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 Post subject: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:03 pm
Posts: 649
Location: UK
Ive had signoff of the pics and info guys so am posting here now

Every now and then we get a really great opportunity to see something special at StarWarsHelmets.com and this is one such example. Just over a year ago we were contacted by the owner of an original AT-AT helmet and following discussions, I was able to recently visit and put the following review together of a long-lost piece of Star Wars history. Enjoy!

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For The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas needed some new Imperial characters to drive the AT-AT’s and John Mollo, the costume designer opted for an amended "white" version of the ANH-used TIE Fighter helmet. I use the word "white" in quotes since the first thing to say about this helmet (and therefore presumably the armour) is that in reality they weren’t white at all - but were in fact painted glossy grey. When I last met up with John Mollo some while back we discussed the AT-AT helmets but not in great detail hence its something I’d like to pick up with him again.

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To be clear we're not talking an off-white, milky-white or white with a hint of grey - these helmets were GREY and photos from the early eighties back this up - this isn't aging paint. As you can see the helmet is in great condition. Turning our attention to the helmet is clear that despite it missing some of its greeblies, its still in really great condition. The grey paint is in a pretty incredible state for paintwork over 30 years old. Unlike the HDPE material most Stormtrooper helmets were made from (which is notorious in its ability to reject paint), the ABS used on these has positively welcomed the new grey spray paint - giving a finish that doesn’t look far different now from what was seen on screen back in 1980.

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If you take a look at The Empire Strikes Back its amazing how little of this iconic helmet you actually see on-screen. Only one helmet is seen from the front and a possible four from the rear. Its worth pointing out at this stage that this helmet is NOT the one seen front-on - the detailing around the eyes and position of various tells (including the angle of the red cogs) makes this clear in my mind. Its therefore my view that the AT-AT seen front-on is most likely the one owned by Jim Stephenson which was stolen mid-90’s, never to be seen again.

The cog decals are a higher quality than those used on ANH, this time I red they’re printed on better quality backing and have a glossy lustre. Interestingly they have the same asymmetry as the ANH Cogs. The tube stripes look like black masking tape, cut to the required shape on the helmet. You can still just make out the remnant pencil marks where the cut lines have been drawn.

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Interestingly the front metal tusks did not connect directly into the front tube slots – instead there was a separate thick white circular plastic “thing” - possibly a found plumbing part - that pushed the tusks forward. I have a couple of sets of metal tusks for my helmets and although very accurate to the eye – they are just a little too small and are only a single-piece design - whereas the originals have an outer sleeve and separate inner "nib" sections.

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The rear pill-box looked just the same as the original TIE's - although in this instance it had been glued shut and despite much prompting did not want to open. However it had the same spring loaded mechanism present on the TIE box and as I’ve always said is probably a record player needle box or possibly a box for storing plectrums. Having spent a considerable amount of time with this helmet, and investigating the suject its my considered opinion that its the same one as seen on the Kenner figure packs and in the Visual Dictionary as was photographed on set for the promo pics sometime in 1979

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Just to show off how grey these were, here's a comparison against an all-white WIP replica At-At.
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More pics and info on my site

Get yer grey spray cans out AT-AT fans!

Cheers

Jez


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:08 pm 
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Great Info!!!! Thanks to you and the owner for sharing..I sense a rise in grey paint sales! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:03 pm
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Location: Canaduh!
The difference in colour is incredible when placed next to a, now inaccurate, white helmet.

Again, great info Jez!

Next thing you know, we'll find out that the TIE helmets were actually navy blue! :lol


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:23 am
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Location: USA
Great info, thanks for sharing it :salut . Now the next question is, what color or colors is the armor? The backpack is most likely gray, but the shoulder bell still looks white to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:16 am 
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KevVader wrote:
Next thing you know, we'll find out that the TIE helmets were actually navy blue! :lol



NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :lol :lol :lol :lol


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:52 pm
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Two schools of thought here. Is the goal to replicate what you see on the screen, or replicate the actual prop as it appeared in real life. I think both methods are fine. For example, the Batman sonar suit looked to be a metallic silver blue on the big screen, but in real life, it is a lifeless, gunmetal gray. I think in that case, I would go for how it looked on the screen. I don't know if the 'uneducated' will accept a gray at-at pilot because the white one is so ingrained in their minds. I'm thinking this is a good reason to own two at-at pilots although my wife will probably disagree with me on that one. :lol


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:19 pm 
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Well Ive got 2 helmets, both a WIP as I take AGES to finish projects.

Ive repainted my SDS with a grey which is close imo, but also have a Laws which I may leave white. I cant really decide.

Ive gone through about 3 or 4 cans to get a colour I'm happy with - since i'm only going on photos and memory and I wonder if it'll end up lighter than the actual but at least not white.

Its similar to the Vader helmet though. When I was a kid I swore it was all black, and only noticed the silver/grey highlights when I really got into the subject. If I saw an all-black AH Vader now I'd hate it and I wonder in time if we'll all feel the same about the AT-AT.

Cheers

Jez


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:47 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA
I'm curious... are there any period photos that indicate the color to be gray?

There are a few photos of Kermit Eller wearing the Vader suit. In that fashion, the photos give us a look of the prop that you might not see on-screen.


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:31 pm 
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CSMacLaren wrote:
I'm curious... are there any period photos that indicate the color to be gray?

There are a few photos of Kermit Eller wearing the Vader suit. In that fashion, the photos give us a look of the prop that you might not see on-screen.


Hardly any - only one photo shoot with less than half a dozen pics. Thats the photoshoot othat featured this helmet and was used for all "official" At-At photo's that you see - like the front of the Kenner/Hasbro figures.

Problem is the photo's are so overexposed (not sure whether intentional or not) that grey became white and since I'm pretty sure LFL doesnt have an AT-AT original, they were never able to set the issue straight

Maybe its like Vader. He was "meant" to be all black but they went for the highlighting to add the cinematographer. Maybe these were supposed to be white but they realised grey on set gave them their best white on screen.

Cheers

Jez


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:10 pm 
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Thought this was more appropriate here. :thumbsup


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:28 pm
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WOW!


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:46 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Jez,

Did the screen-used ATAT commander's helmet/armor ever surface? That might serve as a base of comparison of colors.


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:03 pm
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Location: UK
CSMacLaren wrote:
Jez,

Did the screen-used ATAT commander's helmet/armor ever surface? That might serve as a base of comparison of colors.


Do you mean Veers or the other at-at driver?

The only AT-At to ever emerge was the one by Jim S and that was stolen a long while ago and I'd be surprised if that ever emerges since its now officially "stolen goods". There were even rumours that it had ben stripped down and repainted as a TIE.

AFAIK Veer's (or the Snowy Commander) helmets have never turned up and I doubt theyre in the archives since I dont think theyve ever been shown. I bet its another case of them being in someone's garage somewhere - just waiting to be found

Cheers

Jez


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:52 pm
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I think he means snowtrooper commander (hard faceplate guy)


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 Post subject: Re: Original ESB AT-AT Walker Driver Helmet
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:52 pm
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Jez,
Could you tell if the soda syphons were glued or bolted to the helmet? Also, did those white spacers behind the tusks extend very far into the helmet? I'm assuming they were used to fill the holes that originally took the tie pilot hose.


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