A guide to movie accurate "Tog Gun" hgu-33/p helmets (maverick, goose, viper...)

chameloon

Active Member
As I'm working on a "Tog Gun" movie repro helmet, I was thinking to share some infos with everyone here...

A “regular” US Navy Hgu-33/P is a good base for a“top gun” helmet repro, but the screen used helmets were a bit different.

The helmets used in the shooting of the movie came from a firm based in El Cajon, CA., called “Flight Suits Ltd.” (that is now known as “Gibson and Barnes”). At the time, they provided military pilots with custom helmets, but also civilians helmets (that you can find on Ebay from time to time).
They did and still provide helmets for many display teams, such as the Thunderbirds (USAF), the Blue Angels (USN), Frecce Tricolori (Italy)…

Gentex provided basic shells to “Flight Suits Ltd.”, that they tuned/painted to match their clients needs. The reference of the shell assembly for a regular USN Hgu-33/p is “PRK-37/p” (this same shell assembly is used in several USN helmets setups, with different visor assemblies or communication setups), when the “Flight Suits Ltd.” reference is simply “helmet shell, hgu-33/p”. The same applies for the visor assembly : “EEK-4 A/P” vs. “kit, visor assembly”. (note: MFR code is the same)

gWvXxb3.jpg



Let’s now review the details to have an accuration reproduction of the helmets seen in the movie
(“Russian” helmets aside. I could write about them later). You could also spot more easilly fake/poorly made repros found on Ebay.


Communication cable emplacement

The easiest way to spot an original “Flight Suits Ltd.” Hgu-33/p !
US Navy Hgu-33/p see their communication cord plug (CX4708) attached on the back of the shell, on the left side, behind the neck strap screw assembly, whereas “Flight Suits Ltd.”hgu-33/p plugs were located on the middle of the left side.

DRUd7by.jpg


(note: USAF Hgu-2, hgu-26… also have the com. cord on the side)


Bayonet receivers

On the mask bayonet receivers of “Top Gun” helmets, there is a“Flight Suits Ltd.” logo is inscribed on metal plates, screwed on top.

gEmNjSU.jpg


Note, their logo evolved over the years. The plate logo seen in the movie is that one:
1NhQSOY.jpg



Visor knobs

There are 3 common shapes of visor knobs found on Hgu helmets in the 80’s.
Usually, on US Navy Hgu-33/p, you’ll find either the “deep dish” one, commonly found in blue or black, or the second (older) type, flatter, as seen on a wide range of helmets, from Aph to Hgu and Sph helicopter helmets. That is the one we need. The third type is mostly seen on USAF Hgu-2a/p or civilian Hgu-33/p helmets (including “Flight Suits Ltd.”ones)

Pk9mFV4.jpg



Visors

Flight helmet visors are shapped differently, depending on the oxygen mask used. What we need here is a visor trimmed for Mbu-12 oxygen masks, with an inverted “U” nosebride section (vs. inverted “V” section, usually used with mbu-5 / ms-22001 oxygen masks).

1WfIGfC.jpg



Chin and nape straps


Here again, there is a difference. The tabs are longer and the chin/nape pads are made of leather, and not fabric.
Moreover, chin pad is not secured the same way (tabs vs. velcro).

3rGrvtf.jpg


If you are really nitpicking and want an accurate reproduction, even the screws Flight Suits inc. used to attach the chin/nape straps differ from those on regular USN Hgu33s. On “Top Gun” helmets, screws were wider (and without washers for the nape strap).

N44S79j.jpg



Leather edgeroll

The edgeroll is thicker than USN hgu-33s and leather is usually of better quality. It is also sewn to the shell. If you can find an old custom or civilian Hgu-33/P helmet, unfortunately the foam used in the 70s/80s is often rot, crumbles, and needs to be replaced (the USN one stands better in time)

zvpnQVA.jpg



Oxygen mask

The mask is a Mbu-14/P. The Mbu-14/p is the USN variation of the USAF Mbu-12/p. The differences are found on the communication setup: the amplifier on the nose bridge section and the communication cord differ.

oGtxMth.jpg



Hope you found this guide usefull, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

All pictures from this guide were taken by me. Thanks for not re-using or sharing them without my permission. Thanks.


PS: English is not my mother tongue, so there may be some typos/style errors in the text. PM me and I’ll edit to correct.
PS2: If you have a USN decorated helmet that you wish to convert into a repro, please do PM before removing the decoration, we may be able to work something out (I’m looking for original USN decorations for my collection)
 

swpropmaker

Sr Member
Thanks for posting this info! Ive seen pictures/screen grabs that show the gasmask straps look green and the one that sold in auction are black.. are both accurate?
 

jaq78

New Member
I recently got a mbu-12 for a good deal. is it possible to convert it to a mbu-14 with the correct amplifier and communication wiring? Any leads on where to get those components if so?
 

chameloon

Active Member
I recently got a mbu-12 for a good deal. is it possible to convert it to a mbu-14 with the correct amplifier and communication wiring? Any leads on where to get those components if so?
It is...but expect well over $150 just for those parts on Ebay. Market has gone crazy...
 

jaq78

New Member
Where is a good source for screen accurate flight suit , boots, and other gear worn in cockpit and on ground such as the "I feel the need, the need for speed" scene?
I appreciate all the help!
 

sjensen

Member
Looks like green is the original color and gray was a later edition... and there seem to be a lot more gray mbu12/14 out there... any thoughts on painting or dying one green?
 
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chameloon

Active Member
Looks like green is the original color and gray was a later edition... and there seem to be a lot more gray mbu12/14 out there... any thoughts on painting or dying one green?
No way you can paint a grey mask. It is silicone and no paint/dye will stick...Your only option is to find a green one.
 

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