eFX Collectibles Legend Edition
Darth Vader Helmet

This was always going to be a special one - I remember when EFX contacted me several years ago having just come back from the Lucasfilm Archive, with Brian Ono excitedly saying that he thought they'd found Rick Bakers 1977 casting taken directly from the Original one-and-only screen-used Darth Vader helmet from A New Hope. Fast forward a few years to June 2012 and eFX's replicas are finally here....

I know whatever I write here you're not going to read - you cant take your eyes of it.  It looks amazing.

I suppose the starting point for this (or any) helmet is the provenance of the mould from which is derived. In this case as mentioned earlier a mould taken by special effects genius Rick Baker back in 1977, used (we think) to make the first promo/duplicate helmets after Star Wars has premiered. So Rick made a rubber mould of the screen-used helmet, and after castings were made - the mould itself was left languishing on a rack in the bowels of the Lucasfilm Archive.

That was until eFX got their mitts on it a couple of years ago - they made a cast off it - and that master helmet formed the basis of the helmet they have produced today. Produced in both "Legend" and "Limited" edition versions, the difference is the amount of cleanup that's taken place and the roughness of the detailing and paint finish. In specific terms the Limited Edition (seen lower down this page) has had more of the irregularities removed  (like small dents in the face plate) and an even and consistent spray-paint like finish. Whereas the Legend Edition seen here emulates the rough and ready look of the on-set original.

So if you look at the photo above you can see the brushstrokes in the gun-metal highlighting, the dent on the nose bridge, the uneven mouth grill vents and the painted "C-Scar" on the cheek. They're supposed to be there since that's what the original helmet looked like. Some collectors don't want to see things like this and prefer a more idealised version - whereas others (like yours truly) much prefer the "warts and all" look. Bravo for eFX for catering for both sets of fans in producing the Limited (read "Idealised") and Legend (read warts and all") Edition versions.

There are numerous pitfalls present when producing licensed collectibles (and we've been involved in this business for years and have seen them all), so think that eFX should be applauded for going a hell of a long way in producing what is an absolutely wonderful collectible. Its true that the real hard-core fans are always going to be very hard to please - and in the case of this helmet I'm sure some compromises have been made - but that's the nature of business. The dome itself seems remarkably pristine - although what we don't know is whether clean up on the dome mould took place before eFX got their hands on Baker's mould.

We have to say that photographing this helmet was a real job. Very often with replicas you have to find its "sweet spot" where everything lines up and it just looks right when compared to the on-screen original. In the case of this helmet we had a problem finding its "bitter spot" since on photo after photo it just looked fantastic. Kind of like photographing Kate Moss - perfect frame after frame.

Above you can see the more weathered right tusk (Vader's right) and the C-Scar on the right cheek. Note that its just a brush stroke on this - there's no denting itself.

Above - the view most appreciated by Vader's subordinates - he's leaving the room and I'm still breathing!

Finally below, we Photoshopped this one a bit but it really shows off the wonderful lines of Brian Muir's original sculpt. The curvature and positioning of those lenses are just perfect and it further cements that "look" that eFX's replica shares with the original we all know and love.

So In summary, eFX has produced by far and away THE most accurate Licensed Darth Vader helmet - and to be honest its going to be one hell of a challenge for any licensed company to better this - even if they take another 35 years. I am sure there are a couple off fan-made originals out there that are even more accurate - but as we have always said on this site, you simply cannot compare a single artisan making a handful of unofficial helmets - to a business making hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of official licensed helmets. So eFX should be commended for nailing this one - it looks fantastic.

Below more shots of the eFX Legend Vader - these are the eFX official shots of one if its prototypes taken back in 2011

Available in two different versions the Legend Edition (limited to just 250), is completely hand finished and weathered to match the worn appearance to the helmet we see on screen. In addition a pristine "Limited Edition" version (limited to 1000) is also being produced and some photos of this are featured lower down the page.

The purists out there will be more interested in the Legend edition and I class myself in this group. Ues you can see "damage" and irregular brush strokes in the painting of the highlights - but thats its beauty!

Below a nice shot of the face


E-FX Collectibles Limited Edition
Darth Vader Helmet

Limited to 1000 helmets, the Limited Edition version come from exactly the same background as the Legend and has just the same pedigree - however the finish to the helmet is more idealised - hence the painting is more uniform and its missing the marks and "C-Scar" and dents found on its "Legend" edition brother.

In actual fact there are lots of Star Wars fans out there who prefer a more idealised look - in which case this is the helmet for them.

Either way a superb looking helmet.