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Original Rebel Alliance Helmets

X-Wing and Y-Wing Pilot 

As with all the vac-formed helmets and armor made for Star Wars (including Stormtrooper, TIE's and DS Gunners), the Rebel X and Y Wing Pilot helmets were produced by Andrew Ainsworth at Shepperton Design Studios, near London. Fabricated during the unusually hot spring months of 1976, the X-Wing helmet mould was taken off a US APH-6B Pilot helmet, used in the Vietnam war, which was provided to Ainsworth by Costume Designer John Mollo.

We have an in-depth review of a couple of Original X/Y Wing Helmets form Star Wars - A New Hope, for more information please follow the following link.
 
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Original X and Y Wing Helmet Reviews Here

So the APH was used as the base with Ainsworth adding the centre mohawk, front detailing and acrylic lens (which were amber on the Hero's like Luke, Biggs and Wedge, but smoked grey for the stunts) Below a sot of some completed X-Wing helmets sitting outside Shepperton Design Studio's prior to filming. Once picked up by the Studio they were hand painted by the Art department and screen-printed decals applied.

Below a prototype design for the X-Wing Fighter Pilots', this one auctioned at Christies in London in 2002 for just $4,136). The initial design had the Rebel Pilots almost fully encased in a mouth piece and visor until a decision was made to ditch the mouth section and raise the visor so the actors faces could be seen. 

In total twenty rebel pilot helmets were fabricated for ANH, with a good portion of them being made into Hero's, requiring time-consuming paint and detailing by the Elstree Art Department team.  Though the amber visors look different from the smoke grey, they are in fact the same design, with the amber visor attached higher into the front of the helmet. Though the design suggests that they move, in actual fact they were fixed firmly.

A few of the Hero helmets also had lined helmet interiors which included ear cups and mics, although most were restricted to the traditional orange "maple leaf" style foam interior seen on the Stormtrooper helmets.  On the front you can see the mohawk ridge, another vac-formed piece that was simply glued to the front section to tidy the finished design up. The chin cups were just off-the-shelf Canoe helmet cups from Ainsworth's other sporting business.

There were at least TWO Luke "Hero" helmets, as you can see the one he carries pre-flight (above) is different to the one used during the Death Star attack (below). Its not clear where either of these helmets are now, but the one Lucasfilm has in its archive is not the ANH. The only caveat we'd add to that is that the X-Wing helmets were altered for ESB and its likely that some of the existing ANH helmets were adapted for the new film (much like like the TIE's/AT-AT's) - so its possible it culd be the same helmet, albeit with some reworking and a complete repaint for ESB or RotJ.

Above and Below, a view of Luke's different Hero helmets from ANH and ESB.

If you notice on the photo above, the yellow Mohawk lines run in the opposite direction so I'm not sure if this is a different helmet or its just been flipped horizontally.

Here's a shot of the Hero Luke Lucasfilm has in its archives.  Photo courtesy Franz Bollo

Although the detailing on some helmets used decals, it look to me and Rich B that all of Luke's detailing is hand painted, including the red phoenix logo's. Below another screen-grab, this time Porkins.

Below some shots of Wedge's helmet

I don't think its ever been confirmed who painted and weathered the hero helmets although I expect it would have been the Elstree Art Department.

Below, I've flipped this image to its "correct" orientation since in the movie he's looking/flying to the right. However as you can see when comparing this to the image above that we're looking at the left side of the characters face and helmet. This is a common "trick" in films where you literally flip the shot vertically if you suddenly realise you need a shot of the character pointing the other way!

and another close up of the detailing, this time the right side of the helmet.

Below, Biggs' helmet. These helmets were all hand painted apart from a few decals like the circle/stripes on the mohawk and the blue "Phoenix" logo seen on some rebel helmets. Not sure what the make of the headset electronics were on the original helmets although its been suggested they were a set of original USAF APH ear pads and Racal Mini-lite Headsets.

Below, a nice Hi Def close-up of the other helmet, lightened to show detail.

Below another shot of one of the Luke Hero helmets in the Lucasfilm archive. Note that when we say "Hero" it refers to the fact that its been finished to a higher standard (such as the detailing and weathering) and will be seen up-close on camera - although clearly that's not surprising since its Luke's!

...and below a couple of shots from Lucasfilm Exhibitions of a complete Luke Skywalker Rebel Pilot costume with the same helmet as above.
Below a nice shot of Luke's Blast Shield helmet. This helmet was again fabricated by Andrew Ainsworth at SDS and its simply a standard X-Wing helmet with an additional vac-formed ABS visor fixed to the front. THe Art Department added some nice hand painted detailing and weathering. Looks like they added some black lugs too.

In case you've missed it - check out the following link for in-depth reviews of 2 Original Rebel Pilot Helmets......
 
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Original X and Y Wing Helmet Reviews Here

 

Return of the Jedi Y-Wing Pilot 

 

These shots hit the forums recently, they were taken by an (unknown) photographer who visited the O2 arena in London recently for the Star Wars concerts. So thanks go out to that photographer for these great shots. As the title suggests its an original Y-Wing pilot helmet from Return of the Jedi, and lower down the page we've some shots of a non-screen-used but production made helmet that surfaced recently.

Above, this same helmet as seen in Return of the Jedi - note that in the movie the image was flipped horizontally so the pilots looking right. However I've flipped it back to show what it looks like in real-life. Flipping images is usually something done at the editing stage where they want want specific shots to edit together better. Below, again more shots taken recently at the 02 Arena in London.

The detailing on this helmet is really wonderful. It looks like they've used stencils/silk screens and built up the layers in the paint work. It'd be interesting to see if anyone can get an HD screen-grab of this helmet in the movie.

Note the detailing around the face opening which looks to be leather. The visor looks a lot like the ANH Visors too so it'd be interesting to do a side by side comparison.

Note that "Yamaha" button on the ear-piece, I know they made a lot of different kinds of things but.... Below just to complete the set a shot from the rear.

...and below a shot from Patrick H who took a photo of the same helmet when the show toured Tulsa.

Next up some photos of what appears to be a production-made (but unfinished) RotJ Y-Wing helmet

From what we can tell having examined this it does appear to have all the tells we were expecting to find - although we've never handled an original RotJ Y-Wing to directly compare it against. However all the dimensions look to be correct and importantly, it composition (including material) directly matches a number of other RotJ helmets - like the Biker Scouts, which were all made at the same time by the same team - this again reinforces its provenance.

So its made in two separate halves, which were then glued together, reinforced and filled. Following this it was primed but presumably this was one of the "extra" helmets so didn't get the full make-over. Its therefore unlikely that it would have been used on-set but nonetheless is a really nice original production-made piece.

Made of ABS its extremely light, but still has a solid feel to it

Below a shot from the rear where you can see the crack forming in the filler where the two ABS hemispheres of the helmet were glued together.

Finally with the Y-Wing a comparison photo below showing the Screen-Used and production made helmets. The photo weren't taken at exactly the same angle but you can still see that everything seems to line up as expected. The line that runs up the side to the real looks a little thicker on the screen-used helmet but that could be indicative of the strength of the vac-pull.

So from having not seen anything of RotJ Y-Wings over the years, two turn up at the same time!

 

Rebel Fleet Troopers

Next a couple of RoCKo's Hi-def screen grabs of the RFT helmets. As with a number of the ANH helmets the movie helmets were made by Andrew Ainsworth from a light grey ABS with an acrylic smoked dark grey visor (probably the same as the TIE and Hero Stormtrooper bubble lens material)

A couple of dozen of these were made but strangely hardly any have ever shown up in recent years suggesting most were trashed after filming.