Of all the fan-favorite characters that popped up in The Mandalorian Season 2, there was one that particularly delighted LEGO Star Wars designer Hans Burkhard Schlömer. And it wasn’t Ahsoka Tano, Bo-Katan Kryze, or even Luke Skywalker. “I was very happy that the dark troopers made it into canon and ‘on screen’ in such a spectacular fashion after such a long time, since the days of LucasArts games,” he tells StarWars.com, referencing their debut in the classic Star Wars: Dark Forces game. Schlömer didn’t know it at the time, but he’d soon be bringing his beloved killer Imperial droids to life in LEGO form.
StarWars.com is thrilled to reveal that the LEGO Group’s popular line of helmets inspired by the heroes and villains of Star Wars will welcome three new additions: the aforementioned Dark Trooper, as well as Luke Skywalker (Red Five) and The Mandalorian, all available for pre-order now and arriving March 1. Like the LEGO Star Wars helmets that came before, these releases are geared toward adult collectors, making for handsome display pieces and utilizing clever build choices for detail and accuracy. (The Mandalorian helmet features LEGO bricks in different shades of gray to recreate the shine of beskar — a trick we’re sure the Armorer would appreciate.) StarWars.com caught up with Schlömer, César Carvalhosa Soares, and Michael Lee Stockwell for commentary on their designs, from the inventive technique used to create Luke’s visor to how Schlömer captured the dark trooper’s menacing look.
Luke Skywalker (Senior Model Designer, César Carvalhosa Soares)
“This helmet presented many challenges, but I think the biggest one was to capture the tricolor ‘fin’ on the top of the helmet. With white stripes on the top, red sides, and a bright yellow line across it, it meant that we really had to be creative. We ended up using bow elements in red with a white decoration on top and flexible yellow tubing for the side stripe.”
“This was the first time that we did an open-face helmet and it provided us with a lot of different challenges. The first one was how to secure the helmet to the base without having some structure that was very obvious and could look too obtrusive. For this we extended the black pillar all the way up to the inner top of the helmet. The inside of Luke’s helmet is dark and so we covered it in black elements and a thick dark gray padding. This, together with the chin strap and the microphone, really helped to have a nice, composed helmet without a big hollow area in the middle. Finally, with the use of several decorated elements we were able to capture all the different markings, strips and logos, just like the original helmet.”
“I’m very proud of the final result, but I would say that the visor part is the one that I am most happy with. It was also a particularly challenging task, and we tried many different options and ended up with one that uses several transparent elements in orange. The visor is then hinged in two different directions to achieve the correct shape.”
The Mandalorian (Design Manager, Michael Lee Stockwell)
“Mando’s helmet is made of polished beskar metal, and I knew before I even started that metalizing all of the elements used in the design of the helmet was not a realistic option. When you look at any polished metal surface, it is the contrast of highlight and shadow together with the tone of the actual metal that determines how you perceive the shape of the object. In the case of a LEGO model, we typically make use of color to create these differentiations.”
“While studying reference images of Mando’s helmet, the feature that I found most prominent was the deeply carved cheek areas. There are numerous angled surfaces that merge here and create strong contrasting areas of highlight and shadow. I tried many different approaches, and I think the final solution addresses the challenges and stays true to the design language of the rest of the helmet.”
“This is my first LEGO Star Wars helmet, but I have followed my colleagues closely through their challenges with previous models. The shortcut here would have been to just change the color of 75277, the Boba Fett helmet, but we are driven by the idea that LEGO elements offer an infinite number of possibilities, so we continue the search for new ways to hopefully take it a step further. If you look closely at reference images, you will notice that the helmet is slightly wider at the base, and the sides slope gently inwards. This feature is addressed in the Mandalorian helmet.”
Dark Trooper (Model Designer, Hans Burkhard Schlömer)
“A lot of the menacing look is in the eyes – those glowing red eyes, surrounded by impenetrable, blaster proof black metal. Not even Darth Vader has glowing eyes! While the rest of the model was mostly another exercise in getting the shape right, designing the eyes and the surrounding area was the most fun for me!”
“Another difference between this dark trooper helmet and other helmets we made is that it required adding a hinge at the neck. To get the menacing appearance of the original droids right I had to tilt down the front of the head — like a bull lowering its head, ready to attack. That is the way those droids’ heads are mounted. It was important to catch the menacing aura of the dark troopers, and the hinge proved to be the key element.”
“Designing uni-colored models has its ups and downs, especially with black elements. It helps with the overall shape as it makes everything blend together more easily but makes it difficult for details to stand out. The biggest design challenge was probably the snout/mouth of this helmet due to its complex shape!”
Dan Brooks is a writer and the editor of StarWars.com. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, Yankees, and Knicks. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks.
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