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Folgore

Was Studio Armor Different From Location Armor?

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I am wondering if is possible that the ROTJ armor used for location shooting in the US was modified from the armor produced and used for principal photography in the UK? I ask because when looking at the photos of the studio shots, like Luke’s surrender to Vader, the trooper’s shoulder straps do not appear to have rivets but the armor used in the Endor battle scenes clearly do. Is it possible that when the US based wardrobe/props department received the armor from England, they riveted the shoulder straps as well as retrofitted hardhat helmet liners to the helmets to ease and speed-up the costuming of so many extras while in the woods?

 

From the photos I have seen of original ROTJ armor, which was supposedly used for background troops in the docking bay scenes, they appear to have Velcro on both ends of the shoulder straps as well as foam padding in the helmet. If the armor was ‘liberated’ from the studio and never left the UK then that might explain why it was not modified State side with rivets and liners.

 

When analyzing pictures of ROTJ armor out of the Lucas Film archives and tour armor, I also noticed that some of the breast plates appear to have small squares of white ‘loop’ side Velcro and/or adhesive residue where the shoulder strap connects. This made me question why it would be there if you were going to rivet it?

 

This is just a theory and I am curious to as to your thoughts as I am a newbie and am trying to do some research.  Thanks!

white armor 2.JPG

White armor 1.JPG

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You could be getting confused between ESB mkii which you have pictured and true ROTJ. The ESB mkii were probably made for promotional work but we do know of one or two that slipped into production and used in the freezing chamber scene. The ESB mkii were also made using pinseal/Haircell abs whereas ROTJ were made in smooth abs. ESB mkii used foam in the helmets and ROTJ used a suspension liner from an old climbing helmet.


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Hey Mark,

 

It's a safe bet to say that I am confused :D. So the image of the armor on the bed is a MkII with pinched shoulder bells? From the other photos of the armor it appears to be smooth ABS as well but I don't know for sure. I default to your expertise. 

Edited by Folgore

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The armour and both helmets in the photos you posted are of ESB MKII suits. As Mark already said, the ESB MKII suits were made from haircell ABS with the texture being on the inside and smooth on the outside. They were assembled differently to an ROTJ armour that was basically held together with elastic and Velcro glued directly to the inside of the armour, where the ESB MKII  was similar it also used braces/suspenders to hold up the abdomen and butt plate.

 

I doubt there were any major differences between the studio armour and location armour used in ROTJ. Some of the boots on Endor appear to have grips instead of a smooth sole. This may have been for the stunt guys only. I know the stunt guys had flat lenses to make vision better and some had rubber legs, but the majority of the armour just looks the same.

Edited by troopermaster

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Thanks for the information guys. I apologize for my inability to be clearer in my questioning.

 

So, if I am understanding you correctly, the armor and helmet shown on ‘starwarshelmets.com’, that you have linked to, is incorrectly identified as “Original RotJ Armor” and would be more correctly be I.D.’ed as ESB(MkII) armor that may have been used in RotJ?

 

Troopermaster brings up an interesting point regarding certain things done to suits to accommodate the stuntmen’s request, such as the lenses, rubber armor and shoes.  Is it safe to assume modifications were done on existing armor? If so, do we know which wardrobe department was tasked with making the mods? Elstree or ILM?

 

Could the modifications have included, rivets being added to the stuntman’s shoulder straps to keep the armor from popping loose when falling, jumping and being squibbed? I know stunts were performed in the studio and location but all the screen grabs I have seen showing the rivets are all action shots performed by stuntmen on Endor.

 

Also, I am aware that RotJ lids had ‘climbing helmet suspensions’ installed. My question was where and when were the liners installed? All the pictures I can find of the interior linings of original RotJ helmets are ones that have come from the States. These all have the adjustable liners in them (Grant it, I am a little late to the party so many of the forum discussions of original helmets have been wiped clear from the great Photobucket purge). I know some of you guys in the UK have handled original RotJ helmets that were supposedly used at Elstree and remained on the island. Do the ones that never left the UK have the same climbing helmet liners?

 

Is it possible that the helmets were originally made at Elstree to the ‘MkII’ specifications with foam linings that were subsequently removed by ILM when the armor was received in the States and modified for more strenuous location/stunt shots?

 

If you look closely at the image I have attached from the deleted Han shoot’em up scene in the bunker, there is one trooper that stands out to me. I have highlighted him with the yellow arrow. Now, I have worn a few helmets in my time and if that stuntman in the image is wearing a fitted helmet with his chinstrap properly secured under his chin, his neck must have been in extreme pain to assume that position. This still photo as well as the actual motion picture makes me wonder if the climber helmet suspensions were retrofitted to the helmets post Elstree.

 

 

Lastly, I have read that there were two different Scout Trooper helmets produced by ILM. One was heavily padded for stunt work and the other for extras which reportedly had an adjustable liner in them. I can find pictures of the stunt helmet but not the other. Does anyone know if the adjustable liner in the Scout Trooper helmet was the same as the ones found in the Stormtrooper? If they are the same, I have to ask why ILM would go through the hassle and expense of importing liners from Europe when I am sure suitable liners could have been obtained in the States with much more ease.

 

 

 

white armor 5.jpg

Edited by Folgore

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The armour on starwarshelmets.com is incorrectly labelled as ROTJ when in fact it is an ESB MKII owned by John B.

 

It is my understanding that the ROTJ armour was made at Elstree studios and the original helmets that I have seen photos of all had the climbing helmet liners. I would imagine that if any liners were changed to foam or anything else, it would have been done on location when the armour was shipped out from the UK. I have never seen an ROTJ helmet with anything other than the climbing helmet liner inside.

 

The armour and helmets used in ROTJ were specifically made for the movie. I believe a dozen or so ESB KII suits were made for ESB but they were never finished in time for filming, with only one suit appearing clearly on screen, two sets were actually used and they are the ones cuffing Chewie.

6I4YlJs.jpg

0RJpdsD.jpg

 

The trooper helmet you have highlighted would simply have the climbing liner and chin strap. Nothing special about it and it would have just been uncomfortable to the actor laying in that position.

 

The Scout helmets have 3M welding visor liners inside them as standard and the stunt helmets had skateboard helmets inside them. I am not big on the Scouts but I doubt they had the same liners as Stormtroopers since the Scout helmets have flip-up face plates which is why they used welders helmet liners.

c1Jjaxi.jpg

pFZftAW.jpg

 

 

 

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Okay, I think I am tracking a little bit better on the 'starwarshelmets.com' armor and helmet. Thank you for the clarification troopermaster. 

 

The pictures of the Scout helmets are great as well!

 

6 hours ago, troopermaster said:

t is my understanding that the ROTJ armour was made at Elstree studios and the original helmets that I have seen photos of all had the climbing helmet liners. 

From the photos you have seen of the ROTJ helmets, are any of them from the actual stages or wardrobe department at Elstree studios during principal photography? Or perhaps ones that made it off the Elstree set during that time that are now in private hands?

 

6 hours ago, troopermaster said:

 I would imagine that if any liners were changed to foam or anything else, it would have been done on location when the armour was shipped out from the UK. I have never seen an ROTJ helmet with anything other than the climbing helmet liner inside.

I am trying to figure out if the reverse might be true. Did the Elstree helmets start out with "foam or anything else" and end up with the climbing helmet liner on location?

 

6 hours ago, troopermaster said:

The trooper helmet you have highlighted would simply have the climbing liner and chin strap. Nothing special about it and it would have just been uncomfortable to the actor laying in that position.

From the film footage it appears to be sloshing around a lot on his head and the other troopers turn with their entire bodies and not with their heads first. This just struck me as odd since they are supposed to be wearing what I thought would be a better fitting helmet with a liner and chinstrap. I will take your word for it though, as I have never worn a Stormtrooper helmet. Only combat.  

:salute:

 

Thanks again for allowing me to pick your brain.

 

 

Edited by Folgore

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The helmets I have seen are all in private collections and they all have the climbing liners. Considering the amount of work needed to install the liners, I doubt the costume department would go to the trouble of fitting them after a much more simple (and comfortable) foam liner. The liners were readily available back then and were fitted when produced. Here is an unfinished production helmet.

3qEk50t.jpg

MryX4VH.jpg

 

Going back to the shoulder bridges., they were riveted to the chest plate in ROTJ. They had Velcro glued to the inside of the bridges and Velcro tabs glued to the top of the back plate for them to fasten to. I guess they learned from the ESB MKII armour that Velcro on both side was not good enough. In fact, the whole strapping system they used on the ESB MKII armour was not really practical and they used a more simple set-up in the ROTJ armour.

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Fantastic information and photos! Thank you for sharing. 

 

I can't tell you the frustration I have had doing research, when every forum discussion no longer has images and/or dead links. Not to mention certain sites having confusing information formatting (for me at least) and incorrectly identified pictures that baffles the untrained eye. I knew I was late to the party, but obviously the party had packed up and moved on to another town a long, long time ago.

 

I hope my ignorance did not cause too much painful eye rolling for troopermaster and CFO on this forum as well as others. 

 

I really do appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge to a newbie like me. 

 

~Tim

 

 

Edited by Folgore
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You're more than welcome :duim: 

It's not often I get a chance to talk about original armour and I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge with you.

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I would think the helmet liners were installed in the uk as the came from a climbing helmet made in Wales uk.
They were re-strapped by the costume dept with the black webbing you see in the liner. They were also used in the uk filmed scenes.


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The manufacture of the liners and country of origian was going to be my next round of questions if my theroy of the Scout and Stormtrooper liners being the same had gained traction. The picture of the 3M welders liner blew that idea out of the water. Knowing the liners were made in the UK just seals it . Thanks!

Edited by Folgore

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