re: Battle of the Bulge 1944 Relic Number 1

    Good evening all

    Well, you live and you learn. I really wish that I had read all of the very helpful threads before starting the "restoration" of my Normandy Helmet. That said, all the talk of using a form of acid to remove surface rust and reveal paint / decal remenants really interested me. I was however very wary of using the acid as described due to the very serious health risks that such an endeavour posed. I approached someone who is a consultant in the vehicle manufacture (specifically vehicle paint) industry and asked about alternatives.

    After sharing what I learned from this forum, he suggested that I simply using a form of "shock treatment" normally administered to swimming pools to achieve similar results as others have with their relic helmets. Obviously dubious, I decided to give it a go this evening using the helmet featured in this thread in a mid-sized storage bin and approx 175 grams of the pool acid. Stirred well and left the lid in for about 30 to 40 minutes. Removed the lid, washed well with tap water and then rubbed gingerly with a soft bath scrubbing sponge.

    The helemt is still drying under a large fan at the moment, but on this very rusted and caroded lid some German Field-Gray paint remenants are showing through. I have even found decal remenants corrsponding with the single decal helmets. What is interesting is that the helmet appears to have been over-painted ... I get the feeling that it is this "top-layer" that protected the factory paint below. Strangely, my Normandy helmet also seemed to have the same "top-coat". It remained an orange colour despite cleaning so I would hazard a guess that it was that dirty-yellow used on the armoured vehicles (now stained by the soil).

    I will post pics tomorrow once the helemt is fully dried and I have done another light scrub (without water). If this experiment works, I will be treating my second Ardennes relic to a similar bath and cleaning.

    Regards

    Andrew

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