Altmann's Darth Vader Helmet

Altmann's used to hold the license for the Southern Hemisphere, and produced a range of helmets which vary considerably in their likeness to the movie originals. Build quality on these helmets is for example considerably better than the standard Don Posts. Although one common fault that seems to exist on a number of their helmets is they are often considerably smaller than their screen counterparts.

Darth Vader - Version 1

Though a quality helmet, Altmann's Vader just doesn't quite look right. I've recently been sent these excellent pics from Mick in Australia (it was you Mick wasn't it?).

However, whatever way you look at it, the proportions are not quite correct, most noticeable in the dimensions of the face, and the way the dome extends at the back.

Above is a couple of good images sent to me by Mike Barker, which show why this is such an odd helmet, as its appeal varies massively according to how it is photographed. Note how it looks in the photo's above when compared to the more flat images below.

When looking at Altmann's Vader above, the dimensions clearly demonstrate that it was crafted from an original sculpt, as opposed to being molded directly from an original screen-used version.

Above and below right are a three photo's from Darth Phaeton in Denmark of his Altmann's ANH Vader, and then a photo comparing it against the 20th Century ESB copy (below left). If we ignore the dome and concentrate on the face only, my question is this; Given that Altmann's are a fully licensed and Lucasfilm approved manufacturer of "collector's" helmets, I am just completely puzzled as to why Altmann's sculptured the face, rather than mould it from a screen original - at Lucasfilms request?

(above)comparison-20thC (ESB) copy Vs The Altmann's V1 Vader

Altmann's therefore has produced a variation on the Vader theme, an impression of the design, yet one that varies considerably from the screen original. I think the thing that confuses collectors is that we can understand it when Rubie's produce a helmet which looks significantly different from the original (both in size and shape) but then Rubie's helmets retail for under $60. Altmann's Helmets however have a far higher build quality (and price to match) and yet still suffer by design.

Update - Sept 05. To try and set the record straight Ive had a couple of Altmann's Vader owners in Australia contact me with some really great photos of their Altmann's helmets....
First is Wayne who also felt the helmet was lacking and went about making some changes to it. He has done a remarkable job.....

He's completely reworked the face, repainted and replaced the eyes, grills and tusks and has produced a helmet which looks very convincing. The Chest armour and shoulder bells are his own work too.

Together with the shoulders Wayne's made it a really impressive display piece. Well done.

Below, two photos of Rob's Altmann's Vader Helmet, which he has used at a number of events in Australia. Although this helmet has not been modified, it just goes to show the improvement when its seen as part of a complete Vader costume.

.and finally on the Vader a new one from Rob

 Altmann's "Version 2" Darth Vader Helmet

IWe were sent these these shots in September 2006 of what we think is a new and more accurate Darth Vader helmet from Altmann's. I'm not sure if this is a mass-produced item or not (I don't think so). Thanks to Bounos in Australia for the shots

Well it looks really great and certainly a squillion times more accurate than the old one. Again not sure whether the neck brace is standard or not either.

The dome looks quite thin suggesting its plastic rather than fiberglass but can't confirm - I literally only have these photos. Either way an interesting development from Altmann's who used to have a Southern Hemisphere License to produce Star Wars Helmets