HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am spending the weekend submerged in my helmet hobby. After locating some Saints fleur de leis decals as well as some 49er decals, I decided to get some "old gold" paint and get two helmets started. After spraying the two helmets, I made the "mistake" of wandering over to Helmet Hut's web site and stumbling upon a "scratch and dent" sale on helmets. There were only two left - and one was the exact colors I would need (including the correct face mask) to complete an Archie Manning replica. (see photo).
The helmet would need to have the numerals removed but since it was selling for an amazing $99.00, I quickly wrote to my advisor at Helmet Hut, Mr. Curtis Worrell, to see if these could be removed with the trusty "hot air from a hair dryer" method, and asked also if he would be willing to sell me two sets of San Diego Charger style three inch numerals in black for yet another helmet I will be working to finish sometime in April. In a manner of minutes Curtis wrote back and told me not to worry, he would see to it that the factory would remove the "15's" and he also would ship, at no additional cost to me, the two sets of Lance Alworth numerals I requested.
It was at this point that I now realized I had one "old gold" spray painted helmet to spare so I set to work on making that one into a salute to the late, great Ray Nitschke by covering the "old gold" with a Green Bay Packer yellow. On the spray can it is described as "old Caterpillar yellow". It is very close to the official Packer cheese yellow - the color I always describe as Hellman's mustard yellow - or John Deere yellow. As you can see by the photo, I have given the helmet multple coats and will finsih with several coats of "clear". I also just happen to have the 1960's line backer's cage face mask in gray - and when I get my 60's Packer decals which I have on order, and complete this helmet, it will be oh so nice!

Which brings me to another part of the story of my weekend. After mucho searching on the web, I found a really great guy from (where else?) Wisconsin, that has all kinds of really nicely made decals. so I ordered an entire set of the 1960's style Packer decals as well as San Diego 1960's lightning bolts.

I only bring this up to illustrate the point that most of the time when you deal with on line eBay sellers, they are an upstanding, trustworthy group that will go out of their way to make certain you are getting what you are looking for.

Such is the case with Martin of Milwaukee. When I placed the order, I made a mistake on the stripe order. Martin could have just sent out what I asked for, but he pointed out that the two outside stripes should be 3/4 inch, not one inch!

Then he did something way cool in mid-negotiation with me. He went to my web site, looked it over, and sent me a jpg of a Bart Starr jersey I have on my site and he included an address to which I could send the jersey and actually have Bart Starr himself autograph it!

Now I have fired off a letter to the Brett Starr Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama, asking Bart if he would consider autographing the replica Bart Starr helmet that I had Helmet Hut rescue and recondition for me last year. I would rather have the helmet autographed than the jersey.

There is as minimum fee of $35.00 for each item that Bart autographs and all of the money goes to his son's charity or the Boy's ranch outside Appleton. To make certain that you are not sending your item in to just get the autograph and then sell it at a profit later, Bart insists that the inscription will be something personal like: "TO LARRY - BEST WISHES - BART STARR -15-
The other old gold helmet with the cardinal face mask is to be a San Francisco 49'er replica. I was able to locate the correct decals and they should be in some time this week. I can hardly wit to see my San Francisco friend Doug Cox's face when he see it!

Finally, yesterday I bid on and won a large, black, Riddell helmet for $43.50 which is really a great deal considering that new ones sell for over $100. The $43.50 includes a hefty shipping charge. It is a little beat up, but I will restore it with a midnight blue paint job as I already have Chicago Bears decals.

So here is my current helmet inventory:

Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XXXI, Brett Favre model
Green Bay Packers, Super Bowls I and II, Bart Starr model
Green Bay Packers, Ahman Green model with correct face mask
Green Bay Packers, Ray Nitschke model, with correct face mask, work in progress
New York Jets, Brett Favre model
New York Giants, Eli Manning model
Kansas City Chiefs, Trent Greene model w/ correct face mask
Arizona Cardinals, Tillman model
Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino model with correct cage face mask, 1966-1990 Silver Season Edition
Detroit Lions, Helmet Hut built, 1960's Dick LeBeau Model, single bar face mask
San Francisco 49ers 2004 Edition, work in progress
Cleveland Bowns, Jim Brown helmet #32, double bar face mask
Baltimore Colts, Johnny Unitas helmet #19, double bar face mask
Oakland Raiders Kenny "The Snake" Stabler #12 issue with specially made Dunbar face mask
Wisconsin Badger Riddell helmet with "swoosh W's", full interior line man's face mask in cardinal
Washington Redskins Riddell present decal model with yellow cage face mask
Washington Redskins Wilson helmet - the Lombardi edition, yellow with white shield, feathers and "R" decals
Washington Redskins RK type Riddell helmet in dark burgundy with lance decals
Chicago Bears Riddell helmet project - orange "C" decals, 1980's running back face mask ("Sweetness" replica)
San Diego Chargers Rawlings helmet - 1960's style white w/ dark blue outlined, yellow lightning bolts, #19 on both sides, single bar face mask


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