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 Post subject: Real deal vs promo/tour vs fan made
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:54 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:45 am
Posts: 231
Location: Northern California
There is just something about a 'real deal' Vader helmet.

I think most of us have said it, I know I have.

But there is something about a real deal Vader helmet, something in the size, shape and color, just as there is often something about most other real props. They are not always
smoother, sharper and cleaner than the replicas. Sometime they are rough, bumpy and look like something Mike and Frank pulled out of the storage barn on American Pickers. But there is still something
about a real deal Vader helmet that sets it apart from all the rest.

I would like to do a thread about this aspect Vader helmets, though I know the same thing would go for most other props, troopers, armor or weapons. And I'm hoping you all join in, as I haven't seen a lot of posting
going on lately.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss what it is that makes a Vader helmet most likely a real prop or promo/tour or a fan made helmet. What are the typical differences. If you think by some miracle you
have managed to locate a real deal Vader helmet for sale, what should you look for? What things would suggest that it's not real and what things might suggest that it is?

Image


I want to start with some basic facts.

1.'Real deal' Vader helmets are OLD.
The newest real deal Darth Vader helmets are over 30 years old. Even in good storage conditions colors fade or darken, paints peel and glues breakdown. Metal rusts.
If you look at the interior of the dome on most if not all of the real deal helmets, the paint or clearcoat is completely oxidized. And in these pics you will also notice peeling paint,
eye lenses that are on the verge of falling out and sadly water spot damage after somebody decided to wipe off a dusty helmet with a wet rag but didn't take the time to
dry the helmet afterwards. So now the paint is permanently damaged.

Image

2. A 'real deal' prop was a tool.
Real deal Darth Vader helmets were made for the sole purpose of getting a job done, they were never meant to be a showpiece on a shelf, so it is very unlikely, unless it's been restored,
you will find a pristine real deal Vader helmet. And if it has been restored, good luck figuring out if it was a real deal or not. They virtually all have some level of damage.

3. As tools, 'real deal' Vader helmets did get modified or re-used.
There seems to be a general idea or belief that after a helmet's last scene was shot, it was then rushed off to storage, or maybe sold or given away as a reward or momento to producers or
friends of Lucas or something and therefore if they surface, should all look essentially the same as they did just after that last scene. But this was for almost for sure not the case. Look at
this private owned ESB. Look at all the damage to it. It definitely didn't look that way immediately after it's last scene shot. So what happened to it? It obviously didn't get all that damage
sitting in someone's display case. Yes, the owner may have pulled it out a lot and passed it around to friends at parties and maybe it got some damage that way. but I think it unlikely that
this would account for the extensive damage seen. So were did it really get all this damage? IMO from working.

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Most, if not all of the ESB real deal helmets were either subtly modified or completely modified to more closely resemble ROTJ helmets.
As an example, Magic of the Myth (MOTM) is one such helmet. MOMT was believed to be an ROTJ helmet, however upon comparison of the known ESB and
ROTJ helmets, MOTM is clearly an ESB. Compare the pictures below. MOTM is a much closer match to the ESB stunt on the left, than the two ROTJ helmets pictured to the right.

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4. 'Real deal' Vader helmets were used as tour helmets.
The pic below (Thank you, Locitus :thumbsup ) on the right shows a Vader on tour in the UK I believe. If you look close, this is clearly the 'Magic of the Myth' Vader helmet, only 30 years never and no damage. Yet.
Obviously the suit is not. But I think it's pretty obvious that the suits and helmets were not tied together.


ImageImage


Is it old? Is it new? Has it been repainted?
You might remember this guy from about four years ago. Starting at about page 8 it was the final topic being discussed in the thread 'ESB/ ROTJ Vaders - what do we know?'
The question at the time was, is it the real deal or touring helmet? IMO the real question is, is it a touring helmet or recast? I would say it is most likely a touring helmet that has
been repainted.
One of the biggest issues I have with this helmet, is the eyes. The left eye lense is set back way further than it should be, at least 50% further, almost twice as deep as the right eye
and the right lense is sunk in and distorted. Also, the flange or lip around the inside of the dome is too thin, only about half as thick as those on screen used helmets. It is also very
clean and smooth, lacking the subtle definition that you have in the real deal helmets. There is noting real deal about this helmet. it still has a nice look as helmets go, but clearly a copy.

Image

When I go back and reread the older threads, I see arguments based mostly on minute details, i.e. this little squiggle, that
little bump, etc. etc. etc. And I agree, that is sometimes important to the story. But I have seen where a lack of these details were deemed to be an absolute,
while it seemed that the real story was being ignored. There are two un-altered examples of the ESB 'real deal' helmets and three good examples of ROTJs.
Compare the helmet to these. The exact details may not be the same, but just because it doesn't have some tiny detail that your authentic cast has, doesn't
mean it's not real.
I've also seen arguments about mounts. It can't be a real deal, cause it's got the wrong mount. But I can't find any threads where it was categorically
determined what sort of mounts were used or not used on what helmets. Simple fact is, there's only so many real deal Vader helmets out there. Likewise,
there's only so many touring helmets out there.


Last edited by Darth Obsession on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Real deal vs promo/tour vs fan made
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:17 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Stockholm
Here's the flickr image for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Real deal vs promo/tour vs fan made
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:26 pm
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Location: Dallas, TX, USA
A good thread about the various mounting configurations used for different helmets is at

http://www.therpf.com/f79/origins-rotj-vader-helmets-jy-thread-continuation-65622/index7.html

The "real deal" production ANH would have of the 3 tabs, and production ESB/ROTJ would have a ring style mount added on (not part of the mold). The tube style mount was used on many promo / appearance helmets but not on production helmets.

The extra height of the helmet indicated as the MOM suggests a tube style mount (or some structure creating the additional vertical offset). But a lot can happen to a helmet in 35 years, even to change its mounting configuration.

I'm consistently impressed with the ability of some to identify helmets; I can tell the difference between a helmet with movie lineage and a Hasbro Voice-Changing Vader, but that's about it. There are "tells" the experts know to identify production helmets, but those might be masked or obfuscated given repaints, sanding, etc. More advanced forensics may be needed with so many accurate replicas out there (maybe swab the inside of the facemask and check for David Prowse DNA).


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 Post subject: Re: Real deal vs promo/tour vs fan made
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:58 pm
Posts: 40
Location: Northern California
Out ward appearances aside isn't the inside markings of these helmets an accurate ID method of what is what. I've seen white numbers and pink letters. There must have been a definitive system of marking these through the building process of both film made, film used and tour helmets that would serve as inventory list. What do you guys think?
-Dwayne


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 Post subject: Re: Real deal vs promo/tour vs fan made
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:45 am
Posts: 231
Location: Northern California
Thanks for the pic, Locitus :thumbsup


banthapoodoo wrote:
A good thread about the various mounting configurations used for different helmets is at

[url]"http://www.therpf.com/f79/origins-rotj-vader-helmets-jy-thread-continuation-65622/index7.html[/url]

The "real deal" production ANH would have of the 3 tabs, and production ESB/ROTJ would have a ring style mount added on (not part of the mold). The tube style mount was used on many promo / appearance helmets but not on production helmets.

The extra height of the helmet indicated as the MOM suggests a tube style mount (or some structure creating the additional vertical offset). But a lot can happen to a helmet in 35 years, even to change its mounting configuration.

I'm consistently impressed with the ability of some to identify helmets; I can tell the difference between a helmet with movie lineage and a Hasbro Voice-Changing Vader, but that's about it. There are "tells" the experts know to identify production helmets, but those might be masked or obfuscated given repaints, sanding, etc. More advanced forensics may be needed with so many accurate replicas out there (maybe swab the inside of the facemask and check for David Prowse DNA).



Okay, I read about 25 pages out of 30 of that thread. It does have some really good stuff, once you get past Thomas and Gino endlessly arguing over who is the true master of the universe. :rolleyes

Unfortunately, that is a large majority of the thread, however it was nice to have Don Bies and Brian Muir both chiming in.

It took me all afternoon just to read the first 15 pages, I didn't want to skip anything, afraid I might miss something of true worth buried in there.

But to summarize: Arguments were made (by mostly Gino), that all the ROTJ helmets were originally ESB helmets, just reworked. Even though there was a lot said about the risers in and around pages 7 and 8, there still didn't seem to be any kind of absolutes. What was felt to be known, was based on a lot of "this helmet has this, so therefore these helmets must have this also". Gino posted a picture of the No.3 ROTJ facemask showing its riser and it was noted that this is a similar riser to that of the ROTJ stunt helmet. And it seems therefore, that all of the ROTJ helmets must have this kind of riser. And since all the ROTJs were originally ESBs, they must have this style riser also. It was debated whether the risers were molded onto the helmet or added and Don Bies checked out one of the masks and said it was definitely added.

...i.e. a whole lotta supposition. Very little actual fact. :protest

I feel there is very little evidence to suggest that all of the production helmets had a certain kind of riser and that tour helmets had another. There is also little proof that the cylindrical ring riser that you see on the DP was only used on tour helmets. Compare the ESB stunt riser to the ROTJ #3 riser. Though they both seem to use the same, I think they called it, a sourced part, there is quite a difference as to the fit and finish of its application to the facemasks. And then there's the Amy White helmet. Where does this fit in to the original thinking? It seems many people think that this is an original screen used helmet, but the riser is clearly added and isn't even painted, just raw putty. Lastly, there's helmets like this one on the far right, which I firmly believe it is a tour helmet but has the same riser configuration and not that DP ring.

ImageImageImageImage


Sadly, there is no good way to answer the question about the risers, until we see such helmets as MOTM and at least these two ROTJ's without their domes. I think you have to go at least that far before you can begin to say anything definitive about risers being the basis for screen used or not.

Image

Getting back to the RPF thread....


I often also found a lot of inaccurate statements such as the one I cut and pasted below. This being from a person who is supposed to know.

Jul 7, 2009, 2:11 AM - Re: Origins of the ROTJ Vader helmets: JY thread continuation #384

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The fat lipped ROTJ is one of the perspex stunt helmets.
The fat lip was created due to the mating of the perspex neck to the fiberglass face.
There is no such thing as an all fiberglass fat lip helmet in any SW film.


Oh really? Then what is this? Chopped liver?

Image

Unfortunately from there, the thread seems to disintegrate into a casting prominence argument, A.k.a. my cast is bigger than yours (literally). :fight



Sith-Smith wrote:
Out ward appearances aside isn't the inside markings of these helmets an accurate ID method of what is what. I've seen white numbers and pink letters. There must have been a definitive system of marking these through the building process of both film made, film used and tour helmets that would serve as inventory list. What do you guys think?
-Dwayne


I think it's only logical that the companies controlling the tour helmets needed some way to identify helmets supplied by them, whether they made them or not. It is my understanding that the company (NJ Farmer) was charged with this task. So it does not seem unreasonable that you would see markings such as the pink 'B' inside the dome of even a production helmet, if it was in their inventory at some time, to use as a tour helmet.


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