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Author Topic: The hat and helmet modification thread  (Read 254 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« on: December 10, 2017, 08:43:07 pm »

So I was discussing a couple of very Steampunk looking historical helmets in the Historical Section of the forum. At issue were the wonderful German Pickelhaubes, British Pith Helmets. and American Dress Helmets of the period 1870-1918. They all have similar characteristics but definitely are different from one another.

The problem is, as a Steampunk you want to carry your anachronism into the garments. Modify them so they're not just cheap plastic copies (toys) and at the same time recognising that Steampunk is not an exercise in re-enactment, that you want the sci-fi aspect of Steampunk to show in the garment. Often that will mean that you will be buying something online, or at a brick and mortar shop, and then try to modify it to make it "Steampunk." That is what this thread is for: The hat and helmet modification thread. Post your favourite hats, and then describe what you did to them an why.  No doubt there will be many who also will be making their own hats from scratch. More power to you if you can do that. You're welcome to post here to, though I suspect we have at least one thread dedicated to making hats from scratch.

So for the first post, I continue with my Airship Angel Uniform, which I will post below.... So go ahead! Feel free to start posting!!

Cheers,

J. W.


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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 09:00:41 pm »

The problem at hand:

I am looking for a helmet similar to a Pickelhaube. The character to wear this helmet is an Airship engineer of Austro-Hungarian origin, a Luftschiffengel, but during the war he was captured by American forces and given the choice to go to a prisoner concentration camp, or switch sides to the American-Prussian (and possibly British) Union, fighting against the U.S. Confederate/French/Austrian-Mexican forces.

In a moment of Chivalry, President Abraham Lincoln (the alternate reality one who survived the assasination attempt by Booth), decides to extend amnesty to the captured Austro-Hungarian Luftschiffengel, and in an extreme act of grace, the US Army re-names them Airship Angels, and also allow for the pressed crew members to wear uniforms reminescent of their Germanic past. A new draft of US Army uniform specifications is issued to the new service branch division of Airship Corps of Engineers.

The Airship Corps of Engineers Officer Service Uniform is comprised of the following:

1. Landing party, Indoors and Warm Weather Service Suit. With Black Denim Lederhosen-style Short Trousers, Brown Woollen Thigh-high Socks, White Short Sleeve Service Shirt with appropriate rank insignia, Navy Canvas Fatigue Blouse (similar to US Civil War shell jackets) with appropriate rank insignia, All Terrain Leather Boots with Brown Suede Gaiters, and a Torso Protection Device for use with lifting harnesses in the form of an Steel Armoured Silk and Brass Corset. Black Felt Bavarian style hat with appropriate rank insignia or service branch insignia (similar to a fusion between a Trlby Hat and a US Cavalry Slouch Hat).

2. Landing Party Cool Weather Service uniform for cooler climes and formal occasions. As above but will include a thick Woollen Navy Winged Cloak Coat instead of the Canvas Fatigue Blouse, Brown Leather Wool-lined Gloves, Long Black Denim Trousers with appropriate rank/service coloured piping, and a Pickelhaube inspired helmet lined for high altitude or alpine weather conditions.

3. High altitude Fatigue Suit, to be determined as of yet - it will be a cross between an Inuit/Eskimo suit and an aviator overall, with built in heating elements with high altitude goggles and oxygen respirator helmet.

This thread would probably cover the latter two elements of the uniform:

1. Pickelhaube inspired helmet lined for high altitude or alpine weather conditions.

2. High altitude goggles and oxygen respirator helmet.

I start with real-world examples, some of which are the pictures I had posted in the other thread:

A Prussian Flamethrowers or Firefighter Protective Helmet probably from WWI, in the period 1914-18


An Austro-Hungarian Couirassier Helmet, ca. 1870. The French wore similar helmets.

An American M1881 Cavalry Officer's Formal Dress Helmet


"Experimental Pickelhaube" developed for Bavarian forces during WWI, for alpine conditions



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So having posted those examples, and taking the Bavarian "Experimental Pickelhaube" at a baseline, I started rummaging the Interwebs for alpine or cold weather caps, looking to see if any could cross the gap between a Pickelhaube and the American Helmet while having some winter-weather features that are more modern than seen in the 1870s (that's the Steampunk part").

This is what I found, online, and through the magic of photoshop, did aq few modifications...

1. Felt cap with foldable fur lined half flap for neck and ears. I'm not tremendously fond of the long duck-bill visor (too modern), but the baseball-hat like shape of the skull cap is similar to the tightness of the Pickelhaube, plus the felt is similar to that of the American Dress Helmets.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Siggi-Men-Wool-Baseball-Fitted-Cap-Winter-Warm-Earflap-Bill-Hat-Black/32729518594.html

The back:

 2. PU-leather fur lined cap with foldable half-flap for neck and ears. The duck-bill visor is shorter, which is a good thing. Plus the leather gives it a more Pickelhaube look that the other cap

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/AETRENDS-2017-Winter-Bomber-Hats-for-Men-Winter-PU-Leather-Flat-Dad-Hat-Warm-with/32840714371.html

The back:

Unfurled:

3. PU leather and fur cap with full ear, neck and chin flaps (aviator style). I have to work out the details as to how to fold the flaps (these tie together with leather straps), because the base of the Pickelhaube spike is very much going to be in the way of the tips. Perhaps I can make the spike removable, and use the spike itself to hold the two flaps in the :upward position". But for some reason I like this one the best. Perhaps is the fur accent on the visor. Pickelhaubes had very short visors, so this provides a bit of an illusion by dividing the visor into fur and PU leather. The other thing is that with flaps unfurled, this cap really looks like an aviator's hat.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Winter-Cap-Men-Warm-Hat-With-Ear-Flaps-Mens-Faux-Fur-Hat-Mens-Winter-Hat-Ear/2042436157.html


The back:

Detail:

Unfurled (It has a very "Mongolian" look to it, doesn't it?):

In any case, all these caps are very cheap. Often less than $10, the last one is less than $20. It seems a very easy modification to me.

I would have liked to see white fur and beige colours as well, but online, most aviator caps differ in style between men and women. The types above tend to be for men, and thus stick to dark grey, black and dark brown colours. I haven't seen beige and white colours yet, but that would be nice for the Austro-Hungarian uniforms which were usually white.

Any opinions?

JW
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 07:40:50 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 09:21:26 am »



 that actually works very well.   It looks viable and potentially  real .
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Will Howard
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 05:06:52 pm »

The problem at hand:

Unfurled (It has a very "Mongolian" look to it, doesn't it?):

Any opinions?

JW

I like the "Mongolian" look.  Worn, perhaps, by an Austrian named Genghis Konig?
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 08:54:37 pm »

that actually works very well.   It looks viable and potentially  real .


I also have a good feeling for it. It would be paired with this guy, which I still need to wear and photgraph:


Maybe for Xmas, but the problem is it will propabaly take over a month to get here, so it will skip past any potential cold weather here. We did have snow for one night (and I wanted to take pictures) last week though. There's plenty of chance for a few more cold nights.

(snip)

It will be very hard to find Austrian/Prussian eagles...

(snip)


If you have a 3D printshop nearby (and of course can find or make a 3D model for the crest) could one be printed up?

Yours,
Miranda.


A big part of the Pickelhaube look is the giant sprawling eagle in the front of the helmet/hat. Just from the pictures I think that's a big part of it. Besides 3-D printing another posibility is metallic Sculpey/Fimo on a curved metal mesh. I have a fair amount of experience with it. But if you want it to look like real metal, there are very few options other than using real metal.

I would try with Sculpey first, because it's relatively cheap and easy to sculpt. The eagle is fairly wide and distorted and basically needs to be custom made for the helmet's forehead shape and width. Sculpey/Fimo does not paint well (vulnerable to paint solvents), but there are a few premium clays in other brands that are laden with real metal powder. Otherwise I could try to use some painted substrate like water soluble Latex to protect the Sculpey from the solvent, and then use a chrome/golden paint - I've never tried that though.

Here's an article on the subject
https://thebluebottletree.com/metallic-look-on-polymer-clay/

I've also tried infusing real brass powder into epoxy ('cold cast"). The result was not good, the mixture looked more like dark metallic olive green.

Related to casting, I found these soap bar molds with three cavities. The Eagle design spreads just short of 4 inches by 1-7/8 of an inch.
http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/products/american-eagle-soap-mold.aspx

Now, actual metal is not entirely out of the question. I found these stamped brass eagles on Etsy, in 3-1/4 inches X 2 inches, not as big as I need, but definitely workable and only cost $5. Perhaps attached on top of a larger medallion?
https://www.etsystudio.com/listing/513642237/pack-of-2-brass-eagle-american-eagle


The problem at hand:

Unfurled (It has a very "Mongolian" look to it, doesn't it?):

Any opinions?

JW


I like the "Mongolian" look.  Worn, perhaps, by an Austrian named Genghis Konig?


 Grin
Giving new meaning to the somewhat childish insult "hun" logged against Germans in WWI propaganda.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 11:26:41 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Banfili
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 11:46:03 pm »

It was Kaiser Wilhelm himself who told his soldiers to go and act like the Huns of yore - talk about being hoist by your own petard!
He, being an extremely stupid man, couldn't understand why the world vilified German soldiers for their behaviour during WWI.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 12:09:26 am »

It was Kaiser Wilhelm himself who told his soldiers to go and act like the Huns of yore - talk about being hoist by your own petard!
He, being an extremely stupid man, couldn't understand why the world vilified German soldiers for their behaviour during WWI.

Indeed, you're correct. And not only that but somehow seems his character reminds me of a certain someone else. Got rid of the smart people in government and ignored the advice of his political supporters and experts. *wink, wink* History definitely repeats itself, doesn't it?

Kaiser Wilhelm II from Wiki
Quote
Acceding to the throne in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course" in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led in a matter of days to the First World War. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 that cost him most of his influence.[1] His leading generals, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, dictated policy during the First World War with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war-time leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 12:13:20 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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