Painting a Ranger Diamond
We get asked this a lot, So here's how you paint a Ranger Diamond on M1 Helmet. You'll need a few things:
- Ranger Diamond Patch
- Masking Tape
- Small Paintbrush
- Orange Enamel Paint
- Black Enamel Paint
- Potentially Rapco Spraypaint (Early WWII lusterless Olive Drab)
First things first, here's what we're going for:
1. To begin, clean up your helmet by removing any dirt or grease. If the helmet still looks a little too battleworn or is the wrong color OD, you might want to consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. So give it a coat or two of Rapco spray paint. We base our impression for the D-day landings, so everything does look a bit cleaner than you'd typically expect in WWII Combat.
2. Luckily, the diamond on your helmet is the same size as your ranger patch. So to make it a bit easier, I just use the patch to create the outline for the painted diamond. You can get a really straight outline by using a loop of tape to adhere the patch to the helmet as you trace. When tracing with the pencil, I usually create a rough trace then outline it several time so you can see it when you paint.
3. To paint the orange diamond, you'll need to slowly outline the inside of the pencil marks you made earlier with the orange paint. Then after you've got the straight lines painted, fill in the center. Be sure to really shake the enamel paint, its really finicky. I also sometimes put on another light coat of orange paint to cover the texture of the helmet.
4. Once the orange paint has dried completely you can start on the 5 (or 2). There is a ton of liberty you can take with the number. In 2017 we found over 10 variations of font, my recommendation is go on google and find one you like (or can paint for that matter). The secret to getting a clean looking number is to trace the outline then paint it. Even after painting 12+ helmets I still mock up the number every time.
There you go, It's not that hard. Remember that you can always repaint or touch-up as needed. If you are looking for instructions on how to paint a NCO/CO "Follow Me" stripe, all you'll need to do is buy white paint and paint a white bar. Horizontal bars are for NCOs, and vertical bars are for Officers. This is one example where google is your friend, there's a ton of variation here too.
History of the Ranger Helmet Paint:
The Rangers had a big issue during the Fabius exercise. They got separated because there was so many people on the beach (blame the 29thID LOL). When you are taking cover and moving, it's hard to keep track of who is leading your unit. Especially when everyone is earing the same gear and you cant see patches or faces. So the Rangers came up with the bright orange diamonds. That way, you can see who's who from behind.