Lynch's Dune - shedding light on the Harkonnen helmet

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blipper

Sr Member
Hi all - sorry to hear of the recent hijack, pretty lousy stuff.

I'm really up for any ideas/insights/theories/reference/anecdotes/camp fire songs regarding the Harkonnen trooper helmet from Lynch's Dune.

It's a shame so little in the way of prop information behind the movie has come to light considering the scale of production and time for more nuggets to surface. I'd really like to have a crack at reproducing it as closely as possible.

Here's what I have so far:

I snagged this from a Dune forum years ago which has now disappeared from the web and was pretty much a lapsed forum when I visited anyway.


I'm led to believe it's screen used - whether such things as hero/stunt helmets existed I don't know but things like the texturing on the mask seem maybe rougher (?) than on the following excellent blu-ray grab (many thanks to Defstartrooper)



and another shot of the complete helmet:




Several things go through my mind

- the distinct 'ribbed' nose of the respirator (I can't yet find a match)
- is that fabric stretched over the helmet or are those creases sculpted?
- might the base for the (upper) helmet be a combination of hard-hat + goggles or welding mask?
- I'm trying to find a reasonable match for the (suitcase?) latches which lock the helmet together.
- Is the grill in the eye-slit some kind of off the shelf thing?

A lot of the production on Dune took advantage of cheaper labour and great artisans to produce completely customised props but I'm thinking some items like the Harkonnen helmet may have been predominantly made from available items as a base.

Thanks for reading and any ideas.




 
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blipper

Sr Member
I actually never of thought of it like that Clutch, but now you say it it would seem right in line with either Baron Harkonnen or Lynch's brand of weirdness. :lol
 

terryr

Sr Member
I had a little record player when I was a kid. It had identical latches.

The mask looks like they started with a real one then overlaid it to hide the origins. The filter pads and covers are real. The hoses attached to them look like front wheel drive axle covers, with larger ones at the other end.
But then again, the hose in the middle looks molded to the small end. Maybe some plumbing hose instead.
Look at the guy on right. His hoses look slightly different, and each one different as well.

The top might be a welding mask. The creases look like cloth was saturated somehow [resin?] then laid on the helmet.

EDIT; for the latches try Ohio Travel Bag.

http://www.ohiotravelbag.com/

They have a 300 pg catalog. I can't download it for some reason, so looking page by page gets tedious.
 
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blipper

Sr Member
Thanks for the link terryr, will have a snoop at that. Intriguing idea too about the resin soaked cloth - might be onto something there.
 

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OzDean

Active Member
In the making of Dune book (Ed Naha) it mentions they used a lot of rubber and sprayed on latex for the costumes. That's what the covering looks like to me.
 

youngpaddy1

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
the ribbed nose looks like a section of tube from an early gas mask cut to fit then molded in, you can see the separation lines between it and the original donor mask. Looks like a respirator rather than a gas mask and the rest of it reminded me of modroc so the resin saturation definitely sounds solid. The rubber pipes look like either cv boots or gearstick covers with a bit of heavy duty air hose or radiator hose

cheerio

p.s. flexy rad hose would do for the nose too.
 

blipper

Sr Member
Hey terryr - L-600 on page 91 of that catalogue looks pretty close, just needs the keyhole filled, thanks.


In the making of Dune book (Ed Naha) it mentions they used a lot of rubber and sprayed on latex for the costumes. That's what the covering looks like to me.
I have that book too. I came across a site a while back written by the guy who filmed the behind the scenes of Dune. He reckons Naha got all his info from watching the hundreds of hours of rarely seen footage he took (which has yet to fully surface from studo vaults). Would love to see that footage released as there's supposedly a ton of workshop costume, prop and model work in there.

The fella wrote a journal of his job behind the scenes. It's quite a slog for relatively little information, and at times the guy is a little cringe worthy (he offers to fix what he sees as problems in Lynch's work-in-progress Blue Velvet script) - but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

DUNE JOURNAL | Cagey Films

the rest of it reminded me of modroc so the resin saturation definitely sounds solid. The rubber pipes look like either cv boots or gearstick covers with a bit of heavy duty air hose or radiator hose

cheerio

p.s. flexy rad hose would do for the nose too.
There's certainly something going on with the texture on the helmet, maybe hessian, or like you say maybe modroc. I think you're right that maybe the nose ridges are custom too. I did a bit of lateral thinking and tried to find behind the scenes shots of any crew wearing masks, thinking as they were to hand maybe they were appropriated.
I think I found something that seems very similar in over-all shape. It has a flattened front and a narrow bridge to the nose that could have been covered by additional detailing on the Harkonnen helmet, or may actually be the ridges themself.



...
 

Jundland Raider

New Member
Thank you for sharing that amazing photograph of the helmet, blipper!

Finding decent pics of the Harkonnen helmet is quite a challenge, so it's great to have at least one clear image.

Bearing in mind that the Harkonnen suits would have been produced in large numbers, it seemed obvious that Bob Ringwood and his team would have obtained large quantities of masks locally. After trying several Spanish translations for "respirator" in Google, this little fellow popped up:



As far as I can tell, this gets quite close to the mask in question. It is made in Mexico and has two filters. It sports three nose ridges very similar to the ones in the reference pic. The positions of the outlet valve covers seem to match the ones on the helmet. The top black lid even has the little raised edge, or ring, going around it on the green rubber part.

Perhaps we can get this ball rolling again ;)
 

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Sean

Sr Member
images (1).jpgGas_mask_girl_by_Bougart.jpgMF18B_Type_Gas_Mask.jpgIts ether a respirator or gas mask shell.with some type of fake or real leather stretched and folded at spots. that's what it looks like to me any way.but looks can be deceiving.
 

blipper

Sr Member
Hey thanks fellas! This is some great food for thought.
Nick, never seen those and never had the costumes pegged as that colour - fading with age? That's a very helpful look at the hosing too -very kind of you.
 

Jundland Raider

New Member
Those L-600 latches don't seem to be in stock any more at Ohio Travel Bag. They looked almost perfect to me :cry

So, it was off to the interwebs to dig for replacement latches :ninja

Finding some modern-day drawbolts that resemble those on the helmet has not been all that easy, let me tell ye! And the fact that they have half a gazillion different names doesn't really help either.

In the end these little fellas from Franzen International looked very promising:

R4-420 Non Locking Drawbolt.jpg

R4-419 BLK Locking Drawbolt.jpg

Apart from the lock, the bottom one looks to be quite a good match. The shape is pretty close and the metal seems to have just the right thickness.
 
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