Black Series Darth Vader Helmet Mod Thread!

DickStompington

New Member
Hi all!

I really wanna mod my BS vader. I don't really have any experience doing this kind of stuff but I've always admired what you guys do and always thought it looked fun. I have a couple weeks off of school until I gotta but my nose in the music theory books again so I thought maybe I can work on this.

Does anyone have any advice on where to start with this project? I noticed on one of the posts that someone had used the clear red acrylic paint for the lenses. Since I don't have an airbrush or even know how to use one, would this do the job? It says that it's clear red?
tamr5074.jpg


Thanks!

-Jon
 

StephenMG

Active Member
Jon, I've seen a few people paint the inside of their lenses with clear red paint, although DarkLyte subsequently replaced his with red acrylic versions. I'll do the same eventually but, for now, I intend to try the painting route.

I will airbrush mine with Tamiya Clear Red but what you have there is the same paint but in a spray can. The issue is going to be that the spraying will leave a 'texture' on the lens and so it won't be clear to see through. I have therefore done some experiements to help get some of the clarity back.

I'm using the old aircraft modeller's trick of using Johnson's Klear (known as Future in the US) acrylic floor polish. The technique is used to make an aircraft canopy clear again by dipping it in the polish and letting it dry. The Klear/Future fills the scratches and restores the clarity. I've done it myself many times with aircraft canopies and it works beautifully. You basically dip the canopy, wick off the excess and let it dry under a cover free of dust.

I experimented by first spraying Tamiya Red Clear on a piece of clear acrylic. That left it with a texture that meant you couldn't see through it very well. I then dipped it in Klear and let that dry. That went a long way to making it clear again so I think an extra couple of dippings should do the job pretty well. It'll never be as good as the replacement lenses DarkLyte used but it'll do for now.

That experiment was a while ago now. I'll repeat it before commiting my actual lenses though! I'll post some photos when I do.
 

StephenMG

Active Member
The two colours should be black and gunmetal. There seems to be a debate over how dark the gunmetal should be though - some folk prefer to replicate the colour on the actual prop (lighter), whereas others prefer it to replicate the on-screen look (darker). I'm firmly in the latter camp and so I used a dark gunmetal so you don't immediately notice that the helmet is not all black - it was decades before I realised Vader had a 2-tone colour scheme after all!

I used car paints for mine. The exact colours were Gloss Black and Ford Graphite Grey for the gunmetal panels. I tested Tamiya Gun Metal and found it a bit light for my taste. I also found the car paint to be much more durable.
 

StephenMG

Active Member
Now that I've finished the mods to my mask (extended and flared neck, reworked chin vent, rounded nose two-tone paint scheme, replacement metal grills and tusks etc.) I've turned my attention towards the dome. I think the most beneficial enhancement will be to thicken up the edges but I wanted to address the weird 'brow' shape before moving on to that.

As a first step I've added some styrene inside the front edge to even out the curve and lower the rather quizzical looking 'eyebrows' and to create a widows peak. I reckon Vader looks far more menacing with the peak and having shrunken the chin vent down to ANH size it seems the logical thing to do. Sadly, it's going to very difficult to recreate the crease in it without major surgery due to the way Hasbro have shaped the front of the 'brows'. I don't want to go that far so I'll just extend the central stripe and shape it as best I can.

Anyway, here's the first step with the extra plastic in place. Next step is to add more plastic and filler to bring it up to level and blend it into the original dome.
Dome-mod1.jpg

This isn't the world's best photo but I'm happy with the revised look so far,
BS-Vader-front.jpg


Once I've finished with this mod I plan to extend the 'skirt' of the dome and beef up the edges of it.
 

frogfreak

Active Member
I wonder, are you going to fix the cheeks? Like in addition to the left cheek needing to be curved up, both cheeks look pretty sunken. And are your going to do something with the eye shape? And possibly the sides of the mouth? And lastly would you do something with the round part of the dome it looks kinda short and weird. If you would do all that it would make a huge difference!
 

StephenMG

Active Member
In a word...no! This thing is never going to be anywhere near accurate to the film prop. If you tried to modify all that then you'd have nothing left of the original helmet and would be better off starting with something else. I'm just making it look a more acceptable and a bit more in proportion - hence the lengthened neck. For me, it's a man-cave ornament (and a very nice one now) that's all.:)
 
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StephenMG

Active Member
Nice. The two-tone paint scheme makes a huge difference, but the masking up is soooooo tedious!

What gunmetal did you go with in the end, it looks great?
 

DickStompington

New Member
Yeah it is! I probably could’ve done a better job taping but I figured I can probably just touch it up with a brush. I ended up going with light gun metal from Tamiya :)
 

StephenMG

Active Member
Been working on my dome 'skirt' extension. The first stage, adding the extra plastic, is done. Got lots of filling, smoothing, sanding, shaping etc. to do now.
dome-extension.jpg


This is a bad photo taken in poor light but it gives an impression of the overall helmet with the longer skirt,
dome-extension2.jpg
 
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frogfreak

Active Member
Honestly This thing is looking amazing! I mean the skirt extension makes it look do much better! It's amazing that a small detail like that would change the look tremendously.
 

StephenMG

Active Member
Thank you frogfreak and you're right, the longer skirt does transform the dome in the same way the longer neck transformed the mask. I suspect Hasbro made them as small as they could get away with without completely ruining the look. As you quite correctly mentioned in your previous post the top of the dome is a little squat. It does look better in real life than in photos though - I suspect most are taken on phones which have quite a wide angle lens and so distort things. Oddly enough the short dome doesn't seem so noticeable with the longer skirt added. I was afraid it would make it look worse but that doesn't seem to be the case IMO.
 
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