two German Army (Heer)
decals as they would have appeared prior to application. Decals like
this were printed four to sheet of transfer paper before they were cut for
single application to a helmet. On the example shown, the name of the manufacturer
was printed on the front and
read "Ed Strache, Warnsdorf." This was a firm that was a major
producer of many of the Heer decals used before and during the war.
Many original helmet decals were constructed in such a way that they could only be
applied to the helmet surface with the use of lacquer as the transfer medium.
Some decals were also produced that could be applied in a water-transfer
most durable lacquer decal of the era was one that was printed "face down" on transfer
paper. The term "face down" refers to the fact that this kind of decal
had the obverse side (the side seen after application) printed on transfer paper
while the reverse (or back side) remained exposed until application.
Wartime helmet decals also included a variety
sometimes referred to as "foil
backs" by helmet collectors. The term "foil back" is
somewhat misleading in that it implies the decal is made of aluminum foil (which
it is not). This type of decal was printed using the "face down"
method and it utilized a durable metallic aluminum backing for all
silver elements of the exposed design. So called "foil backs"
or "metallic" decals can be found in a variety of types where silver is an element of the
overall graphic design.
Original "face down" decals were printed on large sheets of paper
which were then cut so that four decals were on a single sheet at one time. The
front side of the decal was the transfer paper to which the image of the decal was
printed. On the front of the paper was printed a light stenciled outline of the
decal with cross marks which gave the person applying the decal a means to line the image
up correctly on the helmet.
the 1930-40's also allowed a decal to be printed "face up" on transfer
paper. These decals were printed on a roll of transfer paper and
cut individually prior to application. After being cut from the
printed roll the decals were simply soaked in water and then placed on
the helmet. A glue on the backside of the decal served as the
bonding agent. Original "face up" decals cannot be easily
distinguished from the type printed "face down" once applied to a
helmet. The fact that there were two different
techniques is not necessarily significant other than that it points
out the differences in printing methods available to and preferred by
the original manufacturers. There were many manufactures of
helmet decals in wartime Germany and the variations found in the
designs are common even though standard sizes and graphics were used.