Shepperton Battle Spec
That's what geeks over here say when something cool arrives in the post or when something cool happens etc. It's usually said a few times in a row. In Japanese you write it as....
You would have noticed it being said about a zillion times if you watched Densha Otoko.
Anyway, after waiting for 7 excruciatingly long days, the Battle Spec stormtrooper helmet that I ordered last Tuesday night arrived.
When my helmet shipped, Shepperton gave me the tracking number which I had constantly open in a browser refreshing every 5 seconds...
Date Time Tracking Event14-02-2006 14:00 Delivered13-02-2006 10:51 Awaiting Customs Clearance11-02-2006 01:50 Awaiting Customs Clearance11-02-2006 01:49 Arrived in destination country08-02-2006 11:06 Left origin country08-02-2006 00:28 Arrived at outward Office of Exchange07-02-2006 17:54 Export item accepted into network07-02-2006 17:24 On route to hubOrdered the helmet last Tuesday at about 5PM JST - Shepperton got it out the same day. The helmet arrived in Japan on Saturday and was stuck in customs for a few days - got the helmet yesterday - less than a week! I was initially afraid that I may experience a 10 week wait...
Anyway, lets look at the goodies.
This is the box that it came in (figures not included). Customs had to open the box to decide how much they should leech from me - 2,700 yen - not as bad as the 15,000 yen (cant remember exact amount) that I was charged for my initial armor.
The helmet was double boxed and padded in tons of bubble wrap - you can see that care was taken to ensure it arrived in one piece.
And this is the Battle spec out of the box. My first impressions were...
1.It looked a bit flat faced but the stormtroopers in the movies looked like that too and...
2.Light! The battle Spec weighs in at about 0.6kgs while the AFX weighs a whopping 1.6kgs! No bloody wonder I kept having headaches when trooping.
Battle spec from the side...
Battle Spec from the back...
The blue tube looks rather coolio indeed.
The chin part for some reason had indents in it. Not sure whether it was because the person who glued it on used a pointy object to push it down or whether the indents were there because the originals had them too.. Whatever the reason - it does not look too good. I think I can plaster over it and paint over it again though...
Compared to the AFX, the inside is dead plain - which is a good thing. The whole helmet can be taken apart just by removing six screws.
As you can see, the frown ( just like the originals ) isn't covered with mesh like the AFX is. Somebody standing close to you will be able to see your mouth and if they are standing very close they will be able to see the bogies up your nostrils - therefore I will be "meshing" my frown.
Close up of side. The eye cutout looks a bit wonky but forgivable.
I was rather disappointed here - the tape used for the frown didn't cover the white gaps which meant that I had to go out and get some grey electrical tape to finish off the job...
Click on the image to see a large version to see what I mean.
This was rather shocking too but I suppose it was the same material they used for the original helmets - the lens piece was just a flimsy piece of film - very flimsy! My glasses butted against the film and made marks in them. Good thing I know just the place to get some decent film - see further down.
Comparison shot from the side. You can see just how huge the AFX is - the back of the helmet looks toooo square and the tube that goes around the helmet is just huuuuge.
Comparison shot of the back. Again, you can see just how big the AFX is.
I think this picture says it all - the AFX can probably fit two small heads in there.
OK, so what about the AFX? Well let me take some pics before I take it apart. These are the ever so useless fans which a certain somebody put in. All they do is just blow around the hot air in the helmet and seem to only serve the purpose of making noise.
Inner front of the AFX. The black knob is a speaker used as a microphone to feed into the voice changer hidden in the front of the helmet. You can see the mesh underneath the frown - will have to do the same for the Battle Spec.
Another AFX shot - that thing you see in the helment is supposed to clamp around your head - quite useless.
Front tube part of the AFX - its got so much space inside that you can probably fit in your cat and a few eggs.
Just added this photo now as I didn't notice it before - its the Battle Spec with the sun bouncing off it - click it to enlarge and you will notice the wrinkles in the helmet - The original moulds must have cracked or something over time.
Here are all the bits n bobs that I had to get from Tokyu Hands. You can see the green film - a much thicker film which doesn't crumple up when my glasses rub against it - 147 yen.
Then there's the metal mesh which I will use under the frown - 997 yen.
You can see the electrical tape needed to redo the frown 99 yen...
Also got a chin strap to hold the helmet in place so that it doesn't fall off when raiding a Blockade Runner...
Anyway, despite the blemishes which can be easily(ish) fixed, the Battle Spec is something I'm relatively pleased with. Its made by the original maker, its light weight and the maker shipped it on the day I ordered!
The AFX on the other hand is heavy (very), large (very) and doesn't look movie accurate.
I only wished that I ordered my armor and helmet from Shepperton Design Studios in the first place - yes they do armor too! And as you can see from the pictures in that link - they use the original moulds for the armor as well. Now I just need to find an excuse for my wife to purchase their armor too...
How about: "The doctor told me I only have 30 days to live but if I get some of that Shepperton armor, I will be cured..."
Shepperton Design Studioswww.sdsprops.com76 The GreenTwickenhamMiddlesex TW2 5AGUKTel +44 (0)208 898 4839Fax +44 (0)208 755 firstname.lastname@example.org