Ugly No More: "Darth Ugly" ESB Darth Vader Helmet

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by CSMacLaren, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Some of you have seen my earlier thread regarding this really horrible kit that was bound for the trash, but I renovated it and turned it into an ANH.

    The ANH thread:

    http://www.therpf.com/f9/anh-darth-ugly-total-transformation-inferior-vader-141445/#post2198393

    Here is another wonderful conclusion to the story arc of the Darth Ugly saga - Ugly ESB!

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    For those tuning in, there was an eBay auction years back that sold what turned out to be very inferior, warped castings that came originally from a Don Post Classic Action. They varied in quality.

    [​IMG]

    Now the one on the right which belonged to a friend, T-VIRUS, which is the continuation of this whole story arc. The one on the left was built out but later discarded, R.I.P. The one on the right does look better. It originally looked like the one on the left, but at the time the photo was taken, T-VIRUS had taken great strides to try to correct the original warpage, so he did an amazing job given the extent of our Vader knowledge 5 years ago. However the prop still exhibited problems with shape and warpage. For example, the dome on the right had a bell curve to the rear on one side which doesn't show upon in this frontal shot.

    So... back to the dome:

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    One of the problems with the dome was the flaring. The flange was cut incorrectly and the flaring made it look weird. Heating the material until it was soft enough to correct the flange flare was one thing, but it was not simple. Correcting the flange meant warping the domecap. Correcting the domecap meant warping the flange. The correct domecap shape meant the flange had to be severely bow-shaped (that bell curve I mentioned), which was unacceptable.

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    It was going to be a throwaway dome. Since it was sitting in a corner gathering dust, I asked T-VIRUS to send it to me to salvage. As you saw in the "still ugly" thread, the faceplate salvage turned into a major renovation that surpassed all my expectations for this piece of poodu.

    I had been developing two domes in parallel - the Darth Ugly dome and a flawed casting of a GH ANH dome which I had cut into 3 pieces, then remastered and resculpted it to make it an artistic whole with the Darth Ugly faceplate. The results you saw:

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    I really wanted the Darth Ugly dome to be paired with its own mask, but at the time, the dome simply didn't look right and required a lot of rework. Believe me, it was heartache not to.

    I don't have complete progress shots as I thought the dome was doomed for failure. I cut off the widow's peak and did some sanding to see if it could pass for an ESB dome, but the whole brow structure was incorrect and needed to be redone.

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    Above, I'm redoing the mid strip and the brow. What you don't see is under the black acrylic paint the modifications to other parts of the dome. Because of flaring of the sides, the sides had to be pushed in with heat, but this made it too pushed in, so I resculpted the fold line, believe it or not.

    Now the hardest part was the flange having such a strong bell-curve towards the back. This wasn't solvable with heat manipulation alone, as it meant something else had to be warped if you wanted it to be straight. So what I did was use a Dremel fiberglass cutting disc to cut the flange into strips:

    [​IMG]

    And then exposing the flange to heat, I could manipulate the strips into approximately the right shape I needed them to be, i.e. straighter.

    Here's an early stage of development of the ESB style mid strip. You can still see the flange on the left (wearer's right) is still cut into strips:

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    Filling the seams was the next step, now that the seams are wider in some cases, and the strips are oriented at different angles and directions. Here you can see only a certain stage of reconstruction. I had redone the fold line but it's under the black acrylic paint. Also you can get a sense of the brow being redone, but I hadn't quite cleaned up the surfaces. You can also see the side of the domecap had been reworked significantly since it was too pushed in and needed to be subtly widened.

    The flange end wasn't cut correctly by the vendor who sold T-VIRUS this helmet, so that had to be resculpted.

    But even after doing all that work, the flange didn't create the right silhouette for me, so I had to build out more curvature, so now a huge section is given new material.

    So the following are some progress shots. Please don't mind the slightly incorrect dome positioning (I hadn't had coffee) and the painted ESB-style chin triangle. The paint scheme is still from my ANH setup of this faceplate. I don't intend to cut it yet until it has been molded.

    These are Work in Progress shots as of April 1: 12:25 p.m. I still have a bit of fine tuning to do, and correcting the right flange.

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    And here's a look of the ESB versus the ANH. Same faceplate in both shots.

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    Although the original kit was warped, distorted and deluded, it was still based off of a Don Post Classic Action, which was marketed as an ESB helmet. I therefore find it very satisfying to help this project return to its movie origins by bringing this back into an ESB configuration!

    Hope you enjoyed this writeup!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  2. jme3

    jme3 Sr Member

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    Re: Ugly No More: "Darth Ugly" turned into a beautiful ESB

    Nice transformation, and worthy cause. :thumbsup
     
  3. KaanE

    KaanE Sr Member

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    Re: Ugly No More: "Darth Ugly" turned into a beautiful ESB

    I like it better with an ESB dome than the ANH one this time.
     
  4. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Abaris,

    It might be the photography. Both were taken under different lighting conditions. The image for the ESB is indeed better.

    This might be a better pic of the ANH:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Celtic007

    Celtic007 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Its funny how a little less widows peak and slightly higher mounting completely change the helmet. Looks great!
     
  6. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Thanks, but it's a bit more than that. With the screen used props there were other features that differed between the ANH, ESB and ROTJ domes. It's much more than hacking off the widows peak and positioning it differently.

    In this case here, the Ugly ESB dome is not made from the ANH dome. The ANH dome descended from a GH ANH. The vendor who made the Ugly kit copied it from a Don Post Classic Action and modified it into ANH incorrectly. It was fun undoing all those modifications and taking the dome back to a truer ESB state.

    Thanks for the kind words!
     
  7. PantheraGem

    PantheraGem Sr Member

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    Love the look of that ANH. Awesome work.
     
  8. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    Latest pics! Earlier you saw this side of the flange:

    [​IMG]

    But it struck me as too bell-curved. So again, I cut this side into strips (and one of the strips accidentally broke off). Major renovation went into this side and now...

    [​IMG]

    SUCCESS!

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    Very close to final-final! :thumbsup
     
  9. Celtic007

    Celtic007 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks great! That hard work certainly paid off.
     
  10. Darth Niob

    Darth Niob Sr Member

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    Excellent. You are seriously talented mate. Now you have to present the ROTJ version also :)
     
  11. defstartrooper

    defstartrooper Sr Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  12. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Thanks guys! Here is a casting of Ugly ESB. The propmaker, bookface, did the paint work. And the paint really brought out the full potential of the sculpt in a way my acrylics obviously didn't!

    Interest thread:

    http://www.therpf.com/f13/darth-ugly-esb-vader-helmet-177874/

    [​IMG]
     
  13. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Some beautiful shots by scottjua of his Ugly ESB. It's nice seeing people so happy with these. These helmets feel like my kids, so I enjoy seeing them in new homes. Makes it like I oversee an adoption center! :thumbsup

    Paint and assembly courtesy of bookface.

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  14. Sym-Cha

    Sym-Cha Master Member

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    Hey Mac,

    Will Darth Ugly ever become eh so-called REVEALED version in the far, far away future?

    Since I recently bought the Portumac Reveal Neckbrace from dcarty as my very first 1:1
    Darth Vader piece ... I'd love to get starting on a Reveal Helmet in any style available [​IMG]


    -Chaim
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  15. scottjua

    scottjua Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hey CS I posted new pics in the sale thread.
     
  16. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Thanks!

    Here are scottjua's new pics. I suggested 6 foot distance shots as anything less than 6 feet causes perspective distortion and makes it difficult to assess the overall shape.


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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  17. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WOW what a transformation. Well done :)
     
  18. BillCipher

    BillCipher New Member

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    How did you make the dome so shiny?
     
  19. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Gloss paint and polishing, I think....
     
  20. Happy13178

    Happy13178 Active Member

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    But you're not sure? I find Mr. Clean glosses it right up.
     
  21. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    I'm not the painter. Just the contributing sculptor. I spray olive oil over my sculpts as a test. :D
     
  22. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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  23. tonytk4446

    tonytk4446 New Member

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    Mac
    Hope all is well. I am dropping a line to let you know how great the ESB helmet has been for me. Also to let you know that your helmet is in a few media things that happened last month. Lucasfilm made a Chinese New Year promo video to air in China. I was cast as Darth Vader and two other guys from the Golden Gate Garrison are Storm Troopers. It will never air in the USA but it's on their youtube channel and making the rounds here that way. It's a tongue-in-cheek video but it's still an official lucasfilm production.
    Here is the link:
    May the Horse Be With You: Darth Vader Celebrates the Chinese New Year - YouTube

    Also, a picture of me made it in the current issue of Star Wars insider magazine. It's a picture with the daughter of our garrisons commanding officer.
    star-wars-insider.jpg
    Just wanted to say thanks. There are some other parts of my costume that I am still making better but the helmet is totally awesome!
    Tony
    SL-4446
     
    chefhawk likes this.
  24. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Oh my goodness, thanks for sharing. First, gatekeeper posts a Lucasfilm photo of Darth Ugly ANH, and now Darth Ugly ESB is on TV eating... a potsticker?!

    You look great as Vader... and the stormtroopers look very cool. I'm glad Ugly is holding up when shown on video!

    That really made my day! :thumbsup
     
    craigjohn and tonytk4446 like this.
  25. bookface

    bookface Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Clear coat is all. No secret process!
     

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