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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 11:18 pm 
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This helmet certainly is a mystery. As I said before, the big question is... Why does it even exist at all?

And I don't think it's as easy as, 'somebody stuck an ESB dome on an ANH facemask.'

And why was Dave wearing it in this scene?

Image


One possible reason Dave would be wearing this particular helmet can be gleaned from the book,' the making of TESB'. First, this particular scene is the first scene shot with Darth Vader.
Second,
what you see on screen is not the first take. In the book, Prowse describes the first take;

'Wall explodes, amid a ton of smoke and debris and the two troopers in front of him, who cannot see, burst through the opening
and immediately trip over themselves. Prowse, who can't see either, tries to follow them, but one of the troopers behind him is standing on
is cape. When the cape breaks he falls down on top of the troopers.'


He doesn't going to any more description than that. But, is it possible that his helmet was damaged during the fall and perhaps this was the
only helmet immediately available? Or someone just grabbed this helmet on accident, not noticing the difference and nobody caught it until
after the shot was done. Somewhere else in the book, it describes a Wampa ice creature breaking through a wall and that wasn't working well
either. Each time it failed, it would take hours to reset the wall. By the time somebody noticed the helmet was wrong, maybe the time and cost
it would take to reset the wall and reshoot the scene was probably just not worth it. They probably just said, eh, hopefully nobody will notice.

For the last few months, nearly every day, I have been doing some very serious studying of both the ESB and ROTJ helmets and I've made some very surprising discoveries.
Things are not what they ultimately seem to be. Screen used helmets can and have been modified.

I think it's just assumed, that the ESB was gonna have a larger chin grille from the get-go. There is no facts behind that assumption. They may still of been just trying Where are the ESB screen used helmets today? Where is this helmet today? If it is not the Don Bies helmet, where is it?


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:18 am 
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It should be noted, that there was still a learning curve going on here.

When they were making ANH, the riser ring hadn't occurred to them yet.
And most likely, especially since the helmet flew off Prowse's head during the light saber fight with Ben, somebody decided that they needed a new method of mounting the dome and
keeping it from moving around all over the place or worse, falling off. After all, there is gonna be a serious sabre fight between Vader and Luke in this one.

This may have been the very first helmet that they tried it on. The very first helmet to ever have a riser ring.

They may still have been just trying to get the 'look' down when this helmet was done.

Perhaps the dome's position was a misunderstanding of George's direction.

I think George watched the original movie or parts of the movie, and said, "I really like the way Vader looked in this shot".
And I strongly believe he probably saw an image like this...


Image

... And decided he wanted Vader looked more like that in this one.(As apposed to..)

Image


It all comes down to something that George was trying to achieve. And as R. McQuarrie and J. Johnston often said, George is picky. He knows what he wants.
And he would often come in and say, "I like a part of this and a part of that, now go back to the drawing board". I think it went the same way with the Vader helmet changes.
George probably took one look at the dome's position in dailies and said something like," I hate it, get it fixed." Somebody then probably made mention of the fact that
Dave still can't see and had the accident, at which point George said something like "This is almost a new Vader, why don't we go ahead and give him bigger chin opening."

According to the 'making of the ESB', this scene was shot between March 17th and 19th. Vader would not go before the cameras again for almost another
month (April 19 - 30). It's possible, the final decision to change the chin grille took place in that time, perhaps spurred on by the fact that this was going to
be a much more active Vader and we couldn't have him tripping over snow troopers.


Image

Even though the highlighted eyebrows and shiny 2 tone chest armor made an appearance pretty early on, the trimmed helmet and larger chin grille were nowhere to be seen.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 10:44 am 
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Well, there are many screen used helmets in the archives, several of them being unsorted - face masks that are probably not paired with a dome or paired with the wrong dome. In a few pictures you see face masks and domes displayed separately or stacked on top of each other. The Hoth helmet may still be in there, or it was reconfigured along with the other ESB helmets with the bigger chin vent and new dome mount and used elsewhere in the movie. Maybe it was even cut up and used as the ESB reveal. Just throwing out thoughts, as I haven't looked into the Hoth helmet possibly being seen elsewhere with a new look.

There was only one face mask used in ANH - there may have been 1 or 2 domes used, but no indication of any of the other face masks used. And that face mask only used the three 3M dual lock snap tabs. It was never fitted with a different mounting system during the production of ANH. We have the two different moldings to prove that - the UK mold that created the ESB and RotJ line of helmets, and the US (Rick Baker) mold that created the tour helmets (where 1 was used as the Funeral Pyre helmet) and this molding actually removed the tabs before molding and we don't know if they were screwed back on or left off or changed to a mounting ring later.

And... there is compelling evidence that the ANH helmets may have been refurbished for ESB.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:16 am 
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So, if you remember the actual Bies helmet auction when it happened (I do....December 2003), Don put a permanent mounting mechanism inside the dome in order to make it impossible for someone to separate the dome from the mask in order to prevent someone from molding them separately to make copies. So that's why it is sitting higher. Also, it is a ROTJ dome, and it wasn't modified. It is dome "E", by the way, repainted in June 1992. The mask, at least to me, is also ROTJ.

So, it isn't the Hoth ANH/ESB helmet. But it is interesting to wonder why that ANH mask appears in ESB. Given the timeline and if that was an early shot, they could have still been in the process of making the ESB Vader helmets, but I have no idea.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:30 am 
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Quote:
Don put a permanent mounting mechanism inside the dome in order to make it impossible for someone to separate the dome from the mask in order to prevent someone from molding them separately to make copies. So that's why it is sitting higher.


I have heard that he made it so that they could not be taken apart.

Help me out here, everything you're saying is very point-blank matter-of-fact.

Quote:
Also, it is a ROTJ dome, and it wasn't modified. It is dome "E", by the way, repainted in June 1992.


Where do you come by this information? I understand that Don did not modify this helmet as to its details and I will accept that he repainted it in 1992. But how do you know the dome was not modified sometime in the past, prior to him getting his hands on it?
Also, I don't understand the significance of "E". E for extra? I can't think it's that, since as far as I know you cannot swap domes. All the domes I've seen are numbered. So what does "E" stand for?


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:35 am 
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Darth Obsession wrote:
Quote:
Don put a permanent mounting mechanism inside the dome in order to make it impossible for someone to separate the dome from the mask in order to prevent someone from molding them separately to make copies. So that's why it is sitting higher.


I have heard that he made it so that they could not be taken apart.

Help me out here, everything you're saying is very point-blank matter-of-fact.


You heard correct. In order to prevent the helmet from being removed from the mask, Don bolted a metal plate underneath the mask where it meets the helmet mounting ring, and the dome inside has a bit of a cylindrical spacer of its own upon which the mounting ring is cemented permanently. So if one were to try to remove the bolts and separate them, my guess is that it would break the top of the mask or the connection of the ring with the mask.

Quote:
Also, it is a ROTJ dome, and it wasn't modified. It is dome "E", by the way, repainted in June 1992.


Darth Obsession wrote:
Quote:
Where do you come by this information? I understand that Don did not modify this helmet as to its details and I will accept that he repainted it in 1992. But how do you know the dome was not modified sometime in the past, prior to him getting his hands on it?
Also, I don't understand the significance of "E". E for extra? I can't think it's that, since as far as I know you cannot swap domes. All the domes I've seen are numbered. So what does "E" stand for?


If you saw the auction there's a photo of Don holding the mask and helmet prior to it being permanently mounted. It has an E. At least for ESB (I'm not sure if they kept the convention for ROTJ) the hero helmets were lettered and the stunt helmets were numbered.

What is more parsimonious, that they mixed up the helmet or that they took the time to painstakingly modify the widow's peak to resemble that of a ROTJ?

Here's a comparison of the Don Bies helmet widow's peak with the original hero ROTJ helmet. There's a bump on Vader's left side edge of the center ridge that matches that on the Bies helmet, and if you do an overlay you'll see quite a bit in common with the edge detail, even though it is very much enlarged. But overall the angle of the way the bottom of the peak on the side meets the eyebrow is identical. That would be very hard to just sculpt by hand perfectly like that, but even then that detail on the side of the center ridge would not be seen on the Bies helmet if that area was resculpted.

Image

Anyway, it's a ROTJ helmet and I'm confident the mask is also ROTJ.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:01 am 
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Quote:
SithLord wrote:
Here's a comparison of the Don Bies helmet widow's peak with the original hero ROTJ helmet. There's a bump on Vader's left side edge of the center ridge that matches that on the Bies helmet, and if you do an overlay you'll see quite a bit in common with the edge detail, even though it is very much enlarged. But overall the angle of the way the bottom of the peak on the side meets the eyebrow is identical. That would be very hard to just sculpt by hand perfectly like that, but even then that detail on the side of the center ridge would not be seen on the Bies helmet if that area was resculpted.



Okay, only one small problem. I do not recognize either one of these images. I can't tell which ROTJ helmet that is, or what the source image is. Also, I don't recognize that image of the Don Bies helmet either. And to draw a conclusion, I need a frame of reference, and though your pictures are nicely done, they don't give me that. So please do me a favor, how about showing the original uncropped pictures. I don't care if they are full-size or whatever, but I need to know which ROTJ you're showing me and since I don't recognize the picture you're showing me of the Don Bies helmet either, you obviously have a picture I haven't seen before, and as I said before, if anybody's got any other pictures of this helmet, I would like to see them.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:21 am 
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Thats f u n n y....Makeshift lock between the dome N mask ..... Like that's gonna be effective in deterring.
Betcha I can separate the 2 in 15 min. flat without any damage to the outer parts with my special $19.99 hacker tool set... :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:11 pm 
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Darth Obsession wrote:
Okay, only one small problem. I do not recognize either one of these images. I can't tell which ROTJ helmet that is, or what the source image is. Also, I don't recognize that image of the Don Bies helmet either. And to draw a conclusion, I need a frame of reference, and though your pictures are nicely done, they don't give me that. So please do me a favor, how about showing the original uncropped pictures. I don't care if they are full-size or whatever, but I need to know which ROTJ you're showing me and since I don't recognize the picture you're showing me of the Don Bies helmet either, you obviously have a picture I haven't seen before, and as I said before, if anybody's got any other pictures of this helmet, I would like to see them.


Sure thing. I'll get those posted when I get back to my home computer. The top one is from the primary auction front view of the Bies helmet on the armor.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:52 pm 
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According to Ron Punter, painter of the OT Vader lids and armour components, the ANH lids were re-used and re-worked for ESB plus additional helmets were produced for ESB. They were individually outfitted with mounting rings and numbered/lettered. When ESB wrapped, the remaining Vader lids were again re-used and reworked by Punter for ROTJ. Punter himself has a "forgotten" ESB Vader faceplate in his posession, which was not converted into ROTJ.

The Hoth Vader scene in the rebel command center was the first Vader scene shot for ESB. Prowse writes about it in his book "Straight from the forces mouth".

During my visit in the LFL archives at the ranch in 1995 I tried to pair different Vader faceplates and helmets with sometimes funny results. Stuff was constantly mismatched for photo shootings and exhibitions. Only faceplates and domes with the same number fit together because of the individual mounting rings. ROTJ hero faceplates also had numbers written inside.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:57 am 
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vadermania wrote:
According to Ron Punter, painter of the OT Vader lids and armour components, the ANH lids were re-used and re-worked for ESB plus additional helmets were produced for ESB. They were individually outfitted with mounting rings and numbered/lettered. When ESB wrapped, the remaining Vader lids were again re-used and reworked by Punter for ROTJ. Punter himself has a "forgotten" ESB Vader faceplate in his posession, which was not to an into ROTJ.The Hoth Vader scene in the rebel command center was the first Vader scene shot for ESB. Prowse writes about it in his book "Straight from the forces mouth". During my visit in the LFL archives at the ranch in 1995 I tried to pair different Vader faceplates and helmets with sometimes funny results. Stuff was constantly mismatched for photo shootings and exhibitions. Only faceplates and domes with the same number fit together because of the individual mounting rings. ROTJ hero faceplates also had numbers written inside.


All that make sense to me. But I haven't seen Prowse's book. I only know what he says about that scene in the making of ESB. But I wouldn't be surprised if he does have an original faceplate, since there is one hero that I have been un-able to account for. I know for sure, one ESB hero got converted to an ROTJ hero. The helmet used in the dining room scene, the carbon freeze scene and the Hoth hanger scene is the same as the helmet used in the Death Star hanger scene in ROTJ. And the one used for most of the bridge scenes was on display and Planet Hollywood, but I guess that resold somewhere else. But that leaves one more. And if it got turned into an ROTJ it got modified to such an extent that there's no way to recognize it.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:51 am 
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Darth Obsession wrote:
All that make sense to me. But I haven't seen Prowse's book. I only know what he says about that scene in the making of ESB. But I wouldn't be surprised if he does have an original faceplate, since there is one hero that I have been un-able to account for. I know for sure, one ESB hero got converted to an ROTJ hero. The helmet used in the dining room scene, the carbon freeze scene and the Hoth hanger scene is the same as the helmet used in the Death Star hanger scene in ROTJ. And the one used for most of the bridge scenes was on display and Planet Hollywood, but I guess that resold somewhere else. But that leaves one more. And if it got turned into an ROTJ it got modified to such an extent that there's no way to recognize it.


I do have a few pics of Ron's ESB faceplate somewhere in my image archives, I'll try to dig them out for you. I heard that he is taking it to conventions from time to time, too. If I remember correctly, Prowse said in his book that the (Hoth rebel base command center) Vader lid was uncomfortable to wear (he basically said that about every original Vader mask ;) and the dome and faceplate were misaligned so that his neck was visible. That was fixed for later scenes. When I find the time I post again what is said in his book about that particular scene. I had a theory that this helmet had no two step mounting ring but a different mounting mechanism, but's that's just a theory. The Vader faceplates produced for ESB came off the mold with cast tabs and a small, filled out ANH shaped chin vent triangle just like the original TM helmet (which is part of the collection of Filmmuseum Frankfurt now and on permanent display at their exhibition).

There were may rumours about Lucas' involvement about the subtle changes of the Vader lid (and costume) from ANH to ROTJ, but I personally doubt that he was really picky about details such as the widows peak or precise dome positioning. For instance, Ron got the used ESB lids back in his workshop at Elstree after ESB wrapped, and sanded, bondoed and re-painted them for use in ROTJ. Other artists at Elstree put the straps, eyelenses and grills on. I'm still not sure if any new helmets were produced for ROTJ (except the ROTJ reveal). Ron told me in person that he asked the production about that one faceplate (that is now part of his collection), and they said "oh, we are fine, we don't need that, you can keep it." Lucky man :)

Even in the LFL archives, original Vader lids were modified, repainted etc. in later years for exhibitions and personal appearances, I have a pic where they are working on one of the remaining ROTJ lids, adding wider straps for a more comfortable wear, ruining the original paintjob.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:42 pm 
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I've checked my image archive and found a pic showing Bies holding the dome in his hand, there's an "E" marked inside. To me, the mask/faceplate in the same pic looks like a tour faceplate with a tall, one-step tube mount. On almost all the Bies tour Vader lids, the domes were sitting a bit too high and were slightly tilted forward.

Here's the original excerpt from Prowses book / ESB diary:

26 March - Day One (for Prowse): "...Apart from a fencing rehearsal with Peter Diamond, I did nothing all day. Put the Vader suit on in the afternoon but the helmet is not sitting straight so alterations have to be made." ...

28 March: "Did one shot today of me storming through the wreckage of the control centre. Had the mask and the helmet on for the second time, the first time to actually work in it. It's still awful. The mask doesn't sit right on the face and the helmet angle is all wrong, exposing the back of my neck, added to which I cannot see out of the eyepieces so I don't know where I'm going on set."


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:20 pm 
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An ESB mask as a going-away present? Wow. All I took from my last job was a couple of pens. Thanks vadermania for adding insight and great first-hand information. And I just ordered Dave Prowse's book - $50 not bad as it includes a personalized inscription.

We ask the question why is an ANH mask being used in this initially-shot ESB Vader scene? And we may speculate that someone made an error and picked out the wrong mask (ANH not ESB). But how probable is it that? For the first scene shot with a Darth Vader helmet in a MAJOR motion picture, could such a mistake could happen? I'd say there would be LOTS of scrutiny that would make that unlikely. As DarthObsession considered the possibility, I'm of the opinion that this was not an error but that the use of the ANH-style smaller chin vent may have been the prop department's intended "Mark I" ESB mask.

That Hoth invasion scene is not a walk in the park for anyone wearing a low-visibility costume. It's more like a Wipe-Out obstacle course. The Death Star floors in comparison were so smooth and level! Dave Prowse talks about how he can't see directly in front of him except by looking through the chin vent about 3 minutes into this vintage interview: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahea93jKCiI.

To avoid a Harrison Ford-type injury to a principal actor, it would make perfect sense that Dave's feedback was heeded and resulted in enlarging the chin vent (as a pragmatic measure, not a stylistic choice) and that the initial mounting configuration (whatever it was) was modified to provide a proper fit. After all, if Vader isn't happy, nobody's happy!


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:09 pm 
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vadermania wrote:
Here's the original excerpt from Prowses book / ESB diary: 26 March - Day One (for Prowse): "...Apart from a fencing rehearsal with Peter Diamond, I did nothing all day. Put the Vader suit on in the afternoon but the helmet is not sitting straight so alterations have to be made." ...28 March: "Did one shot today of me storming through the wreckage of the control centre. Had the mask and the helmet on for the second time, the first time to actually work in it. It's still awful. The mask doesn't sit right on the face and the helmet angle is all wrong, exposing the back of my neck, added to which I cannot see out of the eyepieces so I don't know where I'm going on set."


banthapoodoo wrote:
We ask the question why is an ANH mask being used in this initially-shot ESB Vader scene? And we may speculate that someone made an error and picked out the wrong mask (ANH not ESB). But how probable is it that? For the first scene shot with a Darth Vader helmet in a MAJOR motion picture, could such a mistake could happen? I'd say there would be LOTS of scrutiny that would make that unlikely. As DarthObsession considered the possibility, I'm of the opinion that this was not an error but that the use of the ANH-style smaller chin vent may have been the prop department's intended "Mark I" ESB mask.


Some interesting insights from Dave there. Obviously they were still working on the helmet right up to the day they started shooting. And the riser seems to be one of the biggest issues. But the one thing we don't know, is exactly when they decided to go with a larger chin grille? Dave keeps complaining about not being able to see and he said this in a lot of interviews. Is it not possible that the larger chin grille wasn't always in the plan? Perhaps it was a response to Dave's complaining about not being able to see? Admittedly, in 20/20 hindsight, the helmet looks better with a larger chin grille, but they may not have seen it that way at the time. For all we know, it hadn't even occurred to them and the ESB was going to have the same chin grille as the ANH. I'm sure there had to be a certain reluctance to make any real sweeping change to the Vader mask. I know I was really pissed off when I saw Empire for the first time, and saw that they had changed Vader's appearance. It took me years to get used to it.

And I agree that the helmet that Dave is wearing is a Mark I, or prototype. I do think it unlikely that someone grabbed the wrong helmet (as in an ANH instead of an ESB) but I don't think that's the case. And, in lieu of this new information from Dave (and Vadermania). I would say that is definitely unlikely.

Again, it should be noted, that Dave didn't shoot another scene for nearly a month, so most likely they were working on finalizing the helmet during that period.


SithLord wrote:
Darth Obsession wrote:
Okay, only one small problem. I do not recognize either one of these images. I can't tell which ROTJ helmet that is, or what the source image is. Also, I don't recognize that image of the Don Bies helmet either. And to draw a conclusion, I need a frame of reference, and though your pictures are nicely done, they don't give me that. So please do me a favor, how about showing the original uncropped pictures. I don't care if they are full-size or whatever, but I need to know which ROTJ you're showing me and since I don't recognize the picture you're showing me of the Don Bies helmet either, you obviously have a picture I haven't seen before, and as I said before, if anybody's got any other pictures of this helmet, I would like to see them.


Sure thing. I'll get those posted when I get back to my home computer. The top one is from the primary auction front view of the Bies helmet on the armor.


I'm still waiting.


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