In January of this year I bought a DP Deluxe Vader in need of a little TLC from a fellow RPFer:
I wanted a helmet I could take to the office and display and not have to worry about bringing a rare and valuable 20th Century piece and it getting stolen or damaged. I had a DP Deluxe before and sold it a few years ago (helmet #166--to my lasting regret--it was one of the first props I'd ever gotten and it had some sentimental value). This would get me another DP Deluxe and fit the bill for work. I thought I'd strip it down, give it a little Bondo touch-up, a new paint job, and in a few weeks I'd be done. You all know it doesn't work like that--lol!
I spent a few afternoons stripping off the 20 odd coats of paint it had. Once got through the paint I discovered a lump of fiberglass that looked like it had been abused by a maniac with 30 grit sandpaper and a lot of time on his hands.
This began a project I've been working on for an hour or so every week for the last eight months and will probably be on time for its nine month delivery!
Once the paint was all cleared away I started to work on the areas of the faceplate that bothered me by building up and sanding/shaping layers of Bondo:
I haven't been looking to get an exact replica of course that's not possible. Just one that passes muster and restores some of what was sanded away by the maniac. This helmet had some interesting characteristics for a DPD. The mouth droop wasn't that serious as some I've seen but the tip of the nose had some very unusual distortion. The nose tip as you can see in the pictures seems elongated. Turns out this was from over-application of Bondo by the DP staff to help fill in a bad pull. You can see where they went Bondo crazy around the mouth/nose area (the darker pink Bondo) and pretty much everywhere else. The neck also had some of the flare that's typical of some helmets I've seen which I decided I'd like to try and correct. This type of neck flare almost seems random too. I've seen lower numbered DPD helmets that suffer from it (lower than say 200) and it just got worse as time went on.
To correct the flare I slathered the inside of the neck with Bondo-Glass (one of my favorite things!) to re-enforce it and allow me to grind down the areas in question without blowing through to nothing:
(more to come)