Stunt Trooper Helmet Review

Almost 30 years after making the original Stormtrooper helmets and armour for George Lucas (see Collectible Stormtrooper Helmets) Andrew Ainsworth has dusted off the original moulds and is producing a range of helmets from the very same source as the screen-used helmets. These new hyper-accurate collectibles are being produced in small numbers out of the very same studio that made those seen in A New Hope..

The first of this line of "new" movie props is the Stunt Trooper helmet. These versions are the background troopers seen in the rank and file of the Imperial Army, and weren't used for the close-up shots. These archetypal Stormtrooper helmets feature flat green lenses, a higher brow and an extended frown.

The Stunt Trooper helmet arrived via a reputable international courier and was packed in a very sturdy cardboard box. Within this box was a second box, providing an extra layer of protection.

 

Inside all of this was a large bundle wrapped in a sheet of soft plastic and bubble wrap, and amongst this cocoon were all the pieces of the Though the package was only sent domestically (within the UK) I feel confidant in saying that Shepperton Design Studios has made ample effort in ensuring that the helmets won't get damaged in transit.

Upon emptying the packing cartons I found I had four pieces I had to assemble - the display stand came in three parts and the all-important helmet came ready assembled and needed no work doing what-so-ever. It took me less than a minute to put the display stand together and place the Stunt Trooper helmet on top of it.

   

Ten seconds later it was off the stand and on my shoulders while I tried to strut like an Imperial bully boy. The only thing I learned while wearing the Stunt Trooper helmet is that Stormtroopers are bad shots for a reason - they couldn't see a barn door if a target the height of an AT-AT was painted on it.

Each Stunt Trooper helmet comes with a display stand adorned with a plaque of authenticity that is individually numbered. The final touch to the ensemble is Andrew Ainsworth's signature which is inside every Stunt Trooper helmet produced. A few lucky individuals get a personalised inscription from him.

  

With a price point of $800/£445 (plus shipping) some people are going to grumble that it is an over-priced piece of plastic and no good for wearing to conventions while dressed as a Stormtrooper. And they would be right. Having researched fan-made stormtrooper armour and collectible Stormtrooper helmets already I soon realised that this helmet was not made for costumers, but for serious prop collectors. While the Stunt Trooper helmet doesn't claim to be screen-used it does allow the owner to get as close to an original Star Wars prop helmet without spending the equivalent of a family car.

Each helmet is unique and completely hand crafted using materials that are as close a match as possible to those used in 1976. Advances in material science has made the original plastics used in the production of the Stormtrooper helmet redundant but Ainsworth has used his experience to match modern plastics as closely as possible in order to keep the look and feel. Though this labour-intensive process restricts the number of helmets that can be produced, it has resulted in a helmet that is virtually indistinguishable to the ones used in the Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope.

The helmets are available directly via the Shepperton Design Studios website and the company is also registering their helmets with a number of U.S., European and Far East distributors.

Also available from Shepperton Design Studios is the recently released Imperial Pilot helmet, and coming soon will be the Hero Trooper helmet (expected Spring 2005).

Addendum

Addendum Since this article was written Shepperton Design Studios has successfully been sued by Lucasfilm for unfair competition, as well as copyright and trademark infringement, making claims Andrew Ainsworths involvement in the genesis of the stormtrooper helmet questionable. You can read the outcome of the court case for more details.

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