Author Topic: The hat and helmet modification thread  (Read 27032 times)

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2018, 07:27:29 am »
Following on from my original pith helmet conversion:



Right click and view image to view image in full size (1197 pixels wide)

18v batteries, tin/copper battery box and 12v fan over-volted to provide a good head draught,

I have replaced the faux leather straps and liner for good and solid real leather chin straps and a leather inner liner.

New photos in next post

Wonderful pith helmet Uncle Bert. Have you considered Solid State cooling? A refrigerated hat! And the car is great too!

Uncle Bert's Galvanic Fan Helmet from last page
(Right click to zoom in)


It's great to see the thread developing, keep the hats coming!

~ ~ ~

I see I forgot to take pictures of the finished plume over the Airship Angel hat. I continued applying layers of polyurethane to the plume holder, until it became shiny, and used gold paint to cover the edge of the grey plastic "tee." The whole plume assembly is heavy enough that either you must wear the hat or prop it up from underneath to keep the plume straight, since the hat is very soft and not a helmet.








Nevertheless, keeping the plume holder straight seems to be a common problem, based on pictures of surviving helmets. The plume is exclusively a ceremonial artefact, worn only occasionally, and so it tends to be very fragile, unlike the Prussian spike which was taken into combat.

Original British Household Cavalry Life Guard Parade Helmet with White Plume


The American M1881 Dress Helmet had a particularly flimsy plume holder, which I doubt could withstand a fast gallop, much less battle. American craftsmen, not familiarized with European uniforms, would often invent their own hardware and their own uniform patterns (eg kilts for the New York Volunteer Brigades), resulting in odd, less than standard items - sort of like I did with my Steampunk costume  :P.

M1881 US Army, 4th Cavalry Dress Helmet





« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 07:57:31 am by J. Wilhelm »

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #76 on: July 29, 2018, 10:13:11 am »
Ha! Found the picture.  In another thread, I had talked about a family member of mine on the Italian/Basuqe side being in the Army. He sent to France to study Artillery at the French Military Academy and after returning to Mexico was a Colonel during the Mexican Civil War. He was a professor and eventual director of the Mexican aviation academy


Well, I just found a photograph of someone wearing a Pickelhaube, and guess who it is?  ;D It seems I am justified in my madness  ;D


Hurricane Annie

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #77 on: August 12, 2018, 05:51:12 am »


 He is very handsome in his helmet.  Fate works in mysterious ways. There are many curious Co incidences in life

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #78 on: August 12, 2018, 10:12:43 pm »


 He is very handsome in his helmet.  Fate works in mysterious ways. There are many curious Co incidences in life
He must have been very young in that picture with the Pickelhaube. The helmets were discontinued right after the start of the Mexican Civil War (Revolución) in 1910

Hurricane Annie

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #79 on: August 13, 2018, 10:08:10 am »


 He is very handsome in his helmet.  Fate works in mysterious ways. There are many curious Co incidences in life
He must have been very young in that picture with the Pickelhaube. The helmets were discontinued right after the start of the Mexican Civil War (Revolución) in 1910

 Possibly in his early mid 20s, by the looks

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #80 on: August 16, 2018, 08:21:58 pm »


 He is very handsome in his helmet.  Fate works in mysterious ways. There are many curious Co incidences in life
He must have been very young in that picture with the Pickelhaube. The helmets were discontinued right after the start of the Mexican Civil War (Revolución) in 1910

 Possibly in his early mid 20s, by the looks

That blurry document above is from a Facebook page - an aviation history group (https://es-la.facebook.com/aviaciomilitarmexicana/photos/o.158859000857968/1471109229581846). It reads Gustavo Bazan-Cañamar was born in 1887, so at age 18 it would be 1905, where he'd be old enough to be conscripted into the army.

President Porfirio Diaz' tenure was very long (he was a dictator). And according to a Pickelhauben website (EDIT: Apparently the website was taken off-line) the spike helmets were only worn for a very brief period, bewteen 1905 and 1910 as part of formal dress uniforms (not battle - The Prussians, other Germans plus Chilean and Peruvian forces did get to wear them in battle). So he'd be in the precise period to wear that helmet as a cadet.

The revolution started in 1910, but it reads in that 5 year span before the war he was sent to France to study artillery (which I knew from my family's accounts).

Mexican Pickelhauben - made in Prussia for the Mexican Army (1905-1910)
You can see the Mexican coat of arms, an eagle perched on a cactus eating a snake
Aztec myth of origin, the Nahua Mexica people should settle at a place where an eagle was found eating a snake.
They found it on an island in the midle of Lake Texcoco on June 20, 1325 - renamed it Tenochtitlan.
The Spanish renamed it "Mexico-Tenochtitlan" or "The City of Mexico" in 1521
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 09:19:26 pm by J. Wilhelm »

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #81 on: September 19, 2019, 06:13:56 am »
Bumping the thread up in the hope that Uncle Bert gives a hand to Mr. MadasaSteamFish with his "hat ventilation methods."

And being September, only half a month away from Oktoberfest and 5 or so weeks from Allhallowtide, I'm wondering if there are any hat projects among us...

yereverluvinunclebert

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2019, 11:04:52 pm »
A 12 volt computer fan, some brass screws, two x 9v batteries in series giving 18volts will power a laptop fan at 140% normal power (goes straight up to 11 and beyond). Two 9v connectors and a small tin can to hold the batteries. Drill some holes in the can and the helmet, feed the wiring through. You need some sort of grille to prevent your fly away hair from entering the environs of the fan (hair and spinning fans mix very well) - I used a plastic-coated wire spider web from a halloween toy to prevent my golden locks from entering the spinning blades but you'll need to find something as useful that acts as a barrier. Sports car chrome radiator grille material might be applicable. The fan needs to draw air from somewhere, preferably some already extant ventilation holes. The battery can was soldered to some bent brass bracelets, drilled to accept holes for round-headed brass screws to attach it to the helmet. Some string can be wrapped tightly around the cables or you can cut some sport laces and thread the cables through, giving the cables a retro-electrical wrapped look. I wore my pith helmet a minute ago, it has a certain cache and it is really useful in the summer.  ;D

To make the hat truly wearable and give it more credibility, pad it with real leather, leather and more leather. Then some leather.

« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 11:08:03 pm by yereverluvinunclebert »
Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute

Lizzie Cogsworthy

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2019, 03:06:52 pm »
Mr. Wilhelm, might I suggest that if you still want a metallic look to your finiel, at in my experience the hammered metal spray paints one can find in the hardware store are a most excellant choice? The hammered golds and coppers are quite realistic, far more so than the plain metallics you've used.

Also, if you want to make the leather belt/band darker, or perhaps red? Sugar-free Koolaid makes for a fantastically durable and intense dye. Mix with a bit of hot water until liquid, soak, and then dry and rinse with cold water. I knew a man who dyed a belt red with it, and he said he haid to boil it to get the color to loosen even in the slightest.

Just remove the preservative coat from the leather with distilled alcohol or turpentine first, then rinse in soapy water.

Regards,

Alizabel D. Cogsworthy.

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #84 on: October 13, 2019, 01:04:25 am »
Mr. Wilhelm, might I suggest that if you still want a metallic look to your finiel, at in my experience the hammered metal spray paints one can find in the hardware store are a most excellant choice? The hammered golds and coppers are quite realistic, far more so than the plain metallics you've used.

Also, if you want to make the leather belt/band darker, or perhaps red? Sugar-free Koolaid makes for a fantastically durable and intense dye. Mix with a bit of hot water until liquid, soak, and then dry and rinse with cold water. I knew a man who dyed a belt red with it, and he said he haid to boil it to get the color to loosen even in the slightest.

Just remove the preservative coat from the leather with distilled alcohol or turpentine first, then rinse in soapy water.

Regards,

Alizabel D. Cogsworthy.

Thank you for the suggestions Ms. Cogsworthy. Perhaps for the end of the year. Said hat has served me well even for practical winter and fall wear last year. It saw service last this March at South by Southwest, but just missed Oktoberfest, because temperatures were much too high (35 C / 95 F in October 1!!). The weather just changed last week to a cool 7 C / 45 F quite abruptly, so I had to wear it yesterday. The hat is an ideal ice breaker on the street.

After all this time, the belt is feeling a tad soft, as the polyurethane (PU) foam tends to soften with wear. Same is happening for the hat itself which is made from the same material, so I try not to crush it too much (it develops creases while stored in my backpack). I may try to replace the belt soon with a real leather one, though the old one doesn't really show any wear, it's just very soft. I've toyed with the idea of making a second hat from a real leather version of the trapper hat. Chinese websites do sell real leather hats, but the design is a bit different, (none in black) and at least twice as expensive. It may be worth my while, though. Real life just gets in the way of my projects.

I gave up on the paints when I first made it because, it looked too artificial and I was wasting too much time trying to get the correct "texture" out of the extremely porous surfaces. I'm glad I never tried to paint the cabochon. That would have been a costly mistake. A multi layer primer might take care of those issues. If I try the Rustoleum brand paint, like you suggest, it could be matched to the eagle, perhaps, with some sort of antique look. Just getting a finial without having to turn one yourself is an issue. So I just settled for a natural wood finish.

I remain at your service,

J. Wilhelm.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 01:30:18 am by J. Wilhelm »

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Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #85 on: September 05, 2021, 01:11:22 pm »
I just stumbled on this item on a Chinese website. Made from lamb-skin, polyurethane imitation leather and faux fur, Me thinks my idea for the fur-hat pickelhaube was eyed and stolen by some crafty manufacturer in China. It comes in tan, brown and black. Missing is the large brass American Bald Eagle, a nod to the Prussian Pickelhaube, and instead it was replaced by a much smaller version - still same pose as mine, perched eagle, body and wings splayed in one direction and the head in the opposite direction - clearly historical American iconography, which leads me to believe the idea was taken from one of my pictures). The eagle is now in front of a shield. In American symbols, the eagle is typically perched on a "stars and bars" shield.

As the fictional story goes, the fur pickelhaube was the hat worn by officers in the new US Army Airship Corps of Engineers, which emerged after the 1870s Aerial Franco-American War where then Captain Wilhelm captured the famed CSAA Alamo / KuK Walküre from the Confederate / Austrian alliance fleet. But as it happened in real life to the Union Army during the American Civil War, the uniforms worn in combat in the American frontier proved to be too hot and cumbersome for combat in warm weather, particularly in a desert setting, during the first year of the Civil War in Arizona and New Mexico territories.

The end result was that the US Army revised the whole concept of the combat uniform and developed the "Fatigue Blouse," a cotton canvas garment that looks like a coat, but is more akin to a thick shirt, and is meant to be worn over layers of clothing depending on the weather. Similarly, the traditional blue navy coat color gave way to other colors, such as tan, similar to the Khaki uniforms worn by British Forces in India, and which was widespread scheme by the time of the Spanish American War (Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders) and WWI. The color scheme then have way to green and tan used during WWII, eventually leading to modern camouflage fatigues.

So now I wonder if the fur pickelhaube would have been sidelined for a lighter, more practical version to be worn on the ground and low altitude flights over the American Southwest.




A candidate for a Desert Service Cap, Airship Corps of Engineers, style M1880-M1900?
Remove the silly emblem and replace with a suitable eagle.
Add spike mounted on wooden rosette and attached by way of snap buttons.



The original fur pickelhaube for reference



« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 01:21:57 pm by J. Wilhelm »

Hurricane Annie

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #86 on: September 05, 2021, 02:52:09 pm »

 Is this the hat style worn by Sgt Carter on Hogan's Heroes TV show?


Seen here on the right






J. Wilhelm

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #87 on: September 05, 2021, 04:00:52 pm »

 Is this the hat style worn by Sgt Carter on Hogan's Heroes TV show?


Seen here on the right







Similar, but with a rigid visor and a padded or rigid top. The Chinese caps are somewhat based on baseball cap designs, and they merge the design with military caps from Chinese Army and Soviet Republic Eras, with interesting results. The trend is to use leather or imitation leather and combine it with short or long earflaps

A leather forage cap?

« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 04:03:12 pm by J. Wilhelm »

Hurricane Annie

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #88 on: September 06, 2021, 06:02:56 am »
Quote from: J. Wilhelm



[/quote

Similar, but with a rigid visor and a padded or rigid top. The Chinese caps are somewhat based on baseball cap designs, and they merge the design with military caps from Chinese Army and Soviet Republic Eras, with interesting results. The trend is to use leather or imitation leather and combine it with short or long earflaps

A leather forage cap?


 That cap looks to be a practical utilitarian head wear. Visor to reduce sun or snow glare. Flap to raise or lower to protect from cold or sun burn.  Made in a sturdy leather or  pleather, which lens a water proof quality m. It would be ideal for most environments.

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #89 on: September 06, 2021, 04:50:48 pm »
The Chinese version is nice, but nowhere near as handsome as yours.

Yours,
Miranda.

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #90 on: September 06, 2021, 06:45:32 pm »
The Chinese version is nice, but nowhere near as handsome as yours.

Yours,
Miranda.

Thank you  ;D The original is special, isn't it? It just happen to press all the right buttons. I was going for the oversize eagle to imitate the brass plate on a pickelhaube.

I can't find an exact replacement for the black faux leather/fur cap (discontinued), but I found a slightly less attractive real leather sheepskin equivalent at a very decent price, and I'm seriously considering getting it and adapting the hardware to it (eagle and spike) which is a trivial exercise. At $23.50 + free shipping, it's a steal.
A leather hat is much more likely to last longer than the PU (faux) leather version. I'm just afraid that the real leather might be fairly thin. It's a hit or miss situation with Chinese providers.







I would like that tan colored cap too I might have to do a little extra work to remove that emblem and again it's trivial to adapt the original hardware, since it's detachable.

EDIT:
Ooops! My finger slipped and I accidentally purchased the black sheepskin leather version above.  ::). Baaaad Johannes! Baaad Johannes! I'm still considering the tan colored cap (I love tan suede).
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 07:29:55 pm by J. Wilhelm »

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Airship Desert Service Cap after the Franco American War.
« Reply #91 on: September 06, 2021, 06:50:09 pm »
Quote from: J. Wilhelm



[/quote

Similar, but with a rigid visor and a padded or rigid top. The Chinese caps are somewhat based on baseball cap designs, and they merge the design with military caps from Chinese Army and Soviet Republic Eras, with interesting results. The trend is to use leather or imitation leather and combine it with short or long earflaps

A leather forage cap?


 That cap looks to be a practical utilitarian head wear. Visor to reduce sun or snow glare. Flap to raise or lower to protect from cold or sun burn.  Made in a sturdy leather or  pleather, which lens a water proof quality m. It would be ideal for most environments.

I think it's quite period correct but more for the 1860s-1870s, if you look at Austrian and Prussian uniforms at around the time of the Austro-Prussian War (early 1870s?).Otherwise it starts looking like French caps worn until the 20th century. With the proper hardware it will look the part.

J. Wilhelm

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Re: The hat and helmet modification thread
« Reply #92 on: October 18, 2021, 04:26:12 am »
So it's been almost 4 years since I assembled the airship officer's service cap. The black polyurethane foam faux leather has held up well against daily use for 3 winters including the Great Texas Snowstorm of 2021  ::) It has been folded inside a backpack, drenched in rainstorm more than once,and worn in hot weather too, which is not so comfortable. The hat has aged very well, considering the abuse. But there are signs that point towards its eventual demise.


A few permanent creases have formed on the PU surface, which threaten to expose the foam substrate, and a few milimeter holes already show the black foamy structure. Which means that in one or two years there will be cracks in the PU surface.

As I posted above, while looking at the Desert Service cap above, a month and a half ago, I found this cap below (I already fitted the hardwareon it):


It arrived via Post about 3 weeks ago. The surface is a very thin layer of sheepskin, and the faux fur is much shorter and finer. No one will confuse it with real fur of any kind, though it's very black. The structure rigidity of the hat comes from traditional baseball cap foam. It's fairly lightweight. So I wouldn't necessarily call this an improvement, but besides the lovely leather smell, it's also much lighter and not as hot to wear as the original cap. I still like the original one better, though, especially in design.

I'm still looking for the ideal replacement -I'd like real leather and real wool, but it's actually very hard to find. The sheepskin version above differs mostly in the fur over and under the visor (missing altogether) and this is really the absolute closest I found to the now discontinued PU version. I've spent so far $23 on the sheepskin version, which I consider very cheap, but...

Guess what? *facepalm* I found another one in black suede and real fur. Bad news? It's $56. There's a few drawbacks, like the fur looking a bit different since it's shearling (but it's real!!) and the leather being suede,not shiny (but it's real, and likely thicker!!). The design of the shearling hat looks nearly identical to the original PU faux leather one... And now I'm facing real life problems this October, which are limiting my income (lower hours of work) and an unexpected medical condition looming over the horizon... *double facepalm* But I guess this is what they call First World Problems. I still have food to eat and a job.








Oh, well. What to do?  ::)  I guess I'll just have to pirate some airship or something for Christmas... I need to find a second income soon  ::)