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

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
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Treadwell

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Very cool and very thorough, thanks for posting!
If you intend to post it publicly elsewhere, do have it proofread, as there are several spacing issues and multiple extraneous apostrophes. :)
(Doesn't matter if it's just for here, no big whoop. :) )
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Very cool and very thorough, thanks for posting!
If you intend to post it publicly elsewhere, do have it proofread, as there are several spacing issues and multiple extraneous apostrophes. :)
(Doesn't matter if it's just for here, no big whoop. :) )
Thank you for your feedback man much appreciated! I will not post it publicly elsewhere it's just for on here but I do wish it to be as nice as possible.
This was also my first rough fly thru to get my final idea neat and I will definitely tidy up the grammar lol even though it's not my strong suite in life
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Well, crap, that was so well thought out and informative. I'm not even in the Vader community and now I want to be lol
Wow, thank you so much, man! Join the Darkside and become a Vader fanatic promise you will make good friends and possibly become obsessed lol:p

Thank you very much for your appreciation
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Nice write-up.

A few things.

There were originally 5 apple tabs on top. 2 were removed as it was likely too difficult to put the dome on with that many. You see the imprint of all 5 on some Rick Baker tour mold castings.

The Rick Baker mold was made sometime before the footprint ceremony, as Rick Baker was responsible for fixing up the helmet and painting it and molding it to make more tour helmets.

The mold we know as the "UK Mold" could not have been molded before the US mold. It shows cracks and wear that were not present on the helmet when it was molded by Rick Baker and leftover material in the grills and around the eye sockets from that molding is found in the "UK Mold" castings as well as the original as it is now. Also - the apple tab screw orientation are the same on the "UK Mold" castings as it is on the original today, yet we know Rick Baker removed them. He would not have been able to screw them back on exactly the same as they were before. Don Post employees claim to have molded the helmet, which would make sense as the guy doing it had the helmet in his care while Kermit Eller was using it on tour and Eller claims he did not send the helmet back in time for ESB production. So it could not have been molded in UK in time.

Both lineages are from after the repaint, as several key details which are on the original in the pre-repaint look is not present on either lineage helmets.

The nose was painted with the same gunmetal color as the rest of the face mask so was likely painted at the same time as the rest. Not before and not with silver as in ESB/RotJ.
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Awesome Carsten I left the detail about the 5 tabs out thank you for the input will put it in

Awesome information shows exactly how much can be learned still and changed I will update accordingly

Ok so do I understand this correct ANH screen-used helmet gets moulded by rick baker after which new tabs are put on top of the mask
and is repainted by rick baker and then it is returned to Eller for touring purposes and crack's and wear form

it is then molded possibly by Don post employees with the new tabs attached that rick baker put on and has all the cracks and wear seen on the Grunberg ANH screen used as is today.

But if the screen used ANH was not moulded in UK in time for UK production of ESB
then how did all the ESB Vader helmet's come from the UK mould
and if it was not moulded in the UK nor from there why call it the UK mold

Sorry if I completely misunderstand but just to check that I am indeed grasping this correctly

Thanks for the awesome help my friend
Nice write-up.

A few things.

There were originally 5 apple tabs on top. 2 were removed as it was likely too difficult to put the dome on with that many. You see the imprint of all 5 on some Rick Baker tour mold castings.

The Rick Baker mold was made sometime before the footprint ceremony, as Rick Baker was responsible for fixing up the helmet and painting it and molding it to make more tour helmets.

The mold we know as the "UK Mold" could not have been molded before the US mold. It shows cracks and wear that were not present on the helmet when it was molded by Rick Baker and leftover material in the grills and around the eye sockets from that molding is found in the "UK Mold" castings as well as the original as it is now. Also - the apple tab screw orientation are the same on the "UK Mold" castings as it is on the original today, yet we know Rick Baker removed them. He would not have been able to screw them back on exactly the same as they were before. Don Post employees claim to have molded the helmet, which would make sense as the guy doing it had the helmet in his care while Kermit Eller was using it on tour and Eller claims he did not send the helmet back in time for ESB production. So it could not have been molded in UK in time.

Both lineages are from after the repaint, as several key details which are on the original in the pre-repaint look is not present on either lineage helmets.

The nose was painted with the same gunmetal color as the rest of the face mask so was likely painted at the same time as the rest. Not before and not with silver as in ESB/RotJ.
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nice write-up.

A few things.

There were originally 5 apple tabs on top. 2 were removed as it was likely too difficult to put the dome on with that many. You see the imprint of all 5 on some Rick Baker tour mold castings.

The Rick Baker mold was made sometime before the footprint ceremony, as Rick Baker was responsible for fixing up the helmet and painting it and molding it to make more tour helmets.

The mold we know as the "UK Mold" could not have been molded before the US mold. It shows cracks and wear that were not present on the helmet when it was molded by Rick Baker and leftover material in the grills and around the eye sockets from that molding is found in the "UK Mold" castings as well as the original as it is now. Also - the apple tab screw orientation are the same on the "UK Mold" castings as it is on the original today, yet we know Rick Baker removed them. He would not have been able to screw them back on exactly the same as they were before. Don Post employees claim to have molded the helmet, which would make sense as the guy doing it had the helmet in his care while Kermit Eller was using it on tour and Eller claims he did not send the helmet back in time for ESB production. So it could not have been molded in UK in time.

Both lineages are from after the repaint, as several key details which are on the original in the pre-repaint look is not present on either lineage helmets.

The nose was painted with the same gunmetal color as the rest of the face mask so was likely painted at the same time as the rest. Not before and not with silver as in ESB/RotJ.


Our friend Carsten raises some interesting points which demonstrate that the vast majority of what we "know" about the Vader helmet from ANH through pre-production of ESB is based on a LOT of supposition trying to piece together what little photographic evidence we have. There are two points in particular here that are controversial.

There are indeed drill mark locations on top of the faceplate that indicate spaces for one of the 3M tabs. What we don't know is that there were ever 5 tabs on at the same time. A competing, just as likely supposition, is that they started with two tabs and found that was insufficient to hold the dome in place then moved to three. It could be that 5 was too many (the spacing of the hole locations is certainly suggestive of this) and they had difficulty removing the dome but we don't know. Both conclusions are logical but, again, we're juggling ideas (I don't know if anyone has been able to confirm the 5-tab theory --f it has been confirmed I am unaware and would appreciate being corrected).

Second, there are a LOT of unknowns about the paint job (chiefly what exact paint they used -- we do know about ESB thanks to Ron Punter and we've sort of reverse engineered from there) and the notion that the nose was painted the same gunmetal as the other portions of the faceplate is sort of suggested by what we see on screen -- but also sort of not. A lot of study around tone values has gone into this idea and, like the exact color of the lenses, is still very much in the eye of the beholder.

The timeline that Carsten posits is the one generally accepted ad certainly makes the most sense. From Rick Baker's own observations and photographic evidence of the footprint ceremony at the Chinese theater (which we know the exact date) as well as Mr Eller's statements we can reasonably connect things.

I also want to add that I am not disagreeing with my good friend Carsten -- just pointing out that our knowledge of the Vader helmet is more fluid than any of us really like.

Sorry to put my oar back in.

Cheers,

Dave C
 
Last edited:

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Our friend Carsten raises some interesting points which demonstrate that the vast majority of what we "know" about the Vader helmet from ANH through pre-production of ESB is based on a LOT of supposition trying to piece together what little photographic evidence we have. There are two points in particular here that are controversial.

There are indeed drill mark locations on top of the faceplate that indicate spaces for one of the 3M tabs. What we don't know is that there were ever 5 tabs on at the same time. A competing, just as likely supposition, is that they started with two tabs and found that was insufficient to hold the dome in place then moved to three. It could be that 5 was too many (the spacing of the hole locations is certainly suggestive of this) and they had difficulty removing the dome but we don't know. Both conclusions are logical but, again, we're juggling ideas (I don't know if anyone has been able to confirm the 5-tab theory --f it has been confirmed I am unaware and would appreciate being corrected).

Second, there are a LOT of unknowns about the paint job (chiefly what exact paint they used -- we do know about ESB thanks to Ron Punter and we've sort of reverse engineered from there) and the notion that the nose was painted the same gunmetal as the other portions of the faceplate is sort of suggested by what we see on screen -- but also sort of not. A lot of study around tone values has gone into this idea and, like the exact color of the lenses, is still very much in the eye of the beholder.

The timeline that Carsten posits is the one generally accepted ad certainly makes the most sense. From Rick Baker's own observations and photographic evidence of the footprint ceremony at the Chinese theater (which we know the exact date) as well as Mr Eller's statements we can reasonably connect things.

I also want to add that I am not disagreeing with my good friend Carsten -- just pointing out that our knowledge of the Vader helmet is more fluid than any of us really like.

Sorry to put my oar back in.

Cheers,

Dave C
Thanks for putting your oar back in Dave it is always welcome

This is a fascinating conundrum but all in all, I think we can agree the 5 tabs vs 2 tabs is a sort of fascinating side fact I can add
but it holds no determination on the series of Vader's modifications to follow. As I think it's better to stick to the best verifiable facts we have and the 3 tab system is the factual system that was used and was present up until the ANH mask ended in its final resting place and continued in the casts to come for ESB and ROTJ the left over's of the holes for the other tabs all but vanished in the end.

That is fascinating well the Tudor grey RR paint does seem light enough that it could be the nose paint as well but like you said it is in the eye of the beholder to me it isn't the same at all it looks like a silver enamel paint or very light gunmetal grey perhaps but I think it will be best to say it was most likely the same gunmetal as the rest of the ANH mask but possibly a lighter shade is a compromise.

Yes this timeline makes more sense from how Carsten explained it, and the series of events are more coherent

Thanks Dave !
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Well, the placement of the tab impressions on top of the "US Mold" helmets suggests that all 5 were added at the same time. If they started with 2, then the marks would not line up when they switched to 3. it would not have been so perfectly spaced and would have been random and overlapping. From that it is reasonable to assume it started out with 5. And knowing how hard it is to snap the dome on even with just 3... just imagine doing that with 5 - made even more difficult by the fact that the top of the facemask is curved.

It seems fair to assume that Rick Baker removed the screen used tabs for molding and likely just screwed the same ones back on after the fact. Though, it is impossible to discern from the evidence we have available whether he added new ones. When evidence is lacking, the simplest answer is the best. He just added back the same ones he took off.

We in the hobby dubbed the mold that created the screen used ESB and RotJ helmets as the "UK Mold". But there is no real evidence suggesting that it was actually made in the UK, as far as I recall. So maybe it should simply be renamed to "Production Mold" instead, while the Rick Baker "US Mold" could be called the "ANH Tour Mold" With all the stories we've compiled from various sources, it does seem both molds were made in the US. First by Baker before the footprint ceremony, then by Don Post during the tour, around the time when ESB production was starting. Though it's been a while since I've looked through all my notes, so I could be mistaken.

For a long time it was believed that the "UK Mold" must have come before the "US Mold". I held that belief and argued for it as well. But evidence that surfaced after the discovery of the screen used facemask in the French collection, makes that impossible. It's a deduction conundrum, but physical evidence that is on the original now that matches the "UK Mold" castings, but are not on the "US Mold" castings makes it clear which came first.
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Well, the placement of the tab impressions on top of the "US Mold" helmets suggests that all 5 were added at the same time. If they started with 2, then the marks would not line up when they switched to 3. it would not have been so perfectly spaced and would have been random and overlapping. From that it is reasonable to assume it started out with 5. And knowing how hard it is to snap the dome on even with just 3... just imagine doing that with 5 - made even more difficult by the fact that the top of the facemask is curved.

It seems fair to assume that Rick Baker removed the screen used tabs for molding and likely just screwed the same ones back on after the fact. Though, it is impossible to discern from the evidence we have available whether he added new ones. When evidence is lacking, the simplest answer is the best. He just added back the same ones he took off.

We in the hobby dubbed the mold that created the screen used ESB and RotJ helmets as the "UK Mold". But there is no real evidence suggesting that it was actually made in the UK, as far as I recall. So maybe it should simply be renamed to "Production Mold" instead, while the Rick Baker "US Mold" could be called the "ANH Tour Mold" With all the stories we've compiled from various sources, it does seem both molds were made in the US. First by Baker before the footprint ceremony, then by Don Post during the tour, around the time when ESB production was starting. Though it's been a while since I've looked through all my notes, so I could be mistaken.

For a long time it was believed that the "UK Mold" must have come before the "US Mold". I held that belief and argued for it as well. But evidence that surfaced after the discovery of the screen used facemask in the French collection, makes that impossible. It's a deduction conundrum, but physical evidence that is on the original now that matches the "UK Mold" castings, but are not on the "US Mold" castings makes it clear which came first.
You make a good and rational point with the 5 tabs that are very interesting very much worth for me to put in as an interesting fact of progress on Vader's mask during ANH production, the 5 tabs theory is better as what likely happened when you have logically articulated it like you have thank you Carsten

Very true so not new in all likely hood same but freshly re-screwed on leading to the tell of the changed screw positioning.

Now that helps the story greatly and makes a good difference in the series of event's and I'm glad you took the time to lay it out.
as for some time the concept of UK mold has been confusing to even me as I could no where find confirmation that this mold was a UK origin mold before rick baker. And I could see with my eyes my TM had details seen on the Grunberg face mask which made no sense unless the mask had those tells right after ANH production which I could see from photo's and all information gathered it had not.

But I kept it to myself as I thought I missed the authentic cast discussion where this all was laid out and I keep my word to remain silent about the intricacies especially if I don't find publics talk about it. but now it all makes sense if you lay it out like that that the "UK" Mold was after the ANH had acquired the wear we now see on the Grunberg photo's

Yes definitely the Uk can not be before the US if the wear and damage seen on the Grunberg only occurred after the US mold was made and I can see in my TM it has the tells it is there so what you say should be thee most probable line of event's with the Information at hand

Thank you so much Carsten ! much appreciated
 

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