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    Collector Topics:  Luftwaffe Second Pattern Helmet Decals

 

Photo:  An Original Luftwaffe Second Pattern Decal.

 

Second Pattern Helmet Decals

The second pattern Luftwaffe eagle decal began to appear in 1937 when Luftwaffe insignia was being redesigned and standardized for large scale production.  The decal insignia is identical to cloth uniform insignia save for the fact that the image is facing left rather than right.  Second pattern decals of this kind can be found on all helmets used by the Luftwaffe from 1937 to 1945.  This includes combat models as well as transitional and lightweight helmets used by officers and NCO's.  Several different makers produced the second pattern decal which accounts for slight variations in eagle details from one helmet to the next.  The extent of the variation in decal types is rather subtle and not as notable to the naked eye without having had the experience of examining a large number of helmets.  Decals of this kind were generally printed in white.  Gold versions also existed initially for technical tradesmen and high ranking officers.  Over the years decals that were printed in white often yellow to a golden color as a result of the period applied lacquer finish that has now aged.  This pattern decal is the most numerous in nature when compared to earlier pattern decals.  A subdued second pattern decal in green also existed.  However, many modern collectors tend to shun the notion that the decals are in fact true originals.

The yellow color of this decal is a result of the period applied lacquer finish having now turned dark with age.  Compare this image to the decal shown at top which received no lacquer finish and yet retains its original white color.

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