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USB Telescope for my first ADM analysing

Article about: Doug, its always a pleasure chatting with u. Many collectors learn from these chats.

  1. #11
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    Theres a lot more than graphics. Ink thickness, pulver composition and thickness, celluloid backing, and print style (offset press for example vs modern laser or ink jets) etc etc etc. It's an entire article and then some that can be written on the subject. That said after 100+ decals studied of the 5 various manufacturers I can recognize the clear and unique to the individual decal manufacturer "fingerprints" of the decals not visible to the naked eye which fakes never ever can replicate, nor do fakers know them because I won't publish the information, and nobody to my knowledge has examined this many comparables. Usually only 1 or 2 of each, if that. So when I say its exhaustive to get into this level of detail, I don't exaggerate. It's also expensive....lolol

    Btw Samir, my USB scope always touches the decal. Never a problem but you don't use it on a decal that is flaking like a Q M40 for example. I put the helmet in my lap, with a towel, wear cotton gloves and spend about 2-3 hours per decal photographing and magnifying every detail including video. Using a stand is too slow for this level of detail. Also I disagree, "old fakes" are usually graphically incorrect by the naked eye, no magnification needed. Under magnification most of them are not even close. The best modern fakes are 100% graphically accurate as scan technology is used to replicate the detail but they break down at 200x and especially at 400x. Nothing can compare to a real decal at 2-400x magnification.

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  3. #12
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    Quote by DougB View Post
    Theres a lot more than graphics. Ink thickness, pulver composition and thickness, celluloid backing, and print style (offset press for example vs modern laser or ink jets) etc etc etc. It's an entire article and then some that can be written on the subject. That said after 100+ decals studied of the 5 various manufacturers I can recognize the clear and unique to the individual decal manufacturer "fingerprints" of the decals not visible to the naked eye which fakes never ever can replicate, nor do fakers know them because I won't publish the information, and nobody to my knowledge has examined this many comparables. Usually only 1 or 2 of each, if that. So when I say its exhaustive to get into this level of detail, I don't exaggerate. It's also expensive....lolol

    Btw Samir, my USB scope always touches the decal. Never a problem but you don't use it on a decal that is flaking like a Q M40 for example. I put the helmet in my lap, with a towel, wear cotton gloves and spend about 2-3 hours per decal photographing and magnifying every detail including video. Using a stand is too slow for this level of detail. Also I disagree, "old fakes" are usually graphically incorrect by the naked eye, no magnification needed. Under magnification most of them are not even close. The best modern fakes are 100% graphically accurate as scan technology is used to replicate the detail but they break down at 200x and especially at 400x. Nothing can compare to a real decal at 2-400x magnification.
    Yes, I agree, there's lots more which is why myself I didn't want to get into, but simply pointing out one of the basics, and as you said "it's an entire article" I myself couldn't even get into.

    I give you credit Doug for having the scope touch the decal, personally, I no longer take that risk as once I accidently jammed the scope into the decal causing a tiny scratch, a risk I shouldn't have taken. I still keep the scope close, maybe a hairline or two away, rather be safe than sorry, but still manage to obtain the result I need.

    "Also I disagree, "old fakes" are usually graphically incorrect by the naked eye, no magnification needed."

    That's what I said. =)

    With what I learned with the ADM scope is of course the graphics, construction, and the different levels of patinas in each decal. I also learned that decals are not identical at 200X the magnification. For instance, I studied a few "Q" pattern decals and noticed at 200X, a "fingerprint". Even with the same level of patina, I noticed a difference in the runes, and shield border. I did not see a pattern in the rune, and border lines. I know it's probably not important to the average collector, I know what matters to most collectors is that "it's a Q and that is what all that matters", but for me it's interesting, and interesting to see how these decals are broken down at that magnification.
    Last edited by SSamir; 08-29-2013 at 08:17 AM.

  4. #13
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    By the way Doug, I use the little base that comes with the scope. I find myself with a much more steady hand.

  5. #14
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    Yes, you need steady hands and a lot of patience to magnify the way I do and nerves of steel!! I have never damaged a decal yet.

    You will always have differences at 200x magnification as nothing can be repeated perfectly at that level of magnification. Go to 400x and differences are even more pronounced. That is absolutely expected.

    I've plugged away at 25 or so Q helmets and of course there are print variations and subtleties between them visible to the naked eye. It's the common traits at 200x we see I think you mean ie fingerprints. That said I am very careful to call something a "fingerprint" until I have looked at a minimum of 20 of that decal type. If I see it on every single decal then I believe it's a consistent trait or "fingerprint". And of course these were manmade objects so subtle variances will abound but those variances are ink thicknesses, press alignment, pulver distribution and thickness, etc. The interesting thing is comparing the best Q fake to any real Q or for that matter any other fake SS decal to a real. No contest at high magnification.

    One of the best fakes I have seen broke down on ink thickness. They are full of air bubbles at 200x, maybe you have seen this one. No air bubbles ever appear on any German period decal as a different ink was used meaning different viscosities between real and fake and again, printing methods resulting in the distribution of the ink.

    The most interesting decal at 200+ is the ET by far I find. Another thing I found is the printing methods used by Q were different than ET. Same with the EF. In fact the EF decal is by far the most consistent at high levels of magnification and there are simply no EF variations visible to the naked eye either, unlike every other decal I know of.

    I don't find much use in studying patination as every decal will be different due to the elements it was stored in. For example a decal in a house of heavy smokers will have a distinctly different patina than one stored in a barn than one stored in a dark closet etc etc. (also the smoker helmet stinks like shit lol). But I did find it interesting how Pocher decals fairly consistently develop a black patterned patina to the pulver and pre-1940 ET decals seem to turn a golden color vs post 1940 ET decals. But when it comes to patination it usually falls outside the realm of being able to discern clear and consistent patterns, which is part and parcel what one needs to find with comparables. It is more useful for again identifying fakes, as some have had a faux patina applied, identifying man made abraisions, lack of a celluloid backing, etc.

    But when it comes to fingerprints, the best thing about USB scopes is that fakes also have identifiable fingerprints which the fakers can not hide. Thus important to look at batches of decals to find and understand them vs just one or two. This is why a tool like this is semi-useful / toyish for the average collector unless they are willing to roll through a few dozen helmets of the same decal type.

    In my former life I was a commercial artist and have a pretty good understanding of printing methods, design and application. Using those skills to apply to decal analysis it makes it easier to understand what it is I am seeing and apply analytics to arrive at a conclusion.

    The best thing a casual user of USB can use this tool for is look for modern print methods like inkjet or other forms of modern mechanical head printing. I am as usual on my iPad and traveling so I can't post examples but my articles posted on GHW2 clearly show this.

    For those that dismiss this as a casual toy, it's use and careful detailed understanding of printing and dozens of comparables have helped uncover errors that are in publications that serve as reference books everyone uses and sold by the most trusted of dealers, thus advancing the understanding of decal knowledge even further than previously known or thought. It has made the hobby safer for collectors and more difficult for fakers.

    I do not believe anyone can make the perfect fake because you simply cannot replicate the many elements needed to duplicate a decal to high levels of magnification.

    - - Updated - -

    Quote by SSamir View Post
    By the way Doug, I use the little base that comes with the scope. I find myself with a much more steady hand.
    I throw mine out. :-)

    >>"Also I disagree, "old fakes" are usually graphically incorrect by the naked eye, no magnification needed." That's what I said<<

    duh...what I meant to say was the older fakes even at high magnification are not very good quality - sorry. The oldest fakes I have seen fall down in every category hard. These are the silly ones they used to make that we laugh at. One of the best fakes I have seen is a microprint ET found on EF M42 shells. It is scary good and I would guess 30 years old, so I don't know if that is an "old fake"? Hence I will not touch an SS ET decal on an EF shell. Ever. By eye and by simple photos it is fairly inderscernable.

  6. #15
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    Hi Doug,

    Unfortunately I've scratched a decal, and it happens. If there were enough people using the scope u would hear more about it. For me, I use the base, im comfortable with it.

    For me, studying patina is important. Its one of many clues to decal analysis.

    I agree with you on the 400x, and its why I have both scopes, 200 n 400x.

    yes, a 30 year old fake I would consider and old fake.

    Regards
    samir

    - - Updated - -

    Hi Doug,

    Unfortunately I've scratched a decal, and it happens. If there were enough people using the scope u would hear more about it. For me, I use the base, im comfortable with it.

    For me, studying patina is important. Its one of many clues to decal analysis.

    I agree with you on the 400x, and its why I have both scopes, 200 n 400x.

    yes, a 30 year old fake I would consider and old fake.

    Regards
    samir

  7. #16
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    Doug, for me the scope is the best tool that came into the hobby. It made me a better collector than I was a year ago. If u remember, every time I bought an ss helmet I used to email you for help. Today I buy with confidence. I must thank you for pioneering this amazing tool!

    Samir

  8. #17
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    What's a 50 year old fake then a grandfather fake LOL.

    Yes I agree patination is important to study (I think I said that), but not in the determination of decal standardization and authenticity. I've studied the "old" and "grandfathered" fakes, they can have the same patina as a dead original SS decal. Patina is an age effect therefore cannot be useful in determining authentic from fake.

    In fact on my G Loomis fishing cap I have used in the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of Alaska since 1991, there was until recently a replica Deschler skull I had pinned on the right side where it was under the words embroidered on the cap "Death from Above". It was there for 20 years and a pin broke not long ago. The skull had developed the best patina you have ever seen, from 20 years of exposure to saltwater, rain, and other natural outdoor elements. And chlorine from the hot tub as well. It had gone in more than once after a day of fishing and sea / beer legs. Anyway, I digress. This skull today could be sold by one with less ethics for a dead original, only those who know a real Deschler M1/52 stamp from a fake will know its not real. It resides in my sons collection of "stuff" today.

    The best example of why patina is not useful for study in fake vs real are the bevy of fakes with dead real 30+ years of patina on them. At the SOS a few years ago I was challenged by Jerry Rehr to identify an SS helmet as real from fake. It had been in a collection for decades. I said its a fake in 2 seconds with it in my hand. Jerry said no way you can tell that fast. I said lets go to the room. (Wink wink)

    It was about an hour before the Helmetfest I usually have when I am able to attend so this challenge was well attended by many collectors. Within a few minutes on the USB I was able to determine, as was everyone else, that this was a stamped pulver fake, with the runes expertly cut out of the pulver by an exacto knife or surgical knife and the black ink "painted" in. But the patina was no different than any ET. And this is fairly common on old fakes.

  9. #18
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    By itself, yes, I would agree patina wont determine the authenticity, but it can provide us with critical clues. For , its been helpful with my studies of the decals.

  10. #19
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    I think in very broad terms only patina can be "studied" but again patina is an age effect not material. It's great to have these conversations and too bad we can't be side by side with a pile of helmets to look at. That would be very interesting and enjoyable Samir!

  11. #20
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    Doug, im typing u n I have my boss sitting next to me watching the conversation. He just told me that he was right when he thought I was weird, and im lucky enough not to get fired, LOL. If I do get fired u better have a job for me when I come up to canada. =)

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