Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet (Don Post Prototype)

CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
A friend recently acquired a fiberglass Fett helmet off eBay and I had a chance to take a look at it. The eBay auction had read, "Boba Fett prop replica, made about 1995, was provided to me by Lucasfilm Licensing when I was sculpting SW toy prototypes. I'm not sure if it was from Don Post Studio, or not, but it doesn't have any maker's mark. The parts on the sides of the helmet are cast aluminum, the reticle is resin and missing the front piece. There is a black lexan lens, still with the protective sheet."

The seller corresponded that he was an artist working for Applause and received this helmet from Lucasfilm Licensing as an art reference helmet for a Fett toy he was sculpting and in that correspondence related that he received this helmet roughly mid 90's - possibly even early 90s but it's been too long to recall exactly.

I had limited time to snap the following shots, so if you need additional pics I'll have to coordinate that, so bear with me. Of the following, if they aren't closeups, are photographed at 6-foot distance to minimize perspective distortion.

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The rounded eye corners and the rounded cheek hollow upper corners remind me of the SgtFang "Mystery Helmet" when it first came out. The mandibles have two scalloped out semicircles and this helps the asymmetrical T-visor to line up properly. The rounded corners lead me to wonder if this was from a similar lineage to the SgtFang, but the SgtFang seems to have a more rounded skullcap like the MR, whereas this has a slightly more squarish/trapezoid feel like the Don Post Deluxe.

What struck me was the tooling scars all over the helmet, and they seem to correlate with the Don Post helmets of the 90s era, but the mass produced helmets deem duller in detail. Here on this Lucasfilm helmet, they are crisp. The fiberglass is tan/brown but there is gray primer. In some areas the primer hasn't quite fully covered all the tooled scar holes. At this rate, I can't tell if the tooled details are inherited from its mold or if done afresh, but the level of detail is quite nice. I wonder if the Don Post Deluxe fiberglass Fett helmets came this crisp, but don't have reference images to help assess that.

The brow appears deeper than the SgtFang's. That gives me a bit of hope for this helmet.

Comparing it to the MR, the left (as you look at it) ear platform has been sanded. The skullcap does seem a bit narrow in width. What's interesting is that the side ear platforms seem shorter than the MR, so I wonder if at some point Lucasfilm had made a plug and had it modified in size to create a new template for Lucasfilm Licensing, and if one of those helmets - possibly even this very one - was used as the Don Post Master. Perhaps it was made a touch smaller to impose tells that would distinguish this sufficiently from a production piece. There is a #3 written in pencil on the wearer's right ear platform. But whether that means helmet #3 or matching ear piece #3 is unknown. The ear pieces are metal and are somewhat beaten up in appearance as opposed to a pristine machine finish. If they created variants in size and shape, the ear set that best matched might have been a "#3".

If indeed that this is smaller than a production helmet, I imagine it would be a fun project for me to build a casting of this out into a larger helmet.

I would love to hear your thoughts, especially Art, as I understand he has a soft spot for the Don Post Deluxe Fett (funny, but since I come from more the Vader side of the house, each time I see the words "Don Post Deluxe" I think of a certain Dark Lord helmet...).
 
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fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet

I actually remember seeing that auction, Mac.

My first thoughts at the time were it likely being a Don Post production casting that was never sent to finishing (assembled and painted). The visor lens still having the protective film is what led me to that summation.

I've seen castings that have been disassembled long after production, and this casting doesn't have the assembly traits. Such as, the way the visors were permanently mounted. They were puttied in with bondo body filler in those circular tab marks on the mandibles as well as in the rounded corners of the visor 'squint', sanded flush and painted. Having a visor completely intact with protective film, and no trace of having ever been filled (especially in the rounded sides of the squint) are a pretty sure fire indicator that it was most likely an un-produced production intended helmet kit. Licensees have a tendency to send pieces like that to other artists working in tandem on similar projects for reference. I was afforded something very similar during my time with Sideshow.

Also notable, the one way you may be able to tell for absolute certainty, would be the lack of copyright stamp. If memory serves these stamps were only on the outside surface of the Don Post vinyl helmets. it was on the rear right side (looking straight at the back of the helmet). Which would be the rangefinder side rear lower quarter. But I could be remembering that wrong. It's been a LONG time lol

Nevertheless, it appears nothing short of legitimate piece. A pristine piece of the lineage line for sure. Great find !

Chris
 

CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
Chris,

Do you recall the color of the fiberglass for the mass production run? There are no logos or copyrights on the inside nor outside. I'll try to get some additional shots of the interior.

And the Don Post fiberglass helmet run - were the ears made of metal?

- - - Updated - - -

Chris,

Is this the side where the logo would have appeared? No logo present.

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fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet

If memory serves, the trademark was a little brass plaque that was affixed inside amongst the interior padding. I THINK.

But all Don Post Deluxe helmets had metal ear caps. They were some sort of pot metal (foundry cast). Kind of rough but looked just like what appears to be pictured there.

The fiberglass was sort of a cream color gel coat mix. And they were cast very thick. I've seen a few that were up to about 3/8 inches thick.
 

CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
Was the scars' details sharp on the fiberglass run? Might be hard to say due to it being under a certain degree of paint...?
 
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fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Was the scars' details sharp on the fiberglass run? Might be hard to say due to it being under a certain degree of paint...?
Actually, the scars/damage on all I've seen were VERY crisp and sharp. The second helmet I ever owned was a Dlx recast from a run that Gotmaul did back in the day. And even those were sharp as all get out. But, I've seen production castings 'stripped' to reveal the first gen casting traits and they were equally sharp to what the helmet in those pictures appears to have. Again though, many years ago. I do remember that the touch and feel at that time, was what seemed overkill.

I believe, that Art still has an early DP Deluxe production helmet on his collectors shelf. He would most certainly able to confirm the brass plaque. But everything else is dead on to what I know.

Even if it is just an un-produced production intended casting / kit, it is a really great piece to have. It would certainly pre-date anything that was produced for the public. You could probably consider it a 'preproduction'
helmet of sorts. I notice that casting shown is numbered '3' on the ear platform. That's kind of curious to me.
 
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CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
Most interesting! Many of the scars appear dremelled on, but are any of them inherited from the PrePro2? The one that stands out, as you look directly at it, is off to the right, in the black area but there's usually a painted metal gash, and it's within that gash.

I've also observed the ear platforms to be approx 3/8" narrower than the MR. Is it possible that someone at some point made the helmet less deep, and perhaps took the width of the helmet in to make it more narrow when regarded from the front?
 
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fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet

I don't really recall if there were any scratches that were actually left over from the prepro2 that it descended from. I really don't believe so. The scratches as you say, appeared to be dremeled in randomly.

With regard to the helmet size and proportion :

The 'story' I've heard, and in NO WAY constitutes validated fact, was that George Lucas (more likely someone from licensing as far as I'm concerned) was put off by how large the helmet was and ordered a reduction in
size for public consumption. But I later heard that was more for the 'Halloween' type vinyls sold more with children in mind (like the DP 95, 96, 97).

I don't think that it's beyond the realm of possibility that this could have been true (at least in part) for the Deluxe too. I'm not sure if anyone knows for absolute certainty. Art however, may know more real history where that is concerned.

Interesting factoid, the Don Post Deluxe full size statues sported the very same helmet. They were permanently mounted and even thicker cast, but were from the same deluxe
molds nevertheless.
 

fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet

Come to think of it? If I saw an inside shot of the helmet, I might be able to confirm which 'that' helmet was intended for. Statue, or stand alone release.

The statue version had a heavy plug installed in the dome with a really big square registration 'key' that epoxied to the neck of the statue. But even without the plug present, there was a bit of a mounting ring around the inside of the dome on those castings. If the ring isn't present, it's most likely it was intended for stand alone release.

Incidentally, TDH member 'Metadude' has a small gallery of his deluxe. Including one shot of the interior with the plaque I referenced.

http://m1076.photobucket.com/albumview/albums/Rich_0111/Don%20Post%20Boba/1334920512.jpg.html?o=3
 
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RafalFett

Well-Known Hunter
Great find! Thanks for sharing!

I think that #3 on the right upper ear platform is the number for the metal ear parts. It is possible that #1 is the left ear, #2 is the right lower ear and #3 is the 2 part upper right ear. There's only one way to verify this, and this involves the removal of the ears from the helmet (I assume that these are screwed to the ear platforms). The physical gauges all over the helmet shows an ESB-like paint pattern and not the Pre-Pro #2 paint pattern.

As BGHunter said that 2012 was the year of the Pre-Pro #2, the summer of 2013 belongs to the Boba Fett helmet and its re-discoveries and new acquisitions.
 
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Art Andrews

Community Founder
Community Staff
I am familiar with this helmet and at least one other like it (I also talked to the seller when he had it listed). This is a Don Post Deluxe casting without a doubt. Now, I don't necessarily want to make definitive statements, but this is what some are calling a Don Post Deluxe prototype casting. Is it truly a prototype or simply castings that were taken out the back door from one of Don Post's master molds for the Deluxe helmet? Hard to say for sure. I passed on bidding on this, not because it isn't real, but because there aren't any significant differences between this helmet and the final DP Deluxe and, as I mentioned, what it is, in terms of being a true prototype vs simply an unauthorized casting is unclear. It is still a very cool piece of DP history and of course you SHOULD be seeing some ties back to the Mystery helmet as they have some of the same lineage, all originating with the Second Prototype helmet.
 
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CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
Art, thanks for chiming in!

Here are some shots I managed to take today. We didn't have the right Phillips screwdriver, so I couldn't unscrew the remaining ear pieces to see if there were additional numbers underneath them. It would be interesting if the numbers helped define what goes where - and I wonder if the mass production helmets had that as well.

No measuring tape handy, but I found a string and used it to compare the length from vizor to rear-of-head. This helmet is about half an inch shallower than the MR. I'm going to have to circle back with you all with measurements and comparative analysis. (Is the MR a good point of comparison? The only other helmet I have access to at this moment is a SgtFang - and possibly a GMH).

Interior shots. I had taken the exterior to be gray primer but upon examining the inside, I notice this gray material lining the interior of the "T" hole very neatly. Also, under the bondo (for whatever reason that it's there) there also appears to be a neatly done rim of the gray material. The gray material ends and the brown fiberglass+resin begins. I take it that this gray is the gel coat outer layer?


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I also noticed a mold steam on the back. But once into the dome cap, the seam line vanishes. I'll try to get better shots later.

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Does this seam line correspond to anything we know?

The helmet appears to be slightly thicker than the MR, and I estimate it at about 5mm.
 
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CSMacLaren

Active Hunter
Whatever this - or the entire Don Post line - came from within the PrePro2 lineage line, the progenitor helmet was cast with possibly a visor in it. The "T-visor" in the casting is smooth. What's interesting is the T-shaped hole cutout which appears to be similar in shape with other Don Post helmets - plastic or otherwise.

Perhaps in considering how to reduce cost and complexity, they decided to front-mount the T-visor as the alternative, which would have been to cut out the entire T-slot so as to rear-mount the T-visor. This, however, requires that the you need a degree of consistency of mandible wall thickness where you'd lay the T-visor. The combined work is both time- and labor-intensive, as well as prone to manufacturing error. This front-mount method strikes me as easier and more of a no-brainer.
 
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fettpride

Well-Known Hunter
Lucasfilm Licensing Art Reference Helmet

Your theory about the reduced costs and possible assembly hassles with regard to the front mount t-visor is dead on the money.

The grayish material seen in the pics around the inside rim is definitely the gel coat layer. As thick as they were all slushed before the laminate layer, they had to be ground down to provide a more consistent lip thickness, effectively grinding away the laminate reinforced backing right down to the gel coat in those areas. The bondo was just a standard industry finishing technique to smooth out grinding marks, exposed air voids, ect. before assembly and paint.

That casting is definitely consistent with how others I've seen were cast (very thick). You can likely measure around the edge an come up with 1/4 to 3/8 inches of thickness in some spots. I've personally never seen gray gelcoat exposed when these have been stripped, but that's not to say they didn't change colors of their gelcoat layer somewhere in production. Or even alternated between. The color of the gel coat layer isn't a trait to judge anything as far as I'm concerned.

The seam in the back you pointed out is apparent on every casting. Wether or not it's from the production molds used to make each of the castings, or from some master buck that yielded the production molds has always been unclear to me.

All in all, I still see it as a legit DP production intended casting for sure. Stand alone, and not meant for the statue.
 

Art Andrews

Community Founder
Community Staff
Perhaps in considering how to reduce cost and complexity, they decided to front-mount the T-visor as the alternative, which would have been to cut out the entire T-slot so as to rear-mount the T-visor. This, however, requires that the you need a degree of consistency of mandible wall thickness where you'd lay the T-visor. The combined work is both time- and labor-intensive, as well as prone to manufacturing error. This front-mount method strikes me as easier and more of a no-brainer.
This is one of the most painful "flaws" in the DP line (both standard and Deluxe, but if you look at the later MR helmet, you see exactly why DP did it this way (no wonky T-visor inconsistencies.).
 
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