WIP ANH Darth Vader - Update with Photos

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masterstumpy

Active Member
Hello everyone,
I thought it was about time that I shared one of my projects with you all :)
I've been working on my ANH Darth Vader for a good few months now, and I'm currently still collecting my parts.

I've just hit the majority of my armor with its first coat of primer. The pictures show it in its current form; the primer is yet to be sanded and there are ALOT of little things that I want to smooth out and refine, so its still a little rough.

My goal is to stay fairly accurate, but I don't want to get too crazy and get overly picky because at the end of the day there will always be inaccuracies. I'm still a teenager, so I didn't experience the star wars films at the cinemas, but as a young child I developed an image of Vader that has stayed with me since the age of about 4. My goal to try to achieve that image of Vader that I developed as a young child, even if it isn't necessarily totally accurate.

My Vader will be cleaner then the film version; I'm yet to decide whether I'll go for a satin black or gloss black (I want your opinions :D), but I will be painting the gunmetal on with a fine bristled brush.

Currently, I've been focusing on the dome placement, which is a bit of a pain.
My helmet is made by a banned member (you all know who he is, but I don't want this thread to go off track about him and his customer service) that I bought from someone who had purchased it years ago. I believe it to be an ANH V2 helmet (correct me if I'm wrong), which has the inaccurate ESB/ROTJ dome mount. I've read many stories about this mounting system on an ANH vader helmet and how hard it is to get the dome to sit right, which is why I only want to get it the best that I can. I'm not looking for a perfect faceplate-to-dome position, but I want to find a position that looks really nice, even if its not accurate. I think it looks pretty good in the photos, but I still think the dome needs to be lowered just a little bit more. I'd love to hear your input :D (My armor is made by GH)

I've still got to buy the soft goods and boots, I've still got to make a suit to bulk up my body when I wear the suit, and I also need to make a hand attachment for my prosthetic arm. I was born without my left lower arm, but hopefully when the suit is complete you won't be able to tell :) I also plan on making a "hand missing" arm attachment like that from ROTJ, just for s**ts and giggles :lol

I want to hear what you all think!!! Constructive criticism is welcome!!!
If you want to see more pictures just ask. Hopefully I'll be able to get some outside in natural light (I don't like using the camera flash, it lights up the armor too much). I apologize for the bad lighting.

May the force be with you,
Cameron
 
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masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Lookin' good :thumbsup , keep us posted with progress pics.
Thanks :D

The more I look at the photos and the helmet itself, I can see that the dome definitely needs to be lowered. Hopefully I'll set about doing that tomorrow :)

Its challenging when you work on a Vader; often you can tell that something is a little off, but its hard to say exactly what. I'm learning though, and I doubt this will be the only vader helmet that I own :p
 

R2Dan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

ANH Vader is the way to go - looking forward to your progress :)
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Looking good. Love that armor. I wouldn't lower the dome, or if you did, only do it by very little. Angle seems to be good.

Definitely go with gloss.
 

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Ghost Host

Sr Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

I enjoyed reading your post and think you are off to a great start. I love the hand-missing attachment idea. BTW, I think the placement of the helmet to the mask looks pretty good, and remember that in ANH it was often placed a little differently from shot to shot anyway (sometimes extreme), due to the attachment system.
 

masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

R2Dan, Too Much Garlic and Ghost Host, thank you very much for your comments :D I'm happy that I'm on the right track , specially coming from the people who know the most about Vader. I hope that one day I'll have as much knowledge of Vader as you have :)

I think I might take your advice and leave the dome at the height that it is atm. I'm pretty happy with the overall look, and how the helmet sits nicely above the armor. Hopefully I'll have the shoulder bells temporarily attached in the next few days just to make sure I have the around the right way and at the right angle.

Too Much Garlic, I think I'm going to give the gloss a try. I'm going to test my painting skills on something else just to make sure I can get the finish that I want, before moving onto my pride and joy. And I love my armor too; I'm glad that I waited a little so I could afford it :)
 

sskunky

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

I have to agree the dome looks great.... Move it and it could all go wrong :lol
Definitely go gloss on it. That hand hand brushed gun metal. It's easier than it sounds. Just make sure you mask everything off correctly and you cannot go wrong. I use a 1" brush, that works for me.

I love a good vader project! :thumbsup
 

masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Thanks sskunky :D I'm still working on my ROTJ stormtrooper armor from you guys!!! I've got sooo much work to do :p

More pics!!! Got some daylight pics this morning.
On one of the pictures I've highlighted some things I've been thinking about.

Figure 1:
I've been working on a system with magnets so that the dome will snap to the same place every time its placed on the faceplate. I'll include some pictures of it later on when its closer to completion. What I've been playing with is the distance from the pointed peak of the dome to the faceplate. It looks pretty good, but should it be a little closer? The ring dome mount has some slight play in it so I'm able to do slight adjustments.

Figure 2:
This is something I don't know if I can or should attempt to fix. With a perfect dome-to-faceplate placement, you shouldn't be able to see the right-angled end of the neck piece. The other side fits perfectly, but in this image, the bottom edge of the dome is just a tad too high. Let me know whether you think I should leave it, or if I should fix it, what plan of action should I take? I can probably live with it the way it is, but let me know what you think.

I'm at the point in my project where my goal is to secure the position of every piece, so that everything will sit right when its done. I don't want to have to worry about that when its ready to be painted, or even after that.

My mannequin looks pretty scabby atm; they never do make readily available Prowse sized mannequins. I don't know how many times I've added foam and ripped it off over the last few months :p

Thanks for reading, and may the force be with you all!!!!
 

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Dioxide

Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

That's a great start - looking forward to the whole WIP :thumbsup

And if i compare the statement at your first post
..... but I don't want to get too crazy and get overly picky because
with statements in the following ones showing that your already infected with the nitpicking virus :lol
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

The dome still sits okay to me. As GH mentioned, it really was all over the place in the movie, so there's pretty much no real wrong way to place it.

I found that an inverted Don Post Classic Action T-shaped dome mount within the dome instead of on the face mask created the perfect placement every time, by having a lip that extends down the rear edge of the face mask and rests on the crown and the brow of the face mask. Line it with felt or some other fabric, so it won't damage the paint job on the face mask.

Not the best pictures and I never really got to clean up the crappy work, but it always sat in that exact position every time with this type of mount:
 

masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Thanks for all of your comments :D

That's a great start - looking forward to the whole WIP

And if i compare the statement at your first post
Quote:
..... but I don't want to get too crazy and get overly picky because
with statements in the following ones showing that your already infected with the nitpicking virus
Dioxide, you got me, I think most prop builders have the virus, and it spreads so quickly :lol

The dome still sits okay to me. As GH mentioned, it really was all over the place in the movie, so there's pretty much no real wrong way to place it.

I found that an inverted Don Post Classic Action T-shaped dome mount within the dome instead of on the face mask created the perfect placement every time, by having a lip that extends down the rear edge of the face mask and rests on the crown and the brow of the face mask. Line it with felt or some other fabric, so it won't damage the paint job on the face mask.
Too Much Garlic, I think I have read your thread before, or a comment you left on the thread about your mounting mechanism. I always thought it was an awesome idea. It sits nice and you don't have to modify your faceplate at all.
 

TazVader

Sr Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Awesome looking work you are doing there mate. All the best with your efforts and I look forward to seeing the results:)

From one Vader to another;)

Best
TAZ
 

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masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Quick update:
I've just about finished the mounting system and I'm pretty happy with it :D

I'll be putting up some pictures either today or tomorrow, maybe even a video. It's hard to explain and easier to just show you all.

It works on a concept already used before; three mounts permantly attached to the inside of the dome sit against the faceplate and hold it steady with magnets. Together with the ring mount it holds the helmet together nicely.

Next update soon,
Cameron
 

masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader

Update with photos and video:
I just wanted to show everyone my dome mounting mechanism. Its still a little rough, but once I'm happy with how everything fits together I'll go back and neaten everything up. I'm pretty happy with how the mount works and the way in which the dome sits on the faceplate :D

I've also made a video featuring the mounting system. Its a quick and simple video. Apologies for the video orientation.

ANH Darth Vader Project - Update 1 - YouTube

My progress has been a little slow over the past few days. Work has been wearing me out, and because I work night shift I end up sleeping in the middle of the day, which is the best time to work on Vader. I don't have my own workshop either because I'm still living at home, but hopefully in the next month or two I'll be out on my own in a house where I can have my own workshop :D

My next goals are to secure a helmet liner to the inside of the faceplate so that it sits nicely on the wearers head, secure the shoulder bells to the chest armor and to start my padded suit. Once I have my padded suit finished then I can take the appropriate measurements and order my soft goods.

Thanks for reading,
Cameron
 
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masterstumpy

Active Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader - Video and Photo Update Post #18

Ok everyone, a quick update:

For the last few days I've been working on a mechanism inside the faceplate to attach the helmet to the wearers head. Originally I had planned to use a helmet liner, but I couldn't get it to sit right, and because the neck is so slim on my helmet I also found it quite hard to get my head into the helmet liner. I know others have had huge success with the helmet liner, but for my helmet, I just couldn't get it to work to my satisfaction. So after a lot of thought, I decided to go with an earlier idea that I had.

It is pretty much a tight fitting helmet that is attached to the inside of the faceplate. So far, I'm pretty happy with its progress, though I'm still working on some stability issues, though I don't think they will be hard to solve. Hopefully I'll have some pictures up for you all tomorrow. I'm still waiting for some glue to dry, and once I'm completely satisfied with its performance I'll upload some pics. Should be tomorrow, if not the day after :D

I have also found a vest that I'll be purchasing shortly to help pad out my torso. Hopefully, once I have the helmet mounting system sorted, I'll be able to move onto getting the armor the sit properly on me.

Thanks for reading,
Cameron

A side note: I noticed today that there was something happening with the Prop Den. Every time I tried to visit the site I got an error message. Anyone know whats happening?
 

runnriottt

Well-Known Member
Re: WIP ANH Darth Vader - Video and Photo Update Post #18

As far as getting it on your head... This is what I do.

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o199/runnriottt/Vader%20Comps/IMG_1222.jpg

Buy a kids bike helmet. Then start hacking away at it like so...

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o199/runnriottt/Vader%20Comps/IMG_1224.jpg

I just kept fitting it in taking a little off at a time with a grinder. Horrible mess, but hey... Don't use the grinder attachment ever again for metal though... Kaboom. Not good.

Here it is glued in the face...

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o199/runnriottt/Vader%20Comps/IMG_1225.jpg

and flush to the mask.

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o199/runnriottt/Vader%20Comps/IMG_1226.jpg

Now, placing the dome over the mask and aligning it to the dome ring will bring a snug fit and once on, I can remove the whole helmet in one shot. I know the helmet you have is a heavy one, so support will be key. Pad to please.

The inside of the bike helmet may have to be ground out as well to fit your head.

The strap system in my opinion is not a good mount for a costume Vader. Accurate maybe, but very likely to cause you a few "spills" with your lid. Not good on expensive parts.


I also pad the armor form the main part. Some pad the shoulders, and that is fine for a raise in the neck line, but the front is a better look IMO. It will leave a gap for your chest box to slide up into minimizing damage on bend overs. Kinda like this...

http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o199/runnriottt/IMG_1766.jpg
 
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