Vader ESB helmet build-up: FINISHED PICS page 2


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HI all, here i have an SPFX ESB V2 helmet and armor kit that I received some time ago. I know many people have their own stories regarding SPFX and/or kosmickustomz, but I am asking for people to keep them to themselves really.
I will give my own impressions of the helmet kit and the process of getting it to help other people make up their own impressions.
That said I have more pictures to come, but I am officially starting this thread as I have gotten stuck for the first time.
I am working on placing the mounting ring inside the dome, but I can not seem to get the position correct. I feel like it needs to tilt slightly counterclockwise when looking directly straight at it. I took a few crappy pics from about seven or so feet away. let me know what you think vader experts:




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Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress

I posted this a few years back. It may help.

The correct dome positioning for ESB Vader is one that I have followed for a looong time now.

The majority of fanmade ESB dome's do not sit or angle correctly. I have seen this time and time again. The set up IMO anyway is vital. Hell, even the actual screen used helmet suffers from different positioning in a variety of shots that I have studied both on paper and on screen.

This brief guide may help reduce time and effort for those who seek that accuracy that has made me gain a few extra grey hairs and a whole lot of stress. This research is being documented as breif but the in-depth version has taken many many months and hours. I hope this is beneficial to some?


All explained brief

As you look at the picture the left and right are obviously reversed regarding Vader. Not to confuse I will go with Vader, for example. When I say left dome, that's VADER's left, our right as we look at it.

*Although the dome position and angles do change throughout the movie according to how they put the dome on and Vader's (Prowse's) movement this guide is consistant and features the same exact set up in the majority of TESB.

1) Vader's bottom right of the dome is angled so it appears longer than the other side.

2) The dome is not symmetrical at all. Vader's right hand side is positioned to give far less flare when compared to the otherside. Notice the angles are straighter in appearance than the other.

3) Above Vader's right eye the dome arch is slightly different to the other side. The arch and positioning that meet above the right eye shows a definate smaller gap between that and the other side. This is consitant throughout the movie.

4) The beginning of the peak or strip for a better word is mainly consistant with the first 1/4 of Vader's eye arch if you line this up width ways. The gap between the last nose slot and the beginning of the centre strip is under 1/2 inch apart.

5) The centre strip is not dead central. I know this is in the mould of the helmet etc.. but the right of the beginning of the strip is not in line with the faceplate frown lines nor should it be. It should be fractionally off centre. Although the brow arches are not symmetrical this is what additionally helps to create the difference in brow and arch size from left to right.

6) Throughout Vader's right eye brow and arch combo is considerably bigger.

7) A bigger gap all around the arch is obvious throughout, If you do not catch the angle dead central this will be more pronounced anyway. The bit highlighted is actually showing the same arch section on this side looks like it is marginally positioned higher. It is quite noticeable.

8) Again as the dome flares to Vader's left more this creates a bigger gap.

9) Once more the dome flares far more to Vader's left. A bigger gap is not only visually noticable on measurements taken there is a difference naturally.

10) Beginning of bottom edge of dome is higher than the other side.

11) Very noticeable difference on how the dome sits and the position it meets when compared to the other side.

12) The greatest indifference IMO comes from the gap beginning with where the arch meets Vader's right eye brow etc..

The dome is not symmetrical at all. (Image courtesy of Thomas, but not the text)

You can see below.


Very Brief summary on ESB dome irregularity's

*As before, when I mention left, that is Vader's left, right as we see it*

The helmet always looks different off than on. The dome pulls into the faceplate and gives an inaccurate representation

1) Vader's right hand side brow arch is lower.

2) Again the arch nearer the centre srip where the eye nearly meets is closer than the other side.

3) The left front of the centre strip peak beginning is angled/trimmed fractionally upwards.

4) The centre strip is not central. It angles more to Vader's right fractionally.
*Note* This picture contains a strip that looks thinner than the actual screen used prop. I believe this may be lighting. If you compare the thickness to the ANH strip from a screen cap etc, ESB is fractionally wider. Same strip as ANH but they tried to straighten out the curve and made it wider in the process.

5) Vader's left arch brow is higher.

6) Again the arch is not symmetrical or in line to the other side.

Going back to the positioning, there is angle upon angle to consider as previously stated.
Velcro does play a part, if you look at the velcro piece used on the Stunt ESB (fencing) you can see the velcro position that favoures one side more than the other (you have to really look for this) and the dome mounting puck is not central, these along with the tabs and ring mount all help to give the dome that positioning.

Another view. Same consistancies as before.


Very Basic Differences between ANH and ESB dome

Wider and marginally softer centre strip.

Widows peak trimmed

Larger dome cap

Thinner edge flanges than ANH.

Flange side curvature is longer on ANH In one particular section
ESB has been sanded down in this area.

Gloss appearance in paint finish without the dulling spray.

Some Marks, flaws etc have been carried over to a degree but there are many tell tell signs to determine the differences.

The ESB dome is a significantly re-tooled ANH dome and carries similarities naturally, however it's almost a new sculpt on top of the existing.
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress

Glad you kept it brief Paul. :lol

LOL Paul, thanks for reposting that it helps quite a bit. I agree with you that the dome positioning and setup are vital to how the finished helmet looks when displayed/worn.
I am just wondering what about the distance that the bottom of the peak/strip should sit away from the brow? this obviously effects the angle the dome sits at from a side view, but it also drastically changes how the dome sits fromt he front, an hot far down/ over the brow it seems to look. it seems like I moe things one way and it is hanging to far over the brow like ANH and then in moving it back I end up with a ROTJ look.
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress

Any others with advice.
Don't let paul's expertise scare you people! lol
where can I go from the pictures I have up?
I think that the inside of my dome is a bit uneven, but then again the positioning on the dome is so off-kilter anyways I figure I am not doing to take the time the try and even it out when I will probably end up filling some spots anyways.
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress


I am just wondering what about the distance that the bottom of the peak/strip should sit away from the brow?

It depends whether you want the more consistant look of the slightly higher dome to brow distance combo (Both from the front and side) or the lower one.

Here is what I mean below. Personally I prefer the higher combo. This is a quick compile I put together so you see what I mean. The lower one is found in some SS scenes, carbon freeze and Hoth etc.

As for the dome ring, this one of the stunt is consistant for the most part with the higher position. It's all down to positioning. No one can say other than you because you're deciding on 3 factors. In some cases a 4th factor is present but most of the time that is a moot point.

1) Dome mount on Face

2) Inner Dome mech/Ring

3) Velcro

3) Layers/thickness of fibreglass within the dome especially at sides etc

it's not just the inner dome ring but it may also depend on the placement of the dome mount. velcro can also play a big part in the set up. The best thing to do is look at lots of comps, sideviews and various angles and determine where it should go. Make a ring or get a ring for the dome and hot glue it in the place you think is correct. Do not hot glue it heavily otherwise you would struggle to remove it and you can also combine with various other tapes to serve as a support for the hot glue so you don't overload on glue and make it too solid. This is the quickest idea IMO for a temp solution so you can quickly see what's happenening, remember to use a marker to determine your current placement. Then take some quick pictures but make sure once again you can leave the dome secure enough to take the pictures. Look at the pics first and take the adjustment from there. What you don't want to do is spend hours making these adjustments with a solid bond on the ring to later find out it is wrong. The hot glue can be substituded for anything with a quick strong bond but something removable.
Remember to make these tests with the velcro as you don't want it sitting either too close or too far away from the current position and if the velcro does pull too tight simply unstick the velcro bond so it's 50/50.

Also while a helmet comp may be good off the manniquin and comps taken on helmet stands etc there can often be a variance when it is on the lifesize. For best results do the comps on the lifesize if possible.

* Note* One important factor to bear in mind that fanmades, even the best of them will not give you an exact look. It wasn't until 2007 that I was finally able to stop tinkering with ESB domes and getting them to look right before the arrival of the TM and then I realised what was happening. While the SPFX dome you have is nice the curvature of the brows and peak etc are very different to an authentic ESB casting but that shouldn't deter you from improving it as it can be improved with the set up. Believe me I've spent more hours then I care for going through what you're about to take on.

ESB stunt dome. The numbers inside the dome would often correspond to the number inside the face for example # 5 mask would naturally pair with #5 dome. As they were all hand made wrong numbers wouldn't match up as well. This is supported my a number of people involved in the production and later on by people visiting the archives which was fist mentioned by Vadermania (Tom) and later supported with the people I personally spoke to.
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Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress

Thanks again Paul! I will have more time to address this in the next few days. If any one has any clear shots of their helmets from the top looking down on the brow, or from the side showing the proper distance between the brow of the face mask and the strip or widow's peak of the helmet, let me know or post them please it would be a big help! Thanks again Paul for the great info!!
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: HELP and Progress

Ok So here I have more work done on the Helmet and armor build-up.
Earlier I alluded to to a sort of review I will be doing of this SpFX kit so that other can make their own informed decisions on whether or not to buy.

I have done one Vader helmet kit before this and it was a really bad cast from Golden Armor that I got almost ten years ago, and was my first helmet kit, so I have experience with the problems that can come up in these sorts of helmet build as that kit was in BAD shape. . . . wish I had pics . . . anyways: on to the new one.

I tackled this kit because I already have and ESB SPFX lid and it is great, BUT I do not like the paint application on it and their are just a few small things I wanted to change. Most know that this helmet is derived from a 20th century ( I believe ), and this is the most accurate I could get at the time. I had been trying for more hard to find casts, but I figure doing what I am doing will hopefully earn me the rights of passage towards those in the future as I have been a pretty dedicated Vader fan now for many many years, lol. I bought a helmet AND armor kit off of ebay, and set out to work.

The kit arrived just a few weeks after I got it and I was very pleased with it at first. There was no mounting ring to go with the dome so I emailed him, and received one within like 3 days! Great!

First thing I noticed though is that the casts were very thing in spots, and I wanted this helmet to be very thick and sturdy so i knew that step one would involve glassing the pieces.

So, I re fiberglassed the armor, dome, and facemask which added several $$$ to the cost of the project and added plenty of time as well. I am relatively new to glassing, so a big thanks to Darth Stone for tips and pointers on that several months ago! :thumbsup

Then I began the surface prep of the helmet. While doing this I ran into several spots, often in hard to work areas, that had small airpockets that were creating distortions of the surface. I had to rip all of these pockets open and using various techniques for filling them, I got them all ( I hope) taken care of.

The drag about the pockets was that they added several weeks on to the finish time of this project, they were very time consuming to take care of. I have tried to take pictured to document this especially for this thread, but they done do the problem justice. You just cant see how extensive these holes were in spots. Here are some pics I took today of them in their filled, and waiting for primer states:





The above pics are there in an attempt to show areas that were very badly damaged, but you cant tell by the pics what it took to fix them. Oh well.

Here are pics of the pieces as they were today. I HAVE NOT done any more work on the mounting elements as I think the resin ring I have for the mounting became warped in the extreme heat we have been having in the SoCal desert, so i have to fix the ring now first.





Please let me know via PM or posting if anyone has in comments or suggestions for me. Up next is the mounting, and them I may cut holes for fans in the top of the facemask, but otherwise I need to buy some primer and get busy with that side of things. Let me know fellas. Thanks!
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: UPDATED IN POST #8

Ok so more work done on the mounting here:



Let me know what you think guys I am following your posts regarding this as closely as I can Paul, so any input is gladly welcomed.
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: UPDATED IN POST #8

So I went to the paint place yesterday and dropped some serious coin on paints and all of the supplies. I had a nice gunmetal mixed up that I am pretty pleased with. I just have to get my paint area all cleaned up, and lay some tarp down and hopefully I will get some substantial work done in the next week or two.
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: UPDATED IN POST #8

Hey there people sorry for the delay in any updates, been very busy and completed a few other projects since I last posted here.
Anyways got some serious prep work done, and got the primer down today. Painting will be tomorrow, and I should have it fully cleared etc., before the day is done. I have been trying to stick closely to Paul's mounting advice ( again cant begin to explain how help it has been, Thanks Paul!). Anyways here are some pics of the primed lid in its fixed position as of now.
It I dont like the position I can of course change it later so advice is always appreciated:





Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: UPDATED IN POST #8

Holy crap that looks nice. You have done an amazing job with it. Excellent!!!!!
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: Updated 1/7/12 HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!!

UPDATE: ok so several things have happened:

1) all pieces have been sprayed and cleared etc ( yes I chose to go with clear)

2) suffered severe allergic reaction to something in the base coat color layers and had to go to urgent care and get a shot in my a$$ for it lol. I thought it was funny.

3) Good results: Helmet and dome look pretty good except for a few minor flaws that I think I will be able to live with.

4) THE BAD: Armor and shoulder bells look great, EXCEPT a small amount of metallic flakes remained trapped in the gun after I cleaned it from the gunmetal so they are evident in the clear coat. The black areas look like they have been peppered with traces of glitter in direct light.

I plan to COMPLETELY STRIP these and start over . . . . . UGGGHHHHH. . . . .

OK this is where i need help:

I have a set of lenses from SPFX which I have taken extra time and care to be sure fit into my facemask, BUT they has several small scratches, so I went to sand the down with some 1500 and the hit them with some scratch remover polish and I noticed the sandpaper seemed to take off a layer of coloring on the lens?
The one i sanded is now more of a dark yellow-orange than a dark amber.

What can I do to fix this?

I really dont want to buy more as I am afraid they wont fit the helmet properly any help would be awesome!! Thanks guys!!
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Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: Updated 1/7/12 HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!!

Get some colored translucent lacquer from a hobby shop and spray the lens the correct color
Re: Vader ESB helmet build-up: Updated 1/7/12 HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!!

Ok cool thanks, any brand or color or anything?
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