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A Flash of Greatness: What Three Seconds of Screen Time Will Get Ya!

Some straight talk—when we first saw you, Patrol Helmet, you remember us, from the pre-movie product review. About a year before your film debut we thought, “Look at you! Yes, you are the coolest helmet we’ve seen in a long time, and we can’t wait to show you off!”

Then we sat there in the theater on the big day, scanning every scene… waiting, and squinting, and scanning… then BOOM!

Oh, THERE you are, you Patrol Troopah you!

A whole three seconds of screen time featuring you and most of that a blur.

Now, editing is necessary and we understand when certain things have to be cut for time. We love props and costumes, whereas the producers and editors love story. We’re truly thankful you didn't end up entirely on the cutting-room floor, or stuck to Ron Howard's shoe! We just wish viewers had a better chance to catch what a show-stopper you are.

Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Now the onus is on us to bring you back into the limelight you so deserve.

Surprising Complexity in Real Life

So what is it that 2D or even video reference can’t give you, that the ability to handle, hold, weigh and 3D scan does? Right off the bat, in one word: Complexity.

When we held the original film asset in our hands it was amazing how complex it was and how many details were packed into an area no larger than the stormtrooper helmets we have seen for 40+ years. The Patrol Trooper is a digital merging of the classic Stormtrooper (as reimagined for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Death Trooper design (also seen in Rogue One). It couldn’t have been easy to design, but that level of complexity that ended up capturing our imagination. In fact, there were at least 50% more parts to assemble with this helmet than previous helmets we’ve done—and we’ve handled most of the helmets from this universe so that’s surprising to say the least.

Along with this complexity came a truly stunning level of engineering and precision of design, far exceeding the value of its three-second screen time. In the tug of war between both styles, meaning the “old” and the “new”, there were concessions made by each design to give way to this stunning combination. We honed in on the most essential elements and then carefully noted, scanned, and 3D sculpted them.

The Key Elements

  1. The Visor Merge
  2. A Lesson in Cubism
  3. Vocoder Dogpile
The Visor Merge
Typically, complex junctures (where organic curvature meets a geometric edge) don’t give us too many problems. But, in this design, the meeting point between the Stormtrooper goggles and the Death Trooper style nose and cheek created an interesting challenge. Unlike previous helmets where the Stormtrooper eye is an enclosed "island", or the Death Trooper mask which just had angular detailing for the "teardrop", THIS helmet combined the full visor and the "mask," while following the curvature of the goggle.

Visors: Stormtrooper (left), Patrol Trooper (center), Death Trooper (right)

In other words, these are compound curves on top of compound curves, and we were extremely lucky to have had scanned and taken multiple reference photos to capture this incredible feat of design work.

A Lesson in Cubism

So, what is cubism? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, after all!

Cubism as exemplified by Pablo Picasso's 1910 painting, Girl with a Mandolin.

Now how does that work within this universe? Well, another surprising moment for us was finding detail present where one typically never sees it… underneath the helmet! The vocoder on this unit was really complex, not only in its multilayer construction but in its
cubism-inspired design!

Though subtle and not caught until later examination of the scans and reference photos, the angles were different from those we typically take for granted in that galaxy far, far away. Most helmet’s vocoders utilize 90 and 45 degree angles, but that’s not what was observed in the bottom of the Patrol Trooper helmets. Instead, we found a unique design of angular boxes and swoops unlike anything we had ever seen before. It was such an interesting and artistic bit of design that we instantly knew we needed to do it justice.

Vocoder Dogpile

The last element shouldn’t be surprising at this point--what we noted was just how many layers the vocoder had in this helmet. Not only was the vocoder itself composed of a few different pieces, but the ‘mic tip’ was also done as an inset body!

Vocoder comparisonsVocoders: Stormtrooper (left), Patrol Trooper (center), Death Trooper (right)

Yet again, it’s an interesting mix of the Classic and Death Trooper helmet designs. How cool is that? Once again, you’d never notice it on the screen or even in the Blu-ray’s extra scenes.

So, Mr. Patrol Helmet, while you didn’t get the screen time you deserved, we did our very best to do you right. It is my sincere hope everyone gets to finally bask in your glory and recognize what a true achievement of design you really are!

With Love,


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Anovos Productions LLC March 15, 2019 0 tags (show)