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From Digital to Reality: Just How Do You Wear A Purely Digital Helmet...?

Here at ANOVOS, we tend to get a lot of questions about the action behind the curtain: what goes into a piece, how do you design it, and why does it take so long? Well, today I’d like to invite you into our world of costume design and creation. Now you might be thinking, “It’s a replica so you must just copy and go, how hard could it be?” Believe it or not, it’s not nearly that easy… we wish it was. Meticulous planning is required and a series of decisions have to be made to ensure that each piece is:

  • Comfortable
  • Wearable
  • Maintains the level of accuracy to the original prop that you know us for.

Every helmet, armor kit, and costume is different. Unfortunately, most of the time all three points can’t be perfectly achieved without some give and take in other areas. Our job at ANOVOS is to make sure that each product is as close to that perfect trifecta as possible, and we like to think we always make it pretty close.

A great example of this is our newly released Clone Trooper Helmet

Right off the bat we looked at the following features:

Comfort

    Sixteen years ago, we all got to enjoy the classic film that ushered in this incredible looking helmet. It also brought us a new, inventive age of digital modeling and computer generated imagery in movie storytelling. This change actually resulted in a new challenge for us as replica makers -- as no physical Clone Trooper helmets were ever actually made. They only existed as digital models.

    With the helmet digitized, animators and effects artists could easily duplicate the Clone Troopers by the thousands as needed. Because of the helmet’s purely digital nature, it was impossible to simply clean up the files sent directly to us from archives. The resulting prototype would have had no way of fitting onto an adult head!

    The helmets simply weren’t designed with wearability in mind because actual physical limitations didn’t apply. Ultimately, we had to do several fit tests before we could agree on an average sized helmet that would suit most customers. For those with smaller heads, we would offer more padding options to be purchased through the site; for those with larger heads, our solution was to simply remove some of the velcro padding that came with the helmet.

    Wearability

    Once we agreed upon the size, we now confronted the issue of how customers would actually get the helmet on.

    Do you remember the scenes from with films where troopers are running around, ripping their helmets off and putting them back on with relative ease? Digital Magic! Because, yet again that’s NOT how these helmets were designed to functionally perform.

    Once we landed on our average digital head size, we found that the neck hole was too small to pass a head through. Thus, we ran into a major philosophical conundrum: Do we sacrifice accuracy and eliminate the neck ring (which previous companies have done in the past) or widen the hole? In the end we opted to forgo both options and maintain our dedication to accuracy. Another solution had to be found.

    Accuracy

    As some of you may already know, the two guys who founded ANOVOS were themselves cosplayers and members of the 501st! One of the projects that Dana Gasser (co-founder) participated in was the replication of the Republic Army’s 41st Division (Grey Squad), which ultimately faced a similar design problem. That group, creatively engineered a method in which the faceplates of their helmets were cut out in order to create a separate, removable panel that could taken on and off through the help of magnets, allowing the wearer to get in and out of the helmet. It worked!


    Above: Removable Faceplate Concept (Rejected)

    Years later, we decided to try this method, and tested it against long term usage. What we found was that while the original method tended to be a bit too fragile, through the power of digital modeling we could take advantage of the helmet’s aerator seam lines and use them as the magnetic panel’s breakaway point resulting in a more stable connection.

    It took a few years of on-and-off design to understand the nuances of this engineering, but in the end, we feel that we have accomplished our goal of both maintaining the accuracy of the helmet, AND being able to actually get it on your head!

    Please let us know your thoughts on our Clone Trooper Helmet, we would love to hear your feedback. To make it the ultimate collectible, what engineering choices would you have made? Leave your comments below!

    Anovos Productions LLC March 01, 2019 0 tags (show)

    Comments

    Shawn

    Shawn said:

    If you are going to do a face off mod there better be an accurate neck ring. It doesn’t look like there is and that just seems pointless.

    Blake Petersen

    Blake Petersen said:

    AWESOME!

    Gavin

    Gavin said:

    This helmet is absolutely stunning! The ingenuity of the aerator removal is incredible … I liked the original thought of the faceplate, but in this case it’s probably less noticeable and more durable. Keep up the awesome, screen-accurate work Anovos!!

    David Pensak

    David Pensak said:

    I appreciate and thank you for this view into the design process. I’d like to see a hybrid of the removable faceplates.

    Rich

    Rich said:

    I actually really like the outcome on this, the clone trooper helmet is impossible to were for the real world & still have it accurate. Being an engineer & designer myself I believe you did this correctly as I also strongly feel the in the “REAL” Galactic Republic & Empire that the front section was to be removable as you made it (it makes perfect design sense). Even looking at the TK helmet- they still have the same impression of a parting seem below the frown as if the whole front could be removed for repair or replacement or maybe upgrades for different missions. None of this if actually confirmed oh course & I know the 1977 TK helmets were vacuumed formed no actual parting piece there but the grove still remains as if maybe it was meant to look like it was removable.
    Great Job!
    I would place an order for 1 but haven’t had much patience with the extremely long wait times on your products & had to cancel many orders in the past, I’m still waiting on a order placed over a year now.
    Anyway, Great idea with the removable mouth section on the clone helmet, I think it’s perfect!

    Matt

    Matt said:

    Maybe add a pair of lugs or hooks to take the weight off the magnets. Then they only have to hold the aerator piece in place rather than holding it on entirely.
    Also, how about a 501st Legion paint job.

    Jim

    Jim said:

    Great idea, very simple solution without compromising the look.

    Ricky

    Ricky said:

    Instead of magnets, why not sliders?

    Andrew James Ciepiela

    Andrew James Ciepiela said:

    I am really happy that you made a clone trooper helmet know I am a big fan of clone troopers and I just wanted to say thank you. I would hope to see if your guys could make the armor to go with I would definitely buy that and do a YouTube reaction video.

    Chris

    Chris said:

    How about a update on the fist order stormtrooper kit . Celebrations is coming

    Curro

    Curro said:

    I LOVE the solution you’ve reached on this prototype. Removing the front area takes advantage of the already existing deep line on the face. It’s both a clever and clean desing solution. And I can tell it from my own expierence since I’m now two years devoted to making my own fan built phase 2 clone trooper helmet, using as a base a really bad casting I got from eBay, now heavily modded (new ears, cheeks, back, visor rim, neck ring and more).
    Your model looks FANTASTIC to me. As in general are all your products. I only wish I could afford more of them. Being oversees means a dramatic increase of the costs trough shipping fees and import taxes than in my anovos stormtroooer kit meant overprice it more than 50%. And that is what takes me out of many of your game.
    Good work on these one and good luck.
    Keep it up.

    Scott

    Scott said:

    Very interesting (!). Always appreciative of such straightforward coverage/insights.

    Jeff Keller

    Jeff Keller said:

    So glad you guys are finally making clone helmets. Hope you will make phase 1 helmets too down the road. Interesting method for the helmet design. Hope the seem from the aerator plate to the helmet is not to noticeable of a seperarion. Otherwise I’ll have to pass on this. Which I’m sure alot of people would agree. Although your products are one of the best on the market. I have faith in you guys. Thanks Anovos! Jeff

    Simon T

    Simon T said:

    for this replica it is quit convincing as it is based out CG Conceptual piece a bit nut cause tending to mask some areas like fiber glass visum,any way thanks for your passion guys.

    Jay Royan

    Jay Royan said:

    I LOVE these behind the scenes looks into the manufacturing & designs of your awesome products. As someone who as a teen used to make crude helmets using automotive fiberglass, these take me back. Hope to see the Classic Battlestar Galactica line develop soon. Some Cylon armor & Viper helmets would be awesome.

    Thanks for the chance to give input!

    Scott M

    Scott M said:

    Fantastic! I love seeing the level of thought put into finding the perfect solution for an impossible problem. Well done, y’all.

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