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Luftwaffe helmet, again.

Article about: Hi guys. I'm back again with the same helmet, ended up buying it. Seems like rust is able to get off here and there, I'm afraid the obviously tear it off myself, dont want to lose paint. The

  1. #1

    Default Luftwaffe helmet, again.

    Hi guys.

    I'm back again with the same helmet, ended up buying it. Seems like rust is able to get off here and there, I'm afraid the obviously tear it off myself, dont want to lose paint. The pictures show it badly, but the paint looks great. And the battle damage is far less from as bad as I thought it would be. It's actually really pretty.
    I'll run you through the helmet, question comes lastly, at the bottom of the page.

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    As you can see here, the poor soldier took some kind of hit right to his head, hard enough to put a big dent into his helmet, and crack the metal. That is obviously, from what I think. It might also be indentation from the obvious explosion that occured. You'd be able to see that in the rest of the helmet.

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    And right here, you can see a giant crack in the shape of a T with a stretched out top line. Seeing as the paint on this side is the prettiest, I'm assuming that it layed from top to bottom in the ground, so I don't think it had been hit by the shovel or anything like that.

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    To the left, that hole, I don't think is a rust hole, though it might be. Definitely not a bullet hole, maybe shrapnel went through? Hole on the bottom right, however, seems to be a rust hole to me.

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    Here that glorious Luftwaffe decal, surrounded by a nice bit of 'fresh' Feldgrau colour paint.

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    As you can see, the insides of the shell. And here is where my 'explosion' theory came from. The shell was maybe nicely tucked in the ground because maybe someone stepped on it when it fell off of the soldiers head, seeing as at this point the soldier might have died. Or something along those lines. But basically, the inside shows that the aluminium ring that usually holds the liner has molten and is stuck to the bottom of the helmet. It's difficult to see because of the photos dimensions, but the silver thing in the middle, yeah, thats it. Probably not all of it, though. Now, the liner itself, I guess is kind of and kind of not there. The brown stuff you see on the picture is the leather. If you rub it a bit with your finger, powdered leather will rub off onto your fingers, nasty stuff really gets in your clothes .

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    Here are the rest of the pictures.

    Now, my question is, is there any safe way of not damaging any more of the helmet, the paint and the decal, and still get rid of that bit of rust here and there? Oxalic acid is at my disposal but seems a bit too heavy duty for a helmet that is in this good of a condition.



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  3. #2


    This is just my personal opinion, others may have better ideas...but I would take a brush and get the surface-rust and dirt off of the Shell, and I would clean the crud out of the inside as well...after all, it's that loose stuff you want to get rid of....The shell looks reasonably solid despite the battle-damage and ground-deterioration and will display nicely...It may also reveal more clues for you to examine...
    cheers, Glenn

  4. #3


    Anyone else have any suggestions for this helmet, still?

  5. #4


    If you leave it like this (not uncleaned but untreated) it will detoriate more even in a stable enviroment because there is a lot of active rust. You have to do something (oiling, waxing, or cleaning and then oiling, waxing...) to stop the rust.

    You can clean it with lemon acid (my favourite) or oxalic acid. I prefer linseed oil, since unlike most other oils it dries and makes a "coat" and no smell and greasy fingers when touching the items. But a tiny amount at a time, you would be suprised the surface you can coat with a few drops of oil.

  6. #5


    I agree with Leonardo - many relic helmets I collected some years ago have continued to bubble and flake - the ones that have been waxed have stayed reasonably OK as the oxygen has been prevented from getting to the surface. Relics are nice but you just need to know that they have a limited life once removed from the ground unless some intervention is taken.........
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  7. #6


    Dan, what wax do you recommend for your relic helmets?

  8. #7


    I've tried Renaissance wax and parrifin with some degree of success but they do darken the metal and are too shiny. Clear matt spray lacquer works too but really it is just an attempt to keep the oxygen off the metal and is always a compromise at the best of times unless kept in a vac sealed
    Neil Young was right, rust never sleeps! !!
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  9. #8


    If it were me, I'd be washing and scrubbing gently to remove loose dirt and rust then post more photos. At the end of the day I would be considering a nice oxalic bath then a coat of renaissance wax.

  10. #9


    Personally I would only carefully clean the dirt off, trying not to get too much water in the rusty areas.

    I would not treat it with anything, but be sure to put it in a temperature controlled environment.
    This way I would expect the corrosion process to be slowed down enough so you won't even notice it deteriorate.
    (unless the rust has worked its way under the paint, and/or moisture is trapped there)

    This is only my opinion though, the longest relic I had was only 4 years, I do have a little experience with rusty old cars.

    I'm curious to see how it will look after cleaning.

  11. #10


    Hey everyone!

    Back again, gave the lid a nice scrub for about an hour long, the decal is looking much fresher and inside the lid there is a nice smooth and clean looking patch of paint that looks as if it was never touched by the rust! It is beginning to look really good guys!

    Saturday I'll sit outside in the nice weather and keep scrubbing the helmet. When I am done on Saturday I will post pictures for all of you to glance at!


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