A question of ethics.

Ford W Maverick

Well-Known Member
I've been a lurker here for some time and thought it was about time I finally posted something. Leave it to me to open a can of worms right off the bat, but I have a question for you guys.

I have the Don Post TIE Pilot helmet from the 90's, but I left it sitting on a shelf and the side box on one side got badly flattened from the weight of the rest of the helmet. I am trying to straighten it back out and restore the helmet, but what I'd really like is to have one cast in something stronger than the slush-cast vinyl that it's made of.

So my question is thus: would it be unethical to mold the out-of-production Don Post helmet with the intention of only making myself a copy out of a stronger product, like fiberglass?

I should point out that while I am new here, I do know what a sensitive topic recasting is and I assure everyone that I would never mass-produce these or anything. I'd just want to make myself a sturdier replica, maybe make one or two duplicates to make an AT-AT Driver, or reverse-engineer a Rebel Pilot helm, but trust me, they won't end up on eBay or anything.

Hell, I'm even planning (if I do it) to leave the copyright text on the back of the helmet so everyone seeing it will know of it's origin.

Anyways, can of worms open, what do you guys think? If the consensus here is 'Nay' then I won't do it.
 

Maelstrom

Sr Member
I say do it. There has been a lot of old Don Post stuff molded and sold for profit so I see no reason for you to not be able to make a mold for your own needs.
 

Troy Downen

Active Member
Ford W M: you're a gentleman for even asking the question. Allow me to respond from the point of view of a scale modeler (not necessarily a costumer). It is commonly accepted among scale modelers that casting copies of components or small accessories for personal use is ethical. However, one must use common sense and feel comfortable within one's own personal mores. I believe that casting or vac forming a copy of the DP helmet that you purchased, to be used strictly for yourself when trooping, is okay. Same answer were you to, for example, cast a copy of your metal Master Replicas blaster out of foam so that you'd have a lighter copy to troop with that could get damaged without making you cry! (at least *i* would cry if my MR blaster got dropped and bent!) But now, if you start selling DP recasts - that would cross the line in my book. The answer is made slightly more clear -to me - by the fact that TI helmets are hard to come by (but not impossible). So there aren't a great deal of options other than taking matters into your own hands.
 

Stormy320

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Don Post hosed everyone in the 90s claiming his stuff was as close as you could get right out of the archives.

The prop fans were less sophisticated back then (at least I was) and forked out big $$ for his stuff which led to disappointment.

For example his life size stormtrooper advertisements always showed the profile of the helmet, which looked good. However, the helmet isn't even close when you view it from the front.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Ford W Maverick

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the feedback guys! I have read many posts on here about recasting, but they usually deal with recasting a single model part or someone recasting a piece sculpted by another user for resale. I only asked about this because I wanted to be sure that recasting this helmet would be more akin to the model part than the outright recasting part. I mean, it's one thing to recast a hubcap for a car model if one is damaged or missing, but something else to make copies of a hand sculpted car and then selling it. I'm proposing to cast an entire helmet, sculpted by someone else (though it's no longer available for sale by the person that actually sculpted it) and while it seems ok, I just wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

I really like this site and it's people and I don't want to start my association with either by doing anything shady!
 

Amish Trooper

Sr Member
This helmet falls under the ok rule since the company hasn't had the Star Wars license for quite awhile and isn't selling. You won't please everyone but you won't be breaking any rules of this site.
 

Ford W Maverick

Well-Known Member
Thanks again, I feel better about proceeding now.

I know that some people are critical of Don Post's SW products, but I've always liked their take on the TIE Pilot bucket. I plan on using it as a starting point for making something new, not making just a straight up copy.

I have a DP Stormtrooper (solely for display purposes, can't get it on my head) and the DP Vader helmet, both of which have their accuracy issues, but the TIE looks pretty good to me after some minor modification.
 

jedimaster

Sr Member
Cast away dude , but with the time and money ya spend on materials you could almost buy a screen accurate one with armour.

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Sigma-LS

Sr Member
Thought I'd just ask, if you only want your original to be tougher, why not just slap some fiberglass in it and be done with it?

PVC backed by fiberglass should give you all the rigidity you need.
 

Maelstrom

Sr Member
I'd just want to make myself a sturdier replica, maybe make one or two duplicates to make an AT-AT Driver, or reverse-engineer a Rebel Pilot helm
Thought I'd just ask, if you only want your original to be tougher, why not just slap some fiberglass in it and be done with it?

PVC backed by fiberglass should give you all the rigidity you need.
I think that's why. Plus he may not want to alter his original one.
 

Alan Castillo

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't think many people would be too worried about you making a cast for yourself from it but it seems an awful lot of trouble and effort not to mention expense.

#1) You could just reinforce the existing helmet.

#2) SgtFang a member here has moulds of the DP delux though i haven't seen him about for a while.

#3) A couple of months back another member was selling fibreglass copies of the DP classic action although i can't remember who i'm sure someone else probably can.

#4) There are several other TIE helmets which are more accurate than the DP readily available.

#5) If the DP is one you really like you could just buy another, while no longer available through retailers they are available on the secondry market.

All those options would be far cheaper and less hassle than moulding and casting it yourself for a one off copy.
Best reply for you FWM :thumbsup
 

Ford W Maverick

Well-Known Member
Thing is, I own a DP Tie helmet already which I'm trying to restore. Alteration isn't the problem because it needs to be altered no matter what I do. I'll probably try to reinforce the old one with fiberglass at some point, but it's warped pretty bad and I figured that in order to get it to stay in the proper shape long enough to mold it would likely require bracing it on the inside in such a way that might leave it unwearable. Maybe I could brace it, then lay in fiberglass and then remove the braces. It's an option I guess.

Anyhow, like I said, I already own the base helmet, which I like the design of, and I figured if I molded it I could have more than one shot at fixing one. I mean, I could buy another one on eBay, but if I mess it up catastrophically then I'm out another helmet. If I cast one and mess it up then I'm just out some fiberglass. Plus, if I want to make an AT-AT version they'll be near identical.

Also, I'm on disability, I have plenty of time on my hands, but I'm on a REALLY fixed budget. I figured this would be the cheaper option. Does a latex mold of one helmet really cost that much? If it does then I may have to seriously rethink this.
 

Ford W Maverick

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure which one it is. I do know it's pretty big. It's cast in semi-soft vinyl, it's one piece except for the lenses. Wasn't the lager one cast in something more rigid? I think the deluxe was also glossy, where this one is a matte finish which appears to be the color of the material it was cast in, and therefore unpainted.
 

Weaselhammer

Sr Member
Being a newcomer to the world of prop making, I was in for a rude awakening when I made an Optimus Prime rifle with the intention of making a mold and knocking out a few casts. The materials needed cost alot more than I planned. These guys are probably right that buying a new helmet may be more cost effective than casting a new one, just a thought. I also look at the "ethic" part kinda like making cd copies. If you make a copy for yourself, maybe for your car or just to keep from trashing the original then it's fine. But to make copies and sell them or even hand them out to friends would be cheating the artist and be morally wrong. Good luck with whatever you choose , and I personally see your post as an honorable question !
 

Cenobyte

Sr Member
This helmet falls under the ok rule since the company hasn't had the Star Wars license for quite awhile and isn't selling. You won't please everyone but you won't be breaking any rules of this site.

You cannot go by that rule. Master Replicas has been out of business for a while and no longer holds a license, icons as well.

People still frown upon recasting those.
 

KnightAsylum

Sr Member
Recasting is recasting no matter the reason. Every person that does recast thinks they are justified for doing it and can give you reasons. It is not an act that can be made OK with an excuse - it is just one you do, or don't do.
Much like most ethical questions, it is all on the person making the choice.
A very black and white issue that folks love to try and turn grey to suit their needs. Not the most important issue in the world but interesting to see the same pattern and same points here time and time again.
 
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