German Steel Helmet M16 / Stahlhelm M16 (Special Edition Version): This helmet, which first entered service in 1916 during the initial stages of the battle of Verdun was designed by Professor Friedrich Schwerd and made from high quality chrome-nickel steel. Weighing between 950 and 1200g, depending on size – more heavier than the Allied helmets, but giving a better protection to the face, ears and neck. The horn venting bolts on each side enabled the fitting of an extra armoured shield over the helmet (also available in 1:16th scale from Jon Smith Modellbau) for sentries, MG troops, snipers or other particularly exposed / dangerous employment. This weighing around 2000g was seldom used; although a total of 50000 were supposedly produced.
Colour outside: first issued in field-grey, which would reflect in sun light and proved unsatisfactory. Various trials were carried out, but it was not until July 1918 that an official camouflage scheme in brown and green sharp-edged irregular patens, all outlined in black was introduced. These were carried out by unit maintenance workshops (other weapons and equipment, particularly artillery pieces and MGs were also rendered in the same way). It seems that helmets were re-painted by individuals or units in a variety of colour schemes before the official order and items with red- brown, ochre (brownish- yellow), green and blue- grey, all outlined in black were common. Helmets were also covered using the light brown sandbag material, or the issued helmet-covers, seen particularly in the later war period.
Colour inside: field-grey all metal pars except chin-strap attachments, which seems to have been unpainted steel. The 3 leather helmet liner pads are of a light coloured leather, which darkened with time. These were mounted to the leather helmet ring, which was also of leather. A string adjustment cord held the 6 pad ends together.
The M.17 & 18 helmets followed with only slight differences to the inside liner and chin strap fasteners. The last model to see service during the war, if only in small numbers was the M.18 Ohrenausschnitt, or Helmet M.18 with ear cut-outs, more commonly (and stubbornly) known as the Cavalry or Telegraph Helmet. The cut-outs were in fact a further design feature of the M.18 to improve the hearing ability of the wearer and avoid the hissing noise experienced by troops.
Notes from the Sculptor
This JSM Special Edition helmet was designed using 3D technology and intended to show the inside of this well-known helmet for diorama and model scenes. Here I have gone to the limits in creation and casting and this item is quite thin in places. Care should be taken when removing the casting channel from rear of helmet. I would suggest clipping away this channel bit by bit, until a small rim is left sitting on the bottom of helmet edge. This can then be removed carefully with a sharp modelling knife and final cleaned with fine sandpaper. The 2 prominent helmet vent bolts can be drilled though if required – here one should use a 0.3mm hand drill, taking care that the correct angle is kept when drilling. The hole should then re-appear in the correct outlet within helmet.