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 Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!

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budspencer
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PostSubject: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:15 pm

I thought it deserves its own thread in case someone would be interested in getting details on it.

here goes:

Original Don Post Mask circa 1977 or 1978

I wanted to get this Don Post mask for the nostalgia factor and i can say that this is an impressive collector's item even if this is an entry level mask and not size accurate to the original helmet. To be honest it feels like i have a real prop of the film in my hands, It breaks apart like the original helmet and ads a lot to the feeling of it not being some cheapo mask thing. It also kinda creeps me out just because it feels so real. Imagine having the helmet of Darth Vader on a shelf in front of you. How Creepy would that feel?

I should not say creepy but rather it as an eerie aura surrounding it. I have a Stormtrooper helmet that was made of actual molds from a ANH helmet and it does not give me the strange feeling i have with this helmet. I don't mean it has a "bad feeling about it" but rather a feeling of strange authenticity over, let's say the cheaply made Halloween masks that you can buy each Halloween.

Aside that, now i know how David Prowse felt with this mask on.


This is an excellent entry level mask and i highly recommend it to anyone. You can probably find it on ebay at any given time for dirt cheap. Mine is used and scuffed up but this is exactly how i wanted it. It is not pristine and shows its age and it feels like a piece of the 1970's which i love so much.

It is made of very thick plastic about 1.5 millimeters to probably more in some areas. I am not sure if the helmet is made of ABS or PVC plastic, could be wrong on this one. This is probably why it lasted well for such an amount of time. The nose paint and tusk paint is missing on my helmet but i do not mind at all. i like it. It probably rubbed off easily over the years. The helmet is not heavy at all and is easy to wear.

The mask is not small, an adult can easily wear it. It fits snugly over the head and the top part hold with a strong Velcro. It does not feel flimsy on your head and the helmet part does not wobble around so it is fun to wear. You face goes deep in the helmet so you are close to the lenses. However the lenses are curved and blurry but you still can manage to see thru enough to get around.

Lenses seem to be clear but have had a smoke effect to them so they are somewhat dark.

One funny part is that when you have this on you actually hear yourself breathe in it and it sounds like you are doing the actual Darth Vader respiration sound and its a funny feeling. Razz

Strangely enough if you look at the helmet in a certain way it looks amazing and realistic. Another aspect of the helmet is that it looks more like an Empire Strikes Back Vader helmet than an ANH helmet. If the flare of the helmet and been down about roughly an inch lower, it would have been spot on an ANH helmet. For ESB the flare side ( bottom of side of the helmet itself) of the helmet cap were higher than ANH and this helmet strangely resembles an ESB helmet.

I believe that the Rubies company now have the Don Post molds and are still making this helmet, might be wrong about that, but i preferred this Don Post over the Rubie. However i plan to get the deluxe Rubies helmet down the road as this one did convinced me to get a more screen accurate Vader helmet just for the sake of accuracy and coolness factor. But still this is a very very awesome piece!

I am sure this helmet can be easily modded to come close to a real helmet. You could do a paint job on it. Had foam inside the mask and straps like the original helmet. You probably could also easily ad the tusks and proper grills and remove the lettering inside the helmet by sanding it out but i am not going to do this to this one because of the nostalgia factor i have right now. You could not achieve the size factor but i am sure you could ad a lot of the nitty gritty original details to the helmet in some way of another.























































Video review


Rubies Helmet


Last edited by budspencer on Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:05 pm; edited 9 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:59 pm

Nice post, Bud. Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:19 am

"do not use as saftey helmet " lol!

kinda related thread: http://www.imperialgunneryforum.com/t5006-prop-darth-vader-helmet-and-armor
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:19 pm

I still have my DP Standard that I bought 30+ years ago!

This mask is one of the reasons, along with Luke's Lightsaber hilt, that I am obsessed with collecting movie props. At the time it was amazing to be able to own and wear Darth Vader's helmet and it was always displayed in a place of pride. Like all my Kenner toys I kept it holds a special nostalgic place in my heart. I think the "buzz" or aura about it is still there because it was the first opportunity we had.

There are a few variations with the Don Post Vader helmet mainly with the "tusk" tips. The original version has a rounded tip painted silver and later versions went to the flat tip with either a silver sticker or silver paint. The general assumption is that the change was made because that part of the mold deteriorated and/or it simply made it easier to remove the mask from its mold.



As far as modifying the helmet "easily" I guess it depends on how far down that road you want to go lol. But even so, like you said, it's really just a Halloween mask and is considerably undersized and misshapen when compared with the Don Post Deluxe helmet or the efx Legend.

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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:02 pm

So if i understand correctly what you have would be the first issue Don Post Mask i read about in the Tomart's price guide to worldwide Star Wars Collectibles then.

Must be rare and you must be proud. Smile

The big helmet, what company made it? So many of them floating around hard to understand who made what helmet.

cheers!
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:11 am

Great topic Bud What a Face

Heres my Don Post Vader Mask ...
After reading Dcarty's post I assume mine is not a 1st release either . It seems to have all the same markings as yours Bud . Mine has the flat tips with silver stickers (although one of the stickers is missing Sad ) The silver on the nose of mine is painted however - not sure if that is "normal" with the silver stickers on the flat tips though .











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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:20 am

That's one evil Sith Dog under it. affraid


"Woof, woof woof. woof...woof woof woof" = "Join me, and together we can chew the dark side of the bone...lick our balls in public, chase the cat around the block, and give the mailman a shitload of grief"
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:11 pm

@Josh wrote:
That's one evil Sith Dog under it. affraid


"Woof, woof woof. woof...woof woof woof" = "Join me, and together we can chew the dark side of the bone...lick our balls in public, chase the cat around the block, and give the mailman a shitload of grief"

lol!

I think she looked evil because she was not impressed with wearing the helmet Stormie Smiley
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 pm

@budspencer wrote:
So if i understand correctly what you have would be the first issue Don Post Mask i read about in the Tomart's price guide to worldwide Star Wars Collectibles then.

Must be rare and you must be proud. Smile

The big helmet, what company made it? So many of them floating around hard to understand who made what helmet.

cheers!

Hi Bud,

The larger helmet in the picture is the efx Legend Edition. In my opinion the best breakdown of all the different licensed and fan sourced Darth Vader helmets that are floating around out there is the one posted over at the Prop Den.

I don't think the first version of the Don Post is especially rare though it might not be as prevalent as the subsequent versions. What I would like to get at some point is the tag that some of the first ones came with! When the helmets were first released--IIRC--they were distributed in clear plastic bags and had a folded cardboard tag attached with a bit of string or elastic. Then, once production went into full swing, they started shipping the masks in the white boxes with a picture of the helmet on the "front" of the flip top box.

They switched to a blue box with a copyright date of 1982 around the release of Return of the Jedi and my helmet was in one of those boxes when I bought it off the shelf at Target. I am struggling to remember when exactly it was that I bought the thing but I do remember the day it happened vividly because I had lusted after that helmet for years. My recollection is that it was one of those "out-of-nowhere" situations where we went to the store looking for one thing and found something completely unexpected and infinitely more awesome. Kind of "Hey Grandma, we're going to head over to the toy isle and whoooooaaaa--they've got STAR WARS HELMETS!!!" I remember it being odd also because these were basically Halloween masks and it wasn't anywhere near the holiday. Weird.

They had the top two rows of an entire aisle full of these blue boxes mostly with Yoda, I think Admiral Ackbar, and probably Ewoks, but I didn't give a flip about those and zeroed in on Vader immediately and that helmet was there for ME. I remember the feeling of "destiny" (lol) because the front of the box had been sliced and taped closed and even at that age I was anal enough to try and find a box in better shape and there weren't any.

I also remember searching very thoroughly to see if they had the Stormtrooper helmet and they didn't and I was bummed about that but elated that I finally had the Vader helmet. It was probably better that they didn't have the Stormtrooper because I have no doubt I would have had to choose between the two -- there is no way I had enough money for both helmets or would have been able to twist an adult arm to float me a loan -- and though I would have been happy with whichever helmet I decided on that decision would have been tinged with the regret for "the one that got away" lol.

There was packet of Armor All inside to care for the helmet but it wasn't in a bag or anything--just the helmet and the box. At some point shortly after I wrote to Don Post Studios and got a catalog in the mail (I'll have to see if I still have that somewhere). I think I was hoping to order the Stormtrooper from them but their minimum order was like $500 or something so I never did get one. Every now and again I'll check eBay and toy around with the idea but I'm definitely a Vader nut.

Hope I haven't bored you guys geek

Cheers!

Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:20 pm

I think the closest you can get to a stormtrooper helmet is with these guys.

Stormtrooper helmets

But the price is very high. If you want more info go to the site and it is well explained. Of all the repro helmets out there for stormtroopers, this would be the top choice is you have the money. It was molded from an original screen helmet and it does look like the real deal because it is accurate to the movie helmet.

I personally own a life size stormtrooper helmet that came in a kit from a reseller called ATA. He is well known in the costuming community and in the 501 st legion. I also have gotten a costume from him but i never got around finishing it as i would still need to spend hundreds of dollars in the parts that i would need to finish the armor kit. But i have it and i can complete it at anytime i wish to.

here are pics of my helmet:













Below is a link that shows you how you build the helmet... roughly the same way as it happened in the 70's

Assembling a ATA Stormtrooper helmet
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:30 pm

Hi Dave,

Is that EFX helmet yours? and if so what do you think of it?


Cheers!


Bud
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:32 pm

@ourchickenshack wrote:
Great topic Bud What a Face

Heres my Don Post Vader Mask ...
After reading Dcarty's post I assume mine is not a 1st release either . It seems to have all the same markings as yours Bud . Mine has the flat tips with silver stickers (although one of the stickers is missing Sad ) The silver on the nose of mine is painted however - not sure if that is "normal" with the silver stickers on the flat tips though .












She looks tough and you probably kick Hayden's behind in no time. Also now i know a little bit more. I guess the stickers on the tusks of my helmet have fallen off. I wonder if the silver on the nose is paint or another sticker that just peels off. If it had been paint i dont think it would have completely rubbed off like my helmet....
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:42 pm

Thanks to Bud and Dcarty for all the info. I also bought mine as a kid. Had mine stored in the closet and decided it was time to pull it out and display it. I think it's one of the first issues.
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:18 am

I started a fad it seems!

meeting

Seriously though, this helmet deserve a place in anyone's display if you actually have one. It is awesome cool!
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:33 am

So is the Madhatters figure cabinet, by the looks of it Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:20 am

Great post Bud, i always enjoy your in depth write ups and pics, nice work, cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:55 pm

@budspencer wrote:
Hi Dave,

Is that EFX helmet yours? and if so what do you think of it?


Cheers!


Bud

Hi Bud,

I completely agree RS Prop Masters is the Gold Standard for Stormtrooper Armor! I have one of their Tan HDPE Stunt Helmets and, someday, will have a full set of their armor.

The efx Legend in the picture is mine. It is without question the best licensed replica yet released to the market and frankly, unless someone makes a significant discovery, I don't see anything better ever coming along. I know they've had issues with QC on this helmet and mine does have a minor spot of rubbing on the dome but not enough to make me want to jump through the hoops of replacing it. To be finicky I have some qualms about the paint patterns they chose for the Legend Edition, though to be fair those are open to some interpretation, and I rather like the finish they chose for the dome on the Limited edition because it is glossier. I don't know why they chose to perpetuate the notion that Darth Vader's helmet is not gloss black when you can clearly see that it is in the movie by the way light reflects off of it. It may not have the mirror-like finish it does in Empire Strikes Back but it certainly isn't that weird satiny finish efx used.

To be honest there are fan sourced castings that in my opinion are better than the efx but they are obviously a lot harder to acquire. Unfortunately with Darth Vader helmets I have found that no matter which casting you are dealing with, whether it is licensed or fan sourced, there will be compromises in accuracy to it somewhere. Whether it is sharpness, size, detail, geometry, none of them measures up to the original film helmet 100% in every aspect. Some of them come very, very close but as the saying goes the devil is in the details.

Dave Smile



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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:42 pm

So they did not cast the helmet from a real screen used helmet? they just sculpted it?

I did not follow the story too much on this helmet so sorry if i ask dumb questions about it...
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:06 pm

@budspencer wrote:
So they did not cast the helmet from a real screen used helmet? they just sculpted it?

I did not follow the story too much on this helmet so sorry if i ask dumb questions about it...

Hi Bud,

Sorry if my post is confusing I can go on and on and on about this all day lol. The efx helmet was definitely made from a copy they pulled from a Darth Vader helmet mold at ILM -- no question about that. However, between the time efx pulled their master copy from the mold and the time their replicas made it into our hot little hands efx made subtle changes to the helmet. So what you are getting is not an identical copy to what came out of the mold at ILM but something that is slightly watered down. Most people wouldn't notice or care but I'm one of those loonies who does.

I don't want us to get too far afield from the topic--does anyone else have any vintage Don Post Star Wars masks they want to show?? Actually, now that I think about it I also have the C-3PO mask too.


I bought it for a pittance when a local toy store was going out of business back in the late 80's.

Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:38 pm

I have a Boba Fett mask - it looks really cool but unfortunately it has a couple cracks . It still looks good sitting on top of my aquarium Very Happy

It's a Don Post but not really "vintage" I guess - the date on it is 1995 .





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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:40 pm

Here is my Don Post halmet which I got from a collector here in the city it is in really good shape with the three silver stickers.









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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:38 pm

How funny that I just discovered this thread completely by accident while googling the first issue Don Post helmet!  
I rarely post here, though I browse around here often, keep finding myself here while researching toys.

There seems to be very little info on the details outside of the Tomart guide and few photos around the internet that I can find.  Or maybe the internet is just so diluted with pics and info on the later issue and more common helmets, that any info on these rare first-issue helmets gets lost in the shuffle. 
I'm a big fan of the first issue helmets and I think they are somewhat rare. It also seems to me people who don't have one underestimate just how different they are from the redesigned helmets that followed. 

I sifted through over 5 dozen completed sales listings on Worthpoint looking for an example of the first issue helmet with white decal and could not find a single one.  That's going back to 2007.  

I was thinking of selling this spare that I have but can't find anything to compare online:



You can see how the "tusks" on either side of the breathing area are rounded and protrude.  That's a sign of the first issue helmet.

The one you have there arohk is probably the 2nd or 3rd version of the helmet by Don Post from the vintage era, from 78-83-ish.  Don Post made some great improvements after the first release in 1977 & popularity took off, not just the tusks & the breathing area.
They moved the copyright from the mask portion to the helmet.  It's been changed to block print and no longer has a copyright year on yours, looks a bit more mass-produced and professional on the one you have there.


The very first production run seems to have been largely hand-made, or perhaps it simply looks hand-made.  It's a bit sloppy. There is glue spillage in many places, including the front on the face around the eyes.  The eyes don't always perfectly line up to the sockets either.  
The plastic of the helmet itself is uneven, with thin spots, and as a result the helmets are often found racked or misshapen, like this-


You will notice also the Velcro is placed farther back than the later examples.   The thin and thick areas of the plastic are more obvious in this pic-




some sloppy glue around the eyes-  





The copyright markings are different-  there are no markings on the helmet itself.  The copyright is chiseled into the face mask portion on the outside, and it has a White decal on the interior opposite.






Also the breathing area of the mask is not a part of the molded plastic.  It's a separate piece of what looks like foil that has had holes punched in it.  From the back it looks like this:






One other interesting detail is that the first-issue mask has no mold line.  Look at all the later reissue Don Post masks, and you see a very visible mold line on the mask mask part.  The first issue masks are completely smooth on the side.  No mold line.


If you want a mask to actually use as a display model that looks like a prop or for modern-day costuming, this is probably not the one!  lol
Personally I have always kept one of these in my collection as more of a relic/historical example of a star wars collectible.  The lower quality and the difference in materials and production style make it interesting and desirable to me.  It's got the character of a very early Star Wars collectible, when it all was new and was making history for the first time, when these things were being rushed to market to fill a surprisingly enormous and sudden demand.  
In the 90s when I was collecting, this helmet sat on a shelf, and a 1990s reissue Don Post helmet was the one I wore for Halloween and to costume parties.  Cool
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PostSubject: 1st Issue Don Post Vader 1977   Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:43 pm

Hello, i have the original 1st issue Don Post Helmet 1977 bottom portion and need the helmet top. Is the 1st issue helmet top identical to the 2nd issue?
Thanks
Star Wars Canada
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:11 am

@Star Wars Canada wrote:
Hello, I have the original 1st issue Don Post Helmet 1977 bottom portion and need the helmet top. Is the 1st issue helmet top identical to the 2nd issue?
Thanks
Star Wars Canada

I am far from a expert on these helmets but I would say no , they are not identical :

@starwarsdan wrote:


The very first production run seems to have been largely hand-made, or perhaps it simply looks hand-made.  It's a bit sloppy. There is glue spillage in many places, including the front on the face around the eyes.  The eyes don't always perfectly line up to the sockets either.  
The plastic of the helmet itself is uneven, with thin spots, and as a result the helmets are often found racked or misshapen, like this-


You will notice also the Velcro is placed farther back than the later examples.   The thin and thick areas of the plastic are more obvious in this pic-



For a display piece only I am sure that a later "helmet" release would look just fine , but , if you want your mask to be "Technically" correct , you will need to find a early release helmet to use with your mask  What a Face 

hope this answers your question  Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Don Post original 1970's mask info thread!   Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:10 pm

I like the Don Post Greedo mask and hands, super cool, and not too easy to find in good condition, hope to get one myself one day.
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