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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:45 am
Posts: 231
Location: Northern California
I've talked a lot about assumptions, probably to the point of annoying some people, and for that I apologize. I have no desire to annoy or offend anyone, only to open eyes. Obviously we all make assumptions, including myself.
The problem is they often keep us from looking beyond the obvious, or the apparent. We see Kenny Baker standing inside a prominent feature of the Hoth command center set wearing an ESB helmet with an
ANH chin grille. The obvious assumption is, that it is the same helmet used in the scene. And why not? It's got an ANH chin grille. Right?

Image

On the Christies-PIH 2012 thread arguments were put forward that the facemask owned by Ron Punter might be a better match for the Hoth command center helmet based on comparion with the image of Kenny Baker on the set, starting with a post by Lambotour.

Lambotour wrote:
Thanks for the pics Mark. Excellent quality. This faceplate deserves its own thread, but I don't believe that is an ESB faceplate. That appears to be a faceplate taken from a RB mold or family thereof. There are several features that do not add up to ESB, but point more towards ANH. I won't get into specifics because we all know we've had enough debates about these things over the years, so I'll leave it at that and, of course, it's just my opinion. It's still an awesome faceplate. It was a little tough to get these screencaps just right, but the only possibility I see of it being screenused in ESB would be this one:

Image

In my opinion, there are a few details that match up. Nothing truly concrete, but some good similarities. The chin vent does seem a tad small for ESB. The positioning and height of the attachment ring would seem to be consistent with the difference in height and position of the dome in the Hoth scene.

In addition, I also see these few things that also seem to match up:

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The missing paint on the side of the nose, but it could also be reflection of the light:

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and the neck shape seems to be a good match, although I admit the screencaps aren't the highest quality to say for certain:

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Again, nothing that is a 100% slam dunk, but pretty close from what I can tell. Thanks again for the pics.


Lambotour has a good eye and he definitely pointed out some solid connections between the Ron Punter helmet and the one being worn by Kenny Baker.

And while some items are fairly common, such as the chips on the eye brow and center of the forehead, the Bies helmet has these as well, others were a little more interesting and definitely required further study.

ImageImage

Lambotour's analysis of the side of the nose is nicely done, but I think we are actually looking at a light reflection, as top edge the black paint of the cheek seems to continue beyond the Punter's termination point toward the front of the nose.
Admittedly, with lighting and such it is difficult to say.

However, Lambotour's chip in the edge of the whisker, is absent from the Don Bies helmet, but is also not seen on the screen cap images, only the Kenny Baker image. The bulge in the eye is distinctive and consistent in both images , but again, I see no sign of it in the
screen cap images. Like in the Baker and Punter images, light reflections are distorted around this bulge, the screen cap lens shows no such 'bulge' distortion in the ceiling lights reflected.

ImageImage


Despite this, I must admit, that the more I look at the images of the Kenny Baker helmet and the Ron Punter helmet, I can't help but be struck by the similarities in the facemasks that go even beyond what Lambotour pointed out.
Which might seem to make a valid argument for the Punter helmet being the Hoth helmet. But there is several problems, besides the missing eye bulge, the screen caps show what looks like some impact marks on the top and outer edge of the right cheek.
They are in more than one frame and do not change location relative to the cheek face, so they are not something on the film. There also appears to be a curved scrape(?) between them. The Kenny Baker image has no such marks, nor does the Ron punter helmet.
However, the Don Bies helmet has a chip in the paint right at the cheek's edge location and a small divot at the top. Since the helmet was repainted the mark in between is not visible.

Take another look at the 'screen cap' images below. The chin grille on the 'Hoth' is cut too high. It is only just over half the distance it should be from the bottom of the bridge between the tusks. Kenny's grille is correctly located.
So, while they both have ANH style chin grills, the grills are not in the same location. The punter ESB grill is also correctly located and shaped, whereas the Bies grill is also high and somewhat small for an ESB.

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ImageImageImage

Also,

When Lamotour used the frontal shot 'screen cap', I noticed some further similarities to the Bies helmet. Admittedly the pic is not sharp and has a strong horizontal motion ghosting so I don't like using it, but I feel
these items can still be seen. First as a note, I see no indication of the 'eye bulge' in this image either, it seems to have the regular shape seen in all other helmets. Next, the cut of the bottom lip of the dome has
similarities in the inner edges to that of the Bies dome, although the distance difference in the pics distorts this some and the Bies may have been cleaned up some. Next, a large chip in the paint at the front base
of the neck straight below ,the chin grill can be seen on Lambotour's image and a similar chip can be found in the same location on the Bies helmet.

Image

Also,

I doubt very seriously that they would have let Kenny wear that helmet prior to using it in a scene and it already has most of the damage seen in the Punter helmet images. However it lacks damage seen in the screen caps.
NOTE: Since the helmet worn by Kenny Baker is not correctly mounted and just hanging together by the Velcro, there is no way to know if the dome did or did not have the same high-rise back end as the screen helmet.

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And I know somebody reading this right now is saying, 'Oh, so what, now you're saying that these are two different helmets?'



I used to think these were the same helmets. After all, Perspex cheeks, Perspex neck, very distinctive ROTJ appearance. This is an extremely complex helmet, there can't be more than one. Right?
So I assumed they were the same helmet, but they are not. As brought to my attention by Vadermonkey they are duplicates.
Image

So, yes. Lambotour has correctly identified Ron Punter's helmet as the one worn by Kenny Baker on the Hoth CC set. But that does not mean that it is the same helmet worn by David Prowse on screen.
In fact, for me, it further illustrates that the Bies helmet is.

One of the biggest arguments against the Bies being the 'Hoth CC' is chin grille and center strip on the dome seeming to be ROTJ, as Vadermania reported:

vadermania wrote:

According to Ron Punter, painter of the OT Vader helmets at Elstree paint shop, most of the remaining Vader helmets from ESB were reworked for use in ROTJ. He sanded, bondoed and repainted them (plus other Vader hardware) in person in his shop. And I've seen pics from that time proving that. Punter has one original ESB faceplate in his personal collection which wasn't repainted for ROTJ.

Screen-used original Vader lids were reworked / repainted at different occasions by ILM guys. One of the main ROTJ vader faceplates was outfitted with larger velcro straps - I have pics of that process actually.

Punter's helmet clearly illustrates how original helmets can be and were modified. It is clearly a solid match for the helmet worn by Kenny Baker on the set, yet it now has an ESB style chin grille and an alteration to the base of the neck.

The assumption has been that there was only one ESB helmet with an ANH chin grille. And I get that it is a logical assumption.

But this was very early on in the production of ESB. The assumption has been that Vader's new appearance in the film was set in stone, way before the cameras ever rolled and
the new, larger chin grille was part of that new appearance. But I don't think so, I think it was still evolving. I believe there were two helmets, and that these were amongst the
earliest helmets made and as such still exhibited some ANH details.

If you look at the inner, front facing lip of the Bies dome, especially on the left side,(ignore the green arrows) it is wider and much more like an ANH than what it seen on other ESB helmets.

Image


So my bottom line,

I feel Lambotour is correct about Ron Punter's helmet being the helmet worn by Kenny Baker on the set. The bulge in the eye is very distinctive, identical and not seen on any other helmet,
as well as having the same chips in the paint, there is also an unusual shape to the lower right corner of the triangle mouth opening that is evident in both of Lambotour's pics.

I do not believe the Kenny Baker helmet is the helmet used in the Hoth command center scene with Prowse. There is no sign of the distinctive bulge in the eye of the Hoth CC Vader.
With the exception of the ANH chin grills (which are not consistently located) and being photographed in the same location, the two helmets have no common special details.

I still believe the Don Bies helmet is a perfect match to the Hoth CC Vader. The only difference is the chin grille (which is not consistent with ANY other helmet, but the Hoth CC chin grille is not consistent either)
and the ROTJ style dome center strip, both of which could easily have been modified by ILM as the Punter face mask also demonstrated. Besides the obvious dome mounting, Both helmets also have similar
chips in the paint at matching locations.


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 Post subject: Re: On the subject of the Don Bies restored helmet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
Posts: 644
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
What is at the top of the dome I now doubt is a B, E, 3, or 5 or any other character. I think it's the outline of the female part of a locking dowel or a shear load connector (pictured below) used for attaching two surfaces set in concrete:

Image


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