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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:27 am 
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JRX wrote:
Very impressive work you did on this one !!!

I think it would add a lot to the look if you also modified the Dome by
adding a sharper center stripe and thicker edges to the flaps ... just a
thought - :rolleyes


JRX,

I'm deeply honored by your kind words, especially coming from one who has demonstrated a high degree of skill in sculpting that excellent concept Vader. What a great thing to read just before going to bed. You've made my night!

It's funny how fans are prodding me to make modifications I didn't want to. However, bit by bit, I do see the value in these suggestions, and even though it sets me back from the painting phase, I can see it's definitely worth the effort.

Doing the dome modification is going to be tricky but I've thought of a way to do it. I'd have to do it if I were ever to make an ANH dome.


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 Post subject: Helmet Repositioning
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:56 am 
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Image

Helmet Repositioning

One of the problems of various helmets is that the helmet's flare seems to stick out, revealing the back of the neck. It is often argued that in such cases the "dome" is flawed and that the flare's angle should be steeper. Some fans have even added an extra inch or two of material to lengthen the flange. On one hand there are those who argue that a larger dome was indeed used in the movies, and on the other hand, some have recreated the same look without adding a single inch to the flange of the helmet.

After studying screen shots and hearing both sides of the case, I think the truth is somewhere in balance. Here is my take on this.

One cannot make a generality because Vader props differred from film to film.

In Episode IV ANH, the prop facemask did not have a receiver, so the way the helmet sat on the mask was different than in Episide V TESB. In ANH, the dome's front rim overshadowed the eyes, and the center widow's peak just barely covered the top cleft of the bridge of the nose. In TESB, there was no widow's peak, and the helmet seemed to be worn higher, and now you see Vader's eyebrows when you look directly at it.

Even though in ANH the eyes are overshadowed, and there appears to be a 1 cm gap between the widow's peak and the bridge of the nose, if the cameraman (in a seated position) zoomed in tight at Vader, you could still see his eyebrows. In other words, looking up at Vader you always saw his eyebrows regardless of dome positioning. That 1cm space is vital to allow that.

Image

The most iconic shots of Vader were those where he stared into the air, and even though the face mask was devoid of any changes of expression, you almost saw the solemn depth of the soul of the man behind the iron mask.

When the helmet (collectively the facemask and helmet) are vertically tilted up, the flange on the back of the helmet rotates downward, covering the back of the wearer's neck.

There are many such scenes where Vader seems to look upwards like that. Also, many shots of Vader were done where the camera operator was in a seated position, and the movie camera was 15-20 feet away, zoomed in (to reduce perspective distortion). If you do the home photography thing and attempt the same angle only 2 feet away, you get the same effect as many eBay pictures which is a big facemask but a tiny dome in proportion.

Image
(Above: Left, an already somewhat modified Rubie's helmet. Facemask and helmet are roughly at the same angle as an unmodified stock Rubie's. Right, primed but not quite yet ready modified Rubie's photographed at a slightly different angle but with a different dome position.)

In the shot on the left, notice that the mouth wall is almost aligned vertically. At this angle, the tusk tubes are at a slight angle, not quite parallel with the ground. Notice the rim of the helmet is almost purely horizontal and in line with the aluminum tusk and the tusk tubes. This is Vader on a bad day; there's a draft down the back of his neck. Vader does not wear a scarf!

To the right (this isn't a perfect apples-to-apples comparison as it's photographed at a different vertical angle. My apologies) the facemask is recessed, not just inward but upwards a little. Play with the mounting angle that works for you. The dome is vertically tilted back a little. However, in conjunction with the facemask being recessed, it doesn't look silly. Here, the flange covers the back of the neck, leaving a very minor gap as opposed to the left photo.

Compare the one on the right with the "Tantive IV" shot below.

Image

What fascinates me about this shot is that the chest armor is worn very naturally and at a natural angle. Observe the side profile of David Prowse's body. Notice the flange of the helmet might barely touch his trapezius, yet Vader does not look like he's shrugging. Also notice the forward tilt or vertical tilt of the chestplate. Also the facemask mouth profile is almost a vertical line here. If you drew a horizontal line to the right of the tusks, the flange is past that line -- and I've done this purely by repositioning the helmet, not adding any length to it.

But there are exceptions to every observation.

Image

Here in ESB, at this angle, the flange is almost in-line with the tusk tubes. However, Prowse's well-developed trapezium may be the reason why there appears to be only a 1.5" distance from the rim of the helmet to his cloak.

And now he turns...

Image

Notice that Vader is looking straight on -- not at the ceiling like he does iconically. This is a particularly interesting shot because some fans would swear the dome was too short! I think the cameraman just has to be careful to not photograph into the back of his neck, and to make sure that if Vader's back is to the camera that he should be looking up at the ceiling a bit!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:12 am 
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I don't think it's too short, tilted too far forward I'd say, just needs the back lowered/adjusted downwards.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:05 am 
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CSMacLaren the HOTH pictures are an invalid source helmet wise mate. That is an ANH faceplate with an ESB dome. The dome mech etc.. is very high and the angle of helmet is slightly off. It's not camera angles etc.. It's very short and they modified Vader's look pretty quick afterwards. You ever see the shot of Kenny Baker wearing this helmet in the promo pics? That's the HOTH helmet It's not true to ESB other than in those own unique scenes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:19 pm 
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Most impressive improvements and observations you've made there! :thumbsup


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:44 pm 
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Found the only picture I have of a wide lower lipped Vader and as you can see, there are a few things.

Image

First: the right side of the mouth being narrower than the left was in fact accurate, to some extend, though iirc not so extreme on the "hero" helmets. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Second: the teeth gaps need to be extended further down towards the lower lip - they are too high on the Rubies Supreme. You will file through the lower edge of the plastic, but don't worry about that, just cut off the excess and fill up the area with filler or that material you're using when you've filed down to the correct length.

Also... moving this topic to the WIP section. :thumbsup

Cheers.


Last edited by No Humor Man on Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:52 pm 
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That wide lipped Vader is a ROTJ stunt helmet isn't it Carsten?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:56 pm 
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darthvaderv wrote:
That wide lipped Vader is a ROTJ stunt helmet isn't it Carsten?

Yup... and since he's doing the fat-lipped look... then I couldn't really show examples of thin-lipped helmets! :lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:09 pm 
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NoHumorMan wrote:
darthvaderv wrote:
That wide lipped Vader is a ROTJ stunt helmet isn't it Carsten?

Yup... and since he's doing the fat-lipped look... then I couldn't really show examples of thin-lipped helmets! :lol

Of couse I was just checking my own knowledge was up to scratch :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:44 pm 
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Yeah, but not that fat. I'm not doing any specific helmet. I'm just trying to bring this up to ESB standards. I have my Don Post Deluxe as a basis of comparison.

Okay... more filing....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:51 pm 
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CSMacLaren wrote:
Okay... more filing....

Good luck! :thumbsup


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:35 pm 
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That looks fantastic so far. I'm kind of curious as to what you will do with the dome also. I have two rubies myself that im working on and have not come up with any good ideas for fixing the center rib to make it look better. I look forward to seeing your progress.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:39 pm 
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I have seen someone strengthen the inside of the done considerably and then file down the center ridge. Then a squared rubber window strip with adhesive on one side in the correct width and height was applied to the dome.

It can also be sculpted by some filler material... just haven't figured out what it's called yet. But unless you are good at keeping it straight, I would suggest the window rubber strip.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:35 am 
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T-VIRUS wrote:
That looks fantastic so far. I'm kind of curious as to what you will do with the dome also. I have two rubies myself that im working on and have not come up with any good ideas for fixing the center rib to make it look better. I look forward to seeing your progress.



Another person asked me the same thing. I can't fnid his post but he related that after he had done up his Rubie's and painted the dome gloss black, he then lamented because the stock shape of the dome essentially diluted down all his beautiful modifications. You can sometimes trick people after doing all kinds of modifications, but the dome is a dead giveaway.

I've found a ROTJ prop shot where the mouth and nose walls are of very similar thickness. And as per NoHumorMan's suggestion, I've lowered and ground down the vents, but I don't want to go too much. It is a pain, and the grinding process creates a lot of little "hairs" that are a pain to sand away. I finally gave up on using files and used a Dremel tool.

The prop shot shows that the distance between the vents and the bottom lip is almost the same as the thickness of the bottom lip itself. But these things can vary from prop to prop. I'm not going to worry too much about this.

The dome is an entirely different matter. I'm wondering if people are encouraging me to work on the dome just to find out what I figure out! I know this is hard.

I have two approaches to the dome. The quick way is to basically add more material and to make the surface chanes of the bevel more sharp and abrupt -- on the props it allows them to catch the light and stand out more.

If that doesn't work and makes the bevel too bulky, my next step would be to rasp away the entire middle bevel and establish a brand new one. Such could be done with a rasp manually, but I do have a power sander that might do the trick.

I won't go into details as I intend to surprise you all, but let's hope one of these methods actually work. The latter method is more complicated because it requires filling in the underside of the helmet with Bondo so that when the center bevel is rasped away the helmet won't fall apart. Rebuilding it should be fun. However, the techniques I have planned may require 2-3 weeks so if I go this route, I'll be scarce for a while....

May the Force guide me. ;-P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:13 pm 
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I have tried adding material to my DP DLX cast and it doesn't work, as it makes the center strip too wide - not only is it rounded on the casts... it extends further than it should, so the only way to get it right is to sand it down and do a new center strip.

I can't remember who did the Rubies Supreme mod over at STT, but this is the material used to strengthen the inside of the dome:

Quote:
(...) auto filler compound called DAVIDS P40 its a resin filler paste with fiber glass particles in it (...)


Also... with finer grit sandpaper you are able to remove the plastic strands you create when filing and you get a very smooth surface - I did this with a 180 grit when I cut up my Rubies face.


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