2 Topics: Japanese Helmet paint; and Can you add color to Bondo?
Greetings! Question the first: restoring a Japanese helmet and am having trouble matching the original paint. There is some left on the helmet, but when I take it to paint stores to computer color match they say there is not enough paint left over the area the computer sensor scans to determine paint mix. Does anyone have a color they use that is reasonably close to original?
Question the second: Restoring a German M16 that is quite pitted. I imagine I will use Bondo to fill the pits, but that introduces a problem. After I finish painting the helmet I age it with sandpaper and by striking it with various implements of mass destruction to create the normal chips and scratches relevant to field use. Naturally, gray Bondo shows through. Has anyone tried mixing a green color to Bondo to overcome this problem? If so, how did you accomplish this?
Thanks in advance for the benefit of your experience!
09-27-2014 07:12 PM
While I am waiting for some lucky boy or girl to answer my Japanese helmet paint question, I will post a few pics of the helmet in progress. First, condition as received. A lot of rust and rust bubbles extending above the surface of the helmet on one side. It had evidently been a Thai military helmet at some point in its life. A few patches of paint here and there, but not sure if it was original or Thai overpaint.
Last edited by mcmike; 09-30-2014 at 08:53 AM.
Japanese Helmet Progression # 2
Put a cut-off wheel on my drill and carefully ground away the rust bubbles with the flat edge of the wheel. On front you can see where I tried out a little paint, but it was more olive than mustard brown.
Progress #3, a little vinegar. Now, wait, a LOT of vindegar.
Thanks to a thread in this forum I was inspired to soak the helmet in a vinegar bath for two days. Took a 5 gal paint bucket and poured in 2 big jugs (love that phrasing) of vinegar. Let it soak for two days, occasionally brush with a wire brush. The vinegar turns a real disgusting color and bubbles a little. Frankly, it does NOT improve the flavor of a salad.
Last edited by mcmike; 09-30-2014 at 08:54 AM.
Progress # 4
The vinegar really does do a job on that rust! It also degrades paint so that it is easier to remove. Put a wire wheel on my drill and easily removed the remaining rust and paint down to the metal. There is still surface damage and rust roughness that I plan to work on with sandpaper for metal, and then use a spray-on putty I have heard about. There are a couple of concussion cracks that will stay as a part of the helmets history, as well as some rough gouges from field use.
I bought repro star, liner, rings, rivets, etc and have already aged those. Once I find a good paint I can continue, and will post pics.
Last edited by mcmike; 09-30-2014 at 08:55 AM.
Here is the German M16 I plan to restore to a WWI camo. It was covered in thick, green paint; when I removed it with paint stripper and wire wheel I was left with this pitted, orange monstrosity. The orange will not strip off or wire off. I did find out that you can color Bondo with Rit dye, so I will be trying that out. After I paint my helmets I usually distress them with whacking with metal tools, sandpaper, and soot; but this often shows some metal. I DO NOT want orange poking through, so I am not sure what I will do yet. The following pics show Der Orange Frankenstein, and a few other helmets I have restored. So far this year I have restored, or am working on, over 20. 5 currently in progress.
Last edited by mcmike; 09-30-2014 at 08:57 AM.
Still haven't found a good color code for paint for the Japanese helmet.
Evidently no interest in this topic, but some restorer may find it useful in the future. The reason you might wish to color Bondo for the surface of your helmet is if you intend to age the helmet by striking it with metal objects for surface distress. If your strike goes deep it will expose steel or Bondo, and if the Bondo is gray or white it ruins the effect. You can dye the Bondo to "steel gray" or a dark green or feldgrau by the addition of tempera paint.
To color Bondo I simply took about 2 tablespoons of Bondo in a small container - tuna fish can - and put in 3-4 drops of black tempera paint. Mix well, then add a small amount of hardener and mix again. I use a small 1 1/2" wide flat piece of plastic as a "scraper" to spread the Bondo over the pitted areas, scraping off as much of the leftover surface Bondo as possible. Dries hard in a few hours, then sand. Worked perfectly!