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Review of Original Screen-used

Scout Trooper/Biker Helmet from Return of the Jedi

We were recently given the chance to review an original Scout Trooper from Return of the Jedi thanks to Stephen Lane from The Props Store of London and on the back of that have put the following photo review together - as well a full VIDEO REVIEW of this fantastic original helmet HERE...

Released in 1983, Jedi was a fitting conclusion to the original trilogy as Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance finally overcame the dark forces of Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire. Joining the newly reworked Stormtroopers were a another Imperial tactical unit - the lighter armoured, but more mobile Scout Troopers , nicknamed “Biker Scouts” due to their use of the agile and effective Speeder Bikes.

From a costume design perspective, the creative direction of John Mollo on A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back was replaced with the partnership of Aggie Guerard Rodgers and Nilo Rodis-Jamero – with Nilo taking responsibility for the majority of the Imperial designs including the Scout Trooper.

If you look at the early designs for the Scout Trooper you can see that the initial inspiration came from the Death Star Gunner from A New Hope. However, Rodis-Jamero’s designs were later refined into something more similar to a 1970’s motocross helmet – which fitted in rather neatly given their role as Imperial “Bikers”.

For the movie’s production, we believe around 20-25 complete Scout Trooper Costume and Helmets were made - However what is surprising is just how few original helmets there are out there-to the extent that this is the ONLY original helmet we’ve come across outside of the Official Lucasfilm Archive in California.

Like most of the Imperial Helmets made for the original trilogy movies, the Scout Troopers were vac-formed and in this case from 5 separate sections of Haircell ABS plastic; specifically the left and right halves of the back and cap, the left and right halves of the visor, and the front facemask section.

After Vac-forming and trimming, the left and right sides of the back, cap and visor sections were then glued together - and the gap between them filled and sanded. The facemask was then attached and the entire helmet spray-painted white. Finally the grey acrylic lens was added along with the nose detailing and helmet decals. So all in all a considerably more complex task than your humble Stormtrooper!

So looking at this extremely-rare helmet nearly 30 years on from when it was made it’s clearly been well looked after and is in fabulous condition. It still has some of the bumps, scrapes and weathering present following its endeavours on the battlefields of Endor – including a cracked lens – but given we believe this damage occurred on the movie-set, it doesn’t detract at all from its appeal.

So apart from the main vac-formed sections, the snout detailing is actually made from kit-bashed parts from a Tamiya Yamaha motorcycle kit – along with a resin cast of a household faucet Aerator.

Looking at the side of the helmet, the ear vents are simply just a crescent shape cut out of the helmet side - with some black material glued to the inside wall of the helmet to provide the appearance of depth.

Now turning our attention to the rear of the helmet, the trapezoid decals are extremely thin and fragile (suggesting they could well water-slide transfers)  – to the extent that they’ve worn away in a few places.

They really are so delicate that they shouldn’t be touched at all for fear of causing further damage. However the vertical black stripes look screen-printed - much like the tube stripes on a Stormtrooper helmet - so are much more robust.

The helmets new owner, Stephen Lane from The Prop Store of London explained that it was something he'd been chasing for some time since he became aware of it as part of the World renowned "Steve Sansweet collection".

Following an invitation to visit, Stephen and Brandon Alinger (from The Prop Store’s Los Angeles office) visited Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan Collection in California and immediately made it his top acquisition target.

As a substantial amount of costumes were required for RotJ, production was split between the UK and US. The British crew fabricated the new Stormtrooper helmets and armor (from an ANH set) , while new costumes like the Biker Scout and B wing were all created by ILM in California. The US costumes were then all sent over the the UK for principal Photography – and then back to the US for the Location work.

One of the unusual things about the Scout Trooper helmet is the fact that it has a functioning hinge mechanism built into faceplate, which allows the front to tilt up to  quite a considerable angle. Though this was not used in the movies (since presumably Lucas didn't want the actors faces to be seen) - it is nonetheless a really nice touch and quite a unique feature of this imperial helmet. Inside the helmet is secured to the actors head via a 3M Speedglas headband (a commonplace industrial hard-hat fitting) with external grey bolts.

So in summary we have another wonderful original screen-used helmet - and this one all the more special given so few (if any) exist apart from this outside of the Lucasfilm archive in California (where we bet there are boxes of them!).

So thanks to Stephen for allowing us this great access and also to Neil and guys at BikerScout.net for their help with the research. We’ll have more reviews coming soon so just keep checking back at StarWarsHelmets.com, - the archive of helmets and costumes from the Star Wars Galaxy……..

 

More Original Screen-Used Scout Trooper Helmets here

 

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