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

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Well, the screw position on the original mask in the French collection matches the way they look on the TM, if I remember correctly. We don't know what orientation they were before. Maybe the same, maybe different. All we can go by is how it looks now.
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Well, the screw position on the original mask in the French collection matches the way they look on the TM, if I remember correctly. We don't know what orientation they were before. Maybe the same, maybe different. All we can go by is how it looks now.
Yes you are correct but high probability when Rick baker reapplied the tabs the orientation changed definitely so highly unlikely they would be the same as the orientation that would have been seen on the screen used ANH mask tabs
 

Imperial Weapon

Active Member
That was a great guide I never knew that the helmet was actually gloss but had so many things wrong with it that it looked satin, the people at Elstree studios could have made their job so much easier if they used black gel coat and polished that instead of using white and painting black over it, also you said the lenses were clear? I thought they looked smoke?
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
That was a great guide I never knew that the helmet was actually gloss but had so many things wrong with it that it looked satin, the people at Elstree studios could have made their job so much easier if they used black gel coat and polished that instead of using white and painting black over it, also you said the lenses were clear? I thought they looked smoke?
Yes they could have made life much better but I think in my opinion the effort to polish the black gel coat polishing would have been more efort than just painting a smooth surface and hopefully just wet sanding a bit and polishing and bam. But again we don't know everything so we don't know why they didn't do it that way as you mention

If I look at the screen used mask in the Grunberg collection it definitely seems more clear with a amberish tinge like ski goggles usually are even
in the high res of Eller in the suite you can see it has a slight color to it but remember the lenses take on color of whatever is behind them as well
so with Eller his skin tone is affecting the color and with the Grunberg photo's the black mannikin head is also doing so

with the side profile photo of the ANH mask in the Grunberg collection it does seem more clear with a slight brown tint but is the brown because of the black manikin head behind the lenses

So I think it is safest to say the ANH lenses were a clear with perhaps a slight orange/brown tint not too dominant like in ESB which is an amberish/dark brown and ROTJ which is a amberish/goldish yellow. I have worked in my experience smoked acrylic doesn't pick up color of what is behind it and it looks much darker when something is placed behind it much more black than anything els not like a clear with a slight color
 

Imperial Weapon

Active Member
Yes they could have made life much better but I think in my opinion the effort to polish the black gel coat polishing would have been more efort than just painting a smooth surface and hopefully just wet sanding a bit and polishing and bam. But again we don't know everything so we don't know why they didn't do it that way as you mention

If I look at the screen used mask in the Grunberg collection it definitely seems more clear with a amberish tinge like ski goggles usually are even
in the high res of Eller in the suite you can see it has a slight color to it but remember the lenses take on color of whatever is behind them as well
so with Eller his skin tone is affecting the color and with the Grunberg photo's the black mannikin head is also doing so

with the side profile photo of the ANH mask in the Grunberg collection it does seem more clear with a slight brown tint but is the brown because of the black manikin head behind the lenses

So I think it is safest to say the ANH lenses were a clear with perhaps a slight orange/brown tint not too dominant like in ESB which is an amberish/dark brown and ROTJ which is a amberish/goldish yellow. I have worked in my experience smoked acrylic doesn't pick up color of what is behind it and it looks much darker when something is placed behind it much more black than anything els not like a clear with a slight color
I think that it was a mix of the amber tint as you mentioned above and prowses exhausted red face under the mask leaving people to think it was cherry red.
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
I think that it was a mix of the amber tint as you mentioned above and prowses exhausted red face under the mask leaving people to think it was cherry red.
Yes definitely it was the slight color from both but the tint was not dominant like later mask eyelenses,I believe with the evidence provided it was more a clear otherwise it would not have taken on the color of prowses exhausted face as it did and a smoke would have darkened much off that
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The eternal debate about lens color in ANH...

Carsten beat me to it! I remember DarthJones talking about the lenses he found and saying that they were clear light gray plastic backed with an amber gel.

Looking back through my notes I also have an account from Kermit Eller where he compares the color of the lenses to "iced tea" which lines up with what we see in the Don Post photos as well as some scenes onscreen in ANH.

I've also read an account from Dave Prowse that corroborates DarthJones' notion about clear lenses being backed by gels (I think it was in his autobiography "Straight from the Force's Mouth"). He states that lens color changed a few times and made a crack about "make up your minds, guys".

It is also of interest to note that the Movie Poster helmet had amber gel sheet for the eyes (missing the lenses). This is typically what I do on my helmet builds is an amber gel sheet behind clear lenses (which also gives it kind of a dimensional effect that I like).


Dave C
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
The eternal debate about lens color in ANH...

Carsten beat me to it! I remember DarthJones talking about the lenses he found and saying that they were clear light gray plastic backed with an amber gel.

Looking back through my notes I also have an account from Kermit Eller where he compares the color of the lenses to "iced tea" which lines up with what we see in the Don Post photos as well as some scenes onscreen in ANH.

I've also read an account from Dave Prowse that corroborates DarthJones' notion about clear lenses being backed by gels (I think it was in his autobiography "Straight from the Force's Mouth"). He states that lens color changed a few times and made a crack about "make up your minds, guys".

It is also of interest to note that the Movie Poster helmet had amber gel sheet for the eyes (missing the lenses). This is typically what I do on my helmet builds is an amber gel sheet behind clear lenses (which also gives it kind of a dimensional effect that I like).


Dave C
Well all three of us seem to be able to corroborate the same fact so I think it's safe to say indeed it was
Clear lenses with an orange/brown tint to it via a gel backing

I had it all the same just that I believe Mr Muir I think said somewhere that they used Ski goggles to make the lenses
and true as day if you buy ski goggle lenses some have the exact bubble look and clear orange/brown tinge to them.

So it makes sense all they did was cut out some to fit the eye socket's and there you have Vader eyes lol they are super cheap as well

O yes the MP had the gel ,oo sounds like a trick I should try on my next vader build I DIY them with RIT synthetic dye works amazing
my next helmet project I was going to use ski goggles proper lol

Thank you Dave your input remains invaluable
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I wanted to make certain before I replied to this but according to Brian Muir they did NOT use ski goggles. The lenses were custom made. Mr Muir himself sculpted the lens shape into the clay master (this is from a post by Mr Muir on the Prop Den from 2008).

My memory was foggy on this point so I wanted to be sure. My recollection was that we spent ages searching for goggles with the exact lens shape/color and while we got close we never found anything exact. Then Brian Muir came along and set us straight so we dropped it. I don't know how much money I spent on ski goggles that didn't work, lol.

Also, I wanted to suggest a clarification regarding the asymmetry of the helmet. On page 24 of his book "In the Shadow of Vader" Brian Muir writes: "I have been asked many times in recent years if the asymmetrical look of the face was intentional or just a result of the moulding process. I had put a slight difference in the cheek areas so that it would not have the appearance of a robot but during the moulding and casting process, it became slightly exaggerated." So the asymmetry was intentional just not as much as we got, lol.


Dave C
 
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vadermania

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
My guess is that the „five tabs solution“ had to do with the connection of the faceplate and the back half of the head which was later discarded due to heat problems for Prowse - the two outer tabs for connecting front and back half, the three inner tabs for connecting the dome to the faceplate.

The screen-used Vader faceplates I‘ve handled in the archives back in 1995 had amber gels taped to the eyelenses.
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
I wanted to make certain before I replied to this but according to Brian Muir they did NOT use ski goggles. The lenses were custom made. Mr Muir himself sculpted the lens shape into the clay master (this is from a post by Mr Muir on the Prop Den from 2008).

My memory was foggy on this point so I wanted to be sure. My recollection was that we spent ages searching for goggles with the exact lens shape/color and while we got close we never found anything exact. Then Brian Muir came along and set us straight so we dropped it. I don't know how much money I spent on ski goggles that didn't work, lol.

Also, I wanted to suggest a clarification regarding the asymmetry of the helmet. On page 24 of his book "In the Shadow of Vader" Brian Muir writes: "I have been asked many times in recent years if the asymmetrical look of the face was intentional or just a result of the moulding process. I had put a slight difference in the cheek areas so that it would not have the appearance of a robot but during the moulding and casting process, it became slightly exaggerated." So the asymmetry was intentional just not as much as we got, lol.


Dave C

Gosh well now I got that mixed up lol sorry about that then could have sworn it was Muir .
Will now have to go and relook up where I got the ski goggle part from, I should probably really mark these type of things down lol
Looks like my memory isn't wat it was any more.

Well at least it is good to say something and be helped right in my book any day thanks Dave
but I will go back and see if I can find who said ski goggles sworn it was someone prominent

And I found nice ones that look good for ROTJ lol damn there goes my hope for that but you saved me money haha

Haha I see well it did come out in the end as the best aesthetic look even if the molding helped Mr Muir a bit lol

Thanks Dave all your help is really so great this is turning out to be the best Vader project ever thanks to you all !
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
My guess is that the „five tabs solution“ had to do with the connection of the faceplate and the back half of the head which was later discarded due to heat problems for Prowse - the two outer tabs for connecting front and back half, the three inner tabs for connecting the dome to the faceplate.

The screen-used Vader faceplates I‘ve handled in the archives back in 1995 had amber gels taped to the eyelenses.
Thank you Tom for your input it could very well have been that way would make sense
but im not sure but to my eye the filled holes where the extra tabs would have been seem in line with the rest of the three tabs
but if they were for the back half would they not be somewhat out of line since the back half would have been abit further back?

The left over holes seem pretty much inline with the remaining 3 tabs

Awesome so more conformation that they are essentially clear lenses with a gel backing and not smoked color or full brown or amber

Thank you Tom much appreciated!
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks like my memory isn't wat it was any more.
Duuuude, I'll be 53 shortly and at this point in my life I feel like my memory --when I can remember something-- is a vague collection of things that may or may not have happened in the order they seem to have happened, lol. So I try to be very careful about what I say and how I say it in case I am completely misremembering--usually researching first. I was reading an article to the effect that current thought is that memory isn't so much recollection as reconstruction -- but that's for the off topic section.

The ski goggles thing was "common knowledge" for a long time and was favored by one or two members who have since been banned. The idea was probably the result of someone asking someone who knew a third party who may-or-may-not have been in the know and they said "I don't know they might have used something like ski goggles" then it got repeated ad nauseum until it was taken as gospel. There are so many situations like that (two of my favorites that won't go away are Vader's boot's being WWII German officer boots, or the belt being a rare WWII German fireman's accessory -- all complete BS).
 

Darth Africanus

Well-Known Member
Duuuude, I'll be 53 shortly and at this point in my life I feel like my memory --when I can remember something-- is a vague collection of things that may or may not have happened in the order they seem to have happened, lol. So I try to be very careful about what I say and how I say it in case I am completely misremembering--usually researching first. I was reading an article to the effect that current thought is that memory isn't so much recollection as reconstruction -- but that's for the off topic section.

The ski goggles thing was "common knowledge" for a long time and was favored by one or two members who have since been banned. The idea was probably the result of someone asking someone who knew a third party who may-or-may-not have been in the know and they said "I don't know they might have used something like ski goggles" then it got repeated ad nauseum until it was taken as gospel. There are so many situations like that (two of my favorites that won't go away are Vader's boot's being WWII German officer boots, or the belt being a rare WWII German fireman's accessory -- all complete BS).
Hahaha man 53 is still young if you are not purposely looking after yourself for some reason you will still be around for a good 30 years lol So don't fret my friend it happens to us all I forget these things and some of it I just read through yesterday lol

Yes you are right in your approach sometimes I'm so assured in my mind I read all the information and I remember what I read correctly that I just say it.
But I should make sure I see this now lol but I have also learned there is no shame in being corrected and being helped right it's only shameful if you become ashamed by it so they say haha. I think I also heard about that your mind can only remember the memory the last time you thought about it and the way you thought about it, it doesn't actually remember the event that had taken place something like that. All very fascinating because it does seem correct if you think about it

Yes most likely but if I find the thread again I'm sure they said it with more assurance lol probably why I was so confident in my memory .
Hahaha aa yes those I have heard before you are correct lol well they would make for an interesting story to Vader if it were true, but makes sense luckily all this is now in one easy place so it's easy to find
 

Imperial Weapon

Active Member
Duuuude, I'll be 53 shortly and at this point in my life I feel like my memory --when I can remember something-- is a vague collection of things that may or may not have happened in the order they seem to have happened, lol. So I try to be very careful about what I say and how I say it in case I am completely misremembering--usually researching first. I was reading an article to the effect that current thought is that memory isn't so much recollection as reconstruction -- but that's for the off topic section.

The ski goggles thing was "common knowledge" for a long time and was favored by one or two members who have since been banned. The idea was probably the result of someone asking someone who knew a third party who may-or-may-not have been in the know and they said "I don't know they might have used something like ski goggles" then it got repeated ad nauseum until it was taken as gospel. There are so many situations like that (two of my favorites that won't go away are Vader's boot's being WWII German officer boots, or the belt being a rare WWII German fireman's accessory -- all complete BS).
I'm 18 and my memorys not the best TBH.
 

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