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The "Real" Imperial Helmets & Armor
 

Imperial Death Star Gunner Helmet
(ANH & RotJ)

Above from the same Christies Auction a "Prop Imperial Forces helmet, the aerodynamic shaped helmet of black painted vacu-formed plastic, with simulated receiver and aerial to the left ear and clear plastic eyepiece strip -- made for the 1977 20th Century Fox / Lucasfilm production Star Wars; accompanied by a letter concerning the provenance.  Similar helmets can be seen in the sequence where Princess Leia undergoes interrogation by the Imperial Forces to induce her to reveal the location of the rebel base. They are worn by the Imperial officers who are ordered to destroy the planet Alderaan". It sold for $26,360

Note it says "similar", suggesting that it may have been the prototype, rather than screen used- which given it's missing the front Imperial Cog decal looks less likely. SDS's original invoices for these Imperial Forces helmets has them described as "Jawbone Helmets", a term coined by Ainsworth and Mollo

Jorid sent me this shot of one of the originals taken at one of the Might of Magic shows in the late 1990's. Below the same helmet pictured in the LFL Archives.

..and a hi-def screen grab from ANH - reused again in RotJ

Below an on-set photo of the DS Gunners...

...and finally a shot from the same scene from a HD source showing the the shiny leather suit
 

Imperial Fleet Trooper Helmet
(ANH, ESB & RotJ)

Despite appearing in numbers across the original trilogy, the Imperial Fleet Trooper helmet is one that did not had much coverage. This first shot is one featured in the Lucasfilm Archive. The helmets for ANH were made by Andrew Ainsworth at Shepperton Design Studio's - although its not clear who was responsible for the design work although is believed to be John Mollo's work.

and below that another Hi Def screen grab from RoCKo. Despite it appearing in number, its rarely in close up, and this was the best we could get. However you can see how reflective all the front section is....

...However they were given more prominence in RotJ as this early scene shows. Note that we don't know whether these are re-used AH helmets or something new produced for ESB or RotJ. Our belief is they were probably new helmets cast off existing ANH's since its unlikely so many would have survived ANH.

..and below as seen on the Battle of Endor.....

Below one of the prototype Imperial Fleet helmets from SDS back in 1976, these were referred to as the "Cheese Graters" by Andrew Ainsworth and John Mollo since the holes in the front and back are reminiscent of one. We think its a prototype since the plastic used on the cap area has a rough, textured finish - rather than the glossy sheen seen so far from screen-caps. In addition the ear detailing looks different to the ones we can identify on-screen.

Its not known whether this design made it to the screen or not, since quality screen or on-set photos of this helmet have not emerged yet. So whether it was used in production is not clear at this point. Below a blue-screen shot with Joe Johnston taken in California after principle photography ended in the UK in 1976

Below a recent shot of an Imperial Fleet Trooper Helmet. These helmets are also known as Death Star Guard helmets, after they were given that name by the original Kenner toys back in 1977. The DS Guard being one of the original 12-backs.

..and below another shot. Note that its possible that this helmet (and the one at the top of the section) were made for RotJ - since only a dozen were made for ANH and its therefore highly likely that they would have needed more by the time RotJ was made.

Jason for the Original Prop Blog sent us these excellent shot of the same helmet seen at a recent LFL exhibition

Its not the best helmet to photograph, especially when behind glass but Jason's done a great job and we are very thankful of him sharing them here.

The photo above appears to show a lighter coloured paint showing through - however this is actually just the light reflecting on the glass case. It still appears to be a black ABS helmet, not painted.

.and below a shot from Patrick H who took a photo of the same helmet when the "In Concert" show toured Tulsa.

Below, another shot of this helmet, this time by Zenwalker - and you can really see the detail.

 

Imperial Snowtrooper (ESB) 

Used exclusively for The Empire Strikes Back, the Snowtrooper was the Empire's answer to fighting in cold climates. Initial design was by Joe Johnston, although what finally appeared on-screen seem to have less actual armor and more ft material.

Here's a shot of the WIP prototype, which appears to be a clay sculpt. The round detailing under the nose can be seen in some pre-production drawings but looks to have been dropped.

When you look at the final version, its a much simpler design, with the majority of the troopers having white plastic sheeting over the nose and mouth area - shades of early Dr Who prop-making techniques!

Above, from San Francisco's Might of Magic Exhibition thanks to Rear Admiral and Volguus. 
Below a couple of ESB test shots of the same from Anson but this time featuring the Snowtrooper Commander, who was finished to a far better standard (almost a "Hero" if you like), with the addition of a vacuum-formed nose and mouth section. Much better!

Above, as seen on-set during production and below a close-up of one of the Stunt Helmet from the LFL Archives

Below, another great shot from TK7602 of what looks like the same helmet in one of the LFL exhibitions.

 


Imperial Royal Guard Helmet
(RotJ & RotS)

Above, again thanks to Franz Bollo for this great exhibition shot and below a great set photo of the IRG seen in Phantom Menace

Above, Emperor's Royal Guard from Lucas Archive's and on display at the SF MOM and below a close-up from the LFL Archives.

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