Decal and Paint Aging Tips

Recommended Paint Colors:

Imperial Germany - WWI:

Feldgrau: BLP Mobile Paints Olive Drab From Army Surplus Stores, or Most any Olive Drab

Germany - Reichswehr Era Through WWII:

Heer 1933 -1940: Most any Olive Drab
Heer mid to late war: Rustoleum Deep Forest Green
Combat Polizei: Rustoleum Deep Forest Green
Polizei (Civic Helmets): Satin Black
Kriegsmarine: Most any Olive Drab
Luftwaffe: Testors Modelmaster Dark Sea Blue
Luftschutz: Testors Modelmaster Dark Sea Blue
SS: 1933 -1940: Most any Olive Drab
SS: 1940 -1945: Rustoleum Deep Forest Green
Allgemeine SS: Satin Black
DAK: Tamya Desert Mustard Tan or BLP Mobile Paints Tan from Army Surplus Stores.

US Army Colors:
BLP Mobile Paints Olive Drab From Army Surplus Stores, or Most any Olive Drab

Clear Top Coat: Testors Modelmaster 'Dull Coat' flat clear spray

Tamiya is a good choice for brushed on colors... they make them in official military shades.

NOTE: The actual colors on German helmets, particularly the early ones in the '30's --- are difficult to replicate. These colors are good matches in most cases, and are easily found in most paint and hardware stores.

Here's a formulae for German paint colors:
    Polyscale brand of railroad colors are good paints to use. The Floquil railroad range (railroad colours being pretty standard) are also good. In either you'll need "Brunswick green" & "Pullman green". For early war, mix a ratio of (4) parts Pullman to (1) part brunswick. For late war, mix (4) parts Pullman to (3) parts Brunswick. I was very happy with the result, You can apply it with an airbrush. These paints are easily applied by brush too. They don't need much if any thinning. After application, put the helmet in an oven at a temp of around 130 F and bake it about 2 hrs. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing.

Check at your local hobby store for Floquil brand railroad paints. The colors you are looking for are Pullman Green and Brunswick Green. I have found that the pullman green by itself is an almost perfect match for early war "pea" green. For late war color mix (4) parts Pullman and (3) parts Brunswick. These colors mixed in varying degrees can match pre, early, mid, and late war.  The colors do tend to be a little flat for WWII german standards. For the early war without texture, you can buff it out to get it to shine a little, or even easier, use a clear lacquer spray that is 50% flat, or a dull semigloss, and give the helmet a coat of that when done. Test the whole process on a practice shell to get it down first!

Here's how I age my decals and paint:
   
Be sure the decal is set well, and there's no edges not adhered. Then, apply a coat of clear to seal the decal. I prefer Testors Modelmaster 'Dullcoat' flat clear. It dries absolutely flat, and you can buff it to the desired level of gloss.
When the clear is thoroughly dry, take some very fine steel wool and go over the decal lightly. You can use some sandpaper too if you want more coarse scratches. You can also ding up the helmet if you want it to look well used.

Next, I apply watered down liquid brown shoe polish. I use just enough to tone the decal. Then I take an oil lamp and turn the wick up so I get lots of smoke. Holding the helmet over the flame, I apply the soot as needed. Be careful not to get too close to the helmet, or you'll burn the paint. After getting a good layer of soot on the paint, I use an old cloth to rub the helmet and decal till I get the look I want. Take a look at some of the pics of the helmets here on my web site to see the results.

To make the helmet appear battle worn, sand off the paint on the edges, and on a few high wear spots. Rub with steel wool to smooth, then apply a couple of coats of gun blueing (or gun browning) solution to the bare metal. This is a good way to simulate the appearance of very old blackened rust areas. When you are satisfied with the look of the helmet, apply a final coat of flat clear, then buff to desired level of gloss.

Getting a Textured Finish:
   
There are several ways to get a textured finish. You can mix aluminum oxide, or very fine sand with the paint, and then apply it to the helmet. This gives a very good fine textured finish like the early textured helmets, but it is difficult to work with. An alternative is to spray a coat of paint on, and before it can dry, apply the aluminum oxide or sand... then brush off the excess and give the helmet another coat or two of paint. Both methods look good when done properly... but neither one is easy to do.

For a nice late war very dark grey/green rough finnish: (Good for an M42) First, spray your helmet with some Rustoleum "Textured" paint (comes in green, gray, black and tan) Then, when dry, overspray it with Tamiya's "Nato Black". This will give you a great dark Grey/Green finish.

Another way to get a textured finish, is to get a can of Fleckstone textured spray paint. It is more coarse than the sand, and is useful for the heavy late war or field applied texture finishes. It comes in a green color, but it doesn't actually match any of the helmet colors. This is not important, since you will be painting over it anyway. Spray the helmet with whichever color you choose for your particular helmet... then apply the textured paint. (Practice on something else BEFORE you do your helmet!) When thoroughly dry, apply another couple of coats of the helmet color of your choice. Finish off with a coat of flat clear. You can get Fleckstone at most hardware and paint stores. Other camo finishes can be done by mixing mud and grass with paint.

One of my customers told me about a product he found that works well for an aged look to the finish: It's called Liberon Iron Paste. After you have allowed the paint on your helmet to dry, try rubbing on some of this product, leaving it on for 20-30 minutes, then rubbing it off with a cloth. It will accumalate in cracks and crevices. You can experiment until you get the desired results.

These are only a few of the ways you can get a realistic finish on your restored helmet. You may find another way which works for you by experimenting.

Aging Metal Parts:
   
To make new steel or brass parts look old, you can use this formulae: 
(2) oz. Lemon or Lime juice
(2) oz. Chlorine bleach
(2) oz. Vinegar
(1) Tablespoon of salt

Mix well, and immerse parts in the solution for 30 minutes or longer, depending on how much you want to accelerate the oxidization. When you have the desired amount of oxidization, rub with steel wool. You can use some gun bluing or browning to tone the finish, then seal with clear. This formulae works great when aging chicken wire camo baskets.

Aging New Leather Parts:
   
New Chin straps and liners can be made to look old with a little time and effort. Try using a little brown or black paste shoe polish on a rag. Soot from the oil lamp also works on leather too. Do a little at a time, and don't overdo it! You can always add more, but if you overdo it, you probably won't be able to undo what you did. Fine sandpaper and steel wool are also useful to make the leather look worn or remove the gloss.