Darth Vader Helmet Comparisons
JB/ANH Vs 20th Cent. ESB

2003/4 - There has recently been a number of discussions over heritage of the new ANH Helmets, and the real background to the ESB 20th Century helmet. There has long since been an opinion that following the success of the original movie, Lucasfilm produced a new Darth Vader helmet for ESB rather than use one of the original helmets.

Therefore  JimboBond, and I decided to get together on another sunny July afternoon to compare his new JB ANH and 20thC ESB helmets, choosing the latter as the 20th Century face has not been modified (as was the case with the Don Post Deluxe), and having therefore been cast directly from an original ESB helmet, it retains the quirks and aberrations of the original. This is most obvious for example when you look at the area under the (newly added) mounting ring, where the marks of a previously used face to dome fixing mechanism can clearly be seen (see page here). The 20th C fixing mechanism looks very much like the one used in ANH and may indicate that the ESB is in fact a direct descendent of the ANH.  

The ANH helmet used is the JB ANH, which at the moment many believe to be the most accurate ANH Helmet available. Note that the specific one used for these images differs cosmetically from the "standard" as it was painted and finished locally in the UK.

As a starting point we lined up (looking left to right), the 20th Century (ESB), JB (ANH) and CKing/DP Deluxe (ESB) to show the overall size in comparison with the others 

The 20thC and JB have a similar size face although the JB's dome is smaller. The DP Deluxe is by far the largest, especially the dome which is considerably bigger, especially when viewed from the side. 

From here on in, the 20thC on the left, with the JB ANH to the right

Though known for its clean face and sharp cheeks, the 20th C was certainly upstaged by the JB ANH which had edges as sharp as a razor! Looking closely at the facial characteristics, there were obvious similarities in the overall irregularities in the face (such as the asymmetrical mouth, the slant on the 3 marks between the eyes etc.)

Both left and right "cheeks" curve up at the ends on the JB ANH whereas on the 20th C only the right cheek (looking at it) curves up, the left drooping down. The bottom grill is obviously much larger on the 20th C but that may have been a simple case of increasing the size of the original triangle.

Above a full on shot of the JB ANH. In keeping with the look of the helmet in the first film, the JB ANH has a more matt and far less shiny paint finish

Fron-on shot of the more shiny 20thC. 

The JB ANH (above) was clearly sharper than the 20thC(below), see the dimple cheek details. The cheek tubes were also smaller and cleaner on the JB ANH. 

As can be seen the profiles of both helmets are very sililar

Above and below a couple of shots with the JB ANH in the foreground

Conclusion? Well we already knew the JB ANH is an excellent helmet, but as to the exact relationship between them its incredibly difficult to say. Sure there are a number of similarities between the two, and as pointed out to me the other day by Dark Lordes, its crazy that anyone would purposely sculpt the same mistakes or foibles on a new revision, merely to match it up 100% with the last. 

However despite this, the two faces still have significant discrepancies and the overall opinion you get at looking at them side by side (paint finish aside) is that they are two different helmets. Ultimately I think I go along with the theory that they are undoubtedly related, although whether this is closer than second cousins is difficult to say.