PROTOTYPE IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER HELMET, 1976
This prototype Imperial Stormtrooper's helmet was one of three or four initial pre-production designs manufactured by Andrew Ainsworth in January 1976. The design for the Imperial Stormtrooper’s helmet was a collaborative effort, initially based on the clay models of Nick Pemberton, who first met with George Lucas and undertook the initial sculpt based on Ralph McQuarrie’s (1929-2012) drawings. As Pemberton didn’t have the capability to produce the helmets himself, he handed the design over to Ainsworth, who was his neighbour at the time. Andrew Ainsworth stated “Nick did the initial clay to get a feel for a direction, and I sculpted the real thing in my bespoke method of metal powder and resin, which allowed the sculpt to also be the vacuum forming mould. I went on to adjust front and back mould to accomodate assembly, and added ear pieces to cover the joint and give a more menacing look, enhanced by blister eyes. The prototypes with the sereted backs were then abandoned, but vital for the development”.
The helmet is made of white painted vacu-formed plastic with black rubber details, simulated vents and clear plastic eyepieces. The helmet was made with several components, as the method of moulding the dome and back of the helmet in one piece using a flexible high density Polyethelene as opposed to the more rigid High Impact Styrene or ABS had not yet been developed. While HDPE was not completely suitable for the job, it meant the first 27 helmets could be produced and used for the desert sequence in Tunisia.
Formerly owned by Merry Brownfield, it was gifted to her father in the early 1980s. He was a massive fan of the film, and his friend Steve Smithwick, a former set and prop builder based in Richmond, UK gave him this piece. This helmet has been authenticated by the maker.
Helmet: 11¾x 11¾x 13¼in. (29.8 x 29.8 x 33.6 cm)
Display case: 17¼x 20⅝x 20⅝in. (43.8 x 52.3 x 52.3 cm)
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In a bespoke UV plexiglass display case. Excellent condition, with natural age discolouration.
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