Tuesday, March 1, 2016

1:1 Prop unboxing.. RS Prop Masters' Stormtrooper helmet

It took me weeks and weeks of nagging to get my parents to take me and my siblings to see Star Wars in 1977. I remember it was a rainy night when we finally went.

 My first impression of the movie was when the Stormtroopers burst onto the rebel ship and I've been intrigued by them ever since. So have a lot of people it seems, and they seem to have become a cultural icon. Ralph McQuarrie's iconic design of the Star Wars stormtrooper continues to tap into something in our Collective Consciousness. Something about the helmet I think. It evokes something, though I don't know what. The faceless man with no identity perhaps, cheerfully grinning with no constraints nor ethics clad cynically in an inverted clean (hence "good") white...


The 501st Legion reenactors, which I am not a member, in their genuine white armour dive deep into this itch that is the stormtrooper uniform. An expensive hobby (over a $1,000 for a full suit) with no tolerance for cheap knockoffs, they take the Stormtrooper identity to a high cosplay level, respecting McQuarrie's vision.

You could tell how hardcore they are in describing a bit of what's out there armour-wise:
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I wonder what McQuarrie, who died in 2012, thought of all this.

His original mid-1970s sketches:

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Lots of rumours when I was a kid.. they were clones.. they were robots...they were from Earth in the future (yes, some people back in the 1970s ignored the galaxy far, far away thing). The fact that they borrowed the name from the German 1918 shock troops (and later, the SS), was inconsequential....

I was curious as a kid to know what they looked like under the helmet. I'd like to think they are clones for some reason, but Star Wars expanded universe guys say the clones were phased out by the time of the first Star Wars movie. I don't personally find that cost effective. Why recruit and train men from different backgrounds, etc when you got tailor-made biological robots?..


But I digress...


I recently got a high-end lightsaber prop complete with sound and light, and for some time now, a Stormtrooper E-11 blaster weapon (which I painted from a resin model) as well as Han Solo's heavy blaster pistol:


I actually fired the Sterling Submachine gun, which this is based on, and it's so inaccurate, it ain't funny. Still, it looks like a good movie prop and can understand why Lucas chose it when he filmed the movie in England. 

E-11 Blaster Rifle

Han Solo's DL-44 Heavy Blaster
 
So, after two decades of resisting, I caved in and finally got myself  a genuine stunt stormtrooper helmet from the real deal, RS Prop Masters from England. These guys don't dabble in cheap plastic, but from a mould from the original 1977 film, and cast it in genuine ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), same as the movie. 

No Toys are Us kiddie stuff for me but good enough for the 501st Legion....good enough for the movies.

I have been looking forward to this package for a while now. It didn't help when the RS guys were a bit taciturn and you had to prompt them for any communication on the status, but patience is it's own virtue. 

That day has arrived today.




Nice looking certificate of authenticity..




They even moulded the imperfections found on the original 1977 helmet! 


Ah.. that downward smile!






It gets hot very quickly putting this thing on.. I can't imagine the stuntment in the movies lasting long under the movie lights with this thing. Nice to wear it though and it even has your name and serial number on the inside as well.



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