Yodasnews Review: Episode IV Stormtrooper Helmet (eFX Artist Proof)
Review and Photography by: Mark Picirilli (Yoda027) and Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: July 11, 2008
With hundreds of collectibles companies operating in the worldwide market today, it should come as little surprise that the end of Master Replicas’ Star Wars prop replica license would not leave a permanent void in that particular niche. eFX Collectibles, the newest kid on the block, stepped forward to claim that license, armed with a bold new agenda for the future of Star Wars prop replicas. Much to their credit, their first order of business was to tie up loose ends from the Master Replicas era. Because their production end date was fast approaching, MR had to prematurely cut production, resulting in cancelled orders. Therefore, those short-changed collectors had first crack at purchasing the eFX version.
Now without further ado, today’s review will examine an Artist Proof of the eFX Episode IV Stormtrooper helmet.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this review, it should be noted that comparisons between the Master Replicas version and this new helmet will not be included in this review. We’d prefer to judge eFX’s inaugural product on its own merits and its faithfulness to the appearance of the original filming prop—not to another replica company. Besides, plenty of collectors will be drawing those comparisons soon enough.
As this helmet was compared against various DVD screen captures and reference photos, it quickly became clear that it was just not possible to assess the accuracy. The original Stormtrooper helmets were made by hand without the aid of modern computer scanning technology. As such, each helmet is asymmetrical and different from each other. Even helmets within the same frame are clearly different when one takes a close enough look. To that end, the eFX helmet represents an “idealized” version, which combines elements from various costume props and refines them. The result is a clean and sleek Stormtrooper helmet.
PAINT APPLICATIONS: Excellent
Considering the high price tag attached to the helmet and relatively sparse paint, it is naturally expected that those few areas are executed with machine-like precision and clarity. eFX succeeded. The alternating gray and black paint on the mouth grille is very clean and stays within the required boundaries. Obviously, slight imperfections come to light when under the unforgiving eye of a macro lens. But let’s be honest. When it takes that much to show only slight deviations, then the effect is an unmitigated success. One particular application that succeeds is that of the dark blue “blocky dashes” on each side of the helmet. On the filming prop, there are twelve on the left hand side but only eleven on the right hand side. It shows great attention to detail that eFX replicated this asymmetrical feature on their helmet.
DISPLAY STAND: Above Average
eFX decided to go with a fresh new design for the base, a design that has received mixed reviews among the fans. Some wished it stayed true to the MR style in the interests of uniformity while others wanted something new and unique. In that regard, eFX delivered with a metallic base and the Star Wars logo etched into it, giving it a subtle yet museum-quality feel. The base itself is held down by three screws, the heads of which are adorned with the eFX logo. As for the product-specific plaque, eFX used a brushed metallic theme with the latest version of the Episode IV logo (that found on the DVD cover art) with the item name etched next to it. It comes separate from the base and slides into a name plate, allowing collectors a great amount of flexibility in where they place it. In the end, the plaque represents a successful exercise in simplicity and demonstrates that something does not always need to be extravagant in order to look sophisticated.
Unfortunately, using the base did not come without incident. While twisting and turning the base during this review’s photo shoot, the display pole loosened and eventually came off. Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to fix this. Concealed beneath a small removable tab on the underside of the base is the screw which keeps the pole attached. Simply uncover and tighten the screw. While this should not be a common occurrence (this sample had been heavily handled for hours prior to this), it remains a quick easy fix that can be done at home.
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS & DURABILITY: Excellent
Constructed of fiberglass, the helmet has some decent weight to it and quite sturdy. The finish is well done and should hold up well to a ding here and there, but one should still treat it with great care. Conversely, the inside is padded soft and can be worn for a short period without any damage to the helmet. Of course, it can get extremely hard to breathe in there, so best to keep this one on the shiny new stand.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: Excellent
It may seem odd for an “Additional Features” category to be included with a helmet replica, but eFX found a way to slip in a couple nice surprises. The most notable feature is the interchangeability of the lenses. The helmet arrives with a pair of dark gray lenses installed, but an emerald green pair is included as well. Remember, the original helmets were handmade and differed in many regards. The color of the lenses was one such variation. For more information on the many differences between the Stormtrooper helmets, check out the following link: http://web.ukonline.co.uk/bingo275/Realtroop_comps1.htm
The second additional feature worth mentioning is a “blueprint” style print that shows the helmet in six different positions, all at different angles and elevations. This is somewhat reminiscent of the blueprints included with the scaled Darth Vader helmet replica from Riddell in the 1990s (the same mold used many years later by Master Replicas). Whereas that blueprint was EU-based, the eFX blueprint is strictly a technical illustration. In addition to the product plaque, this will greatly augment the overall presentation of the helmet in one’s collection.
OVERALL RATING: Excellent
For being the first entry in what could end up being a long and successful foray into the Star Wars universe, eFX Collectibles came charging out of the gate with BlasTech E-11’s blazing. The sculpting and paint applications are very precise and true to the concept (because there is no single version that matches 100%), and it appears durable enough to weather prolonged open-air display. Despite the potential for the pole loosening, the helmet stand lends a museum-like appearance to the display, and the product plaque sports an elegant and versatile design.
As of this review, only a few dozen helmets remain. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to order now as this will be your only chance to own the inaugural product from a company with a very bright future. Plus, this is an excellent representation of an iconic piece of the Star Wars universe.