my derpy custom "former TIE pilot" helmet


Legendary Member
What if a TIE pilot defected to the Alliance along with his gear, and just kept using the same helmet, removing the face plate?

With that concept in mind I got some parts from Richie's Armor from both his X-Wing and TIE helmet kits. I don't remember why I did a combination.... it might be because at the time I wanted to retain all of the APH helmet, instead of it being trimmed as must be done to attach a stormtrooper face. I did want it in black styrene, so that factored in somehow.

Ultimately, though, I decided to trim it after all, but using the X-Wing shell halves meant I had to make a new, wider mowhawk. While I was at it, I altered part of the sides of the front edge of the helmet, widening the part where the font of the ram's horn transitions to the forehead edge. I felt the kit was too narrow in that area.

I was into costuming at the time, as both kinds of pilots, using a Don Post Classic Action TIE helmet. So I wanted to match that helmet, as if I were representing the same character at different stages. The CA helmet has weird inset rectangles on the front of the ram's horns, which I took at face value to be accurate to TIEs, so I cut them out in my kit. I later realized that was an inaccurate detail, so I filled them back in.

In widening the mohawk I had to do a lot of filling and sanding. A lot. Of filling and sanding. A lot.

I got to nearly the end of that process, and then just stopped, so I never did use it for costuming. With dried blobs of JB Weld slopped onto a few areas, it ended up in a semi-open box on my screened porch, accumulating dust and yellowing from sun exposure....FOR TWENTY YEARS.

A few weeks ago I decided to finish it. Pictured is how it looked after retrieving and cleaning it.



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I took up anew the filling and sanding. And again.... it was a lot.
It rapidly became one of those projects that just gets worse the more you work on it. I'd get the surface to maybe 90% of what I wanted, make one "last" pass, and the results would take it down to 80. UGH.
After several rounds, I reached the "I don't care anymore, it's good enough" stage, and painted it semi-gloss black. Which turned out less "semi" than anticipated but that's fine...


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Simultaneous to the filling and sanding, I built the "needle box" for the back of the mohawk, out of styrene sheet.
I used too much plastic weld and the flat surfaces bowed in as it cured. So I covered it with another layer of styrene. That made it way too thick, but oh well. More filling and sanding!
I added a couple of attachment pegs (didn't want it to just be glued on), painted it white, then masked off the part that stays white and painted the rest black. No, not bothering with making it a real hinged case, just faking it on this one.


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Painted a gunmetal portion and added decals. Much too shiny!
Dusted it generously with grey primer, flat black and a little tan.
I wanted to see if I could get some "honest" weathering, so I put it in the back of my SUV and let it roll around on my commute for a week.
Unfortunately, since it's carpeted, not much happened other than the heat of the Florida summer causing the top of the needle box to warp again. Oh well. Manual weathering it is.


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As part of the original project I had built the ear thingies out of styrene. Some were included with the original kit, but I felt they were way too big (or at least were bigger than those on my Classic Action, which at the time I was trying to match).

This time, after realizing they still needed a flanged lip around the edge that butts against the helmet... one that must match the helmet contours EXACTLY.... I decided my fictional former TIE pilot had removed those things as well. Besides, I don't know where the aluminum Imperial cogs I had intended for this project have gotten themselves.

I did drill holes on the sides of the helmet, imagining them being part of how the things used to be attached.

I decided there needed to be some kind of vestigal marking of where they used to be, so I masked off the area and painted more semi-gloss black (and weathered the area again). The end result is a little goofy, but again, I just wanted to be finished.

The face shield used to be a smoked color. The years in that box turned it kind of purple, and it's gotten blotched from other things splattering on it. Going with it.

Then I set it up outside to photograph, and it fell off the table and hit the concrete. Well, I wanted "earned" weathering, but not actual damage. It cracked in a few places along the mohawk. I touched it up (didn't want the red of the For Sale sign to show), but, again, went with it.

The styrene strip the face shield is attached to broke in two places. Had to cut a new one to overlay and strengthen it.
I had a chin cup for it, but don't know what happened to it. Back in the day I had even installed female snaps on the inside for it. I could get one, I suppose...


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Derp Five standing by


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I've toyed with adding decals that rebel helmets use, but I dunno. I like the notion that those symbols originate from the forces the pilots used to serve before joining the Alliance, so if someone jumped over from the Empire, would he be adding those things?

Also, would he remove the Imperial symbols? Probably, or maybe stick something over them. Maybe I will someday. I imagine a lot of Rebel gear has been purloined from the Empire and has the emblem on it. They have bigger things to worry about other than scrubbing off logos.
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I’m not a big fan of the common rebel pilot helmet logos. I think helmet design should be a reflection of the pilot’s personality, interests, beliefs, etc…. Not saying that’s what you see when you look at a rebel pilots helmet but to me, it is much more reasonable. To that end, maybe you could do a crude red ❌ over the imperial logo… or a smaller rebel logo that you could inset in the cogs… or an X-Wing painted near each emblem that is firing on them.
You could also redo the backstory. Instead of defecting, he could be more like those old westerns where the once Confederate soldier after the war has gone out to the west to start a new life. They will wear parts of their uniform and although they are not looking to restart a war, they are still proud of their prior service. So maybe this pilot has gone out to the outer rim area where it not controlled by the new republic and he does flying related jobs to earn a living.

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