Question for Vader helmet experts

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Dagobah Don

Sr Member
I was always under the impression that the Don Post fiberglass helmets were pulls from the original ESB mold, that the molds degraded, and that new molds had to be made for subsequent iterations of the helmet. Is that the accurate history?
 

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Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Short answer: no.

The face mask may link back to an ESB helmet, but the dome is pure RotJ. Both pieces are heavily sanitized and soft. (my personal theory is that it is derived from a tour helmet due to the mounting ring on the face mask being similar to some of those - a style I have not seen on screen used pieces).
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hi BanquoFett,

Good question and the answer is this is not correct. The COA and advertising materials of the time state that the Don Post Deluxe is copied from a helmet that was used in filming ESB -- and that is probably what they were told. The helmet hasn't been matched to any screen used ESB helmet and a comparison of helmets suggests pretty strongly that the DPD is copied from a RotJ era publicity helmet casting. In any event it was never pulled directly from any production helmet mold. I've never gone through the effort to confirm this myself but it is believed that Steve Sansweet loaned them the helmet in his collection to make the copy and produce their master.

Now, how many molds Post Post Studios had or used is unknown (I've also heard that the actual fabrication was outsourced). The conventional wisdom used to be that earlier castings were cleaner and had less of the geometrical distortion that the DPD helmets are infamous for and that the distortion crept in as the mold wore out. This was based on the assumption that there was only one mold because we didn't know any better. We looked into this idea in detail a few years ago over at the Prop Den and a comparison of numerous castings showed that there were early serial numbered helmets that had bad distortion and later numbered helmets that didn't so that idea doesn't stand up to the evidence. It seems likely that there were multiple molds used and that one of the molds was copied from a distorted casting or that something in the manufacturing process caused the issue. It's something of a crap shoot as to whether or not a helmet will have the distinctive droop and neck flare.

I bought one of them when they first came out back in 1995/6 so I've had a soft spot for them and I'm trying to gather as much info as I can about the Deluxe Vader.

Cheers,

Dave
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I thought it was generally agreed that the Don Post is casted from a 20th C tour helmet?

I do not believe this is correct and I'm not sure where the idea came from other than the notion that the DP is copied from a touring helmet and the 20th C was the most commonly known for a long time. There are numerous fan castings that are sourced from the 20th C of course. Having owned a 20th C casting and a DP Deluxe I can definitely say I do not think this is the case. For a start the neck on the DP is longer and the spacing between the teeth is narrower than on the 20th C so there would have to have been considerable modification to create the DP. There are also many geometrical differences as well so I think it would be way to much work for this to happen.

Cheers,

Dave
 

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Dagobah Don

Sr Member
This is great information thank you. I'm disappointed it's not a ESB pull, as I've been telling that tale since the 1990's when I got it, haha. Was a gift from my grandfather tho, so it has personal memories attached.
 
I do not believe this is correct and I'm not sure where the idea came from other than the notion that the DP is copied from a touring helmet and the 20th C was the most commonly known for a long time. There are numerous fan castings that are sourced from the 20th C of course. Having owned a 20th C casting and a DP Deluxe I can definitely say I do not think this is the case. For a start the neck on the DP is longer and the spacing between the teeth is narrower than on the 20th C so there would have to have been considerable modification to create the DP. There are also many geometrical differences as well so I think it would be way to much work for this to happen.

Cheers,

Dave

Aren’t the touring helmet the 20th C helmet? You are saying there are other touring helmets other than the 20th C ?

Someone made a lineage chart over at Prop Den a long time ago and I am pretty sure a lot of helmet can be traced back to the 20th C, Don Post included. Too bad the chart is now gone due to photobucket not allowing hotlinking anymore.
 

dcarty

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yes, the 20th C helmet is only one of many tour helmets that were made over the decades. There were tour helmets produced after ANH (the source of the Rick Baker mold), tour helmets made during ESB and RotJ --the RotJ helmets typically have the tall "pipe" style connector as seen in the ILM book (there is a photo with a table full of tour helmets/chest boxes/belts being made) and the DPDeluxe. The 20th C helmets were made in the mid 90's by Don Bies to promote the Special Editions and were just the first to fall into fan hands to be copied.

I have a copy of the most recent version of the lineage chart:
 

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craigjohn

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yes, the 20th C helmet is only one of many tour helmets that were made over the decades. There were tour helmets produced after ANH (the source of the Rick Baker mold), tour helmets made during ESB and RotJ --the RotJ helmets typically have the tall "pipe" style connector as seen in the ILM book (there is a photo with a table full of tour helmets/chest boxes/belts being made) and the DPDeluxe. The 20th C helmets were made in the mid 90's by Don Bies to promote the Special Editions and were just the first to fall into fan hands to be copied.

I have a copy of the most recent version of the lineage chart:


Gotta update this chart, and add the GS and CFO ROTJ.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
That is not the latest version of the chart. It's been updated since then and contains those helmets mentioned - though doesn't have a picture of the original GS - as well as a re-arrangement of the Rick Baker Mold and UK Production Mold lineages.
 

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