My wife had bought me a new a new N5a leather helmet a couple of years ago for christmas. when i got it the helmets in my fh were yellow, 6 months later they changed all ther helmets to black. i explored all options, brought to body shops, talked to other guys who painted there own. finally i
got a hold of MSA who painted the helmet originally. the helmet was purchased from the fire store. MSA recommends
using sherwin williams paint. you can obtain the numbers for the primer and paint color that you want, they only sell
it one gallon cans, the primer and paint was well over a hundred dollars. i found that the best option was to send it back to MSA (1-800-672-2222) and have them repaint it for me. i got my helmet repainted back in may of 2010. it cost me about $8 to send it down to them. the total cost for MSA to repaint and send back to me was $58. MSA told me it would aprox. 6-8 weeks to get, i had it back in less than 4. the halmet came out beautiful. could not get over what a great job they did. i strongly recommend sending it down to them and have it done. the helmet as seen several fires and alot of training and still looks great.
I have mine before and it seems to chip off very easly. I have heard that you had to heat the helmet but this is the first time i have heard of someone doing it. Do you heat the helmet prier to painting and if so do you paint the helmet while it is still hot out of the oven?
If you heat the helmet up first it opens the pores of the leather up to let the paint soak into the leather more. This way the paint is actually inside the leather and not just on top of it. So, the answer is start painting it as soon as you take it out of the oven, then heat and paint 2 to 3 more times.
Mine was painted about 5 years ago. It had paint flaking off of it after just a couple of fires. But since the repaint the helmet has not flaked a bit of the paint off.
Best bet will be to get the helmet down to the bare leather. That way none of the old paint will try to flake off when you go into a fire. If i remember it took me about 90 minutes of blasting to get it all the way clean. But I had to wait for the air compressor to build pressure back up.