How was Vader's helmet modified from ANH to ESB to ROTJ

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

vader45

Sr Member
An alleged screen used ROTJ Vader Helmet photographed by Wired Magazine in the LFL props archive.

View attachment 1302484

That helmet. Is also this helmet.

DSC_5191_2.JPG.jpg


The green is purely lighting and the environment
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
That helmet. Is also this helmet.

View attachment 1302565

The green is purely lighting and the environment
Very interesting to see a hero helmet with the fine mesh behind the mouth mesh for ROTJ

One thing that stands out for me is this helmet looks significantly more banged up than the Shot with the green lens
did they clean it up perhaps before it was taken photos of?

This helmet must have been used in very up close shots of Vader in ROTJ it would seem
so perhaps it's also the hero helmet in the emperors throne room scenes ?
 

sztriki

Sr Member
I know this thread is about the actual modifications and differences between each mask so apologies for rambling on without much actual value...but I always wondered what would be the single thing to pick out that makes the ANH Vader so different to the rest. I know it's a combination of a myriad details, but I thought there has to be the ONE big thing. Maybe the robe worn outside the armor or the widow's peak, etc. Even the Rogue 1 looked much more like ESB/ROTJ than ANH to me. Then I bumped into this today:
I know it's an ESB helmet but with that dome placement I think I found my main turning point. It's also interesting that the subtle difference between ROTJ and ESB is related to dome placement/position too.
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well, like you note, it's a myriad of characteristics that come together to give each Vader its distinctive look. But since you are asking for a single feature that distinguishes the ANH look, and this thread is mainly about the helmet, for me it's the widow's peak. Vader looks more aggressive to me in ANH and is my favorite version. That look is enhanced by dome placement but the dome is all over the place in ANH so it's the peak itself that nails it, imo.

A few years ago I was commissioned to modify a quarter scale Sideshow Vader and tweaked/sharpened the widows peak on the figure. It was a very subtle change but it made a world of difference.

Doubtless there is a different feature for each fan and I'm curious to hear what others think.

Cheers,

Dave
 

ggriffaw

Sr Member
I think a big difference in ANH is the helmet is much dirtier and beat up looking. He looks like someone that gets into the trenches. In ESB and ROTJ he looks more like a general with a nice clean uniform.

I feel the efx ANH fiberglass helmets don't look quite right because they are too clean.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

sztriki

Sr Member
It's the R1 that got me thinking of this cuz the widow's peak is there, plenty of features are in place but it still looks like an ESB kit for me. Same with the reverse engineered Brian Muir one. ANH is really special and is a bit of a mythic one. As a full on character and costume I take ESB/ROTJ over ANH but put all helmets on a display spike and I'll pick ANH.
 

joevader

New Member
I love Vader in any of his versions, such a great villain.
What makes ESB my favorite is the refinement of the brilliant ANH design: more elegant and seductive.

I agree the roughness of ANH is badass, but ESB´s more polished look gives Vader a more invulnerable aura. No dents, almost no scratches, like nothing can hurt him.

Also, the exquisite lighting strengthens the complex journey of Vader´s character through the film, and oddly enough, it gives the mask more "expression".

Empty, cold, manipulative machine-man.
4k-swempire-starwarsscreencaps.com-16896.jpg


Murderous, maniacal machine-man.
4k-swempire-starwarsscreencaps.com-19430.jpg


Disappointed? Maybe even sad ? machine-man.
4k-swempire-starwarsscreencaps.com-21048.jpg


Stay safe guys!
 
Last edited:

sztriki

Sr Member
I love Vader in any of his versions, such a great villain.
What makes ESB my favorite is the refinement of the brilliant ANH design: more elegant and seductive.

I agree the roughness of ANH is badass, but ESB´s more polished look gives Vader a more invulnerable aura. No dents, almost no scratches, like nothing can hurt him.

Also, the exquisite lighting strengthens the complex journey of Vader´s character through the film, and oddly enough, it gives the mask more "expression".

Empty, cold, manipulative, machine man.
View attachment 1305895

Murderous, maniacal, machine man.
View attachment 1305900

Disappointed? Maybe even sad ? machine man.

View attachment 1305902

Stay safe guys!
Also his voice and behaviour is much better. JEJ is a bit hammy and too loud in ANH, in the other two his timbre is deeper, much calmer, pretty much never loses his cool and is more intimidating. Again I like him better as a character and his look as a character in ESB but as a piece of prop item it's ANH for me for all its quirks and warts.
 

gonk27

Sr Member
Interesting observations about the behavior of the paint!

Is this Ron Punter that Jez spoke to? I remember SSkunky telling about the time he went to an event at Elstree with Jez/Gonk27 where they met him. Mr Punter painted the helmets in Empire and has cited using Rolls Royce paint (he's on Facebook now and does the convention circuit). He also appeared on Antiques Road Show a few years ago with a Vader helmet he kept along with a prop axe from The Shining that he made.

It makes sense that they would have used the same paint from Star Wars to Empire though we don't have concrete information that that's what they did (it's what I try to do at any rate).

We've been wrestling with the gunmetal color for years. So far, no one -- unfortunately including Mr Punter -- seems to know what they used. I'm hoping that the information is in a production memo somewhere waiting to be discovered.


Jez only said Ron in our conversation- I'd say it would be a hell of a stretch to think there was another Ron who also did the painting so I'd say it is the same guy. I was hoping jez may have popped up on here, I told him about it so we'll see!

Hey guys, yes it was Ron Punter.

Yes, Mark and I both went the fan event at Elstree Studios that Ron was a guest at, and I talked to him on that occasion about the paint. It was Rolls Royce paints all through the original films, although Ron didn't remember adding the grey on the ANH helmet so I assume someone else else added that later.

(Sorry Dan, I haven't logged in here for a while!)
 

gonk27

Sr Member
I will apolgise if this has been shared before on here and is old news, but a forum member here-Jez Firth AKA Gonk droid- spoke to the original painter of the ANH helmet. He said they used a Rolls Royce black. He couldn't remember the exact code but the go to RR black at the time was Mason's black. A friend got some mixed up but was warned by the paint shop that it was a very awkward and slow drying paint, we tried it anyway ( at this point we were under the mistaken belief the ANH helmet had been brush painted, it was only in a conversation a while afterwards Jez confirmed that the painter had actually mentioned spraying it! ), the really interesting thing was that it did indeed take a very long time to paint, but it starts off a very high gloss and as it drys it tends to turn more of a satin/ matt finish. It also retains a degree of tackiness which means any dust will easily settle onto the surface and if you handle it it's a right bitch for fingerprints.

What was interesting to see was when painting a second coating over it the paint under the surface hadn't properly dried and what you end up with is gunked paint dragging underneath the brush strokes, some the build up looked almost identical to the roughness on the faceplate- including that much debated scar!

The closest match I have found off the shelf isn't a finishing paint as such, it was a can of Halford's guide spray!

The other thing that stood out about Masons black was the original paint code- 501!


One slight problem with these Rolls Royce colours is that (I've been told) their formulation has changed over the years, so they no longer dry to the same gloss finish they used to, although the colours are the same. Nowadays they're designed to be laquered.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

gonk27

Sr Member
Fantastic info that I hadn't read before. Was any info given about the gun metal grey? Is it Rolls Royce Tudor Grey which I have seen mentioned before?

Hey Chris, I'm not sure about the grey paint on the ANH helmet. As it probably wasn't Ron that added that it probably wasn't a Rolls Royce colour.

The grey paint on the ESB and ROTJ masks though was custom mix using Rolls Royce colours. Sadly he no longer has his notes on what that mix was, however Tudor Grey is the closest off the shelf match. Ron chose Rolls Royce paints in the first place as he'd been a Rolls Royce painter before he started working at Elstree.

(Thanks very much for sharing those photos a few pages back by the way!)
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Also his voice and behaviour is much better. JEJ is a bit hammy and too loud in ANH, in the other two his timbre is deeper, much calmer, pretty much never loses his cool and is more intimidating. Again I like him better as a character and his look as a character in ESB but as a piece of prop item it's ANH for me for all its quirks and warts.
Likely because he followed Dave Prowse's performance in ANH, and Irvin Kershner in ESB and then continued that slower, more collected style in RotJ.
 

joevader

New Member
Likely because he followed Dave Prowse's performance in ANH, and Irvin Kershner in ESB and then continued that slower, more collected style in RotJ.

That's what I also like about ESB. Irvin Kershner´s direction really defined Vader; from the awesome badass muscle of ANH - to the cool, skeeming, ruthless Lord of the Sith we know.
 

joevader

New Member
I recently modded an EFX PCR from ANH to ESB, to find out how close it could be done. Widened chin vent, removed some excess from the edges of the dome, made the mohawk strip wider and repainted the whole thing. Here is the first result, using only the EFX:

pre_ESB_finish_small2.jpg


The dome still has some structural differences from ESB, very difficult to mod on my own. So I purchased a dome from Mike Warren (taken directly from the stunt helmet worn by Grandmaster Bob Anderson), and combined it with my modded EFX mask. And here is the result:

EFX_plus_ESB_Warren.jpg


Clarification: Mike Warren does not sell individual domes. He did this as a one-shot for me.

Anyway, I believe the result is very successful in looking close to the actual screen Vader.

Additionally, I overlapped some photos of both domes to roughly compare the shapes. Its interesting to see the egg-shape contour of the top and that the Warren dome is actually a bit bigger in some areas than the EFX.
Considering that both domes come from completely different origins, the fact that they are so close in measurements sustains their direct legacy to the props used in the films.

08DF6D71-99CA-496A-8C49-499F370BF938.JPG
 
Last edited:

Frogfreak

Sr Member
I recently modded an EFX PCR from ANH to ESB, to find out how close it could be done. Widened chin vent, removed some excess from the edges of the dome, made the mohawk strip wider and repainted the whole thing. Here is the first result, using only the EFX:

View attachment 1332841

The dome still has some structural differences from ESB, very difficult to mod on my own. So I purchased a dome from Mike Warren (taken directly from the stunt helmet worn by Grandmaster Bob Anderson), and combined it with my modded EFX mask. And here is the result:

View attachment 1332843

Of course, the only real way to get 100% screen accuracy is to get an actual prop. But I believe the result is very successful in looking close to the actual screen Vader.

Lastly, I overlapped some photos of both domes to roughly compare the shapes. Its interesting to see the egg-shape contour of the top and that the Warren dome is actually a bit bigger in some areas than the EFX.
Considering that both domes come from completely different origins, the fact that they are so close in measurements sustains their direct legacy to the props used in the films.

View attachment 1332853
Ooh! Everytime I see that I think about how much work you did and how much of a great job you did!I

(Saw it previously and commented on it elsewhere. ;) )
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top