Brief Prop and Costume History
All TIE helmets used in the original trilogy movies were made by Andrew
Ainsworth at Shepperton Design Studios in 1976. Cast from vacuum-formed
black ABS they're essentially a combination of a (black) Rebel X-Wing Pilot
helmet - with the face mask from an Imperial Stormtrooper. Such a simple
combination yet one that produced one of Star Wars' most impressive
Don Post were the first licensed company to produce a replica TIE Pilot
helmet, which though undersize was still a fairly nice looking vinyl helmet.
Later on Don Post added the Classic Action and fiberglass Deluxe
versions which were significantly more accurate and more importantly,
"actual" size. When Rubies picked up the license following DP's
demise, but disappointingly only produced their smaller standard helmet.
Altmanns produced a couple of versions, the first (licensed) was pretty
shocking although the less well-know second version was certainly better.
In the non-licensed space there have been a number of
excellent replicas with Shepperton Design Studio's helmet, chest box
and bust probably the cream of the crop - although is not available for sale
in the US. However in close 2nd is The Laws Archive kit which is also
very impressive - and importantly available in the States.