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M42 Polizei what to do with it?

Article about: I'm sure several of you have been watching this on GB. At any rate I talked to the seller a couple of times and got the story on the helmet. It was stored in an open air garage for years wit

  1. #1

    Default M42 Polizei what to do with it?

    I'm sure several of you have been watching this on GB. At any rate I talked to the seller a couple of times and got the story on the helmet. It was stored in an open air garage for years with a luftschutz helmet. I believe the decals to be correct based on the lot number and size only as the seller was unable to really get me any decent photos. The seller had it advertised as a 64 but my guess is that it must be an EF62 based on the size 55 liner. When you compare the lot number of 226 to the data base on EF helmets the only one listed is an SS but if you read the breakdown it says that the SS decals were placed over Polizei decals.

    At any rate just wondering if anyone has had any luck just cleaning one of these enough to stop the corrosion? If so what do you recommend to use? I know about Oxalic Acid but I wasn't sure what that would do to the liner.Sorry about the horrible photos, when I get it in hand I will post real photos. And my thanks to DH for the data base, I hope he doesn't mind me posting the screen shot of the lot number.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M42 Polizei what to do with it?   M42 Polizei what to do with it?  

    M42 Polizei what to do with it?   M42 Polizei what to do with it?  

    M42 Polizei what to do with it?   M42 Polizei what to do with it?  

    M42 Polizei what to do with it?   M42 Polizei what to do with it?  

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  3. #2


    I like it as it is... if you feel like you just have to use something on it I guess Renaissance would be your best bet --- I see no reason for messing with Oxalic on this lid, looks like not all that active/aggresive surface rust for the most part. Again, I like the untouched look on this one, the less you mess with this one the better imo

  4. #3


    Shame about the rust but I would be careful with oxalic as it WILL fade paint. I have has success stopping rust by rubbing the affected areas with silicone spray worked in with 000 steel wool. As scary as this sounds it will knock of the top of the oxidation and form a barrier to the atmosphere without affecting the patina ( much ).

    The real problem is that it now is what it is and ANYTHING will 'freshen it ' up a little. STAY RIGHT AWAY from the decals no matter what you do.

    My 2c worth, Dan

    Disclaimer - The aforementioned is offered a possible solution and is not professional advice. The reader is suggested to seek professional help - I know I am .......
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  5. #4


    I appreciate the input and that is why I ask. I also believe in the idea to preserve history instead of writing it but I do want to stop the rust if possible. I know that moving it to a controlled climate will do a great deal but it won't stop it. Of course my guess is that the rust is really just surface rust and I hope it hasn't penetrated the metal too deep.

  6. #5


    My thinking about how intrusive acid cleaning is is this: With a helmet like this where the original liner is present I'm guessing you'd have to remove it before submerging in the acid solution, exposing a dry leather liner to moisture can't possibly be the best of ideas... so already there you've disassembled the shell from it's originally installed components once. Then you have the very possible scenario of fading the paint (if using Oxalic) --- the decals will also get very fragile from the Oxalic treatment, as I've read, which will require you to be very careful not to damage them during this process.
    The removing of the surface rust will also remove the lovely age patina. Then you'd have to re-install the liner again, leaving it with the typical signs of a "messed with" lid and not the lovely untouched dust buildup between the liner band and shell etc. that it has at this point --- maybe one of the liner pins break when disassembling/reassembling it too... another thing that wold ruin its current untouched appeal. Then you'd have to treat it once more so that the corrosive process does not reactivate.

    IMO, in the end, what you'l be left with is a clearly cleaned up/messed with looking lid, with possibly faded paint and other damage occured throughout the cleaning process when you could have just left it alone or perhaps just given it a light Renaissance wax treatment to seal the exterior and darken the paint.

    Just my thoughts on this whole thing --- you do what you want/feel is necessary with your own helmet, of course Either way, once again, I like it as it is... nice looking salty double decal Police

  7. #6


    I really like the look of it as it is now! Leave as is ofc.

  8. #7


    Well the obvious red rust has to be neutralized, as it will continue to oxidize even indoors in a dry environment. The dull brown stuff is no longer active and will not continue to deteriorate the item. It looks like somebody has used oil on this already so a bit on the active rust won't really make it any worse. Apply directly to the red rust only with an eyedropper and blot away the excess. DON'T use oxalic acid, steel wool or any other type of cleaning agent/device that alters the material of the helmet.
    Remember, we 'CONSERVE' the item to 'PRESERVE' it for the future.

    ETA: Yeah, looking closer at it, I'm pretty sure somebody has already killed the rust for you. Sorry
    When you get it it will probably smell like WD40 or Break Free.

  9. #8


    The only think i can suggest about fresh red rust is a bit of WD40 and a light scrub with an old tooth brush!..
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

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

  10. #9


    As far as I've gathered most oils will actually promote rather than prevent/neutralize rust --- plus it would make the helmets sticky to the touch gathering dust and all sorts and, not to mention, it will give the exterior an undesirable shiny appearance.
    IF treating is an option to be considered at all here I'd say Renaissance wax is the best way to darkens the paint somewhat while not leaving it all sticky and oily looking, it does not promote rust/penetrate the exterior and is easily removable. Messing around with oil and steel wool (!!!) will only ruin this already salty lid IMO.

  11. #10


    All good advice guys. The current owner assured me he had done nothing to the helmet since he obtained it. However there is no telling if the people that sold it to him applied anything. I am not a fan of wd40 or other lubricants that contain xylene as they do more harm than good and the xylene cause them to actually dry out and leave behind toxic residues that change paint and would most likely damage decals. How about just a hot water bath with a towel just to break the top layers of rust off? I think if I get the active rust off and then keep it in a controlled environment that the decay and rust will be neutralized dramatically.

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