Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that I'd never have a Double Decal WWII German helmet in my collection for the very simple reason that DD helmets are out of my reach, financially.
All that changed today, but only for 24 hours. Its a helmet Cinderella story. I now have residing in my collection a double decal M.35 police helmet, as an overnight guest. It must return to its owners tomorrow lest it turns back into a pumpkin.
Here it is, ready for the ball:
Perhaps a little rough around the edges, rusty, and somewhat scuffed up, but still...
the real deal.
Here's how I came by this house guest.
I was happy to be able to tell them that it is in fact a very collectible helmet. That made them happy, and they made me happy by letting me bring it home for this photo session.
I expect it will make its next public appearance on ebay.
The helmet is, as can be seen above, completely unrestored, unconserved, and untouched save for the casual hand of neglect.
The shell is completely sound, and retains a great deal of the original paint as well as a subsequent (war-time) layer.
The M31 liner, though present, is in near relic condition. The 75% that remains is very brittle. The chinstrap, however, is delightfully intact.
The chinstrap leather appears sound though quite stiff. I was not able to discern any makers marks on the strap, and certainly many were not marked to begin with.
As can be seen in this detail shot, the chinstrap still retains very crisp outlines.
The liner drawstring is present and intact.
Many of the liner fingers are still complete, intact though inflexible.
Others are altogether missing from the band, revealing the horsehair cushion.
The size stamp "ET66" is quite evident. This shot also shows to good effect some of the most pronounced pitting.
The maker code is very crisp and distinct. I would also note that the "golden" hue of these pictures is a manifestation of the lighting I was using.
The Liner rivets are present and sound. The greatest exterior pitting is seen here around the rear rivet.
This view shows the original apple green paint underneath the peeling subsequent layer of flat medium green. A careful cleaning of this helmet may restore some of the vibrancy of the original green.
Though a museum curator for 12 years, I was unwilling to attempt even a light toweling of this helmet, I'll leave that for the competent (one hopes) touch of its future owner.
The rolled edge, characteristic of both the M.35 and the M.40.
The dead giveaway for the earlier M.35, however lies here, the applied ventilator hole. The ventilators in later helmets were stamped. Compare to my Spanish M.35 as profiled here.
The party decal is still quite distinct, and distinctly disturbing in all of its fascist, bastard, nastiness.
The Police decal is less intact. Most of the black layer is gone leaving the metallic layer exposed.
Close inspection reveals the German police insignia, evidenced by this fragment of wing and the eagle's feathered neck and head. Compare to this view from the outstanding website German- Helmets.com
German Feldpolizei take a break from world domination to check their bearings. Of course we know that they're making a bee-line for the Gulag and a much delayed return home. Dress warm boys.
As if war isn't unpleasant enough, check out these happy kraut wannabees:
A rather robust Feldpolizei complete with motorcycle coat and gorget. Only to be outdone in enthusiasm by...
this pair of jolly jackbooted Japanese whackaloons. What a fabulously mixed-metaphor! My goodness, what would my late parents think?
Click here to see many more photos of these Japanese Jerrys. I especially liked the full-size cardboard Hanomag half-track.
This helmet will require some thoughtful conservation after which it will end up being show- piece of someone else's collection (sigh).
Until then, best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and peaceful new year.