Air Ministry flying helmet modelling block
Air Ministry 'modelling head'. Solid wood with facial features marked/numbered. Stamped at the neck with Air Ministry King's crown, 1943 date and the (size) number '4'. The head is mounted on a solid wooden base with similar marks and a brass plate also marked '4'. The whole block has been screwed to a plywood base with adjustable 'feet'. Modelling heads were used for the display of flying helmets in official Air publications but this is likely to have been a side benefit. They are extremely well made and far too good to have been used for photography purposes only. It is likely that they were developed in the laboratory at Farnborough during research into the sizing of helmets and are the result of measuring the heads of countless aircrew recruits. This helped lead to the standardisation of sizing, this example being for the largest size 4 helmet. It is also feasible that they were used to ensure quality control and consistency of the size of finished helmets prior to their distribution to maintenance units. The marks that denote the eye positions were probably used to aid with the development of goggles and their positioning in relation to the flying helmet.
Very few of these heads would have been produced making this is an extremely rare survivor. A fabulous sculptural item that makes an excellent display piece with or without a helmet. Please note that the helmet shown in some of the photographs is not included in the sale. Stock code H22640.