Black Series Darth Vader Helmet Mod Thread!

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Jennigirl, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That looks fantastic! Gonna have to grab a Fram filter this week and make it happen. I have some styrene sheets on the way and am planning on extending the neck and flaring it out a bit. I’m debating on shrinking down the chin triangle for more of a ANH/R1 look as well. Not sure if I’ll go that far or not.


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  2. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ended up making a lot of progress during the week while the site was down!

    88FCD29F-9EFF-443F-AFFB-859F9546C690_zpsinhei4pm.jpg

    93FB5EB0-DA21-475A-B796-52588F26E5A6_zpsjhlghfpg.jpg

    016994C5-DABD-4E41-B011-9D214C87C584_zpspofro44g.jpg

    439119C6-05EB-4D56-890F-1D35C49F433F_zpsouvev14b.jpg

    2FB85BEB-9F6E-465B-A5C2-D91CE0A5992B_zpsocavx6lw.jpg

    I will say that spraying the raw black plastic with clear coat completely transforms it! I highly recommend doing it if you do nothing else.

    I got a few drips on the mouth but once it cures I'm going to sand them down and fix it up.
     
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  3. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A little more progress and finalized the ANH/R1 chin vent mod. I figured if the helmet is going to have red lenses, the smaller details need to match! 26086BAE-2B57-430C-BC98-126DC2D4EF53.jpeg
     
  4. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Great work so far DarkLyte. I thought about reducing the size of the lower grill myself but decided to just add some stainless steel mesh and metal tusks instead. I have extended my neck though by about 3/4" but didn't bother with any flare. The longer neck has made a huge difference to the overall look I think - it looks much more balanced now. I will have to repaint the lower section though - I used a diffrerent filler to my usual blend in the neck extension and, in the intervening weeks, it seems to have shrunk back a touch which has left a tiny line where the joint is. It only really shows when the light catches it but it's annoying me royally so I'll have to do something about it. I used a graphite colour for the two-tone. It looks a touch darker in real life than in these photos, but is just enough to remove the general 'blackness' that was the problem when filming ANH and which led to the gunmetal being applied in the first place.

    My next job is to get some putty in the 'nose' to give it the proper concave curved shape, rather than the square-cornered recess that Hasbro gave it, before getting some silver paint on it.

    I'd very much like to redden the eyes too and am experimenting with things at the moment as I'd like to retain the clarity. One method that looks promising on some test perspex is airbrushed Tamiya Red Clear followed by a few coats of Klear (Future) floor polish to restore the clarity.

    I'm following your progress with great interest!

    BS-DV-6.jpg BS-DV-5.jpg BS-DV-4.jpg
     
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  5. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Your earlier photos of your next extension are what motivated me to do it on mine. It's crazy how much it adds to the balance of the helmet as you said. Yours looks fantastic! The paint job on yours looks great as well.

    Did you use the Fram air filter mesh on yours as well? Where did you get the smaller mesh for the mouth?
     
  6. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Yes, it's a shame Hasbro made the neck quite so short - that extra bit makes a massive difference to the overall effect.

    I knew about the Fram filter mesh but didn't use it. I got mine from a supplier here in the UK called The Mesh Company (there's a definite lack of imagination with that name!). It's expanded mesh so isn't flat like the Fram stuff but does seem to match the mesh used in at least one Vader helmet I've seen in exhibition photos. The chin mesh is a 16mm x 7mm expanded steel mesh which I cleaned and polished before dipping it in Klear (Future) to stop it from rusting. The mouth mesh is a smaller 10mm x 5mm aluminium mesh. I haven't done much with the mouth yet (other than cut the mesh to size) but I backed the chin mesh with an offcut of steel hex mesh left over from my Rubie's Stormtrooper helmet project. I'll probably do the same with the mouth.
     
  7. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I ended up having an unfortunate mishap with the lenses on my helmet. I tried to clear coat them to shine them up like I did with the mask but the clear did not mesh well with the lens plastic. I have been looking at the ones from Vaderpainter Studios on eBay as a replacement and he confirmed that the size should cover the dimensions of the BS helmet. I have a set on order and will report back once they’re here!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  8. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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  9. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Not a big deal, we all know what it's like to mess up when building props. That's how we learn! I saw the ones from OPLE Props however I'm not a huge fan of the bubble shape of the lenses since the bubble doesn't go edge to edge in the eye hole. In the event that the ones from Vaderpainter Studios don't work out, I'll probably have to fall back on the OPLE option or try and find another helmet on clearance and get the lenses from it.
     
  10. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    You're absolutely right there dude. I knackered my Black Series Stormtrooper lens by dropping sticky stuff remover on it (which melted the surface!). Then I almost ruined the visor I used for my tarted-up Rubie's First Order Stormtrooper when heating it to bend it (and had to spend hours polishing it). So I haven't got a good track record!!!!!!!
     
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  11. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Glad I’m not the only one haha!

    With that being said, the new lenses are here and look AMAZING. They will need to be cut down to fit but I recommend them. They don’t match the exact contour of the originals which leaves a small gap between the lens and the top of the eye hole, but you can’t see it unless you flip the helmet and are looking for it.

    8A03F5FD-455F-46D3-B508-98D5F74B0156.jpeg

    I also finalized the collar extension and am working on blending it in to the mask.

    FFA3B85C-0649-4EAA-8C0B-1065BB247F55.jpeg

    60E1AC30-2F3B-4B12-830E-30E8CC468262.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  12. blewis17

    blewis17 Sr Member

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    You have made this toy helmet look amazing! Bravo, sir!
     
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  13. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you!! Just trying to keep up with all the other awesome examples in this thread!
     
  14. ABE

    ABE Active Member

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    wow looks so cool !!!
     
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  15. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    438BEB28-198C-4887-91C7-0071AAB05F27.jpeg 214B848B-686C-45EE-B8A8-3E0869F62046.jpeg 236CFC51-0359-4285-A6E4-916A37B7C080.jpeg 491663AD-57D1-4D36-9968-81443025C4B2.jpeg 84F9F397-015C-40DD-B8BF-1BBA061D2648.jpeg Been a while since I’ve been able to make progress on my Vader helmet but I finally got the lenses put in. They are amazing but do not fit the curvature of the originals. Since mine were damaged, I cut them out of the lens “assembly” so I could have something to mount the new ones to without gluing them to the helmet itself. Since the new ones didn’t match, I used some epoxy putty to make up for the gap they had at the top. This helped with making sure they had more surface to adhere to and not have light show through. This wasn’t super easy but the results speak for themselves!
     
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  16. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    FB9D192F-45BC-4D85-B01A-BB045F16E7E7.jpeg Kind of hard to tell from a photo but in person the difference in quality from the originals is amazing! Totally adds a new level to the helmet. Original on the left, Vaderpainter lenses on the right.
     
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  17. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  18. ABE

    ABE Active Member

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    beautiful work , What type of paint did you use for the helmet?
     
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  19. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you! I used Duplicolor Gun Metal for the silver parts and just used Rustoleum Gloss clear over the silver and factory black plastic.
     
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  20. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    DarkLyte this look fantastic. I agree, those lenses make an amazing difference. I might have a bash at thermoforming some myself.
     
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  21. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thank you! I considered making some myself but for the sake of time and materials, $25 for a pre-made set was worth it. If you ever thermoform some that are a direct replacement for the ones that came with the helmet, let me know!
     
  22. Celtic007

    Celtic007 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm having trouble removing the interior pieces. Is there any trick to it? I don't wanna break anything.
     
  23. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    As luck would have it I took mine apart again yesterday in order to improve the 'nose' area (photos coming soon), so took a couple of quick shots which I hope will help.

    Once you've removed all the screws, the trickiest bit is getting the side panels away. There are two 'tubes' which fit into blind holes inside the moulding at the edge so they're not visible from outside when assembled. These have some sort of flexible glue on them so they are not solidly bonded together but hold firmly enough to make it a little tricky to get apart. I've circled the bits I mean in yellow so you can see the 'tubes' and the 'holes' they fit into. You can also see some of the glue reside still left on mine. Make sure you've got all the screws out then wiggle away at the side panels and they should eventually come away.

    Good luck. I hope that helps.
    BSVader-inside1.jpg BSVader-inside2.jpg
     
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  24. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You guys are really taking this to the next level.. dang
     
  25. russellsch

    russellsch Sr Member

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    I got one of these for Christmas. Can't wait to take it apart & start painting! (y)
    You guys are a huge inspiration!
     
  26. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    where is everyone grabbing the eye upgrade lens from?
     
  27. Celtic007

    Celtic007 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks! So I take it the side pieces must come out first? The reason I want to remove it is to redo the nose area as well. I want to 3d print a correctly shaped nose to re insert.
     
  28. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    No, the centre piece (which has the nose section as part of it) comes out first. The side pieces have a couple of tabs on them with oval holes (you can see them at the top of my second photo) - these fit over the screw posts and are hidden under the centre section. Stick your thumb in the nose and press and the centre piece should unclick and that whole section should then be free to work out. In the forehead area it had a couple of slim tabs which sit under the side pieces so these need to be worked free before the centre section can come out. They're only there for support really so are easy to get free with a little wiggling.
     
  29. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Just finished my efforts to improve the nose from the squared-off original to the more accurate rounded shape.

    Starting point scuffed up to help key the filler,
    BSVader-nose1.jpg

    Milliput added and rounded off using a glass marble rolled around the inside,
    BSVader-nose2.jpg

    Hardened, sanded and cleaned up,
    BSVader-nose3.jpg

    Painted and re-assembled,
    BSVader-nose4.jpg

    A simple mod but a big improvement I think.
     
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  30. Celtic007

    Celtic007 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great job! That seems a lot easier than what I had planned. Might have to steal that idea.
     
  31. Bigbat23

    Bigbat23 Well-Known Member

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    So glad I found this thread. I got one for Christmas and now I know what I need to do to improve the look of it. You guys stuff looks great.
     
  32. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I got mine from eBay from Vaderpainterstudios. He makes them in red and smoked. They definitely require some trimming and don't match the curvature of the existing lenses in the helmet so it requires a little modding to fit, but I'm a fan of them! I also contacted the seller and found out his metal tusks are just a hair smaller than the ones on the Black Series helmet (which should be slightly more accurate looking) so I plan on using them for my build.

    Star Wars Darth Vader Custom Red Thermo-formed Bubble Lense Set | eBay
     
  33. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Awesome!! Thanks!!
     
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  34. zjunlimited

    zjunlimited Active Member

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  35. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I saw those as well but it's just one flat piece of acrylic that was bent to a curve. The ones I got are "bubble" lenses and are individually thermoformed so they look like they should. The guy on Etsy isn't telling you that you'll need to mod for his to work as well. The inside of the helmet is not one continuous curve.
     
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  36. zjunlimited

    zjunlimited Active Member

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    Ah good to know. Thanks.
     
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  37. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Go for it! It was a very quick and easy mod and, using the glass marble to get the curves perfectly smooth and consistent, means it looks very effective.
     
  38. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  39. halliwax

    halliwax Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Aaahh!! Lesson learned!
     
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  40. Unfated

    Unfated Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Rolled around with a marble? Clever.
     
  41. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm now considering taking my mask apart just to do this mod. Now whenever I look at it, it doesn't look right. I BLAME YOU! Hahaha
     
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  42. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    1A2AB764-E352-43B9-A043-45334DFC7C9C.jpeg CD357C08-923B-468A-ADC4-1EFFC0779FA4.jpeg Collar progress! Just a few spots to touch up and it’s ready for paint. Metal tusks should be here next week.
     
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  43. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Ha ha ha! I know exactly how you feel! I keep looking at your modded chin vent, then looking at mine, then looking back at yours, then looking at mine, then looking back at yours, then looking at mine...

    I blame YOU!!!!!! :D
     
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  44. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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  45. ABE

    ABE Active Member

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    looks beautiful :)
     
  46. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hahahaha! :D Let me know if you need a laser cut insert for yours. I have plenty of styrene left to make more.
     
  47. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    DD865228-1CD9-45E7-A874-2D084750F63B.jpeg Tusks from Vaderpainter Studios came in and I think they’re a winner! Slightly smaller than the ones that came on the helmet but I think they look 10x better.
     
  48. badges2nz

    badges2nz Active Member

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    I have found metal mesh on various items that can pass quite nicely, the first one was an old wall mounted hair dryer like back in the 50s & 60s.
    The next and probably the best and maybe easiest to get is the aluminium filters from range hoods or cooker hoods, preferably new as the old ones stink with grease and fat.
    I hope that helps to some small degree.
     
  49. DarkLyte

    DarkLyte Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is the one I used for mine. I got the "Tough Guard" filter.

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LVIV0C/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
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  50. StephenMG

    StephenMG Member

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    Sorry for the late reply and thank you so much for your kind offer, much appreciated. I've been thinking hard about this chin vent because I I do need to do something with it. As it stands it's too big and the chamfered edges just don't look right. I think I may go for an ESB look though as I quite like that size of vent. I just need to build up the courage to pull my neck section apart again...! :eek:
     
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