OT X-Wing Pilot helmet details

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
So if it were me, and I was a pilot in wartime and I was allowed to show my individuality on my helmet. The decals on my helmet might represent some military symbols special to me but others would represent favorite sports teams, band, drink, or even media. I like to think that is the case with some of these designs.
 

Vagabond Elf

Active Member
the Tie Fighter pilot doesnt count? or the scanning crew? I think the two symbols were supposed to be used for a reason.

All of the TIE Pilots we see in New Hope, and certainly the scanning team, are based aboard the Death Star and thus would have Death Star "assignment patches." So I feel like that actually supports my proposition?

I will acknowledge that, although I seem to recall reading an authoritative source claim that the Imperial roundel was originally meant to depict the Death Star's crew - and certainly the design seems to evoke it! - I can't find that source now. So it's very possible I'm misremembering. And even if I'm right, that's something that never got stated on screen so it was fully in the authority of the ESB team to change without causing any issue! In any case, being unable to find a source for the notion it can only be treated as my opinion now. :)

So if it were me, and I was a pilot in wartime and I was allowed to show my individuality on my helmet. The decals on my helmet might represent some military symbols special to me but others would represent favorite sports teams, band, drink, or even media. I like to think that is the case with some of these designs.

Just for giggles, I googled "VietNam Fighter Pilot Helmet decoration" and got some interesting results, including this:


These real-life helmets are clearly sporting whatever the heck the pilot feels like sticking on there. And this of course would have been what the art department of the time was familiar with. So I think I agree with you, that a lot of the designs ought to represent things that have nothing to do with the military, and merely represent the pilot's artistic tastes.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
All of the TIE Pilots we see in New Hope, and certainly the scanning team, are based aboard the Death Star and thus would have Death Star "assignment patches." So I feel like that actually supports my proposition?

I will acknowledge that, although I seem to recall reading an authoritative source claim that the Imperial roundel was originally meant to depict the Death Star's crew - and certainly the design seems to evoke it! - I can't find that source now. So it's very possible I'm misremembering. And even if I'm right, that's something that never got stated on screen so it was fully in the authority of the ESB team to change without causing any issue! In any case, being unable to find a source for the notion it can only be treated as my opinion now. :)



Just for giggles, I googled "VietNam Fighter Pilot Helmet decoration" and got some interesting results, including this:


These real-life helmets are clearly sporting whatever the heck the pilot feels like sticking on there. And this of course would have been what the art department of the time was familiar with. So I think I agree with you, that a lot of the designs ought to represent things that have nothing to do with the military, and merely represent the pilot's artistic tastes.

Also check out the link I posted earlier:

 

Rawktrooper

Member
Naval carrier crews were much more strict than the Army helo pilots in the bush in Vietnam, and the Navy continues to stick with very similar rules now. Granted wartime emblems do become more pronounced and individualized as in morale decoration etc.
If you notice on the Navy flight helmets you posted, all of them stick to the same tape allowed, which tends to be 1" and reflective in origin to aid in rescue operations if the pilot is downed at sea. They can pretty much do whatever they want with the allowed tape, cutting it up into squares, or circles, or letters etc. But they stick with the tape given. Paint was allowed early on in the conflict, but was hard to find on the ships .. and later on as the war got heated up and the pilots started to see more fire, the tape method was pressed.

The Army is much more forgiving when it comes to decoration for the helo crews, and most of those helmets are less of a stand-out nature when it comes to colors since they would be basing closer to action and flying closer to direct fire and in need of blending in.. with the exception of some "rogues" who liked to buck the rulebooks and flaunt authority.

Those are both great references to wartime helmet decor.. and it did somewhat disappear during the cold war but came back to an extent in Desert Storm and OIF.
 

Rawktrooper

Member
Just for the sake of FYI. Current Navy and Marine regulations state that 100% of the helmet must be covered in reflective tape. 90% of it must be white. The remaining 10% can be used for squadron markings, also made from reflective tape.
speaking of Vietnam era and the helmets that were pictured around the time these films were made, not current regulation. The branches do tend to crack toward strict regulation when outside of a conflict, and have tended to less personal decoration in modern times.
I have not heard the 90% rule but that sounds pretty strict to what i have seen in the cockpits today. Part of that requirement is no doubt a counter to the design changes in the helmets. Much of the modern 55 or 68 helmet is covered by the visor with no permanent cover in most cases, the leather scuff patches on the sides, the mic boom in certain applications, and the velcro or attach points for night flying accessories. So there is not a lot of room for decoration or even visibility aids. The Air force is strictly grey with grey leather and bumpers, where the Navy is white with black patches.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
speaking of Vietnam era and the helmets that were pictured around the time these films were made, not current regulation. The branches do tend to crack toward strict regulation when outside of a conflict, and have tended to less personal decoration in modern times.
I have not heard the 90% rule but that sounds pretty strict to what i have seen in the cockpits today. Part of that requirement is no doubt a counter to the design changes in the helmets. Much of the modern 55 or 68 helmet is covered by the visor with no permanent cover in most cases, the leather scuff patches on the sides, the mic boom in certain applications, and the velcro or attach points for night flying accessories. So there is not a lot of room for decoration or even visibility aids. The Air force is strictly grey with grey leather and bumpers, where the Navy is white with black patches.
Like I said it was it was simply FYI. Not directly related to Star Wars. I spent 22 years in the Navy and as an Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer, the paraloft shop at a squadron often fell under my authority. Just imparting some interesting facts.
 

Rawktrooper

Member
all great info and great discussion. absolutely.
i'll have to dig back into the concept books and see if there are any missing pages or photos on the pilots.
 

Rawktrooper

Member
i think it would be good to compile a photo set of all the different used emblems and markings on the OT helmets for a quick reference guide for anyone who stops by this page. I will start to put that together from the various books and online photo archives and see if we can get a complete listing of the markings in a somewhat clear manner. I have been looking thru page after page of OT helmet and that just dawned on me that i could not find a complete listing of the markings used.

If anyone else would like to submit, feel free to.. we can make this a community posting. Ill start it off and we can build on new ones we find specifically used in the OT.
All of these markings can be different colors so i will leave colors out of this unless it helps the description.
Painted patterns, i.e. Porkins visor cover red and yellow pattern, or stripes, or the tiger stripe pattern on Red 4, or Biggs and Gold Leaders grid pattern, will not be included in the markings list for now.
Shapes, Pinstriping, or shadow type markings will be left of the list.
There are, what i believe to be letters in a 70s looking font on some helmets, and these will not be included since any lettering could be considered. If we can figure out what font was used we could add that as a specifically OT font. I think i have seen some offer this font for decals in the past.

I will keep a list going in this post of the various emblems and markings. Let me know if i missed any. And i can start to include pics as i get them from photos.

1. The "Rebel" logo or Starbird or Anchor
1A. "Rebel" logo with shadow (Gold 2)
2. The "flaming" or striped circle or "sliced onion" (Various)
3. The winged ball (various)
4. The eyeball with eyelashes (various)
5. the half sunset (i.e. Red Leaders visor cover red markings) 2 variations
6. Flaming owl eyes and beak marking (Millennium Falcon blast shield helmet)
7. Large circle "solar system" marking (7 circles of increasing size inside a large circle)(Red 10)
8. large quartered circle (Gold 5)
9. wheel well with speed lines marking (Gold 2, Gold Leader)
10. outlined rectangle with circle inside (Millennium Falcon blast shield helmet)
11. "Victory marking" circle with "V" (various)
 
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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Been lurking and wondering if I should throw in my two centicreds. I like to go by first sources whenever possible, as more than one brain involved on any project means misinterpretations and miscommunications, no matter how minor. Look at how so many people -- including Dave Filoni and the art department guy who designed Krennic -- thought the moustached guy in the off-white jacket in the Death Star conference room scene was a Grand Admiral... despite the rank not existing until 1991, when Tim Zahn introduced it in Heir to the Empire. Kenner even, in their conference scene packs, depicted him in a stark white version of the Imperial uniform, jacket and pants. Despite the fact that we see him in the damn movie wearing an off-white jacket of a different cut, and with black pants and cap.

Return of the Jedi was a costume continuity nightmare (in addition to other continuity nightmares). The Prequels have their own headaches, and don't even get me started on the other stuff in the Disney era!

But. Doing as many deep delves over the years as I could, into as much of the stuff being noodled about by everyone involved, from John Mollo to Alan Dean Foster to Brian Daley, etc., to paint the setting. Many conclusions I've come to clash with the official line, but a lot of the official line didn't exist until the '90s when West End Games and Decipher created it out of thin air and moonbeams. Things are official more out of habit than any kind of diligent research, which bothers me.

At the time of Star Wars, and before any sequels were planned... The Empire was a recentish thing -- five to ten years ago, tops. Palpatine had essentially pulled a Julius Cæsar with a touch of Augustus. We were seeing things in the midst of power consolidation, when a lot of staunch Republicans who opposed his power grab were only recently starting to do something about it. The Rebels we saw were not all of them, but one of the principal cells. The "starbird" or "anchor" fits best as the emblem of the royal house of Alderaan/planetary symbol (this also works with the Sequels, where the Resistance is very much Leia's thing, hence Alderaanian starbird). The "Rebel Fleet Troopers" are Imperial Senate Guards in garrison uniform (we see the formal robes and armor in the PS2 port of The Force Unleashed). The Prequel era shows a period of relative peace and disarmament, with no standing Republic military. Individual system governments maintain defense forces, and the helmets we see with the "starbird" on them work as Alderaanian units from the (recent) Clone Wars. Some of the others would be from elsewhere, and some (like Wedge and Biggs) would be post-Republic personal deco.

The "sliced onion" decal -- the black circle overlaid with seven lines -- is the one symbol across all of them, and, rather than the Rebellion having a symbol, I like it best as the emblem of the Republic they're trying to restore. The helmets are all over (and worn by different individuals across the OT), so whatever old unit attachment was in play before the Empire, that's no longer a factor. Presumably those "V" symbols and any other official decorations were also frozen at the time of defection or whatever manner of leaving Republic service. So no problem with Leia giving Luke an old Alderaanian Guard helmet that has personal meaning to her -- a space-opera version of the knight going into battle with the princess' favor. It's not stolen valor, it's a memento.

That's my starting point, with more built on involving/incorporating Judicial Forces, the Republic Navy, the Imperial Starfleet, the Stormtrooper Corps, and so on. But I'll see if any of this flies (ha) before going further.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
Instead of making it complicated, just make it simple.

When the rebels pick up their helmet at flight gear issue, they also have a bunch of random stickers in a bowl free for the pilots they got at the 5 Credit and Below store. The pilots grab a fist full and stick them on their helmet because who doesn’t like stickers? Probably Dak… and that’s why he died.
 

Rawktrooper

Member
The "sliced onion" decal -- the black circle overlaid with seven lines -- is the one symbol across all of them, and, rather than the Rebellion having a symbol, I like it best as the emblem of the Republic they're trying to restore. The helmets are all over (and worn by different individuals across the OT), so whatever old unit attachment was in play before the Empire, that's no longer a factor. Presumably those "V" symbols and any other official decorations were also frozen at the time of defection or whatever manner of leaving Republic service. So no problem with Leia giving Luke an old Alderaanian Guard helmet that has personal meaning to her -- a space-opera version of the knight going into battle with the princess' favor. It's not stolen valor, it's a memento.
I like the idea that Leia gave Luke a meaningful helmet like a space opera. great take.
When the rebels pick up their helmet at flight gear issue, they also have a bunch of random stickers in a bowl free for the pilots they got at the 5 Credit and Below store. The pilots grab a fist full and stick them on their helmet because who doesn’t like stickers? Probably Dak… and that’s why he died.
I also love this. Bowl full of decals and Dak dies because he didnt pick one. ROFL
 

el toro

Sr Member
Been lurking and wondering if I should throw in my two centicreds. I like to go by first sources whenever possible, as more than one brain involved on any project means misinterpretations and miscommunications, no matter how minor. Look at how so many people -- including Dave Filoni and the art department guy who designed Krennic -- thought the moustached guy in the off-white jacket in the Death Star conference room scene was a Grand Admiral... despite the rank not existing until 1991, when Tim Zahn introduced it in Heir to the Empire. Kenner even, in their conference scene packs, depicted him in a stark white version of the Imperial uniform, jacket and pants. Despite the fact that we see him in the damn movie wearing an off-white jacket of a different cut, and with black pants and cap.

Wait. So for all we know, George could have intended for the white jacket fellow in ANH to be a Death Star tailor for the high command and the officers invited him to take their measurements?
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wait. So for all we know, George could have intended for the white jacket fellow in ANH to be a Death Star tailor for the high command and the officers invited him to take their measurements?
More that George didn't "intend" anything beyond that there be visibly several different "types" of Imperial soldiers. The steingrau people were obviously the backbone of Imperial forces, the black obviously some elite type that worked closely with Vader, the light-gray-and-black seeming analogous to the light-gray-uniformed scanner and com techs and probably some sort of technical branch, and these guys with the off-white jackets and black pants were something else never filled in until the movie and its sequels were done and largely considered dead.

The black-uniformed troops wore reworked Fireman uniforms leftover in Elstree wardrobe from the filming of Fahrenheit 451 some years earlier. Those off-white jackets might have been from something else like that. There were background olive-uniformed personnel both on the Death Star and on Yavin who were just dressed in slightly altered US military surplus, after all.

No rhyme or reason at the time beyond visual storytelling establishing a more granular setting than a single uniform type would convey. And without spending a lot of money.
 

ZeroSum

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In any case, I'm personally 100% confident that the markings on Luke's helmet were earned by whoever had that brain bucket before him.
This is the explanation that makes the most sense to me. The last person in that X-Wing did and Luke gets the ship and helmet. The Rebellion wouldn't have the budget for breaking a fresh helmet out of its wrapping just for Moisture Farmer Kid.
 

Rawktrooper

Member
This is the explanation that makes the most sense to me. The last person in that X-Wing did and Luke gets the ship and helmet. The Rebellion wouldn't have the budget for breaking a fresh helmet out of its wrapping just for Moisture Farmer Kid.
that always made sense to me as well, until the unfortunate inconsistency in Rogue One. But at the time of the OT coming out, that was always assumed and made sense. Either way, it seems to be the right interpretation regardless of the timeline problem.
 

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