Helmet Details?

Submitted by Augger on August 18th, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Now before you get riled up this isnt another post about Tate and his head gear.  From the data dump that came with Helmet-gate though was some info about the Michigan helmets in general.  From what I read, the Helmets actually start maize and then the blue is painted on in the correct form to produce the winged helmet image we all know and love.  I was just wondering if anyone was an equipment person or knew someone who was, is this something that is done on campus or is it something the helmet company does in-house?  Either way it was an interesting tidbit, I guess it makes sense light color to dark color, but not something I had ever thought about before.




August 18th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

They start yellow, are painted blue, and then the wings are painted maize I believe. The only reason they would get yellow ones in the first place would be so that they don't have to do a ton of coats to cover up blue with maize.

The video from the first day of Countdown to Kickoff describes the whole process nicely.


August 18th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

This is what I thought was kind of funny about the whole thing.  They don't just stick the wings on - it is a pretty involved painting job, and it starts all maize.  So I assume the day he earns his wings they have to overnight his helmet to this place in Ohio or wherever for a major strip and re-paint job by the next morning?  Ahhh the things we do for our team :)


August 18th, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

Thanks all so much for your input...The video answered all my questions, interesting that all the creation and refurbishment of the iconic UM helmet happens in Ohio though...who would have thunk it.


Section 1

August 18th, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

I thought that they were keeping Tate's helmet wings, in a box, in a shed near the practice field, with nothing but some water and Twinkies to eat.  And that when the wings finally came out of the box, that Barwis would make them fly around the stadium twenty times, carrying a weighted banner advertising the Deja Vu strip clubs.


August 18th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

...Adds some more information from Jon Falk's book, including information about Bob Bland's role painting the helmets, who is his assistant during football season and also the head basketball equipment manager.

Greg helps delineate some of the intricacies expressed in Jon's original CTK video and even shares some information directly from Russ Hawkins, the man from Schutt who places the paint mold boundary tape by hand. (As opposed to Riddell, where they use a standardized "Wing" tape).


I am guessing that the helmets with "the wings taken off" are very likely simply blue helmets which were ordered separately, but I have not really seen a close picture of them to say for sure. Tape covering the maize would be very noticeable, as would paint, in a picture taken at a reasonably close distance.

One thing not mentioned in any of these videos is that scratches from facemasks and paint from other helmets find their way onto the helmets each week in games and, mostly, in practice. Steel wool is used to remove these marks from the helmet (and linemen see the worst gouges and scrapes) to make the them look as pristine as possible on Saturday afternoons (before the application of the Future floor cleaner to give them a waxy shine).