“I sense something... a presence I haven't felt since...”
Darth Vader - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Announcement in 2005 for this Studio Scale piece to be added to the Master Replicas Star Wars line-up had me scrambling to find the funds to purchase one. Initially, I could have nothing other than the Dual Signature Edition because if I was going to get one, I wanted to get the Top of the Line!
Alas, the Galactic credits could not be aquired to purchase this piece. The Pre-Order came and went the the Dual Signature Version had long sold out. Then the Helmets finally started shipping in 2006 and even the Vader helmet seemed to not be impervious to the Darkside of the Force. Many of the shipped helmets had Quality Control issues with the paint. Thus begun the Helm Wars...customers returning thier helmets and then waiting long periods of time to see new replacements. During this time I was satisfied that I did not make an initial purchase of the helmet and the idea of having one quickly faded.
Jump through Hyperspace to 2007 as Master Replicas has their “September Forum Fun Month” celebration. Our ever-so-beloved Customer Service Specialist, Amy announces a surprise code half-way through the month. The code was for $400 off the Darth Vader Studio Scale Helmet. A deal not to be reckoned with! With very little thought I put in my order for the Helmet that I thought I would never acquire.
After a scare with the Helmet being oversold and some orders not being filled, I got my confirmation and the Helmet was on its way to me. The day I received my Darth Vader Helmet Studio Scale shall be a day long remembered.
The shipping box is an impressive 30 x 22 x15 inch beast. Once you begin to open the box you find the standard for Studio Scales with the Black cover over styrofoam casing that conceals the Certificate of Authenticity and the Helmet.
Removing the cover you find the COA and the Helmet stand, each wrapped carefully in protective plastic and placed in the recesses of the foam casing.
Once the Top half of the casing is removed you are welcomed to see three fleece bags that each contain a piece of the legendary helmet of the Dark Lord of the Sith. I’m pleased that the pieces come in these bags to keep the paint on these pieces safe during transport.
Removing each piece carefully I first placed the facemask section of the helmet on the stand and attached the neck piece to the back. I carefully inspected the paint and finish quality on the face to make sure there were no major defects that would have me return this one for a replacement. Thank the Maker that there were absolutely no flaws and everything about it was perfect!
I removed the Dome from its fleece bag and noticed how MR duplicated the mounting method for the Dome to the face mask. Using a circle with tab shape for proper alignment every time you atttach the dome as well as a powerful built in magnet to hold it in place.
I next noticed the level of detail used in recreating the interior padding and strapping system. The straps use a Velcro and buckle system to allow full ease of placing it on the head and allowing for maximum adjustability to fit.
The lenses are one of the more interesting features of the helmet. From the exterior you can slightly see what looks like a textured screen behind the glossy lens. From the interior of the helmet it is more easily noticed that it is in fact a wire mesh used to create a fantastic effect and yet not affect the wearers vision in any way.
The Gloss Black paint on the helmet is absolutely stunning. I do not believe there is an equal to the magnificence of the Darth Vader Studio Scale helmet by any other helmet produced in any line of any type. The paint applied in even coats for a deep dark finish. Then polished to a lustrous shine that is befitting of the most iconic Dark Lord of the Sith.
The Copyright information is stamped near the crown of the face mask on the back.
The machined metal “tusks” added to complete the menacing scowl of the Dark Lord.
The base of the stand comes Tampo printed with the Revenge of the Sith logo, which definitely adds to the presentation of the piece. Also recieved with the helmet is the numbered plaque which only states the production number of your specific helmet. Another plaque with the Full Edition size comes at a later date.
The certificate of authenticity is your standard issue Studio Scale type. Portfolio sized with great documentation about the process of bringing this replica to our homes.
Certificate of Authenticity
DARTH VADER HELMET
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Anakin Skywalker; Jedi Knight and the “Chosen One”, foretold to bring balance to the Force. Seduced by the Dark Side, Anakin departed from the path of his Jedi brethren and began his downfall into the stranglehold of evil.
In his climatic battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, Anakin is horribly scarred and his body is damaged almost beyond repair. Resurrected by a medical team under the direction of Darth Sidious, Anakin’s battered body is reconstructed using cybernetic components. Unfortunately, the damage is too severe to restore him fully and the biomechanical amalgamation that was once Anakin Skywalker must be encased in a life-supporting, armored housing. This armor becomes the ultimate visage of evil, Darth Vader.
Darth Vader has become one of the most recognizable characters in cinematic history. Undeniably, the most striking aspect of Darth Vader is his helmet. Therefore, Master Replicas was honored when we were given the opportunity to produce a replica of Darth Vader’s helmet from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Our recreation of this iconic prop started, as always, with the task of obtaining reference materials. Normally, MR utilizes an extremely accurate “structured light” scanning process to digitally capture the details of a specific prop or vehicle. Unfortunately, very-high-gloss (or chrome) objects do not allow for the scanning process, as the light needs a relatively non-reflective surface to completely capture all of the details. When this dilemma was explained to Lucasfilm, they graciously agreed to allow us to produce our master patterns from the actual molds used to create the original filming helmet! This ensured that this helmet is an exact replica of the helmet seen on-screen in every contour and detail.
A trip to the Lucasfilm archive was also arranged to examine the original filming prop. Hundreds of photographs and measurements were taken to allow MR to replicate the myriad of details that would not be represented by the rubber molds. i.e.; the interior strapping, connectors, leatherwork, metal grid work, lenses, etc.
All of these details were combined with the fiberglass master patterns and then sent to our factory for replication. From this information the factory created several engineering samples. After a thorough review, some minor cleanup work was done and an FEP (Final Engineering Pilot) piece submitted to Lucasfilm for final approval. The final production helmets were produced to match this approved FEP piece.
It is interesting to note that this “new” Vader helmet is substantially symmetrical. The original trilogy Vader helmets varied from left to right since they were hand-sculpted. The Episode III helmet was also scaled down slightly to better-fit Hayden Christensen’s proportions (as opposed to the original trilogy actor’s massive bodybuilder frame.) The interior strapping system and support blocks in our replica exactly replicates the dimensions of the original prop. While there is some ability to adjust the straps, it will only be a “perfect fit” if you are close to Hayden’s proportions.
Each helmet replica is recreated in fiberglass for durability. Several coats of primer and several coats of high-gloss black enamel are applied and polished to replicate the ominous ebony sheen of the original. A specially made display stand and numbered metal plaque finsh off this incredible replica.
Like the original filming helmet, the MR Darth Vader helmet replica includes:
- Reinforced fiberglass construction
- Machined metal details
- Fully integrated strapping system with plastic snap connectors
- Leather lined interior with suede-covered foam supports
- Fine mesh screen behind lenses and mouthpiece
- Smoke-colored lenses
- Multi-piece construction
The Darth Vader Episode III helmet represents the ultimate piece in our line of collectible helmets and costumes. Over a year of research and development was required to bring this piece to market. We hope that you enjoy this replica and it will be the centerpiece of your collection!
As it is in mine...