Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader - WIP

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
This is where it all started for me as the costume builder "Dark Side Sith Lord" when I was only a 14 year old kid. I stared upon the picture of Darth Vader in the Star Wars visual dictionary as he pointed straight at me, then I started studying his costume because of this and thought that many of the parts I had scrounged together over the years could perhaps be turned into this costume since I was starting to get tall enough for it anyway.

Sure enough many of the things I made at that time were not any screen accurate what so ever, but not too bad, I suppose, as far as a 14 year old kid can build things, and I did start working on a full reveal helmet that was never finished at all.

I'm not really seeing all the work I did as a waste of time, but rather as very helpful training to get me to where I am today, and most parts like the simple fleece capes, the pleather suit, and the gloves were used for some of my other custom character costumes anyway.

Today my version of choice is the factory fresh and shiny Episode III costume, and with a guarantee to sound like a complete arrogant anus-sphinkter, I am attempting to make the most screen accurate fan representation of the costume yet as I am not only simply saying "there's some stripes, so I'll sew some stripes", but instead have studied this costume night and day to the point where I've mapped out the right number of stripes, the angles of them, where they end against the seams, and so on.

Of course I have the Master Replicas helmet in full accuracy and awesomeness, but I will also replace the lenses of this expensive helmet since it's been proved that they did not use a simple flat foil for the lenses in the movie like the MR people did, but that it did in fact have proper curved lenses, only they are less curved than the older versions.

The awful Rubie's armor is in the house. We all know what they look like, but I will later make the proper alterations to all armor pieces after they have been cast in nice and rigid fiberglass. I even acquired the exact really rare furnace chain for the chest armor right before the seller ran all out of them.

I started making the chestbox and the parts myself a while back, but then another costume builder called "FPArmor" sold me his prototype chestbox that had been made from the actual measurements taken from the real thing, so I just had to have it. Still I will make the edges from the curves more smooth and make the coinslot openings a bit larger to make it even more screen accurate...Sorry about that, FPArmor :unsure

Anyway, I seem to have a bad habit of making new threads about costumes that are barely done with only a few photos to show, but really I am posting this because of an upcoming annual children's festival nearby that would be the perfect occasion to wear this costume with the changing room being only a few meters away from the outdoor space where we roam around in costumes, so in any case that my costume becomes too hot to wear the first time, it won't be all that bad anyway. Also my nephews might show up at the place to see their crazy uncle in costume for the very first time too.

This festival is only three months away from now, so I simply need to ask for any help that anyone can provide to speed things up, such as closeup photos of the real parts and so forth. Also if anyone has the fabric sample from the book "Dressing A Galaxy", could you please take a closeup photo of it in case I do not find that book for myself in time?

Thanks for any help with this. Progress photos will be posted soon enough since this is on the workbench right now! :thumbsup
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Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

Seems like you'll have a lot of fun doing this! Good luck, and make sure to post lots of pictures!
Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

Very nice start!!!. i have always been a Star Wars fan... i will definatly pay close attention to this thread...
Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

Thanks, guys. Here's a few new photos, some old and new.

As I said before, I didn't want to just add some stripes on something just because there were stripes on the real thing, but instead I counted the stripes and measured the angles and so forth before making the parts myself, so this was done for the pants that I started making maybe a few years ago but never finished. First I bought some regular pants pattern as a starting point.

After counting the stripes of the screen used pants and getting the angles right, they were drawn onto a custom pants pattern that was made from the pre-made ones. A 1/2 inch wide masking tape was used to make some extra sewing space or what you might call it.

The cotton batting was cut away from the lower legs of the pants since they will be inside the boots anyway. No stripes were made either.

Insert the magic of sewing.

Now it did take some trial and error to sew the pants together the right way to make the stripes end at the right place at the seams, so a few stitch holes need fixing, but still it's not that bad anyway. That's all I have to show now, but I'm working on the pants at the moment, so more will come.

Templates have been made for the gloves after counting the stripes on those as well as getting the curves and angles right. They will also be sewn the exact way that the screen used ones were sown with no non-screen accurate folds or anything else that I've seen on some other Episode III gloves.

The belt buckle is also in progress. Built from aluminum from measurements taken off the real thing, though of course from a computer monitor, but I suspect measuring exact numbers from the screen means that those were probably right. I'm good at identifying metals only by looking at them, and something didn't look quite right with the belt buckle, but then I was told by the guy who made it that it was actually made from metal powder mixed resin, not aluminum at all! I'll still finish mine out of aluminum though.

Last but not least, a crazy ******* finally ripped those awful flat lenses out of an expensive Master Replicas helmet to replace them with proper curved ones!


The real lenses were in fact said to have been curved, and the photos of the screen used helmet show so by how the reflected light on the lenses become curved.

That's all for now, hope ye like :D
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Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

I do like! I'll be following this thread closely since this costume is on my huge list of projects. I have to say, I'm insanely jealous of anyone that has an MR ROTS helmet. Keep at it!
Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

Nice effort so far! :).
Just remember to really pull off the Episode III Vader you'll need arms like toothpicks with shoulder bells that look like Darth is wearing his daddy's armor.

By the way, those pants are just really too awesome! Fantastic work!
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Re: Star Wars Episode III - Darth Vader

Thanks. I hope to finish those pants later today.

Those things you say about Vader being skinny like that are mostly believed by people who don't know a whole lot about the costume. David Prowse was a body builder, he was large enough for the costume. Hayden Christensen was not a body builder, this is why this text can be seen on the Star Wars Blu-Rays - "To fill out Darth Vader's build, the Episode III costume includes a padded muscle suit"

Here's some examples showing the same costume with and without the muscle suit.







As you can clearly see, the costume looks large enough for the part with the muscle suit, and believe me the armor is way too big for guys like Hayden and myself to wear normally without a muscle suit, that's why I'm making one too. The shoulders do fill in the whole armor when the muscle suit is worn, making it not look like he's "wearing his father's armor" as you said. The only reason people think the Episode III Vader is that skinny is because of all the publicity photos where he did not wear the muscle suit. It's not so much him being skinny as opposed to the costume being quite large. Look at this photo showing Hayden's head for reference. Look at the chest and the legs, how much larger they are than on the publicity photos. Do you really think this is Hayden's body or a muscle suit?

In fact the Episode III Vader looks larger than the ANH one to me.

You also have to remember that Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi, not a body builder. Being a Jedi does not make you look like a body builder, otherwise Obi-Wan would have looked like that too. Episode III shows the creation of Darth Vader right after his injuries, he's still young at only 23 years old, the costume is factory new, so how much larger do you want him to be actually? Instant body builder because of a suit? To me the size of Vader in Episode III looks damn good concidering he's in his 20's there and 19 years later, he's over 40 in ANH!

I'm so damn tired of hearing crap about the Episode III Vader being skinny and looking like crap as if he was 5 feet tall and painted pink. it was meant to be worn over a muscle suit to look like it should, only Hayden did not wear it during the publicity photoshoots, so I hope this has taught people a thing or two.

What you see on screen is Darth Vader as big as he should be. The publicity photos are of Hayden wearing the costume without the muscle suit, so it should not be concidered to be what the costume was really meant to look like.
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I think I've found the accurate green indicator lights for the belt boxes and can even buy them here in Norway. The screen used ones have rounded edges on the green lens, but sometimes you can see a white glow around the green part and other times it looks like the green lenses are actually covered by a clear lens, just like on the ones I found here by Eaton.

These are 18mm's wide, seemingly a bit too small for the boxes according to my old measurements, but having suspected that the clear red glowing LEDs on the boxes are small 3mm ones and not the regular 5mm ones, I thought that maybe I should ignore my old measurements from years ago and measure everything all over again, making it seem like everything should have been smaller than I thought now that I've got a screen accurate chest box for reference also.

I know the Rubie's costume parts are not the most screen accurate there is, but they did claim to have used the original molds for things, and the shape of the belt buckle does look right. First I didn't get how they could have cast something from a mold that didn't exist if the screen used belt buckle was made of aluminum, but the creator of it told me it was in fact made of metal powder mixed resin, so who knows?

Now I'm hoping someone can post photos and measurements of the Rubie's belt buckle, just in case it really did derive from the real thing, then I will have some solid evidence of my new, smaller measurements if they both add up.

Thanks for any help with this.
Decided to check in this thread again to see how you've come. Great job on the pants! I'd be scared to take out the lenses in a MR. I'd probably only screw it up, hah.
Thanks, those pants took a little longer than I thought, have to hand sew in strips of lining fabric over the seams inside of it. No one will see the insides of the pants, but there you go. Going to buy suspenders for them today and will hopefully get them finished for a new photo later.

Haha, yeah I'd bet most people wouldn't want to mess around with an expensive MR helmet, but my desire to make it more accurate was greater than my fear of screwing it up, so I just pushed them out of the eye sockets. I'll use the same metal mesh on the back of the new lenses too since supposedly they used that for the real thing.

For those who want to know, it seems they glued in the lenses before spray painting the mask, sealing up the gap between the lenses and the mask with brown clay and masking off the lenses before spray painting it. Pealing out the lenses revealed they had spray painted right onto the clay after applying it, so it seems to me like this was the approach they had.
YEA, finaly someone who also like the RotS look as i do.
Great start on your RotS build.The attention on detail is noteworthy.

Long ago since i have seen such "high end" parts like the FP prototype chestbox.
Not as close as Fettpride said , but nearly the best you can use.
I'm realy looking forward to your build.

PM on the way:love
@Verbal21 - I'll get some photos of that soon once I get to work on them, which should be soon anyway.

@Turrican - Yeah, I should say the same thing. Thanks for liking the work I've done already. The chestbox is pretty accurate, but I've spotted a few things I want to change to make it even more accurate, so I hope my changes are right.

PM reading commencing :thumbsup
Here's a few more photos of the finished pants.

They turned out well enough, even got some nice suspenders for them with leather and gun metal gray clamps, fits great for the overall look of them.

The legs that will be inside the boots were not quilted. Thick elastic straps were also sewn onto the openings to prevent the pants from riding up out of the boots.

I also finished one of the gloves today that I do believe are screen accurate.





These were cut out and sewn the exact same way that the screen used gloves were, made to a pattern replicated from the real thing. Just like on the screen used gloves, the finger portion of the glove was sewn onto the back portion with two stitches on a cut leather edge, the index finger is a folded piece instead of two pieces sewn together, and the smallest finger is sewn together internally on the sides.

The stripes are also the same. Same amount, same angle, same width and other screen accuracies.

Here is a photo of the screen used glove.

Also here is my own glove replicating the sleeve error that is known for this costume.

This sleeve error was caused by the jacket having too long arms for Hayden while the arm openings are larger than the inside diameter of the gloves. Therefore the hand portion of the gloves still stick to Hayden's hands while the too long and wide sleeves push the back portions of the gloves towards the hand portion, resulting in what you see. So the gloves were NEVER made with a middle horizontal seam and were never actually meant to be worn folded like that.

I've started cutting out the leather for the second glove now, but have unfortunately run out of the proper medium thick sewing thread for them.
I've never been a fan of the Ep. III Vader, but your ability to sit down with a sewing machine with that level of skill is worthy of complement! I can't sew a straight line trying to put a hem in my lounge pants!

Excellent work.
Haha, yeah I know, sorry about that.

I'm trying to finish all my costumes as soon as possible right now and am basically bondoing, fiberglassing, and spray painting everything I have all around, so I don't do much work on the Darth Vader costume alone anymore, but still I do have some minor updates so far.

Armor is now in fiberglass and only needs a few globs of bondo and spray paint to get finished. I also made the molds for the shin armor, but the support shell is still to be made.

I also finished preparing the chestbox for spray painting, and it is nice and smooth now thanks to wet sanding. It really looks awful in this photo, but that's all I have now. I only need some proper silver paint for the parts to finish it!

That's it for now since I'm finishing off every hard part for every costume I have, so it'll take some time before I finish the soft parts for this costume.
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