Really need some help on this one. Ill give a run down of my thoughts then follow it up with a lot of pics and my questions. If anyone has any info that can help or can see a problem with my reasoning please help me out. I dont know if there is a limit on the number of pics we can post here, so if I go over a limit, please feel free to remove them and shout at me
I acquired this a few weeks ago off ebay. Some of you may have seen it. I bought it as a parts helmet, as it seemed to me that was what it was, a private purchase shell, with various parts thrown at it so the seller could try their luck. I wasnt under any illusions, it looked like a wreck. In fact I didnt open the box for a couple of weeks when I recieved it, I just stuck it in the spare parts bin.
Anyway, when I actually got to open the box, sometime after christmas, I was actually pleasantly surprised. It seems to me that most of the fittings are actually off the helmet. On the ebay pics, you can clearly see that all the brads have been replaced with either paper clips or some flat topped brads, which I know I have seen before, but cant remember where. However, the wappen has left a deep ghost on the helmet, even down to the tabs for the reserve cross. The spike base likewise. Not sure about the screw posts, though they are original period parts. The wappen and rear spine are fastened with the correct nuts and washers (see pics) and the brad at the rear spine base had not been disturbed indicating the rear visor was original to the spine.
The front visor was held to the shell with 3 paper clips, but the stiching holes on helmet and visor match exactly (yes I counted them, I have a lot of pins) Same with the rear visor, so Im pretty sure that spine is original to the shell. The cockard ghosts are clear and measure 53mm.
The wappen has lost the scepter and eagle and one arm of the reserve cross is missing. The spike base had what is obviously a totally original, special issue, low profile, observation balloon popping device soldered to it!! That solder will take some removing
It seems to have always been attached to the shell with round brads, not stars, even though the perlring is officer pattern, judging by the well defined shadowing they have left behind.
Anyway the more I looked the more I felt I could actually restore this, rather than break up what seems to me to be a mostly original helmet.
Stupidly I didnt take any pics before I started the job, so I have had to copy the ebay pics to give some idea of its original condition. So far I have managed to repair the huge split, that ran almost all the way around where the spike mounted and the crack that ran down the side of the shell. The repair is invisible from the outside and almost invisible from the inside, so Im very happy with the end result. There is a little more staining to the leather now, than you can see on the ebay pic, but it was already stained. I cant take a pic, as the shell is still being reshaped on a former but I will if people are interested. I have restitched the liner, in a small area I was forced to use a water based glue as the liner was so weak it wouldnt take a stitch. I have also nearly finished restitching the front visor and plugging the holes left by the paper clips that held it on. I havnt used any filler on the shell or visor..I used a warm ironing technique. There is still a lot of work left on the shell, including the rear visor, but its coming along.
I de-soldered the observation balloon popper and what I found underneath was the original round solder plate from the spike. In this case it looks to me to be from a ball rather than a spike. I managed to get it to unscrew from the base, so whatever should go there, can now screw back, when I have finished removing all that solder that some idiot put there
Ok here are my questions. Ill do the questions then put up the pics.
1. Firstly, the wappen. The wappen itself seems to me to be original. It took very little cleaning to bring it back. A quick wash with a very mild acid and a buff up with a dry cloth left it looking as you see it in the pics. I didnt use any polish at all. My concerns with the wappen are, the positioning of the reserve cross. It seems very high. Instead of using 2 holes and the gaps in the feathers, they used 4 holes. The top of the cross is right under the FR. Also the cross itself. It has been struck off center. This dosnt seem right to me. Having said that, the cross and the wappen have been together for a very long time. Is it possible that this cross is a very old re strike / fake, or have any of you encountered a cross like this? I have an original to replace it at any rate, but I would rather leave this one there if its correct. What are peoples overall opinion on the wappen. I think its real, but would like some reassurance.
2. The spike base. Its an officer type with dart and ball perlring. If you look at the pics after I removed the spike, you can see the base of what looks to be a kugel. I think its safe to assume that this base was originaly fitted with a ball and not a spike. Does anybody violently disagree with this?
Also Im pretty certain the helmet is an Eigentum, possibly for an unteroffizier mit portepee? Mainly because of the cockard shadows at 53MM. Its not an officer helmet. The shadowing on the spike base shows it never had stars, but where reserve regiments eligable for parade plumes? Also, could this rank opt for this style perlring, if worn with round brads? There is no indication in the helmet of what regiment it is from. Sadly if any paper labels where there they are now gone. There is a name written, but until it comes off the former I cant picture it. The helmet was for defo, fitted with a private purchase spike, as shown by the deep mark it has left behind, but is it likely or probable to have been this one?
3. Finally, the side posts. I think these are not original to this helmet. I think they were more likely fold back rosettes judging from the marks inside the helmet.
Here are the pics..Im sorry for rambling on for so long, but if Im restoring something, I like to restore it, not make it up. If I cant arrive at atleast a very likely consensus on this one, then it will be consigned to the spares bin despite all the work I have done.
Any info, any input and any advice will be very much appreciated. Also any parts for trade or sale, though Im sure thats a tall order
Lots and lots of work to do, the wrong ball, but an over all idea..am I on the right track?
Once again sorry for the overload post.