Original Imperial TIE Pilot Helmets
 from A New Hope and Return of the Jedi

This section is split into three parts.....
bulletWe have an in-depth photo Review of an original ANH TIE Pilot Helmet HERE
bullet We've a VIDEO Review of a recently found TIE, along with a TIE "History" available here
bulletOr just continue and read on for the Background Info below....


Personally-speaking the TIE Fighter Pilot was always one of my favourites as a kid. I remember when the original Kenner 12-backs came out there was no TIE Pilot so I was forced to turn to a black can of spray-paint on a trusty Stormtrooper. However, despite the two character sharing the same face-plate, there's obviously a huge difference between them.  

Above a shot from May 1976 of Andre Ainsworth at Shepperton Design Studio's in front of the 14 helmets made for production. Note that one of the TIE's if fully completed with decals, tubes and chest-box - with Andrew wearing the armor and a groovy 1970's beard.

..and above a better shot of that completed TIE helmet, armor and chest-box. Of the 14 made for the movie it seems that the studio were only invoiced for 12 leaving 2 over for Ainsworth and John Mollo.

Above and below are shots of one of the original "Hero" Tie Pilots (ie detailed with highlights) , used in ANH and ROTJ. 

Below some shots sent to me by Anson of what purports to be one of the screen-used Tie Pilots. As a comparison the "screen accurate" Don Post Classic Action and Deluxe helmets are (in inches)11W x 15L x13H which make this look a little small.

Above, a photo from a past Christies Auction for a "Prop Imperial Fighter Pilot's Helmet, of black vacu-formed plastic, with ridged top and sides, simulated vents and clear plastic eyepieces, decorated with two circular black and silver stickers -- made for the 1977 20th
Century Fox/Lucasfilm production Star Wars; accompanied by a letter concerning the provenance

It then goes on to say "Identical helmets can be seen worn by the Imperial Fighter pilots in the battle sequence with the X-Wing Star Fighters. This helmet was presented as a gift from John Mollo to Andrew Ainsworth after being used during filming".

Above a behind the scenes image from Christie's if the Tie prop. Below a shot I had not seen before (thanks Stormtrooper) showing the rear view of this TIE helmet. This one has a vac-formed detail as oppose to the pill box found on one of the other helmets.

Below a shot of a completed TIE Pilot from the Might Of Magic Exhibition (unknown source) which Tim Steele's dug out and sent to me.

Below, a cool Hi Def screengrab of a TIE helmet from ANH.

..and below some more Hi Defs from RoCKo

on the next one you can see the actors eyes through the right hand lens. Peek a boo!

If we fast-forward over 30 years this same helmet is photographed below as we were able to get our hands on this very same helmet recently, thanks to Stephen Lane at the Propstore. As you can see its still in fantastic condition.

The helmets in wonderful condition and the highlighted paintwork is a graphite colour in appearance rather than "silver/grey" which we previously thought - all hand painted on. On the shot above you can even make out the detail in the Aurebesh pilot-ID letter/numbering on the forehead.

Above a straight on comparison with a screen grab of the actual helmet in action and the match is clear. The distressed weathering on the cogs was interesting - from the looks of it the costuming guys seemed to have gone to work on it with something like wire wool pads, with a bit of the graphite paint smudged in.

The helmet was almost exactly the same as the other Original TIE we reviewed some years back (the Video of which is here - and Photo's are here). Though the great thing about this helmet is that it can be specifically placed in the movie due to its "Hero" highlights.

The graphite-coloured highlights were added to differentiate the different pilots from each other in the Movie and to also add lighting highlights in the dim cock-pit setting.

As with the other TIE's it has smoked Grey lenses. In addition the two plastic greeblies between the mohawk were also present. Again thanks to Stephen for the chance to review this helmet.

When we said that the TIE's weren't seen in ESB that's not entirely true, since one TIE was seen in Empire - although its very hard to notice......

Not sure what the background to this is but its certainly one of the ANH TIE's. Maybe it was an unused prototype Bounty Hunter from the line-up, or perhaps just a case of them butchering an old set for some ESB set dressing.....

If you're after more TIE info then don't forget to check out.....

bulletWe have an in-depth photo Review of an original ANH TIE Pilot Helmet HERE
bullet Click Here for a VIDEO of the history of this character and Original TIE Review