Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
When I set eyes on the original helmet from The Mandalorian™ in person, my first thought was: “Wow, that helmet wasn’t as I expected!”
Having closely studied the original Boba Fett™ helmets, I can appreciate why Jeremy Bulloch dubbed him “Bucket head.” Boba Fett and Jango Fett™'s helmets were similar in size, where The Mandalorian™'s helmet is more compact and fitted.
Forty years past Boba Fett’s creation, we are clearly in a different time and this new helmet serves a different purpose. The Mandalorian’s helmet, as with the entire costume, is built for action and stunts. Everything is tight and well fitted. There is no bucket feel or bobblehead here. This helmet is meant to move with you and be purely functional.
Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in the Disney+ series THE MANDALORIAN. Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
My second thought was regarding the finish, recognizing that it was going to be one of our biggest challenges.
At first, the helmet’s paintwork seems quite simple—just a pewter finish with some weathering—but upon closer inspection, this isn’t true at all. Just for comparison Captain Phasma™’s helmet has a chrome finish and Jango Fett’s helmet color was a result of being cold cast with aluminum powder. The Mandalorian’s helmet is neither! It is unique and quite complicated. First, because of the way it was painted, it changes its color contingent upon different lighting conditions. Second, don’t let the initial “one-note metallic” finish fool you! There is an incredible amount of subtle intricacy, not seen in other paint jobs, with clever shifts in tonality—somewhat mimicking the contouring seen in the makeup industry.
Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in the Disney+ series THE MANDALORIAN. François Duhamel. © 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
We learned the exact paint process the production team used to paint the original screen-used helmets. Even though we knew how the helmets were painted and detailed it still took our development team a few weeks to settle upon a paint process we can implement for mass production which replicates the beauty and subtle tone shifting nature of the original helmets. To perfect our finishing process we painted our prototypes side-by-side with an original screen-used helmet which allowed us to instantly compare our paintwork directly to the original piece and make adjustments as needed. Once our factory paint and finishing processes were authenticated against the real screen-used helmet, our research team directly guided our artists as they hand-painted and weathered each helmet based on the same multi-stepped techniques used to create the originals. There was a lot of cleverness poured into replicating the paint finish and I am proud that we were able to provide this artisan touch to our collectors in this helmet.
Helmets ready for the intricate painting process and helmets ready for final touches. © 2019 ANOVOS & ™. All Rights Reserved.
Boba Fett will always have a cult following and this new character, The Mandalorian, is awesome in his own right and will likely find a similar fandom. His look takes advantage of all the latest technologies in digital printing as well as modern paints. He is more streamlined, and his overall design is far more agile. He is the future and a character worthy to be called The Mandalorian.
ANOVOS finished helmet. © 2019 ANOVOS & ™. All Rights Reserved.
© & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd.
I wanted to update you on the fulfillment of your Han Solo “A New Hope” style shirt.
We’ve just received the final pieces from the manufacturer, and are doing the final quality control checks on these in the week ahead.
Shipments of fully paid orders shall begin after May 4, 2019, once the items have successfully passed in-house quality control.
A few notes and action items for your consideration:
For those who ordered via our Payment Plan: For orders where the Payment Plan has been completed, you will be receiving an invoice for the shipping and handling. That invoice must be remitted in order to ship the item.
- For those who pre-ordered in full: We ask that you verify your order information, and send us an email via our ticket system with the subject line “ANH HAN SOLO SHIRT UPDATE” if there are any changes by May 4, 2019. If we do not hear from you by then, we will proceed with shipment, and thus any address redirections or re-shipments will be the responsibility of the affected customer.
As to the other components from the Signature Series ANH Han Solo ensemble (the vest and pants), we are aiming for a late Q2 to Q3 fulfillment on those, as they are coming from different manufacturing sites. When they are prepared, an update similar to this one will be sent on those particular components!
May the Force be with you,
J. James, Operations Coordinator
Hello Star Warsies!
I’ve just returned from Star Wars Celebration Chicago. Since we breezed through setting up our booth in record time, I was able to wander around a bit and see what was in store for us over the next few days.
If you weren’t able to make it, let me just say that it was INCREDIBLE! I was amazed by the complexity of some of the displays as well as the attention to detail displayed by the costumed participants I met. I’m always impressed by the level of devotion people display for the fandom, and their commitment to all things Star Wars is truly amazing!
Right near our booth was a full size, fan-built Hover Tank from Rogue One that you could have your picture taken with! The detail was so precise that it felt like actually being on an occupied desert planet being pursued by the Emperor's troops.
The Canadian 501st Regiment set up a life-size, 3-scene diorama. Each scene had a donation box in front of it and they would take a photograph of you in any of the scenes for a small donation to that particular charity. These fan-created scenes brought you into the world of Star Wars in a very realistic way. It’s no surprise why so many people choose to express their fandom through serving in this international organization. I’d like to give a special thanks to Karl Fetts of the Sith Lord Detachment for giving me a tour of the display. Keep up the good work, Troopers!
A great many ANOVOS customers came by the booth to see what we had to offer, which included answers to well thought out questions. They brought their passion with them, and I had many discussions about their future plans, and how all of us at ANOVOS could best help them to achieve their dream costumes. It was a pleasure talking to each and every one of you and I look forward to seeing you all again at the next event!
One of my favorite days was when a fan-built droid showed up to our booth. It turned out to be stuntman, puppeteer, and creature effects artist Lucky McQueede. He took home the coveted ‘Best in Show’ prize in the official Cosplay Competition, and having seen this phenomenal cosplay up close, I can tell you his win was well deserved!
Yes, there is an actual human in there somewhere, and you can learn more about Lucky here. Great work, Lucky!
After a while, I noticed the crowd’s attention seemed to drift away from Lucky’s handiwork, eventually shifting entirely away from him at one point. A quick look around the booth told me why - the voice of Darth Maul had arrived!
It seemed that Sam Witwer decided HE needed a selfie with the droid too!
As is often the case, many celebrities not scheduled for panels showed up to support the franchise. Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert made an appearance on the ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ stage to the delight and raucous applause of fans, and I heard that the original Lando Calrissian, Billy Dee Williams, was also seen in the building. Having seen him in the teaser trailer for Episode IX: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, I wasn’t surprised.
All in all, I found my trip to Star Wars Celebration Chicago to be exactly that: a celebration of new and diehard fans coming together in honor of one of the greatest fandoms to ever exist. The collective love of all things Star Wars was everywhere, from ‘Dark Helmet’ and ‘Barf’ to the Ralph McQuarrie design concept Darth Vader costume by Kenn Kooi (that scared the crap out of me every time he walked by), and all of the screen-accurate depictions of every Star Wars character imaginable. All I can say is that I can hardly wait for next year!
Special thanks to Christopher Copeland for this AWESOME fan shot!
May the Force be with you!
When we last left off we identified the following problem: how and where can you find a blaster that has the accuracy and durability that can match the armor you’ve spent so many hours completing?
This article will cover the topic of accuracy...relatively speaking. Why relatively? The problem with replicating any kind of prop that originated from the 1970s is that it’s often more of an archeological dig than it is a simple matter of referencing the archives. Despite the plethora of resources and original film assets that are in the archives of the Lucasfilm Museum of Cultural Archives (what you might commonly refer to as the Lucasfilm Archives or Skywalker Ranch Archives), the only E-11 blasters in their catalog were sub-par castings from The Empire Strikes Back and the MGC Sterling from Return of the Jedi. We knew the blasters from A New Hope had been rented from a local rental house and were returned to that rental house after filming.
Unlike a lot of our earlier projects, nothing we found in the archives had true lineage to the original deactivated Sterlings that were used. We had to rely on other types of research that has long existed in the ethos of prop replication.
The key references we ultimately came upon were a set of very good photos of the blaster commonly referred to as the “Bapty” blaster, so named after the rental house from which the original deactivated prop was procured. We found both photos from the time of filming and more recent photos of these blasters that had made their way into the hands of private collectors. The Bapty blaster stands out because of its additional detailing and its slight variance to the standard E-11 blaster we all know and love, ultimately leading to our decision to base the first kit on this beloved piece.
- Different Greebles
- Casting Line and Receiver Cut
Grip: Looking at the grip, one can’t help but notice the bold departure from the well-known Sterling checked grip featured on the E-11. The grainy grip of the original blaster is not present, but replaced with a relatively smooth grip instead. Additionally, the overall shape of the grip has been simplified to a degree. The only question is "why?" We will never know for sure, but it is presumed this is the result of casting the grip and trigger group to make the Sterling non-functional. This may have been done in a hurry, maybe even on location, and resulted in less detail than the original.
Different Greebles: Like Industrial Light and Magic, who coined the term, when we refer to ‘greebles’ (not to be confused with 'nurnies' which are CGI detailing of a similar nature) we are identifying the small detail pieces purposely placed, sometimes seemingly at random, on a prop to give it a more complex and interesting appearance. Greebles are typically found parts from various unrelated kits and models, often at all sorts of scale, and repurposed to provide depth and on screen ‘realism’ to the piece. In this particular blaster, we noted that the greebles we ever so slightly different with unique additions to the magazine and the counter. Again, why?
Casting Line and Receiver Cut: To top it all off, there is an odd cut line that was present on the body of this blaster that wasn’t on others. As part of the deactivation process, the receiver tube of the Sterling was cut and a solid-cast replacement metal receiver was riveted to its tail end. There is a very obvious line down the side of the new rear receiver due to the casting process where the two halves didn't quite align. While this wasn't an intentional deviation from the standard E-11, it is an obvious identifier of the Bapty blaster.
Now at this point most people have dozed off, but to enthusiasts of the prop this discussion has spawned all kinds of theories as to why the Bapty is the way it is. One of the most prevailing ideas (none of these can be definitively validated) takes into account that we do know some of the blasters were taken to Tunisia, crossing international borders. It is speculated that because of differing deactivation prop laws, perhaps more care than usual was needed. It would at least explain the odd cut line; perhaps it was used for additional proof of deactivation. Secondly, perhaps that iconic grip had to be removed and replaced by a quickly cut and sanded down version that worked more as a plug than anything. This would help drive home the the notion that the prop held no more threat than a broom handle. Lastly—and this is a shot in the dark—maybe the additional greebles were purposely placed to demarcate this as a true variant, perhaps only something a Sandtrooper would love. We’re fans, we can dream!
There you have it! With all the mystery and history, how could we NOT choose this as our first E-11 base kit? It’s clearly unique and perhaps the most easily identified variant of the E-11 seen in A New Hope.
In the next segment, we’re going to take a look the thought process in redefining how a blaster costume accessory kit should come together, from design principle to actual execution. Don’t miss the final chapter in this three piece series!
Questions? Comments? Let us know below what you think! Ready to get yours? Click here!
Part 1 of Developing the E-11 Blaster Kit
Back in my ol’ Stormtrooper cosplay days I often spent hours, days and WEEKS making my white armor perfect. You know what I am talking about: measuring your armor, scoring it, making the perfect cut. Then you measure if it fits, make the proper adjustments, measure if it fits, adjust...then see if it looks right, detect asymmetries...the whole kit and caboodle. Then finally, if your fitting mirror could only talk, you have… the PERFECT set of armor that fits you flawlessly! You couldn’t be prouder and you’re ready to hit the convention or event.
But what’s a classic trooper without his or her’s blaster?!?
If you’re like me, this is where things go, “eh”? After all this time to create the perfect piece of armor, you’re suddenly scouring eBay, forums, friends and family looking for an E-11 blaster. It then dawns on you; when it comes down to it, you really only have three choices:
- A Real Sterling Conversion
- A Foamy
- A Kit
The crazy thing about it all, you’ve put in all this work into making your outfit incredible, but the finishing touch was a scramble to find something suitable that, honestly, didn’t match the caliber of your suit.
I am sure you’ve had similar experiences and it’s what framed our design of the E-11 kit. Many of us in the company have worn suits and have the bathroom scars to prove it. But with our kit we wanted it all: accuracy, durability and, most importantly, the ease of putting it all together whether you were an experienced kit builder or a beginner.
It all started with one rule: Make it super accurate but super easy.
This is going to be a three part series that looks at just that.
Wait, why three parts? Because the finishing touch is easily overlooked as the best part to the costume—next to the helmet of course—but it gets the least love!
Obviously, this is the intro into the problem that has existed for most of us. Be on the lookout for the following segments where we will dive deeper into how we chased the accuracy of this piece, and how we made it easy.
Questions? Comments? Let us know below what you think of these insights.