Shepperton Design Studios

Stormtrooper Helmets and Armour

SDS Stunt Helmet

in 2004, the first helmet Andrew Ainsworth made from his newly-reformed Shepperton Design Studio's company was the Stunt helmet, which was the most commonly seen helmet in ANH (50 Stunts as against just 6 Hero's). Made of HIPS it has a glossy white appearance and SDS has always voraciously maintained that it is cast from the original 1976 moulds. However this has been disputed by many sources included Lucasfilm.

First up Steve the Swede's - this guy knows how to make a prop (see the Boba Fett he did for me for proof of that) and he also knows how to take photo's - Incredible.

The helmet is finished with an green acetate sheet behind the "eyes" (as per the originals) but is not painted but instead has purpose-made decals. The Hovi-mix mic tips at the front are cast from an original set so again are accurate to the screen-used ones. 

Above a dark and moody shot from Blastermaniac, ...and below a couple of shots of the helmet with its stand and plaque from Musashi.

The Stunt comes with a purpose built stand and plaque, although the design of the stand was changed in 2005/6 since it was clearly a recast of the Mater Replicas stand.

The key interest with SDS was that it is quite unique to have one of the artisans involved in the original production, remaking the same props they made for the movie, combined with the claims over the original moulds. Over the years, there have been a great many questions asked about the state of the moulds given there are significant differences to the back and cap. However, what has never been ascertained is the current condition of the moulds, which if original would have been made over 32 years ago.

The detailing is extremely sharp. Made of 1.5mm white Styrene, they're coloured off-white similar to the 1976 originals (which were painted).

The main areas on concern on the helmets were the reduced undercut, and the previously mentioned back and cap section. However from the front its very accurate.

Note the presence of the warping/bump around the right eye, again seen on the originals

Mic tips are injection moulded casts of original hovi-mix. Below, shot of the rear showing the reduced "bell" shape seen on the original Stunt helmets. Also the strange shape of the trapezoids suggests not all is right with the rear of this helmet.

Below, another shot from the SDS site showing the reduced undercut found on the new helmets (right), in comparison with an original HDPE helmet (left).

A couple of b/w shots - note the Armor below is not SDS but another make.

New AA/SDS Stormtrooper Comp Page Click Here

Comparisons of the AA Stormtrooper against an ESB Screen-used helmet Click Here

Below are some great shots of the AA Helmet on standard FX Style Armor, the results are very impressive. These were taken by Raider in the Polish 501st Garrison of his new acquisition.

Raider (TK-2333) Is hoping to spread the AA "Virus" throughout the Polish Garrison!
Finally a couple of shots, one a comparison of Raider's helmet and a screen-shot, and secondly the man himself, showing off his Garrison badge. For more info on the Polish Garrison please go to www.polishoutpost.com
These next three photos are interesting, I don't think I've ever seen a weathered SDS helmet before so this may be a first.

The weathering was done by Jamie himself to his helmet - he said he got a bit bored of its perfect all-white appearance and thought he'd dirty it up a bit!

All the decals have now been hand-painted like the originals, and as you can see from the two different lighting conditions above and below, he's done a really good job with the weathering. Enough but not too much!

SDS Hero Stormtrooper Helmet

In 2005, SDS followed on from the Stunt with a "Hero" version of the Stormtrooper helmet. There were just 6 original Hero helmets made for ANH in 1976 and they were all made from ABS (and therefore not painted).

According to the SDS website, for the Hero, Andrew Ainsworth has made an exact copy of the original mould which has allowed him to make a few changes without affecting the original moulds themselves (which were/are still used on the Stunt). It's made from a significantly thicker 2.5mm HIPS (High Impact Poly-Styrene) which still looks to have produced a very sharp pull.

Apart from the grey "double-bubble" lenses, the Hero also has a low Luke-style brow and a smaller frown with only 3 teeth rather than the Stunts 4 or 5.

The ears are also trimmed more and there looks to have been some work to the rear section as well. In addition the Hero only had a single upper ear screw instead of two on the Stunt. However the screen used Hero's had only 3 bumps on the ear section not the 4 seen here suggesting SDS used the same Stunt style ear moulds.

Below, a comparison below of the Stunt and Hero helmets side by side

SDS Stormtrooper Armour

In the summer of 2005, SDS announced they would be producing Stormtrooper Armour to go with their helmets, along with a new lower-cost "Battle-Spec" Stormtrooper helmet.
The SDS armour comes "ready to wear" straight out of the box which is quite unique in the armour market. As you can see the armour has the distinct "tells" from the RotJ armour (itself recast from an ANH set), apart from a few areas like the shoulder bells which appear very much ANH.

More shots of the SDS Helmet and Armour. Not sure if its ABS, HIPS or styrene. If you have an SDS suit and want to review it then lmk.

SDS "Battlespec" Helmet

The SDS "Battlespec" helmet was introduced in 2005 as a lower cost, more rugged helmet intended for trooping etc. Though very similar to the Stunt it had a few differences and was NOT claimed as cast from the original moulds - instead was formed from mouldings adapted from the Stormtrooper helmet moulds.

These are SDS shots so if anyone has one of these and wants to review it then please let me know - same with the AP armour, TM etc. etc. so I can bring these sections up to date.
Below, some new and really excellent photos from Crow of his SDS Battlespec helmet

Front on you can just see that the black Vocoder (chin) section is a separate piece. Mic tips look the same as does the rest of the helmet from the front.

From the back you can see that the adapted moulds provide a far more pleasing swoop - one of the key issues with their main Stunt and Hero helmet which was not "bell" like enough from the back.

Side on the SDS face doesn't seem to slant vertical enough so never quite looks right. Clutch has done some work on his to make it a lot better than some they've made. The grey "ear" parts are also separate formed pieces like the vocoder.

Again, thanks to Crow (Scott) for these pics.

Shadow Trooper/Black Hole

SDS has also produced a "Shadow Trooper" helmet from the Expanded Universe. So far we've only seen photos posted on the site so are waiting for someone to send us some decent hi-res pics so we can post.

In the meantime Sskunky has sent us his #1 of 1 prototype Shadow/Blackhole, which is we think something Ainsworth did when testing out different types of plastics - Sskunky got it at least 4 years ago so it was around the time the Battlespec trooper came out.

Interesting that SDS would do this since it is stepping away from the realms of their involvement in ANH into the "Expanded Universe", although presumably their response would be that its just a black Stormtrooper with reflective lenses.

Build-wise it looks like a Stunt but its vac-formed out of satin black ABS. We'll have pics of the actual production SDS Shadow Trooper as soon as someone sends them to us!

Other  Photos

Below, Some photos of the UK Garrison of the SDS Stand at Memorabilia at the NEC in 2004 wearing SDS Stunt Lids with FX/MFX Armor.

Below, looks like the Troops and arresting Andrew Ainsworth!

It looks a bit shiny in this - its not the easiest helmet to photograph!

Andrew Ainsworth and his work. In the background you can see some of the original 1976 b/w photos of props and helmets he produced.

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